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Encouraging News Regarding Health Care for All

Being a lifelong Democrat I'm instinctively leery when corporations come knocking at my door bearing gifts, but on the surface at least this seems like an encouraging "change" from the patterns and historic attitude of health care insurers. (h/t U.S. News' Health Buzz)

Health Insurers Propose Coverage for All

Representatives of the insurance industry told Congress yesterday that they support an overhaul of the healthcare system that would call for them to accept any customer who applies for coverage, regardless of health status, the Associated Press reports. But insurers also favor a requirement for all Americans to have health insurance. Requiring health insurance for all is needed, according to industry analysts, because mandatory inclusion of both healthy and sick people would allow insurers to distribute risk over a larger group of people. Two health insurance trade organizations--America's Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association--put forth separate proposals that each called for coverage of those with pre-existing medical conditions in conjunction with mandating coverage for all Americans.

It would appear that rather than have Congress dictate the terms of a universal health care plan for America some of the insurers would like to proactively suggest proposals to accomplish the goal on their terms. Nothing wrong with that -- it's the start of negotiations which will hopefully get everyone insured.

Now the "mandate" part is of course going to rile some folks - but participation in the Social Security is "mandated" as is payroll disability insurance plans, etc. There's nothing new here... nothing "socialistic"... to use the plumber's vernacular.

Still, I can just hear the reaction from the nutcakes who, while smoking a cigarette and packing 75 extra pounds on their diabetic frame as they wolf down a triple whooper with cheese, tell us "Cough Cough - ain't no government going to tell ME that I have to be healthy, Cough Cough".

We shouldn't listen to them. If it takes 100% participation to make health care for those who want and need it a reality then it's time to require it for everyone, and let the idiots who want to kill themselves find some other way, or choose to not go to the doctor regardless of their insurance coverage.


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Comments (4)

Hopefully change on health care will really be coming with the incoming Obama Administration and Democratic majority in congress. This important issue is a long time coming.

Allen:

My question is: Who is going to be paying for all of this? Also, will this mean that all the illegal aliens also be covered?

Too many details left out, and they would have to be addressed. Most Americans would be for health care for American CITIZENS, but not for the illegals.

Allen:

The Washington Monthly site has a couple of good articles about national health care, and why the GOP will try to block that from happening. It's very interesting points on the GOP thinking, and if Obama handles it correctly, the GOP will wander a lot longer in political limbo.

Mike:

To date, health care "mandates" in the US have suffered from three very predictable problems:

1) People suddenly drop private insurance in favor of low-cost or "free" state-sponsored health programs, thus overloading and bankrupting the state programs (the recent collapse of the Hawaii special children's state insurance program is a perfect example)

2) Bureaucrats suddenly discover that there are not enough doctors and hospitals to handle "universal" primary care physician enrollment and yearly medical exams (see Massachusetts, State of).

3) Doctors decide that they'd rather not practice in states where diagnoses, treatment regimens, and compensation are highly regulated or aggressively capped, and they move elsewhere (See Number 2).

I think that most people are ready for some kind of universal medical care; it's not really a new idea at all -- "We will establish a new system that makes high-quality health care available to every American in a dignified manner and at a price he can afford." - Richard Nixon's State of the Union Adddress, 1974.

But the majority of Americans do not want government bureaucrats deciding who gets what kind of medical treatment. The Blue Cross idea looks promising, mainly because it keeps health care management out of the hands of the government.

But let's look at who really needs mandatory health insurance. Wealthy people do not, because they can afford private insurance. Anyone who is employed by a company that provides group health insurance does not, because they and their families are guaranteed coverage through their employer, regardless of their health status (with some reasonable exceptions, of course). Young, healthy, single adults can purchase individual health plans for a reasonable cost, so they don't need universal coverage. And neither do the poor -- they are already covered by state medical plans, S-CHIP, Medicaid, and SSI.

So who does that leave? Working families without group coverage, because private insurance is priced above of what they can afford, and they earn too much to qualify for indigent aid (nor would many of them want it). Another large group of uninsured are individuals with health concerns who cannot get insurance at all, or would have to pay an exorbitant rate for it. Right now, insurers deny coverage for an amazing array of non-catastrophic and easily treatable things: high blood pressure, height/weight issues (even minor), depression, etc. Most of these people would have no problem being insured if they were simply part of a group, rather than underwritten as individuals.

Than being said, Blue Cross's plan makes sense, because it would seem to target those people. We don't need a new program for the poor, because plenty of help already exists. You know the old saying, you can lead a horse to water ...

One more thing -- everyone and I mean EVERYONE should be required to pay a premium (even if it is $25 a month) and office/pharmacy copays (even if it is $5). There should be no such thing as a free lunch, ever. Everyone should be required to have some responsibility. That way, the system stays fair to everyone.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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