Further health care thoughts

So, the Great Health Care Debate rages on. And on and on and on. Who supports what, in which bill, in which house of Congress is all too confusing and malleable to be worth commenting on at any given moment. Or at least, it is for me. All you people who are paid to write about such things, I still expect a play-by-play.

That being said, I just thought I'd clarify what I really want from health care reform. If I had to pick one thing I wanted from health care reform, what is it?

I want reform of the insurance industry. As I said elsewhere, I think it is the reform that is most badly needed. If I they have to jettison a public option to get it, I can live with it. While I want to see everyone covered, it's not what I want most.

Exclusions in coverage for preexisting conditions must end. It locks people into keeping the coverage they have, even if inadequate or provided as part of an otherwise unappealing job, because they know subsequent carriers will deny them coverage. It stifles competition, thus hobbling any free market solutions one could theoretically support.

The practice of rescission is vile, and must end. It is appalling in the extreme that the insurance industry would use a practice meant to combat fraud to cull the sick from its rolls when they need to have coverage most badly. The insurance industry has made it plain they have no interest in stopping the practice on their own, so they need to be made to do so.

Private insurers also must make it plain what their plans cover, so consumers know what they are paying for. The stories of patients getting socked with gigantic bills, of which their coverage was nil or close to it, are myriad. People need to know that they are paying for.

If the private insurance industry gets the reform it needs, I will be happy for now. Not satisfied for the long run, but happy with the first important steps toward correcting a system long overdue for reform.


  1. The Baucus Bill should be renamed, The Insurance Industry Profit Protection and Enhancement Act. Without a single payer system we are doomed to failure on reform. I also agree, (although our physician disagrees) there should be a major revamp of malpractice insurance. He says the seven thousand dollars he spends a year to cover him is fine. I was thinking more along the lines of the OB or other high risk practitioners. In any event there will be zero R's that will support anything that will take profits away from Big Pharma and Insurance giants. These giants have monopolized the health care industry. In any event this was an eye catcher...Nearly 45,000 deaths a year in the U.S. are associated with lack of health insurance, up from a previous estimate of about 18,000, according to a new study by Harvard researchers. Great news huh!

  2. I don't agree Uncle Jim, I don't think not passing the Public option means we are doomed to failure. There is absolutely nothing to prevent this from being revisited down the road. Simply put, when the Insurance companies rake in huge profits, and prices continue to rise, I simply don't see what argument Republicans will use to counter renewed demands for the Public option, especially since malpractice reform and portability will likely pass now.
    I absolutely agree with you on getting everyone convered, these are the people who show up at ER's. The cost is then passed on to premium holders. Covering everyone would only add 1 to 3% on overall health care costs, and such a thing would be offset by a more productive and healthy society.
    Honestly, outside of resistence to the Public option, the Republicans have no serious argument, and over time that argument will crumble.


  3. Jim, it will be a long, long time before we find ourselves in a single payer system, if ever.

    I support a public option, and hope we get to one, but I don't want to see the lack of one stymie other aspects of reform.

    I don't know that I follow your arguments about malpractice reform. Can you please clarify?

  4. Fixing recission is easy for Congress. Simply give polices a 90-day period for the carrier to examine the info, and that's it. After 90 days, if ti isn't cancelled, the policy remains in force, period. That's how contracts work. Congress could do this in 2 pages and pass it tomorrow. But Congress won't. They don't care.

  5. One more point, the insurance industry would sell human flesh if they could make a dime on it. One purpose of government is to stop the depredations of unconstrained capitalism. Congress could stop what the nation agrees is bad policy; recission, IMHO, easily meets that test.

    OK, two points. End differing tax treatments for employer supplied insurance and self purchased insurance. That will go a long way towards levelling the playing field and bringing more options at a cheaper rate to more people. IMHO.

  6. Dan, Malpractice reform was a topic on another blog by a friend I have been following. My error, I confused my two of three doctor friends. He, (friend #1) insists all malpractice insurance is so high as to deny any practitioner a healthy income. Charo, You are so right in your opinion... but the single payer system... I believe the government run option will most certainly force the large insurance providers into lowering their rates but I for one believe there should be Medicare for all. Have I been listening to America Left and Bill Press along with Stephanie Miller for much toooo long?

  7. uncle jim, hey I would love for there to be a system modelled after Taiwan's. Lowest administrative costs in the world, 100% coverage, spectacular outcomes in a fantastic Capitalistic and Democratic society.