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August 17, 2007

The key to health care affordability - everybody pays

Imagine if people were able to game the Social Security system, never paying in a single dime, but able to jump in right before retirement and pick up checks. That would be unfair. The costs for those Americans who responsibly pay their fair share would increase because they would be subsidizing those who don't. Eventually, the system would collapse.

Fortunately, the system protects all of us by requiring nearly everyone to participate in Social Security. As a result, every American has a secure pension for their retirement, regardless of how much they earned in their career.

In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed the same model for a state health-care system. His plan obligates everyone to obtain health coverage, and makes that coverage available by requiring insurers to accept all comers even if they have been sick and couldn't obtain insurance before. Those who can't afford coverage would be subsidized.

As the first health plan in the country to endorse universal coverage, Blue Shield has long understood that achieving insurance coverage for all requires responsibility to be shared by all. Everyone can qualify for coverage regardless of their health history only if everyone has an obligation to buy it.

Some have suggested that it's acceptable to require health plans to cover everyone without requiring that everyone have coverage. Like that freeloader who would enroll in Social Security only when he can cash out, individuals under that arrangement could buy health insurance only when they face expensive medical costs. The only way to offset those costs would be significantly higher premium rates for those who are paying their fair share. Not only does requiring participation make health care more affordable because costs are shared equitably. It also enables everyone to receive preventive care and early medical treatment for conditions before they get worse - and more expensive to treat.

Click here for your free California health insurance quote now!

Posted by healthinsurance at August 17, 2007 12:08 PM