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December 17, 2008

Public Health Insurance Would Be Too Good and We'd Like It Too Much

A common thread is emerging in the right wing response to healthcare reform. Its opponents aren't claiming that public healthcare will be bad. Rather, they are terrified that the new system will be so good that no citizen would buy expensive private insurance--or vote for politicians who wanted to take public insurance away.

The Obama team is sending clear signals that healthcare reform is a core economic issue, and the health insurance industry is becoming increasingly anxious by the future administration's determination to bring healthcare costs under control. Some Americans are seeing their healthcare premiums rising at four times the rate of inflation, if they have insurance at all. Healthcare reform is a pocketbook issue for all of us, according to the Obama team.

In tough economic times it might be tempting to postpone healthcare reforms, but Obama is adamant that delay would be a false economy.

In the American Prospect, Joanne Kenen and Sarah Axeen support claims about the high cost of doing nothing:

A recent report by the New America Foundation's health-policy program estimates that the cost of doing nothing about health care, including poor health and shorter lifespan of the uninsured, is well above $200 billion a year and rising. That's enough to cover the uninsured and still have some left over for other public-health needs.

If healthcare costs continue to rise at their current rates, it will cost $24,000/yr to insure a family of four by 2016, an 84% increase from today. At these rates, half of American households would have to spend at least 45% percent of their income to be insured.

In the Nation, Willa Thompson describes how a bicycle crash made her appreciate the connection between healthcare and politics. Thompson was 21 years old when she suffered major injuries after a collision with a truck. Luckily, she was covered by her parents' medical insurance until she turned 22. She later realized that if she had been just a few months older when the accident happened, she wouldn't have been able to pay for her medical care.

We all agree that something needs to be done. Let's briefly review the options that have been proposed so far. Obama wants to provide healthcare for all by requiring private insurance companies to cover everyone and creating a public health insurance plan to compete with private insurers. The second part of his plan is the public option that Republican opponents are so scared of.

Click here for your free California health care quote now!

Posted by healthinsurance at 12:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 02, 2008

Why is single-payer health reform not viable?

When it comes to health care reform in America, there is a relatively simple solution that will cover everyone's basic health care, control costs and save businesses, most people and the country a lot of money.

It's called a single-payer health plan, where the government collects taxes to finance national health insurance. The government, which is the "single payer," covers all citizens and pays the bills when they visit private (or public) doctors, hospitals and other facilities for medical care.

All would have basic coverage, regardless of whether they have a job, or where they work. Nobody gets billed for basic care. No-body goes broke because of medical bills.

Yet this option has been declared "off the table" by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who's among those leading the charge for health care reform in America.

Top Democrats who will be deciding policy in America in 2009, including Baucus and President-elect Barack Obama, say single-payer is "not politically feasible," because the public won't strongly support it.

What they really mean is that when it comes to health care reform, they don't want a political fight with some of the nation's most powerful financial interests, which have the resources and the motivation to turn public opinion against meaningful reforms.

These interests include the health insurance industry, pharmaceutical drug companies, some hospitals, highly paid medical specialists, medical suppliers and others who now profit handsomely from our current system - and who could no longer command those profits under a single-payer system or an alternative form of a national health plan.

Californians, click here for your free health insurance quote now!

Posted by healthinsurance at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)