Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Health insurance reform?

I've been listening to Howard Dean the last couple of days. He like everyone else is talking about health care and the "historic" vote to allow debate on the Senate bill. He was detailing exactly what I feared would occur. The bill really does nothing to control costs. What it does do is require you to obtain insurance either private or the new public option (no details on what this is going to look like). This is important because another provision requires insurers to take patients with pre-existing conditions and allows them to charge up to 3 times the going rate for a policy. How does anyone think that this is ok? Former Governor Dean said that in Vermont they have the same rule but limit the extra charge to 20% more, which he says works well. Once again what Congress has done is codify the status quo. Most pre-existing conditions are currently covered, but it is really expensive. Maybe limiting to 3 times the going rate is cost containment. Maybe as Republicans say some of the uninsured choose to be uninsured. Yeah, they would probably be paying some number 3, 4, 5, 10 times the going rate and have elected not to sign up. If we want to do something and I think the majority does why don't we copy from another country like say Germany. Germany has had universal care since 1890. There has been 3 chances for the German people to get rid of the plan (WWI, WWII, reunification) and if it was terrible wouldn't they have gotten rid of it? The German system is single payer, privately rule (300+ companies), and heavily regulated. Drug prices are less than ours and they achieve better results for less nmoney than what people in the US spend.

Just a word on Congressional cost estimates. We are not talking cost increase to run a single payer it is estimated that we already spend enough money to cover everyone. If these monies were shifted from profits to coverage and if there were increased regulations we could get this done spending what we currently spend.

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