Employer based health insurance does not work in present economy
In short, affordable health care has never been more urgently needed. Yet most of the health reform proposals coming out of Washington these days won’t get us there.
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) recently unveiled his proposals for incremental health reform, which largely mirror the ideas of President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.).
However well-intentioned, the Obama/Baucus/Kennedy approaches share a fatal flaw: they preserve a central role for the private health insurance industry.
To varying degrees, they would mandate that everyone buy private health insurance – the private insurance that is failing us today. Some of these plans offer a Medicare-like, public option that people could buy into, but experience with Medicare shows that the private plans refuse to compete on a level playing field. They cherry-pick healthier patients and insist on more than their share of payment.
Experience with mandate-based plans in Washington state (1993), Oregon (1992) and Massachusetts (1988 and today) shows that they simply don’t work, achieving neither universal health care nor cost containment.
As long as we rely on private health insurers, universal coverage will be unaffordable. These companies generate immense overhead costs and force doctors and hospitals to spend heavily on billing and paperwork.