JC on Health Care

We interrupt the fun and games to take a quick look at an important topic – Health Care reform. It is bad enough that for a majority of Americans, health care is unaffordable, however it is worse that President Obama’s agenda is being pushed on unsuspecting Americans. If you are in a position where you can afford health care, great; beware that your premiums are about to go up, which is counter to what the President is saying.

Premiums are likely to keep going up even if the health care bill passes, experts say. If cost controls work as advertised, annual increases would level off with time. But don’t look for a rollback.

“There’s no question premiums are still going to keep going up,” said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research clearinghouse on the health care system. “There are pieces of reform that will hopefully keep them from going up as fast. But it would be miraculous if premiums actually went down relative to where they are today.”

Making matters worse are Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hell-bent tactics of trying to force the legislation through the House. This is absurd to the point of being ridiculous and disgraceful.

Something this important needs to be clearly thought out, with compromises along the way. President and the Congress need to work on baby steps; eat the elephant one spoonful at a time. President and the Congress should work towards a series of small packages, taken together as a whole to reform health care. This all or nothing approach is for the birds.

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2 thoughts on “JC on Health Care”

  1. This isn’t the health care reform bill that I would have liked to have seen. But my criticism probably comes from the other side than yours.

    I would agree that not enough is in the bill to reduce costs or at least keep costs below the rate of inflation or GDP growth. When opponents of reform say it would be a govt. takeover of 1/6 of the economy, I would say health care spending should not be over 17% of the GDP and growing in the first place. Next closest nation is spending only 11% of GDP, Germany IIRC, and they do not have tens of millions without coverage or have health care costs as the number one reason for personal bankruptcies.

    But if reform is defeated again, costs and premiums will continue to go up. In the past decade, more and more people lost coverage, as employers dropped coverage and premiums in the individual market continue to shoot up. A few weeks ago, Blue Shield made headlines by raising premiums up to 50% for some customers.

    Even those of us fortunate enough to have coverage have seen out of pocket costs go up — higher deductions for premiums, higher co-payments for doctor visits and prescriptions, higher deductibles, etc. With a tough job market, you can’t afford to lose your job and lose coverage, especially with pre-existing conditions and rescission clauses leaving individuals vulnerable to back-breaking medical care costs.

    So if reform goes down, politicians may not try for another 15 years. Or, if rising costs and insurance premiums accelerate, we might have tens of millions more uninsured people as well as a lot of individual bankruptcies. That may bring about wider political support for reform.

    But will policy-making in an atmosphere of crisis make for better reform? As heated as the debate — if one could call it that — on reform has been the past year, is it going to be more rational later on?

    I don’t really buy that doing nothing is better than passing this particular reform effort.

  2. Your last statement and your statement about not being able to afford to lose your job and coverage are spot on, and really line up with what I am saying. This tough issue can be cracked another way … think of an approach where our government leaders set out to solve several specific issues. At the end, we would have a sort of Health Care Bill of Rights, the first of which may be you can carry your policy with you from company to company.

    I agree that we cannot sit by and do nothing, but I hate the absolute approach that is currently being debated. I still say eat this issue one bite at a time.

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