Monday, February 22, 2010

The President’s Proposal puts American families and small business owners in control of their own health care. | The White House

The President’s Proposal puts American families and small business owners in control of their own health care. | The White House


A public option is a great invention, something between government provided care or insurance and a free market of private companies. Today, we have neither. But - if pre-existing condition denials, rescission on technicalities, etc., are outlawed on a federal basis, the insurance companies, faced with a much broader pool of applicants both healthy and sick, may be forced to provide high quality and affordable coverage instead of the mess they administer today.

A mandate for all is necessary to expand the indemnity pool, so the well pay for the sick - the 80/20 rule. A mandate is working, in fits and starts, in Massachusetts. Mandates have been Republican ideas for a couple of decades.

Buying insurance across state borders is fine. It has to be heavily regulated, so the companies in the worst states have to perform like the companies in the most heavily regulated states, so this is really just another smokescreen. Deregulation and cross-state-line banking sure has been a success! Look at Joe Biden's Delaware state credit card machine.

Tort reform, malpractice reform...few people who use the word tort know what a tort is. Yearly in the US, about 90,000 malpractice lawsuits are filed; about 10% of those reach settlement or trial; of those, only 10% are found in favor of the plaintiff. The culprit here is, drumroll, please, the insurance companies, making things miserable for both providers and consumers for decades! Health care reform as we see it today is insurance reform, which when clearly seen is what will fix malpractice lawsuits (errant lawyers etc. are already regulated by states). And how do we set a cost today for tomorrows sponge left in an abdomen by a tired surgeon or for a the next day's wrong limb amputated after mislabeling by a double-shift OR nurse?

There is no excuse for not shaking our insurance system to the core. Now. Around 50,000 of us die each year simply because they are stuck between government programs and private insurance-robbery. 15% of us don't have any insurance. Many of us make less money than we did a decade ago due to increases in employer-furnished insurance increases of 3-5 times the rate of inflation. Many of us avoid using the insurance we do have - our jobs are unstable in this economy, and we're afraid that we won't be able to buy insurance at any price if we change jobs, and copays/deductibles are so high that they put minor issues and preventative care out of reach.

The radical extremists screaming at town hall meetings and rallies are the ones most affected by this mess, and they should be screaming for rationality in our health care system. The corporatization of our health care, and profitization of our health care dollars, are the real issue. And this issue kills.

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