Friday, August 14, 2009

What would help move health care reform in the US forward?

I believe there are two key points that could significantly help the debate:
  • Focusing more on benefits for people that already have insurance today (250 million) and not only on benefits for people that do not (50 million)
  • Focusing on identifying and redirecting the funds that pay for the current, very-expensive, system (e.g., employer subsidies)
The current debate is polarizing the discussion largely due to its emphasis on the uninsured and how these changes will be paid with "new" money from a yet to be identified source (i.e., you and me).

The reality is that the US badly needs a wholesale change in its approach to health care. The problem is not only with the uninsured but also with the insured. Many insured people do not realize that they could lose everything at any moment with the current system:
  • If they lose lose their job and their insurance and get sick
  • If they develop a very expensive illness that hits the maximum out-of-pocket provisions in their current policies
  • If they develop a pre-existing condition after becoming uninsured because of a job loss or financial hardship and are never able to get insured again
  • If they are denied coverage for whatever reason the insurance company decides
  • If they are forced to come up with too much out-of-pocket money for something they thought was covered but did not realize that 20% of a lot of money is still a lot of money.
In addition, under some sort of single payer system, what would happen with all the money employers currently spend in subsidizing medical insurance for their employees? Will they just save it.... and report higher profits? How about redirecting it somehow to help pay for the new system?

These days it seems that I am running into more and more people that are not able or do not want to get medical care because of lack of insurance or just because it is plain too expensive. How can this be happening in the richest country in the world? Shouldn't health care be more of a basic right and not some kind of luxury?

No comments:

Post a Comment