Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lies About Reform

I'm offended and worried at the lies being told about the health care reform proposals being debated in Washington. I've read the bills. If you have individual insurance, you can keep what you have -- it will be grandfathered in. If you have group insurance, your employer gets to make the decision, just like they do now. Under the House and Senate HELP committee versions, employers have to provide health insurance. The Senate Finance committee gang of 6 (3 moderate Dems and 3 Republicans) are talking about eliminating the mandate but having employers pay the subsidy for any employees that end up without insurance. This is just plain dumb; employers will stop carrying insurance immediately, and they will only have to cover employees who qualify for subsidies. Everybody else will be on their own. Rather than protecting business, how about protecting the little guys?!

I read something this morning that said that you won't get to keep your doctors. Again, this is exactly the same as what we have now -- insurers have networks, and if you want to stay in network, you have to go to their doctors. No change at all.

Fortune/CNN says today that the government would control what your insurance covers. Um, excuse me, but most states already have laws that require that certain things be covered. Another red herring.

Fortune/CNN also says you would lose the ability to have a high deductible plan that covers less and costs less. This is true. In order to force insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and to take away their freedom to charge sick people more, everybody has to have insurance, and young, healthy people can't have crappy coverage. It's all about pooling. We shift costs around so healthy people pay a little more so sick people have affordable insurance. Why is this good for healthy people? You're already paying the costs of the uninsured and underinsured in taxes. For example, hospitals get tons of federal money to pay for charity care for people who don't have insurance. So once everybody has insurance, we shouldn't need to pay hospitals for this. So pay it in the form of an insurance premium rather than as tax.

And when you're reading the negatives about health care reform, ask if there's an ulterior motive the writer may have to skew the story one way or another. I promise you -- if there were something bad for patients, I'd be screaming about it. But reform is what we need. Jennifer

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