Monday, March 22, 2010

Benefits of HC Reform

The Democrats could have been this clear earlier:

As soon as health care passes, the American people will see immediate benefits. The legislation will:

  • Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;
    • Spew take: Amazing this didn't happen earlier.  Could have been achieved without this reform but this loophole's existence suggests that might not have been easy.
  • Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;
    • Spew: Huge.  Previous efforts to address this seem to have failed.
  • Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;
    • Spew:  This gets to the heart of the problem with the current system.  This reform by itself is worth all of the trouble.
  • Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;
    •  Spew: The prescription drug law of a few years ago remains a disaster.
  • Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;
    • Spew: Sure.  Anything to get more folks covered.
  • Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;
    •  Spew:  This might, just might, mean that sickness does not become bankruptcy.
  • Require plans to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26;
    • Spew: With this job market?
  • Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;
    • Spew: About time.  We really need to do more on prevention.  Spending here is very cost-efficient.
  • Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;
    •  Spew: Some accountability is way overdue.
  • Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.
    • Spew:  Now if they could only apply that to administrative costs in other fields, like academic?

1 comment:

Chris said...

Very clear and if the Dems had been touting those points more clearly, they'd be much better off. If only those were the only things in the bill, I would've said it should pass with flying colors. Part of the problem with this whole debate was the lack of substantive information coming out about the bill- Pelosi saying "you'll have to read it after it passes" and the drama over "deem and pass" didn't do much to inspire confidence.

Unfortunately, we still have the "Cornhusker Kickback" and plenty of its ilk out there for everyone else to subsidize. We have "diversity grant" competitions for the medical industry to encourage them to accept people on their skin color over merit. We have all sorts of goodies in there for various parts of the Pharmaceutical and Hospital industry. And we still have no agreement on whether or not healthcare is a right or a privilege. Of course, I don't expect any substantive debate on the floor over this, but I would like some guarantees that people who do stupid self-destructive things will have to pay their fair share and not pass the cost on to everyone else. The preventive care aspects of this are a fine start though.

And there are many problems this bill doesn't touch like the growing disparity between market prices and Medicare (Republicans deserve some shame for this one- playing to the crowd instead of to their principles). Costs in general aren't addressed very well and I've got a feeling the CBO's estimates were much, much too rosy. And I wonder if govt. bureaucrats running things will be any improvement over private companies on the whole. Some might say that the increase in costs and the addition to the deficit (when they inevitably will come) will be worth it; we'll just have to wait and see.