29 Jul 2009

Health Care Overhaul?

Submitted by Paul Brown

President Obama is on the campaign trail stumping for health care reform. The cost of health insurance in the United States is relatively high, and it seems there is some serious discussion going on about how to bring those costs down.

While President Obama is pressing the dire need for health care (insurance) reform to the American people, Congress are working on figuring out how that might actually get done. From what I understand, there are at least three different health care bills being formulated. There is the House version, which seems to be hung up on how to recover the vast cost of their plan. There is the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee plan, which includes a public option (i.e. government-run insurance) to compete with traditional insurance carriers. Finally, there is the Senate Finance Committee plan, which is being worked out by Democrats and Republicans together and which it appears will not include a public option but which will address many of the other issues that everyone seems to agree are important (coverage of pre-existing conditions, coverage for those who cannot afford insurance).

For me, the most maddening aspect of this whole health care overhaul push is the massive amount of political pressure that Pres. Obama is asserting and the opacity of the various plans themselves. What in the world are they cooking up? I could not care less what nice things Obama has to say about what he wants to see on his desk; what are the Representatives and Senators actually drafting as legislation? Where is the thoughtful explanation, critique, and defense of the specific points of the plans?

The White House actually has a website set up specifically for Health Care Reform, but it adds nothing more than reinforcement to the administration's basic talking points: REFORM!! NOW!!

I came upon this informative interview of Regina Herzlinger, author of Who Killed Health Care: America's $2 Trillion Problem - and the Consumer-Driven Cure, on Minnesota Public Radio, and it seems to be quite informative. Moving from employer-based insurance to consumer-based insurance makes a lot of sense! It is only by historical fluke (wage controls during WWII) that employers are wrapped up in our health insurance in the first place....

These are interesting days that we live in, no doubt about that!


Thanks for sharing the links, Paul. I was trying to find time to look up those items.