Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Republicans Offer Universal Health Care Endorsed by the Insurance Industry. What a Plan.

The Republicans revealed today their own plan for universal health care. Basically, if you can afford health care now you will be able to get it, and if you can't, you'll be sitting on a nice tax credit that will only pay for a third to half of your yearly premium. Not to mention a sizable out of pocket deductible. Oh, and you'll still have to deal with trying to get coverage from an insurance company, the life blood of good health. Notice the term, universal "access," which means it's there for everyone, if you can afford it. You have to ask: Are they kidding?

Insurance Journal: U.S. Senator Tom Coburn along with U.S. Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin introduced legislation, The Patients' Choice Act of 2009, that shares the goal of the opposite party: the promotion of universal access to quality, affordable health care.

Here's my analysis of the plan, with my comments first:

Do you back a plan endorsed by the insurance industries?: The public option has been opposed by health insurers, agents and conservative groups.

Shop till you literally drop option: Create state health insurance exchanges to allow Americans to compare different private market health insurance policies

Keep the insurance companies in the loop: Create a non-profit, independent board to risk adjust among participating insurance companies.

Spend tons of taxpayer money on the uninsurable (how can somebody be “uninsurable” if we have universal access?):Gives states the ability to band together in regional pooling arrangements, as well as risk pools, reinsurance markets, or risk adjustment mechanisms to cover those deemed uninsurable.

Small tax Credits that does nothing to contain costs or make care more affordable when premiums are $10,000 to $15,000 a year on average: Give every American a advanceable and refundable tax credit of $2,300 per individual or $5,700 per family.

I have a health savings account that goes up$1200 a year with a $10,000 deductible. You have to have the money first to pay for an (HAS) and lots of money to maintain it: It would also seek to improve the operation of Health Savings Accounts by allowing health insurance premiums to be paid with HSAs without a tax penalty and raising the amount of money HSA owners may annually contribute to their account.

Health care insurance companies are private for profit businesses (even the nonprofit) that have been cherry picking customers and pricing people out of coverage for years, creating the current crisis. Leave it to a Republican to somehow blame the government instead of these blood sucking insurance company middlemen.

Senator Tom Coburn said, "As a practicing physician, I have seen first-hand how giving government more control over health care has failed to make health care more affordable and accessible. The American people deserve health care reform that will work, not another round of so-called reform that repeats the same failed policies of the past.”

Rep. Paul Ryan said, "The Patients' Choice Act represents a clear alternative to those who seek to empower Washington at the expense of the individual…”

…and the highly profitable insurance industry, right Paul? I wonder how the Wall Street Journal will spin it:

Who will control the system? Doctors and patients, or politicians and regulators? That's the crux of this year's health-care debate. The Republican proposal makes the choice clear.

I’m sorry, but shouldn’t that have read “Doctors, INSURANCE COMPANIES and patients?” Its strange how magically invisible the insurance companies are in the minds of conservatives. Odd too when you take into consideration that 20 to 35 cents out of every dollars goes to “administrative costs.” I thought they hate bloated bureaucracies, even private ones.

Low-income Americans would get a to help them purchase insurance and pay out-of-pocket costs. They would have an incentive to spend wisely since up to one-fourth of any unspent money in the accounts could be rolled over to the next year. The combination of the refundable tax credit and a supplemental debit card of up to $5,000 gives lower-income Americans a way out of the Medicaid ghetto so they can have the dignity of private insurance.

That’s the line, isn’t it? “…THE DIGNITY OF PRIVATE INSURANCE.”

Now don’t you just hate these bastards?

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