Senate Considers Health Insurance Mandate
The Senate Finance Committee — a key power center in the health-reform debate — yesterday published this overview of health-insurance options.
Congress is pushing for a health-reform bill in the next few months, and the overview gives a pretty good sense of what’s on the table. As the WSJ notes, there are a number of options for public insurance plans that would compete with private plans, as well as an option without any new public plans.
The overview also raises the option of requiring Americans to buy health insurance; under one option, those who don’t buy in, and who don’t meet certain criteria for exemption, would pay a tax equal to the premium for the lowest cost insurance option. This is typically known as a mandate, an option Obama opposed during the campaign. The Senate outline uses the long-winded euphemism “personal responsibility coverage requirement” to describe the mandate.
OK. So they are making everyone get insurance. What will that do to control cost? What will that do to improve the quality of care, or the availability of PCP's? What will that do but increase the overall burden on a system already going to the bottom of the sea?
This is the equivalent of giving Morphine to someone having a heart attack. It's right to do this, but you sure as heck had better deal with what is causing that chest pain. The pain medication may mask the pain and hide the urgency of the problem. It's the heart that could make the patient die, not the pain.
Uninsured? We can get rid of them! Just give them insurance!! Simple! But what does this do to deal with what caused there to be so many uninsured - the costs of insurance that are out of reach of most people? It doesn't deal with the root, it deals with the symptom.
Perhaps I just don't know much on this, but it seems like the senators are just trying to get their name on a healthcare reform bill without having to do the hard work of fixing healthcare.
Rearranging chairs on the Titanic? Fix the hole in the boat, Senators!