Monday, April 26, 2010

Health insurance must now deliver coverage in a reformed system

To encourage the Democrats to vote through his healthcare reform bill, Obama framed the moment as one of morality. He argued everyone should have a right to basic health care. This was the chance for politicians to stand up for what was right, even though they might lose their elected jobs as a result. Yet, if you look at the numbers, this law is not going to deliver universal coverage. In socialized countries, everyone has a right to care. What is now branded as Obamacare will only add about 32 million people to the insurance market.

That was said about 10% of the US population. This makes for an interesting possible result. A small percentage of the population gets access to care and the costs for everyone else go up. It is that fear driving a general loss of support for the law. Whether it will turn out that way is anyone's guess. It is incredibly difficult to predict the future with any certainty. All that can be said with any certainty is that the majority of the Democrats feel good about themselves for voting the bill into law. They walked the walk along the moral high ground while the GOP was the party of "No" that wanted to sacrifice people's health for their own political advantage.

It is a tragedy for all thinking people the means of passing the law was framed in such black and white terms. If the two sides in a debate can never agree on anything because the other side is immoral scum, it gets very difficult to enact good laws. No one has a monopoly on good ideas. Indeed, the federal law bears a striking resemblance to the law in Massachusetts. When Mitt Romney pushed it through, conservatives hailed the reforms even though it imposed a mandate on Americans to buy insurance. Now Romney is leading the charge accusing Obama of an unconstitutional abuse of power. This is modern Communism he asserts, quietly forgetting his own law. When both sides are committed to disagreeing, truth is sacrificed and hypocrisy rules. So where does this leave us with the insurance companies?

Unlike the healthcare systems in other countries (such as european countries), the private insurance industry remains the key player. Americans will primarily look to the private sector for coverage. If businesses and private individuals cannot afford the premiums, the state will offer some financial support. This is wonderful news for the insurers. Millions of new people to insure with the government picking up a lot of the bill. This is a licence to print money unless the government acts to reduce the costs of treatment. If the government controls the prices of medications and forces hospitals to deliver only the forms of treatment shown to be cost-effective, this will remove the pressure on the health insurance industry to keep increasing the premium rates. Some rates will inevitably rise in the short term. But, as costs level out, they can be spread out across of wider range of people, many of whom will be healthy. This will take time and the Democrats may lose out in the midterm elections. Nevertheless, with President Obama in the White House, there will be no repeal of this law. The longer it is in force, the more difficult the GOP will find it to repeal as and when they return to power. Until things do stabilize, get the maximum number of health insurance quotes to find the most affordable policy for you and your family.


Post a Comment