Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Political Consensus on Universal Coverage Is Over


This article shows the change within the GOP on healthcare reform. The GOP senator, who is the GOP point man in the Senate, (Grassley), once defended Romney's plan which included mandated insurance coverage. He argued that it was the same as mandating auto insurance coverage at the state level. Now he opposes mandated coverage in lock step with the entire GOP Congress.

Nixon once proposed universal insurance coverage as a defense against the drive to move to a single payer plan like that in Canada. Romenycare and Obamacare are similar. They both attempt to move toward universal coverage without invoking the government as the single payer. Without mandates universal coverage is dead. This has to do with the very nature of insurance. The essence of insurance is that unpredictable risk is paid for the entire pool of those who pay the premiums. Those who do not suffer from the risk pay for those who do. Without mandated coverage the pool of the insured would be heavily weighted by those with high risk and the premiums would be unaffordable.

Dave Camp, who heads the Ways and Means Committee for the GOP in the House, states that making healthcare more affordable is the key to universal coverage. He does not explain how this can be done without mandates, but he argues that more Americans will purchase insurance if the premiums are reduced. He wants to empower individuals to make choices like they do when they make other purchases. He does not explain how giving individuals choice will make healthcare insurance more affordable. On the other hand, we know how choice works when consumers purchase other products and services. Only those who can pay the market price have access to the product or service. That is, price would ration healthcare services to those who could afford it. This seems like it is the end of the bipartisan goal of universal coverage.

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