Howard Dean on what pretends to be “health care reform”:
Real reform would significantly lower costs, improve the delivery of health care and give all Americans a meaningful choice of coverage. The current Senate bill accomplishes none of these. Real health-care reform is supposed to eliminate discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the legislation allows insurance companies to charge older Americans up to three times as much as younger Americans, pricing them out of coverage. The bill was supposed to give Americans choices about what kind of system they wanted to enroll in. Instead, it fines Americans if they do not sign up with an insurance company, which may take up to 30 percent of your premium dollars and spend it on CEO salaries — in the range of $20 million a year — and on return on equity for the company’s shareholders. Few Americans will see any benefit until 2014, by which time premiums are likely to have doubled. In short, the winners in this bill are insurance companies; the American taxpayer is about to be fleeced with a bailout in a situation that dwarfs even what happened at AIG.
I entirely agree with Dean. I would like to tear up the current proposals and start over. I’d do it in two steps. First, quickly pass a bill with all of the low-hanging fruit, to get them out of the way: for example, requiring portability and prohibiting rejection of new customers based on pre-existing conditions. Only then, proceed with the brunt of the program. Let the expensive part of the program live or die on its own merits. Undistracted by the low-hanging fruit, we can better evaluate how much the new program would cost and what the tax-payers would get for their money.
Category: Health Care Reform