Friday, May 15, 2009

Health Care Reform House Version

This will be my last in a series of discussion of health care reform for now. I will probably come back to this subject as the House and Senate pass their own versions of reform.

I am glad that many on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are considering some public-private joint ventures that would not dismantle those aspects of the health care system that do work. The House plan proposes that all Americans be required to carry health care insurance with government subsidies to help families making less than $88,000/year pay for the costs. The requirements would make employers, individuals, and the government all have responsibilities. The proposal would include greater consumer protections so that there will not be denials based upon pre existing conditions nor could insurers charge extraordinary rates. The House proposals are designed to minimize disruption by allowing people to keep their own existing health plans. The government would also create purchasing pools called "exchanges" to make private insurance coverage more affordable for individuals and small businesses.

One problem with the House proposals so far is the inclusion of a government plan that would compete with the private insurers. Like Senator Schumer's proposal this plan would have to be paid for by premiums rather than tax dollars. Reimbursement rates however could be low enough to drive the private insurers out of business and establish a government monopoly. As I indicated before a psychiatrist in private practice cannot maintain a business with current government rates through either the Medicare or Medicaid programs.

I appreciate any further comments on the various health care reform proposals.

Thought for the day

"Encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone".

St. Paul

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