I will be on Take a Stand today at 3 pm EST. This will be a panel and we’ll discuss healthcare with Matt.
I like what Political Animal wrote on the healthcare debate yesterday:
Newsweek‘s Jonathan Alter writes that when it comes to our health care system, “everything is just fine the way it is.” He added, “I’ve got health insurance and I don’t give a damn about the 47 million suckers who don’t.”
Fortunately, Alter was not only kidding, he was also offering a striking takedown of those who are fighting to kill reform.
I had cancer a few years ago. I like the fact that if I lose my job, I won’t be able to get any insurance because of my illness. It reminds me of my homeowners’ insurance, which gets canceled after a break-in. I like the choice I’d face if, God forbid, the cancer recurs — sell my house to pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment, or die. That’s what you call a “post-existing condition.”
I like the absence of catastrophic insurance today. It meant that my health-insurance plan (one of the better ones, by the way) only covered about 75 percent of the cost of my cutting-edge treatment. That’s as it should be — face cancer and shell out huge amounts of money at the same time. Nice.
I like the “lifetime limits” that many policies have today. Missed the fine print on that one, did you? It means that after you exceed a certain amount of reimbursement, you don’t get anything more from the insurance company. That’s fair.
Speaking of fair, it seems fair to me that cost-cutting bureaucrats at the insurance companies — not doctors — decide what’s reimbursable. After all, the insurance companies know best.
Yes, the insurance company status quo rocks. I learned recently about something called the “loading fees” of insurance companies. That’s how much of every health-care dollar gets spent by insurance companies on things other than the medical care — paperwork, marketing, profits, etc. According to a University of Minnesota study, up to 47 percent of all the money going into the health-insurance system is consumed in “loading fees.” Even good insurance companies spend close to 30 percent on nonmedical stuff. Sweet.
Reading Alter’s piece reminded me a lot of President Obama’s revised pitch this week, framing reform in more of a consumer-driven context. The White House, shifting to address the concerns of those who already have insurance, started talking more about how reform would prevent coverage denials based on pre-existing conditions, impose caps on charges for out-of-pocket expenses on private insurers, prohibit dropping coverage for those who get serious illnesses, and bar annual and lifetime caps on coverage. (more… )