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Boston Globe editorial: A public plan for healthcare

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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 07:55 PM
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Boston Globe editorial: A public plan for healthcare
Globe Editorial

A public plan for healthcare

May 3, 2009


The architects of reform in Massachusetts opted not to create such a public plan, and opponents of the idea, such as private insurance companies, make much of that decision. Private insurers fear that a public plan would use its bargaining heft to drive down costs and grab a disproportionate share of the market. Advocates of a public plan, such as President Obama, say it is the best way to ensure affordable coverage and to provide a yardstick for the private plans.

So, does the Massachusetts example clinch the case against a public plan? No.

As noted by speakers at a conference recently at Harvard's Kennedy School, this state could avoid a public option because it already had a highly regulated insurance system that ruled out some of the more unsavory features of laissez-faire private insurance. Companies in Massachusetts could not refuse customers because of preexisting conditions or reject policy renewals after health problems emerge. Insurers could charge higher premiums based on a customer's age or place of residence, but not health history.

The state required that insurers cover many treatments and procedures, such as special screening of newborns, beyond the bare-bones policies offered elsewhere. It had a relatively low number of uninsured residents to start with. And, almost alone among the states, Massachusetts had no for-profit firms among its major insurers.


As the debate in Washington swirls over creation of a public plan, its supporters should not be cowed into dropping their insistence on it. Massachusetts is getting along without a public plan, but the national health insurance market is vastly different.

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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 08:16 PM
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1. Does the Massachusetts plan cover long term care and chronic
disabilities? Catastrophic illnesses? Home health care? I am interested in knowing how they would treat my severely developmentally disabled daughter who needs 24/7 care, is tube fed, uses diapers, foster care and equipment?
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 09:04 PM
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2. K&R. . It is important that people recognize and understand the
differences between the Massachusetts plan and a true Public Plan. This is the line that the insurance companies will fight the hardest to keep from crossing. This is where they will call in all their chits and use every bit of leverage at thier disposal (and it is considerable.

It is MORE than vital that as many people as possible be the squeakiest of wheels to all of their congress critters, local Op Ed pages, and any other avenues you may have of getting the word out.

We may never get this chance again.

kick kick kick
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