Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Boston Globe editorial: A compromised health bill

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU
ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:00 PM
Original message
Boston Globe editorial: A compromised health bill
Globe Editorial

A compromised health bill

September 18, 2009

SENATE Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus made lots of concessions as he put together his health reform bill, in the hopes of attracting at least one Republican supporter. Sadly, none emerged. So while the bill that Baucus offered Wednesday is encouraging in a way - it endorses the goal of universal coverage and includes some crucial building blocks of a reform package - it gives away too many reforms that would help hold down costs for the public and increase access to care.

Like Obama and some of Baucuss fellow congressional leaders, he leans heavily on Massachusetts framework for full coverage: Anyone who is not insured at work or by Medicare or Medicaid would have to buy insurance from private carriers. The government would subsidize premiums for some customers, and insurers would be forbidden to reject customers for preexisting conditions.

But unlike Obama and plans offered by other congressional committees, Baucus would not set up a public insurance option for customers who are forced to buy coverage on the private market. Instead, Washington would foster member-owned, nonprofit insurance cooperatives, which are unlikely to have the market clout to demand lower rates from hospitals or drug companies. He would offer smaller subsidies to the uninsured. And, by penalizing employers whose workers receive subsidized coverage, Baucus would discourage firms from hiring low-income workers, especially ones with children.

Other congressional proposals follow the Massachusetts model in another crucial way: An insurance exchange would present a limited number of easy-to-compare benefit plans from qualified providers. But Baucuss yellow pages online listing of all licensed carriers in any area would yield sneaky fine print and customer confusion. Another questionable provision of Baucuss proposal would allow insurers to charge older customers as much as five times the rates for young customers. Its fair to take some account of older customers higher medical bills, but in Massachusetts the allowable cost differential is 2 to 1.

In pursuit of compromise, Baucus stripped away some key elements of reform. Senators should get to work on adding them back.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion: Presidential (Through Nov 2009) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC