Raising Women’s Voices

HEALTH INSURANCE IN THE 2008 ELECTION

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on October 9, 2008

Insurance Exchange Is a Good Idea

Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist, is the chairman of the department of bioethics at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health. He is the author of “Health Care, Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America.”(Full biography.)

Americans loathe health insurance companies. We all have our stories. When my family moved to Chicago, our new insurer sent back all doctor’s bills the first year marking them: “pre-existing condition.” This for my children’s strep throat and ear infections — acute infections that could hardly be “pre-existing” conditions.

This dread of insurance companies makes it worthwhile to examine how John McCain and Barack Obama handle them.

If you don’t like health insurance companies, Mr. McCain’s plan is not for you. It is likely to lead to higher costs, less protections and more paperwork. Mr. McCain wants to move people out of employer-based insurance by: eliminating the tax exclusion for employer-based coverage (making insurance provided by employers taxed as income, which it is not today); providing a tax credit to all Americans for purchasing health insurance; and allowing health insurers to sell nationwide, so a person living in New Jersey could buy insurance from a company in Nevada not subject to New Jersey laws. Why? Because like the banking industry, Mr. McCain wants to open up the health insurance market to “more vigorous nationwide competition.”

This approach suffers from three major defects: 1.) insurers charge in relation to a person’s health, so those who are sick could pay $20,000 or $30,000 a year; 2.) these policies typically cover less than employer-based insurance and usually have higher deductibles and co-pays; and 3) the insurer’s administrative costs in the individual market are substantially higher because, when the sales are to each individual separately, there is more underwriting and no economies of scale….

For the full report, please visit http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/07/insurance-exchange-is-a-good-idea/index.html?scp=5&sq=health%20insurance&st=cse

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