Raising Women’s Voices

Reform recommendations lack discussion of how to pay

Posted in Uncategorized by raisingwomensvoices on April 24, 2009

A subcommittee of the House Education and Labor Committee met yesterday with a group of invited speakers to weigh the pros and cons of several strategies on the table for reforming the health care system.

One speaker stressed that guaranteeing coverage for all Americans would create a larger pool of risk across which costs can be spread more efficiently, whereas smaller pools of risk leave individuals and small businesses with more expensive coverage.  Since 2000, it was said goverment statistics show, employees’ health insurance premiums have doubled, increasing at a rate more than six times faster than wage increases.

Representative John Kline (R-Minn.) stressed, however, that 160 million Americans get their insurance from employers and whatever reforms made “must build on what works in [the existing] structure.”

Another speaker denounced the so-called “play or pay” approach, which would give employers the option of either providing insurance to employees or paying someone else, such as the state government, to do so.

“Such an approach could “result in a net reduction in employer sponsored coverage by leading some companies to pay rather than play. This would lower the level of active employer engagement and their important role as innovative and demanding purchasers of health care services.”

Representative Robert E. Andrews (D-NJ), chairman of the subcommittee hosting the hearing, commented afterward that a range of strategy recommendations had been proposed but discussion of how to pay for them had been “incomplete.”

To read more about the hearing, go here.

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