Health Insurance reform
Posted on May 17, 2016
Health Insurance reform is still on the table. Not so much because the Republicans want to abolish The Affordable Care Act (ACA) –referred to now both affectionately as well as pejoratively as “Obamacare”– but because it didn’t go far enough. At the time I feared Obamacare meant that needed further reforms would be off the table for a generation, but it didn’t turn out that way.
Obamacare did make a major dent in uninsurance and unfair practices, but was far less successful at underinsurance and cost containment. Obamacare’s new cost containment mechanisms did hold down costs for a few years, but costs are growing again. And out-of-pocket medical expenses are an increasingly important political problem. Progressives need a unified program to address it, but Obamacare is a bit of an albatross. If we reject it the Republicans will say, “See? Socialized medicine doesn’t work.” So we need to reform it, not replace it.
Here are some important reforms to have ready if those in favor of universal health care ever get a majority in Congress:
1. Make it much easier for individual states to pass single-payer-like reforms.
2. Allow the states to provide competing public insurance options.
3. Negotiate with drug companies over the price of drugs, and allow drug imports.
4. Get rid of private Medicare Advantage plans, which are money-wasting insurance company boondoggles, and instead provide expanded coverage under original Part C.
5. Reduce the percentages that insurance companies can legally absorb in profits and overhead.
6. Fill the doughnut hole in Part D drug coverage.
7. Fully fund the VA health care system.
8. Create national encouragement for expanded nurse-practitioner care.
9. Cover dental care.
Much better. of course, would be a simple single payer system.