Saturday, September 20, 2008

McCain's healthcare proposal - all the advantages of financial deregulation.

In the midst of the collapse of the unregulated American financial banking system, John McCain offers this proposal for "fixing" America's health care crisis.
Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.
McCain already admits he doesn't know anything about economics. This statement makes it clear that he and his campaign team know nothing about health insurance either.

Private health insurance does not provide health care. It collects premiums and either pays or refuses to pay for health care. That's all. So innovative products in health insurance will either collect more in premiums or they will refuse to pay for more benefits. There are no other possible innovations.

That has been the conservative "plan" since Harry Truman proposed national health care in 1948. Block government action on health care insurance and hope that somehow the wealthy insurance salespeople will somehow accidentally stumble on a non-government solution to the difficulties people face with they require health care that still permits insurance executive to skim profits off the premiums before paying for health benefits. It is the basis for the disaster that is America's current health care lack of system in which over 40 million individuals have no health insurance and those who do have health insurance never can be sure in advance what it will pay for. Isn't 60 years of failure enough to show that the "innovative" private insurance market is never going to work?

The solution to the health insurance crisis is not more deregulation, any more than the solution to the banking crisis is more deregulation. Instead there there needs to be a basic standardized health insurance policy in which the coverages are clear and are enforced, and that policy has to be provided to every American citizen.

Private insurance companies need to be required to take anyone of applies from the single standard pool of applicants without consideration of prior health issues. There needs to be a government insurance system that competes directly with the private policies with no additional preferential subsidy for the private policies such as the one Republicans have forced on Medicare. There needs to be a single system of appeal for all refusals to pay benefits and the results of those appeals needs to be available to the media in a timely manner.

No private insurance company is going to offer those options as innovations. They will have to be mandated by government.

When will John McCain learn that the American Enterprise Institute is not friendly the average Americans?

Steve Benen quotes Anonymous Liberal:
"[I]f we bring the same approach to health care that we brought to the banking industry, maybe in eight years or so, our health care system will completely collapse and the government will have to step in and take over. Voila! A national health care system. Brilliant."
Except, of course, that it adds another decade to the current six decades of failure to act.

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