Baucus’ Healthcare Bill Needs Fixing

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by JimofPennsylvan, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. JimofPennsylvan
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    JimofPennsylvan VIP Member

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    Senator Max Baucus’ recently released HealthCare Bill is a good effort but needs changes if it is to be the answer to America’s Health care problems at this time. This bill like all the Healthcare bills puts mandatory requirements on Insurance companies for the health insurance plans they sell to make the plans good which is great but Congress has to show restraint where it can on these mandates otherwise Congress is going to kill American families budgets with the insurance premium costs of these plans. It was reported in the media, that in the Baucus' bil Insurance companies will be able to charge up to five times their lowest premium rates based on age. This could result in older Americans facing sky high insurance premiums. The Senate Finance committee should stick with the House provision and make the mandate that the premium disparity can be up to two times the minimum based on age.

    It was also reported in the media that one of the requirements in the Baucus’ bill for an insurance company to sell insurance on the “exchange”, which all the Congressional bill’s require Americans buying individual insurance to purchase only exchange certified plans, is that exchange qualifying health insurance plan will have to include dental and vision coverage. These two added coverage areas will significantly add to the health insurance cost. Many if not most Americans whose employers offer health insurance plans don’t have such coverage areas included they are separate plans, if the employer offers them at all, where the American worker is free to choose to join and if he or she does she can pay the separate premium. It is good the Senate Finance Committee is looking at this issue because dental health and vision health are important they can really affect a persons overall health if they lose either of these areas of human health. What is important is that the Finance Committee be very prudent about sticking with just what is necessary in this coverage to hold down the cost of health insurance. Specifically, the Finance committee should condition this mandate so that on dental coverage no cosmetic or orthodontist coverage is included it is just bare bones dental health coverage that is the mandate and for vision coverage no coverage for glasses or contact lenses is part of the coverage (if glasses and contact lenses is included that is an expensive claim cost that would be placed on insurance companies and because cost is passed through to insurance plan enrollees, American families).
    It was reported in the media that the Baucus’ bill seeks to close the doughnut hole drug coverage gap for Medicare beneficiaries in half over the next few years. The intention here is highly commendable but the effort should be done very carefully. Growth in Medicare and Medicaid costs are killing the Federal Budget, the Federal government has to show maximum restraint in increasing expenses in these areas. Keep in mind that for doughnut hole purchases the pharmaceutical companies have committed to give American seniors a fifty percent discount on drug prices and Medicare law will be such that the non-discounted prices will be able to be used by seniors in calculating whether they have satisfied the coverage gap requirement. In light of all the factors on this issue, the Federal government should only pursue closing this coverage gap for American seniors who don’t have a lot of income, pursue closing the gap for seniors whose incomes are below around 400% of the poverty level; it shouldn’t be that big of a deal to implement because doesn’t Medicare already “means” test!

    It was reported in the media that the Baucus bill will only mandate a cost on employers who don’t provide health insurance plans for their employees of $400.00 per employee. The Baucus plan is really off the reservation with this weak mandate. Responsible Americans have progressed to the point where they consider it a given that employers have a civic and moral duty to provide for the health care needs of their workers. American workers aren’t pieces of chattel or productivity assets without human dignity where business can just use them up and when their health goes cast them aside and get another worker. This $400.00 per year fee is preposterous it isn’t a serious effort to get employers to fulfill their responsibility to provide for the health care needs of their workers. The House’s effort, requiring employers that don’t offer health insurance to pay a fee of 8% of their employees’ wages, is a good and responsible effort in this area considering that the cost of health insurance is currently around $5500/year for individuals and $12,500/year for families. This $400/year fee is extremely foolish from another important vantage point, the U.S. government can’t afford dramatic increases in the rolls of Americans that will be getting financial assistance from the government to buy health insurance that all these health care bills in Congress will be authorizing. Health insurance premiums are expensive and after the present health care reform initiative with all its mandates is implemented even more expensive. This insurance expense will put a lot of pressure on employers to just throw up their hands and say I am done with this expense let the employees get health care insurance on their own and this $400/year fee won’t be a strong deterrent to stop American employers from this throwing in the towel on providing health insurance plans for their employees.
     

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