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Health Care Lines in the Sand

I just read an editorial in which the author suggested that there were three lines in the sand that must not be crossed or it would be the death of the health insurance reform movement.  There were three major areas of concern mentioned:

  1. No government run health care for the middle class.
  2. No mandates.
  3. No price controls.

While I fully agree with the first line in the sand, I do take issue with the author’s two other “health reform killers.” 

Almost no one I talk to wants government run health care, period.   People don’t trust the government to handle something so important and the Medicare model is not without its faults.   Medicare is not an overly efficient system and it is very expensive to the tax payers. 

After seeing what happened with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, which is inadequate by every possible measure, who wants to expand the government’s authority over something so critical?  Almost none of the good folks here in Colorado that I’ve spoken with about this issue.

I think that enforceable mandates are absolutely worthy of serious consideration.  If we mandate coverage for all, through private insurance plans, employer sponsored plans or government insurance plans for those that qualify based on income, then the insurance industry is supporting insuring everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions.  This will provide for increased portability and increased portability is a critical ingredient for increased competition.  Increased competition will drive down prices and give consumers more choices.  How can that be anything but a good thing?

I support limited price controls on the prescription drug industry, as something must be done to moderate their prices.  Price controls already exist to some degree through private negotiated contracts between PPO networks and providers.  

While I do not support widespread price controls, price controls are in order for industries that are out of control.  The threat of price controls will very likely help keep other industries in line.

What do you think about this?

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