Archive for November 17th, 2010

November 17, 2010

Grandmas in a Photobooth

by Vince
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November 17, 2010

Song of the Day

by Vince

Kings of Leon – The Immortals

November 17, 2010

Health Care and the Uninsured

by Vince

Since the GOP is back in town, lets talk health care:

Those millions of uninsured people, and the public and private costs tied to them, will not disappear if the health care law is repealed. “The challenge for Republicans is that they now represent states and areas with [many of] the highest rates of un-insurance,” says Neera Tanden, who served as counselor in the Health and Human Services Department during the health care fight. “That means costs are shifted onto people who have insurance in those areas. It also means the uninsured tax the public and private hospitals and other resources in those areas.”

Whatever else can be said about the “replace” component of the GOP promise to “repeal and replace” Obama’s health care plan, it’s difficult to argue that it does anything meaningful to reverse the ongoing erosion of coverage. The plan that House Republicans offered last year and reaffirmed in their campaign “pledge” proposes controlling health care costs by limiting medical-malpractice lawsuits and allowing insurance policies sold in any state to be sold in every state (an idea even the insurance industry has traditionally opposed for its potential to undermine quality coverage). But it would do little directly to expand access. Analyzing the GOP plan last November, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that by 2019 it would reduce the number of uninsured by only about 3 million, leaving well over 50 million Americans uncovered. The health reform law is projected to cover about 33 million of the uninsured by then.

Many newspapers asked their readers what the GOP should do now that they have control of the House of Representatives. Many conservative readers wrote in with a treatise, detailing a point by point list of what to do. Many of these lists included repealing “Obamacare” (I hate calling it that; the stigma that goes with it irks me) as well as pushing for tort reform.

I wonder if tort reform is a way for the GOP to stick it to the lawyers that are anathema to their base.  If you are looking at insurance as a universal good as well as a personal commodity, expanding coverage is the way to go. Following the lead of insurance companies who today do almost anything to cancel policies will leave a growing amount of Americans without insurance and ironically impeding on everyone’s coverage (rising premiums due to the uninsured using the ER).

If the GOP continues on this irrational path, it will seem to show another layer of its divisiveness and hedge itself in from tens of millions of Americans.