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Why NC Blue Cross doesn’t like the Senate health reform bill

From Robert Pear’s NYT story this morning:

The bill would establish stringent federal standards for an industry that, since its inception, has been regulated mainly by the states.

Under the bill, insurers could not deny coverage because of a person’s medical condition; could not charge higher premiums because of a person’s sex or health status; and could not rescind coverage when a person becomes sick or disabled. The government would, in effect, limit the profits of insurers by requiring them to spend at least 80 to 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care.

The specificity of federal standards is illustrated by one section of the bill, which requires insurers to issue a summary of benefits that “does not exceed four pages in length and does not include print smaller than 12-point font.”

Enough said.

9 Comments

  1. Charles Malone

    December 27, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    This language sounds encouraging. If the NC General Assembly cannot, or will not, contain BCBS, then let federal standards do the job.

    In my race for the state Senate, I place great importance on letting in the citizens left outside of the current health coverage guidelines. Small business employees, women, children, the poor and the elderly suffer because of higher and higher health care costs. The bleeding needs to stop.

    The latest bill passed by the US Senate is a beginning, at least, to real health care reform. The continuous fight for social justice, of course, is a given. We must be pilot lights for what is right.

  2. Jeff

    December 28, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Mr Malone, would you support ending the Certificate of Need program that prohibits health care competition?

  3. gregflynn

    December 29, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Don’t worry, there’s a new promotion for medical investors called LipService™. Combine any cosmetic surgery practice with an off-site Doc-in-a-Box and get a free certificate for an imaging facility with your choice of high-ROI technology. Add an emergency room gurney sponsorship and a vinyl wrapped emergency vehicle will advertise the facility for one year.

  4. Charles Malone

    December 29, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    No, I support the concept of the Certificate of Need program, either at the State level or the Federal level, which ever is most effective.

    Health care, as I see it, is not a commodity that should be linked to market forces alone, since its recipients are patients, not customers, and have less say in what services are ordered on their “behalf.”

  5. pino

    December 30, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Health care, as I see it, is not a commodity that should be linked to market forces alone, since its recipients are patients, not customers

    I am unclear as to the difference between a “customer” and a “patient”.

    In any event, medical care is certainly a commodity just like any other service or good. You are either purchasing the services of a medical professional or the actual product of medicine. As such, when exposed to the free market, each of those, services and products, will become cheaper.

    The problem arises when macro thinkers fail to see the macro picture. As medical technology creates new advances, we all feel that each consumer is “entitled” to the most advanced technology. When in fact, if we are able to look past that and see that what was cutting edge and very expensive 2-3 years ago is now routine and very affordable.

    The same phenomena can be seen in computer technology and services. The PCs that 2-3-4 years ago were out of reach of most American’s can now be purchased for pennies on the dollar. Heck, carriers are now GIVING away certain classes of computer in exchange for signing up for a 2 year contract.

    Check this out:

    mjperry.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-holidays-from-information-age-20.html

  6. Jeff

    December 30, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Well said Pino.

  7. Charles Malone

    December 30, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Let me try to explain why I think patients are different than customers. It is primarily because patients are in a subordinate position to the health care provider, often in desparate straits, and apt to do what the “doctor orders.” Customers, on the other hand, should be in an equitable standing with the provider and under no duress to purchase the product, except according to his or her means to buy.

    Furthermore, the patient is not likely to argue about the price, or to know if the service is efficient or not. To rely on the “invisible hand of the free market” in this kind of exchange seems to weigh heavily against the interests of the patient.

  8. Beware Of The Progressive Democrat

    December 31, 2009 at 6:04 am

    A different take on ‘health reform’

    http://www.counterpunch.org/redmond12232009.html

  9. IBXer

    January 4, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Mr. Malone, the problem is that the current reform and all of the other reforms proposed by the left do not put patients “in an equitable standing with the provider and under no duress to purchase the product” because they are government solutions.

    So instead of getting sick and going to a doctor of your choice for services, you pay the government every paycheck for everyone else to go to bureaucratically approved doctors or you go to jail.

    You can spin it all you want, but all the left is offering America is less freedom, more cost, and poorer healthcare.