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Rep. Wyden’s Proposed Amendment to the Health Care Bill

Editor’s note: Experience is such a good teacher. I have spent more than the last two decades designing, developing and sponsoring health plans for my employer. We have always provided multiple choices of plans. Both in the designs (HMO, Coinsurance, High Deductible, etc.)  and in the health insurers (Blue Cross, Aetna, United, CIGNA, Kaiser, Oxford, etc.)  behind those designs.

The outcome, our costs for health insurance have escalated at the same rate. By the way we are self insured, therefore we hold our own risk (retention). It is the price of services and the rate of utilization that is driving health care costs. Prices are rising between 3% and 5% per year over the last decade. Utilization is rising between 6% and 10% per year over the last decade.

Don’t let the politicians fool you into believing that it if we fix the insurance companies we will solve all the cost problems in health care.

——

Rep. Ron Wyden: I believe there is a way to work with the present employer-based system to guarantee that all Americans have choices, and I am proposing it in an amendment to the latest Senate health care bill. My amendment, called Free Choice, would let everyone choose his health insurance plan.

It would impose only one requirement on employers — that they offer their employees a choice of at least two insurance plans, one of them a low-cost, high-value plan. Employers could meet this requirement by offering their own choices. Or they could let their employees choose either the company plan or a voucher that could be used to buy a plan on the exchange. They could also simply insure all of their employees though the exchange, at a discounted rate.

All payments that employers would make, whether in the form of premiums or vouchers, would remain tax-deductible as a business expense. Reinsurance and risk adjustment mechanisms already in the bill would balance the costs of employers who end up with disproportionately sick pools of workers, and this would avoid any disruption to existing employer coverage. Any employers that did not offer either their own choices or insurance through the exchange would be required to pay a “fair share” fee to help support the system.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/opinion/17wyden.html?_r=2

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September 22, 2009 - Posted by | Federal Government, healthcare | , , , ,

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