Lowering health care costs | Arkansas Blog

Lowering health care costs



I'm reminded of a thought I had earlier and wish I'd expressed then. The issue is President Obama attempting to soothe the health insurance industry about a health care plan that includes a public option. The key paragraph from NY Times article is this one:

But critics argue that with low administrative costs and no need to produce profits, a public plan will start with an unfair pricing advantage. They say that if a public plan is allowed to pay doctors and hospitals at levels comparable to Medicare’s, which are substantially below commercial insurance rates, it could set premiums so low it would quickly consume the market.

It would be a pity if lower costs for the same services pained bloodsuckers, wouldn't it? Or as Jon Taplin wrote for Talking Points Memo:

So let me get this straight. It's not fair to have a public option because they don't have to make obscene profits for their shareholders and they can use the leverage of the combined group of medicare and public option customers to negotiate better fees with doctors, hospitals and drug companies.

 Isn't that the point?

ON THIS SUBJECT: A reader sends a link to a new Harvard study.

Medical problems contributed to nearly two-thirds (62.1 percent) of all bankruptcies in 2007, according to a study in the August issue of the American Journal of Medicine that will be published online Thursday. The data were collected prior to the current economic downturn and hence likely understate the current burden of financial suffering. Between 2001 and 2007, the proportion of all bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6 percent. ...

Surprisingly, most of those bankrupted by medical problems had health insurance.  

UPDATE: Robert Reich argues for a clear public option now. Josh Marshall explains for the dense, again, that Medicare is more efficient than private insurance. If not perfect, it's a model for a plan that should be adopted and its very success is why greedy insurance companies hate it so much. Take Medicare or take the somewhat broader but dramatically more expensive private coverage? I know which one I'd take.


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