Thursday, November 20, 2008

Health insurance industry starts to get its mind right

Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.

- Samuel Johnson

The health insurance industry find itself willing, suddenly, to consider covering all people regardless of their health status.

With the election of a Democratic president committed to health care reform, the industry's practice of rejecting people with pre-existing conditions is now negotiable.

In separate actions, the two trade groups, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, announced their support for guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions, in conjunction with an enforceable mandate for individual coverage.

In the absence of such a mandate, insurers said, many people will wait until they become sick before they buy insurance.

Members of Congress said Wednesday that they wanted to pass legislation next year, as proposed by Mr. Obama, to expand coverage and rein in health care costs.
Amazing how quick the industry was to come up with a proposal to cover all Americans after we elected Barack Obama and gave him an expanded Democratic majority in congress.

Obviously, this is the insurance industry's preferred position: they will cover everybody, but they want the government to require everybody to purchase health insurance.

The next question is, how does everyone afford it? I am certain that the industry would prefer a plan like Bush's Medicare drug benefit, in which the government shovels billions and billions of dollars to insurance companies, and never tries to use its bargaining power to reduce prices.

I'm thinking not so much.

We'll see just how reasonable the insurance industry is willing to be when we get down to the nuts and bolts.

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