Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Health Care Reform: Is the Wyden-Bennett Bill the Basis for a Solution?

It requires chutzpah for me, the Kosher Hedgehog, to write about health care reform. That is because, unlike me, my blogging partner Lowell, a distinguished health law attorney, has intimate knowledge of the health care system. I therefore hope that this post inspires a response from Lowell.

I am for health care reform, but against nationalization of the health care system.

We need a health care insurance system that does not tie people down to their existing jobs, for fear of losing their medical insurance. We need a health care insurance system that allows persons to obtain medical insurance coverage despite having pre-existing conditions.

We need a health care insurance system that does not make it nearly impossible for healthy individuals who are not covered by group plans in the workplace to find adequate medical insurance. (I know personally of two cases where perfectly healthy young adults in their 20's were recently turned down for coverage by both Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser. The rejection letters identified as a reason for rejection that the applicants had "treated by a physician within the previous twelve months." In other words, a routine annual doctor visit was sufficient grounds for these insurers to reject otherwise healthy applicants.)

We can accomplish the needed reforms through legislation regulating our current private health insurance system. We do not need a single payor or the so-called "public option."

I am therefore attracted to the Wyden-Bennett healh reform bill. It has bipartisan support and is sponsored by a liberal Democrat, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), and by a conservative Republican, Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah). The Salt Lake City Tribune reported a few days ago that, while it previously had been shunned, the bill is now getting second and third looks. One reason for that interest is that the Wyden-Bennett plan is the proposed legislation that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said would have a negligible effect on the deficit.

It is not perfect and can be improved upon, as this analysis from the Heritage Foundation suggests. However, if it is not the solution, it may be the basis for a solution.

Lowell and our readers, what do you think?


Anonymous CarlH said...

In my opinion, your post identifies the major issues on which Americans actually agree there needs to be some health care "reform." The speed bumps that the administration/congressional proposal has hit stem precisely from the fact that it fails to address those concerns in any meaningful way--except perhaps to proceed on the assumption that all the private insurance issues can be made to disappear by imposing a system that blatantly favors a governmental single-payer arrangement.

I too hope that Lowell, with his particular expertise, may be able to weigh in here. But I would think he is up to his eyeballs in trying to keep abreast of a lot of details in what is being rammed (or would that be Rahm-ed?) through Congress.

Thursday, July 30, 2009 9:13:00 AM  

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