Right now, the insurance companies are salivating over the idea of mandates being put on universal health coverage. Here's a snippet of an article from the AP:
Source: Associated Press
(11-19) 08:50 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --
The health insurance industry said Wednesday it will support a national health care overhaul that requires them to accept all customers, regardless of pre-existing medical conditions, but in return it wants lawmakers to mandate that everyone buy coverage.
Lawmakers have signaled their intent to craft health care legislation early next year, and the insurance industry's support would make passage easier. That legislation is expected to closely track the proposals of president-elect Barack Obama. However, Obama separated himself from his Democratic challengers by opposing an individual mandate for adults to buy health insurance.
More lawmakers may agree to a mandate if it means the insurance industry will back those efforts. They'll remember it was the industry's opposition 15 years ago that helped scuttle former President Clinton's health plan.
The board of directors for America's Health Insurance Plans agreed to the trade-off Monday night. The board endorsed the proposal after a series of hearings in various states.
Let me explain to you why the use of mandates would be a political killer, especially with the health care reform we need so badly. The insurance companies win if health care insurance is passed with everyone being forced to buy coverage from crappy insurance plans and the public option is only limited to the elderly aged 55 to 64, and the disabled, as was shown in the Baucus health care proposal.
The stifling of the public option as being a true competitor against the private insurance companies is what will happen in the eventual health care insurance legislation. If the public option isn't a viable player with comparable benefits and is constantly underfunded like the Massachusetts health care public option, then that means that only the sick and the elderly get shunted off onto the public option, with others being forced to stick with private insurance plans with no capped premiums, rising deductibles, and co-pays. The insurance companies still would deny claims. It'd still be murder by spreadsheet on their own terms but on a national scale.
And that's the kind of "universal health care" reform we'll see because that's what Senator Max Baucus has indicated in his legislative proposal. Remember, all health care proposals go through his committee. He also would like to see health care reform passed as separate bills. Senator Kennedy wants it to be passed in one bill. Now, why does Senator Baucus want the health care reform bill to be broken up into separate bills? To kill off the progressive elements of the plan in the Senate.
If health care reform doesn't pass due to the mandates as a political killer, then the insurance companies win anyway because they get to keep on practicing the same policies.
The only way that private health insurance companies can lower their premiums, deductibles, and co-pays is if the public option is a true competitor and allows EVERYONE to participate in the public option, not just the elderly and the disabled and the poor.
Barack Obama campaigned against the idea of mandates for universal health care. He'll likely give in on this since the insurance companies will only come to the table if they get the guarantee that Americans will be forced to buy their crappy insurance products through the use of a mandate.
And you know the only governmental oversight, as written in the Baucus proposal, is a "commission" made out of industry professionals and government officials. We all know who the industry professionals will be---insurance company officials. It's like having the fox guard the hen house.
We cannot allow the insurance companies to be on this "commission" and we must delegate oversight of the insurance industry to Congress alone. That's the only way that true oversight can work in our favor.
Seriously, say NO to mandated health care insurance!!!