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The Deeper You Dig, The Worse It Gets

I have been spending a lot of time at Corrente because they have a number of people digging out information on the health care reform process. It is not a reassuring place to go right now.

Lambert found more on what women will not get under the bills:

None of the bills emerging from the House and Senate require insurers to cover all the elements of a standard gynecological “well visit,” leaving essential care such as pelvic exams, domestic violence screening, counseling about sexually transmitted diseases, and, perhaps most startlingly, the provision of birth control off the list of basic benefits all insurers must cover.

BDBlue found a very odd treatment that the Senate bill covers:

Backed by some of the most powerful members of the Senate, a little-noticed provision in the healthcare overhaul bill would require insurers to consider covering Christian Science prayer treatments as medical expenses.

The longer this goes on, the less serious Congress seems to be in actually helping people and fixing the broken health care system in the US. Congress should not be deciding what procedures should be covered, any more than insurance companies. Accepted medical procedures and practices should be covered.


1 hipparchia { 11.04.09 at 1:21 am }

yeah, i loved the prayer thingy too.

i guess it’s one of those not-so-insignificant details that the communistic hr 676 is lacking.

2 hipparchia { 11.04.09 at 2:26 am }

the important thing is that we’re keeping abortion out of the schools!

3 Badtux { 11.04.09 at 10:19 am }

Note that these are minimum levels of coverage, not mandated levels of coverage. I.e., insurers can cover things beyond these minimums if their customers (companies, mostly) decide to do so. The intent is to outlaw “trash” insurance — insurance that doesn’t cover anything useful — so that Wal-Mart won’t respond to the mandate by simply purchasing insurance for their employees that covers hangnails and hospital meals and nothing else. In short, there’s a reason for the long lists of required minimum procedures if you’re going to have mandates, because otherwise the mandates are useless. The Swiss ran into this same problem, and came to the same solution — writing a bunch of required minimum procedures that insurance must comply with in order to fulfill the mandates into the mandates law. The Swiss show that this process never ends — the public demands more things to be covered under the minimums, and since it doesn’t cost any government money, additional things keep getting covered under the minimums. I.e., the list at the start is not the final list — it keeps getting added to as the years go by. One end result is that Swiss healthcare is now the second-most-expensive in the world because of all the things covered by it that aren’t exactly health care, but are required to be covered, such as e.g. autistic daycare. That is, things that should be essential government services get re-defined as “healthcare” so that the government doesn’t have to explicitly raise taxes — instead, health insurance rates get raised. But someone making $80K/year pays the same health insurance rates as someone making $1M/year, so clearly this is a regressive tax that taxes more of the middle class’s income than the upper class’s income.

Medicare has the same problem, BTW. The lists of what Medicare covers and doesn’t cover are ridiculous. So “Medicare for All” would have the same problem, if we’re talking about simply extending Medicare as vs. creating a new single-payer program that lumps Medicare, Medicaid, and all other care into one big lump like Canada does. For whatever reason the Canada-style solution is not what our legislators decided, probably because they can read the Kaiser Foundation polls just as well as I do and realize that the Swiss-style solution has even more support from the public than Medicare for All does (roughly 3/4ths support vs. 3/5ths support for Medicare for All). I blame decades of right-wing propaganda for the problem. After all, if right-wing propaganda can convince the people of one of the most civilized nations in Europe, the nation of Bach, Beethoven, Nietzsche, to exterminate Jews, then it can certainly convince people to support a regressive system of funding health care where the costs inordinately fall upon the middle class, not the wealthy. So it goes…

– Badtux the Healthcare Penguin
.-= last blog ..Wednesday morning dream pop =-.

4 Bryan { 11.04.09 at 11:59 am }

My main point is that insurance for health care should cover health care, and not some personal subset. There are standards for what is and what is not acceptable in the medical community, and I would defer to the people with the training and experience in those areas to make the decision, rather than politicians or insurance company bean-counters.

Insurance companies have already failed at making health care affordable, so I see no point in including their failed model beyond the fact that they have bribed their way into the process with “campaign contributions”.

5 Badtux { 11.04.09 at 4:40 pm }

Ah, but you have a spine. That’s why you’re no longer a Democrat, right? :). The whipped dog Dems in Congress, on the other hand, are entirely poll-driven. Their polls say that the Swiss-style setup polls better than the Canada-style setup, so they propose a law to do the Swiss-style setup. The fact that *both* proposals are supported by more than 50% of Americans doesn’t come into it with them, because choosing the one that’s popular, but not the MOST popular, would require a spine and a pair, and the whipped dog Dems possess neither.

– Badtux the Cynical Penguin
.-= last blog ..The creative process =-.

6 Bryan { 11.04.09 at 7:31 pm }

Actually, I’m results oriented, and want what will work at the lowest cost. The private sector once knew how to do that, but no more. These days they are fixated on stock prices and short term profits. Greed and today are all current business “leaders” can think about.

I have no interest in “tinkering”. I want to fix it, and not have to worry about it for decades. HR 676, Medicare for All, is a close as we are apt to come, and it is “good enough”. Trying to patch together something so that all of the current “players” get a cut, it not a workable solution. Building an entirely new bureaucracy for this mess, is not efficient, not cost effective. The money spent should go for health care, not for administration.