Rate Regulation Might Be Way To Go on Health Reform
Regulating health insurance rates would be a more effective strategy for health care reform than proposals that highlight "shared responsibility," Jamie Court, president of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, and Judy Dugan, research director of the organization, write in a San Francisco Chronicle opinion piece.
Health care overhaul plans offered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) or Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata (D-Oakland) would require individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance in an "unregulated market," a situation that could translate to premiums that are unaffordable to some residents and businesses, according to Court and Dugan. They write that "shared responsibility" would amount to requiring people to "pay whatever doctors, hospitals and insurers want to charge."
As an alternative, Court and Dugan offer legislation that would regulate health insurance rates, similar to the current system for care and homeowner's insurance. Moreover, they write that enacting a universal health insurance plan that "cuts private insurers and HMOs out of the system altogether" would sidestep the issue of premium regulation altogether (Court/Dugan, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/22).