Yeah, so that good decision by Kentucky Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark to prohibit health insurers from dropping child-only insurance policies? You can thank the impending implementation of Obamacare — and the private insurance industry’s typically inhuman response mechanism — for that fucked up noise.
Sadly, the new federal health law fails to make the grade. Even the Congressional Budget Office estimates that 23 million people will still lack coverage in 2019 after the health legislation is fully implemented. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reports that health care costs will rise more quickly under the new law than if there had been no health bill.
A potent example of what to expect occurred the recent provision preventing health insurers from denying new policies to children with pre-existing conditions kicked in. The day before this protection went into effect, insurers like WellPoint, UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Cigna and Humana announced that they would no longer offer new policies to individual children.
What can we conclude about the new legislation? It further enriches and empowers the very industries which are at the heart of the problem. As long as private insurers occupy a commanding role in our health system, we will never achieve universal or affordable care. Insurers make money by enrolling the healthy, screening out the sick, denying claims and raising premiums.
There is a solution that receives top marks: a single-payer national health insurance program, commonly referred to as improved Medicare for all. Single-payer means that our health care dollars are pooled in a single public fund that pays for a universal health care system. This is estimated to save $400 billion, which would cover those who need care. Surveys show this approach is supported by two-thirds of the population.
Improved Medicare for all means every person living in the United States would be guaranteed high-quality care from birth to death. Coverage would be comprehensive, including dental care, vision care, mental health services and prescriptions. And the working and middle class would pay less for health care because of the increased efficiency of a single-payer system.
But, yes: Baby steps must suffice in lieu of real, actual change, eh? It’s a good thing the Tea Party knows how to practice such informed, ideological restraint: