Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What the Healthcare Bill, HR3200, Really Is

Big Thanks to BadTux for this one.

Previously I noted that there are five proven ways to provide universal healthcare, and the Republicans be agin' all of'em. So what is HR3200/ObamaCare amongst those five ways?

Well, basically, HR3200 is a strange amalgation of the German system -- which has publically owned nonprofit sickness funds and for-profit insurers largely funded by employer contributions with all citizens required to purchase insurance if not provided by employer (and all employers required to provide insurance for their employees) -- and the Swiss system, where individuals purchase insurance in a heavily regulated must-issue must-have individual insurance market (that is, insurers are required to issue insurance that meets minimum standards w/no pre-existing conditions exclusions, and individuals are required to purchase insurance).

Subsidies are provided in both systems so that people who cannot afford to buy insurance on their own can afford to buy insurance, and HR3200 includes similar subsidies. One thing HR3200 does *not* do is force employers to provide insurers -- if employers refuse to provide insurance, instead HR3200 taxes them 8% of payroll in order to fund subsidies so the employees themselves can afford to buy individual insurance.

There's no reason why HR3200 should not work as designed -- the public option in the German system keeps costs low, the 8% tax encourages employers to provide employer-provided insurance, while the various mandates and subsidies insure that all Americans can afford and obtain insurance that will cover all common health costs -- but of course it is nowhere near the most efficient way to provide health care.

The system HR3200 sets up will provide universal healthcare, but at a cost much higher than a single-payer system. Still, it's a whole lot better than the current system, which is "let them eat cake" filled with rescissions, refusals to insure due to pre-existing conditions, discrimination against women, older Americans, and against families with young children, and far too many people who cannot afford to purchase health insurance and cannot obtain any subsidy for doing so. And the costs situation is self-limiting in the end... when the costs become too huge to bear, the American public will simply turn to their democratic mechanisms and do something about it. Which will probably make providers accustomed to billion-dollar profits scream, but so it goes.

It's called DEMOCRACY, and it would be a good idea...

-- Badtux the Democratic Penguin

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