humani nil a me alienum puto

random rants about news, the law, healthcare law, economics and anything I find amusing

Many Concerns About Health Insurance for All – NYTimes.com

The March 24, 2009 NYT reports:

[The Obama administration has been floating the possibility of a F]ederal, Medicare-like insurance plan to anyone, at any age…And let commercial insurers offer their private health plans alongside it. ***[T]he insurance industry and others wary of too much government intervention vehemently oppose the idea. They say the heavy hand of the government will eventually push out the private insurers, leaving the government option as the only option. *** [T]he details of a federal insurance plan remain vague, a central question is whether it would function like Medicare — wielding the government’s size and clout t to essentially dictate the prices it pays for medical care.  The main selling point for a government-run program would be its low cost.  It would have a much lower overhead than private plans, with no need to make a profit or spend money on marketing or brokers’ commissions. And, if allowed to flex its muscle, the government would buy medical care at much lower prices. *** Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund,…estimates the average premium for a family of four would run around $9,000 a year under a public plan, in contrast to nearly $11,000 for a typical private alternative.***[M]any hospital executives object strenuously to the idea of a new program that would behave like Medicare. “Medicare has systematically been underpaying for services,” said Dr. Denis A. Cortese, the chief executive of the Mayo Clinic, the highly regarded health system in Minnesota. If more patients are enrolled in a Medicare-like program, he predicted, “your very best providers will go out of business” or stop seeing patients covered by the government plan.***Some policy experts say a compromise can be struck. They advocate a public plan that would be required to negotiate with doctors and hospitals on a level playing field with commercial insurers, rather than have the government set prices à la Medicare.

via Many Concerns About Health Insurance for All – NYTimes.com.

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