Friday, June 27, 2008


ABC NEWS - A health adviser to the presumptive Democratic nominee is signaling that Obama's plan could eventually go in Clinton's direction. "Senator Obama is willing to consider any sort of proposal that would bring together, not just the insurance industry but . . . the consumers themselves," said Obama adviser Dr. Kavita Patel.

Obama's surrogate made her comments Wednesday while representing him at a National Journal health-policy forum moderated by Ron Brownstein, the political director of Atlantic Media.

Patel's individual mandate remarks were made in response to an insurance industry leader suggesting at the same forum that insurers will oppose Obama's plan as currently structured. Insurers are worried that the Illinois Democrat has not tied an individual mandate to "guaranteed issue," the industry's term for requiring patients to be covered without regard to pre-existing conditions.

"We've had the conversation about . . . guaranteed issue," said Karen Ignagni, the president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans. "But we are prepared to have that conversation in the insurance industry if the politicians are ready to stand up and say we are going to get everyone in."

Ignagni's words are watched closely because the organization she heads emerged from the Health Insurance Association of America, sponsors of the "Harry and Louise" ads which played a critical role in killing Clinton's effort to reform health-care in the 1990s

Asked if Obama would be seen as reversing himself if he were to endorse an individual mandate after clashing with Clinton on the issue, Patel dismissed the concern.

"He has not said he is opposed to it," Patel told ABC News. "He has voiced his disagreement with having that be a part of his health-care plan last year. But he is not opposed to the idea itself." Patel added that the Obama campaign is in touch with former Clinton health-care advisers.


At June 29, 2008 5:55 PM, Anonymous Life Insurance Canada said...

I am really looking forward to see the results of all these health reform efforts, here in Canada and also in the USA. I am dealing disability insurance in Ontario so I am fan of private health insurance, on the other hand I believe strong safety net should be provided by goverment, not because of economy, but because of humanity.
On the other hand, I don't believe goverment can be a better leader than free will of people. Everybody is selfish, but limited by competition. And where is no competition, there are bad results - as admitted by father of our health care, Claude Castonguay, few days ago...
Take care

At June 30, 2008 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with private insurance is that private insurance sees a safety net as competition. So they pressure governments to dismatle safety net programs so everyone, no matter how poor will have to pay for health care. The only purpose of private insurance is to produce profits for the stockholders.

Private insurance is not designed to deliver health care or to improve the health of the population. 30% of the premium paid to private insurance goes to "administrative costs" like paying multimillion dollar salarys to top execs. In the US, Medicare (government healthcare for Seniors) pays about 6% of their budget on administrative costs.

Thanks to private insurance companies, currently in my state, to use the safety net health care, one must pay a co-pay to get all sevices, so the only free healthcare for non-Seniors are a few charity clinics which don't do the detailed services that people with serious health issues need acess too.

Or one could go to the emergency room, because they must, by law, provide life saving health care. Of course they have to examine a person first, so the emergency room becomes the primary health care for the extremely poor, yet emergency rooms are the most expensive basic care one can find.

Private insurance is great if you have unlimited personal funds to pay for all co-pays and partial payments. Othewise it is pure hell, for one never knows if one can really afford to get healthcare, because one never knows what it will cost until the procedure is over, and the administration has totaled the bill. Then one may just end up filing bankruptcy for all the help insurance gave. Healthcare costs are one of the foremost reasons for personal bankruptcy in the US.

Private insurance in the US isn't really competition, it's essentialy a cartel. And cartels are worse then governments, because govenment can be affected by small groups of very motivated people, or large social movements, but cartels only act in their own interests and are more resistant to change from outside. They also work to increase prices for their products in a cooperative manner.

Canada's healthcare system has problems, and disability care is always a problem anywhere, but in the US on disability, you would find getting private insurance extremely expensive if not inpossible, so you would be pushed into the dismantled safety net. There you would get the most grudging care, for the healthcare providers are paid considerably less for providing care to safety net programs then they are paid by private insurance.

So be careful what you ask for (private insurance), because you just may recieve it.


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