Thursday, May 3, 2007

John Kerry To The Rescue With Reinsurance

John Kerry has written an op-ed piece in The Boston Globe outlining how re-insurance is the solution to high health plan costs and the uninsured.

Fully reforming the healthcare system will require that the federal government begin shouldering some of the burden to help alleviate costs. One percent of patients account for a quarter of healthcare costs. By the same token, 2 out of 10 patients account for more than 80 percent of all healthcare costs. . To make healthcare more affordable, there must be a better way to share the immense burden of insuring the chronically ill and seriously injured.

Part of the reason that businesses and health plans today fail to cover their workers is an aversion to risk -- a fear that they will be saddled with a sick employee whose high premiums will bankrupt them. Take a small business with just five employees, for example. If one worker has a major heart attack, the cost of care for the other four shoots up, potentially causing the company to drop health coverage entirely.

But there's a way to combat these costs. And Washington should make employers and healthcare plans an offer they can't refuse.

It's called "reinsurance." Reinsurance means that if employers agree to offer all their workers preventative care and quality coverage, then the federal government will reimburse them for a significant portion of the costs of their chronically ill employees.

It's simple: If the federal government can help small and large businesses bear the burden of cost in the most expensive cases, we'll dramatically improve the health of everyone.

John Kerry has all the answers. Brilliant! A federal re-insurance backstop for health claims over $50,000. The US Treasury(read the US Taxpayer) as the payer as the payer of last resort. And how long before the US government as the re-insurer demands lifestyle adjustments (see my post on Preventable Disease and Health Care Costs ) and puts the IRS in charge of auditing behavior which is unhealthy, or worse you are denied a lifesaving operation because the QALY ROI is insufficient according to Government rationing guidelines?

Pardon my brevity, I think I need to explore a Roth 401(k) and do more research on setting up a cyber bar in the Caribbean where my meager retirement savings may one day provide sustenance free from the coming 80% tax rate that inevitably follows intelligentsia like Mr Kerry writing bills.

1 comment:

cbcactuary said...

Ok, I'm a conservative, but I think Kerry is on to something. In fact, I've had virtually the same idea for some time...government reinsurance of health claims. I think it would create a vibrant individual market, since carriers would no longer fight to not be the ones that insure the really sick guy. And it makes people responsible for claims under the reinsurance point, so more consumerism. Knowing Kerry, I'm sure there's some ugly details under the hood, but the principle is one that should be debated.