Thursday, June 11, 2009

A fair playing field for private and public options

There's a lot of discussion going on in Washington about whether there should be a "public option": a government-run health insurance plan, into which people could choose to buy over private-run plans. I understand, of course, why the private insurance industry opposes this --- competition might force them to compete. And there have been comments made on certain sides about how if there is to be some sort of "public" plan, it has to be on a level playing field.
Unfortunately, this seems to me to be exactly the wrong thing. If there are to be private plans, then they should be expected to play on a level playing field.
There should, for example, be no cherry-picking of young healthy customers and refusing riskier business. There should be no "no pre-existing conditions" clauses. There should be none of the dubious business practices which have been the bane of the underinsured classes for decades.
If private insurance companies can play on a level playing field, then they should perhaps be welcome to do so. But it is far from clear to me that they can.

Yours, in praise of insurance as a societal good, not a cash cow,

1 comment:

awareness said...

Bravo! I heard a bit of this on the radio news yesterday....good to know it's back on the table again for serious discussion....long debates ahead, but hopefully a much more universal plan will come out of it.