Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Schumer’s Proposal for a Health Care “Public Plan”

Posted by MEC on May 5, 2009

The Usual Suspects are vehemently opposed to a “public plan” for health insurance (a.k.a. “Medicare for everybody”), because, they say, it would drive the private insurers out of business.

In response, Senator Chuck Schumer is proposing that any public plan “must be subject to the same regulations and requirements” as all private plans.

My first thought was, “Does this mean the public plan would drop coverage for anybody who filed a claim? Refuse to pay for prescribed drugs if there’s a cheaper alternative, even if the cheaper alternative was ineffective? Override doctors’ decisions? Deny coverage to anybody who actually needs medical treatment?”

The private insurers’ objection to a public plan effectively shows that they’re in business to make a profit, not to actually provide health care. If they don’t want to be run out of business by a plan that offers what people actually need, then they’ll just have to improve their own product. A business plan that consists of “maximize profit by minimizing product” is not sustainable in the long run.

5 Responses to “Schumer’s Proposal for a Health Care “Public Plan””

  1. Charles II said

    There is a problem with Medicare for all. One way that Medicare provides such low cost service is that it forces doctors and hospitals to accept below-cost reimbursements. This is unjust to providers and it’s a direct result of Gingrich’s 1997 tampering with Medicare. If left unchecked, it will reduce Medicare to a “welfare” program that only the very poor use.

    Here’s an example in screening for colorectal cancer in which the reimbursement rates is just above estimated cost in the most favorable case (no biopsy). If biopsy is permitted, the cost is almost double. Therefore, physicians would probably choose not to see patients. See here for a broader look at the problem.

    So, as part of a deal for a public plan, Medicare reimbursement rates need to be allowed to rise. How much, I don’t know. We might be able to sweeten the pot by eliminating most malpractice claims, which are driven by the need to pay medical bills.

  2. The acronym you’re looking for that describes Schumer’s plan is PINO — Public In Name Only.

    Do feel free to propagate…

  3. MEC said

    PINO. I like it!

  4. They even have a wine for it — PINO Noir.

    (skips off to the corner)

  5. […] Closing: a lot has been said about health care, health insurance, and reform thereof in the last couple of days; Congressional leaders bowing to […]

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