Saturday, October 24, 2009

Alan Strikes Again!

As usual, Alan has excellent insight into the conservative nonsense being foisted upon the public in the health care debate. (And who doesn't love a letter that uses the word "canard"?????)

Not a sure solution

Under the direction of the insurance industry, many talk shows, and as a result, their conservative audience, argue for tort reform and purchasing insurance across states lines as a major solution to health insurance reform.
The Sept. 29 Business Week article entitled “A Second Opinion on Malpractice” cites a Congressional Budget Office finding that malpractice premiums and awards to patients represent less than 2% of overall health care spending.
Purchasing insurance across state lines is also a canard. In the 1990s, banking deregulation allowing banks to operate across state lines resulted in bank consolidation, smaller banks going out of business, less competition and higher costs to consumers.
Banks began to issue credit cards from states with less stringent credit card regulation enabling them to charge usury fees and interest. The same will happen with insurance across state lines.
Recently, Anthem, owned by Wellpoint, requested from the Maine legislature, an 18% increase in premiums. The Maine legislature permitted an 11% increase. That wasn’t enough, so Anthem is suing the state.

If insurance could be purchased across state lines, Anthem would just transfer Maine members to a more favorable state and get whatever increase they wanted. Beware the insurance companies.

Alan Cheah


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