Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Republicans will never be satisfied on health care reform

Much of the Republican opposition to the health care reform package in Congress is based on blocking President Barack Obama from getting credit for his signature legislative piece so early in his tenure. The Republicans are trying to win back Congress in next year's mid-term elections, and they don't want Obama or the Congressional Democrats looking effective.

But that doesn't change the fact that there are problems in health care beginning with the unfairness of limiting coverage of people who are sick or have had previous maladies. The "pre-existing conditions" clause in health care plans was concocted by insurance companies to pad their profits.

So the first thing we must do is to throw out pre-existing conditions. You must also change several other fundamental problems in health care:

Allow portability of group health plans to prevent the so-called "job lock" where people fear moving to another job because they might lose their health insurance; institute tort reform to keep down the cost of malpractice insurance; allow insurance companies to sell health plans across state lines to make the market more competitive; find cost-efficient ways to cover all citizens because everyone ends up paying for the uninsured through our taxes when they get care at emergency rooms and in increased insurance premiums when the costs of the uninsured are shifted to the insured.

All this can be done if Republicans and Democrats are looking out for the public. But don't count on that being their motive in this controversy.

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