The Two Way Street

Politics for a New Generation

The Truth About Insurance Reform: Why the Current Bill Isn’t Enough


People on both sides of the aisle are raving about health insurance reform. They’re bragging about the end to the anti-trust exemptions and the regulations preventing companies from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or dropping people who get sick. But the big fat hole in the center of patients’ safety net is this: there is no clause in the bill preventing an insurance company from charging one person  four times what they charge  his neighbor with the same plan. Without a pricing cap, patients can still lose their coverage when they are unable to pay their premiums.

The reason the system is so disheveled  is because insurance companies are insistent on maintaining even profit margins for each person, rather than having a high profit margin for healthy people, and then mild profits or even mild losses on those with medical emergencies. Companies would still make a healthy profit, but the exact numbers would be unpredictable until the bills come in at the end of each month.

Insurance companies, as well as the entire medical system have such a glut for money, that the priority is cash flow, not patient health. Doctors are ordering extra tests, prescribing overly costly treatments, and attempting to increase the number of hospital admissions, not for the benefit of the patient, but rather for the benefit of their wallets. Our health care system is wired such that doctors profit for each treatment they give a patient rather than for the recovery of said patient. In simpler terms, our health care system is motivated by spending on patients rather than healing them. With that motivation to spend, doctors are charging more to insurance companies than ever. Insurance companies, in turn, are raising premiums to unaffordable levels.

But the public option could combat unreasonable prices and the inability to afford care. It would provide constant and rational competition, forcing insurance companies to be rational, for fear of loosing customers. and if a customer couldn’t pay, he or she would be able to join the public plan, and not be left uninsured.

Our current health care bill, stripped of the public option, holds little potency in the long run. While no one can be denied coverage, if a person cannot afford to pay what the insurance company is asking, insurance is no more available than if it was outright denied to her. Essentially, without a public option, health reform is a failure. Only a few more people will actually be able to afford coverage under the new regulations than under the previous ones. Therefore, congress must pass a bill that includes a public option. If passage requires using the budget reconciliation method in order to preempt filibuster, then so be it. In the last eight years, no  one let a lack of bipartisan support stop an agenda. The Republicans are trying to use a desire for bipartisan support against the Democrats. Back in September, several senators suggested that a bill would only be successful if it got between seventy-five and eighty-five votes. such a margin is nearly impossible, even for quite popular and overarching legislation. We who support healthy Americans over insurance corporations, we who would like to see that every american has access to health care, we who think patients should come before profits, mustn’t let senators in the pockets of big business get in the way of claiming what is rightfully ours: reform.


Author: Julia

I'm a seventeen-year-old college student at Simon's Rock of Bard in Western Mass. I'm a writer and an aspiring journalist.

4 thoughts on “The Truth About Insurance Reform: Why the Current Bill Isn’t Enough

  1. while the private sector may be more productive, it happens to be productive towards its own interests. government organizations must serve the people in a democratic government. meanwhile insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare providers serve their own interests and the interests of profits, automatically making healthcare less available to those with less.

  2. By the logic of your plan:
    1) a public option for health care is announced
    2) GFCE increases
    3) resources move from the private sector, which is productive, to the public sector, which is unproductive
    4) the loss of production exacerbates the recession

    However, I agree with you when you say that doctors are prescribing more treatments to make profits. It obviously has nothing to do with that fact that according to SEER statistics, cancer rates have risen by more than 15 percent since 1975 and that more effective cancer treatments have been developed, meaning that more patients are undergoing treatment. It also has NOTHING to do with the fact that in the past decade, cheaper and more effective treatments for illness have been developed that are in the reach of the poor sick.

  3. Julia, once again you surprise with not only your vast knowledge of all things politics, but also with the clarity and near impeccable arguementation of your opinion, which I am once again inclined to agree with. Ha, now I’m sounding like Mr. Abbot, but still. Keep it up gurl!

  4. please let me know what you think about health care. do you support a public option? I want your opinion!

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