26 January 2007

The problem, not the solution

This is the first specific I’ve heard about the Massachusetts’ plan working out exactly as predicted. Members of a panel charged with implementing Massachusetts’ healthcare plan this week told some insurers to offer more affordable premiums.
Then-Gov. Mitt Romney had promised that the plans Massachusetts’ citizens are mandated to buy would be affordable, the least expensive being about $200 a month.
Try $340 to $380 a month.
Just as single-payer realists warned, “universal health care achieved through the requirement to buy private insurance will lead to bloated premiums and bare-bones coverage for middle-income residents who can only afford the minimum plans.”
Steffie Woolhandler, co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program and a physician, said, "We should not let these board members get away with telling us that they’re surprised [about the costs for the minimum plans].”
The executive director of Mass-Care, a single-payer advocacy group, says making a low-cost but effective private-insurance plan is impossible.
"’I call it a ‘Marie Antoinette’ policy,’ Woolhandler said. ‘Private insurance is the problem, not the solution.’”

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