A Tale of Two Healthcare Plans
MASSACHUSETTS HAS been lauded for its healthcare reform, but the program is a failure. Created solely to achieve universal insurance coverage, the plan does not even begin to address the other essential components of a successful healthcare system.
The prestigious Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, has defined five criteria for healthcare reform. Coverage should be: universal, not tied to a job, affordable for individuals and families, affordable for society, and it should provide access to high-quality care for everyone.
The state’s plan flunks on all counts.
The Massachusetts plan has also been tried in Tennesee and Maine:
In fact, each of these states [Massachusetts, Tennesee and Maine] have begun to cut services to people because the costs have skyrocketed despite claims that “savings” would occur and that everyone would get more coverage.
Second, Indiana. Their program is called the Healthy Indiana Plan:
The Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP, puts Indiana among the states that are attempting to do something good for low-income residents who have been unable to purchase health insurance coverage. In fact, it provides a double positive for the health of Hoosiers, while also helping the pocketbook of others.
First, it makes low-cost insurance available to adults who earn no more than twice the federal poverty level. That would be no more than $20,420 for a single person and $41,300 for a family of four. It allows those people who qualify access to health care that they might otherwise bypass until more intense and costly care was required.
… other benefits for those accepted in to the Healthy Indiana Plan. These include up to $500 a year in preventive care, such as for mammograms, flu shots and smoking cessation programs, and health savings accounts worth $1,100, with enrollees contributing 2 percent to 5 percent of gross household income.
At a time when Congress finds itself trapped in the morass of partisan politics, it is reassuring to see that in this state, the executive and legislative branches of government can come together for the common good of the people.
Which model did our wise leaders is Washington pick to go national?
Here’s Indiana Governor Daniels:
As if governors these days don’t have enough on their plates. Now that ObamaCare has become law, there’s a whole new to-do list for my state:
1) Plan for the termination of our Healthy Indiana Plan.
2) Start preparing voters for a state tax increase. The axe won’t fall until someone else is governor. But when we are forced to expand Medicaid to one in every four citizens, the cost will add several hundred million dollars to the budget.
3) Check to see if Indiana should drop its health insurance plans and dump its government workers into the exchanges. Paying the new tax penalty might actually be cheaper for the state, … I’m not certain the same rule applies to government as to business, but since no member of Congress read this entire bill before the vote, I don’t feel embarrassed about not knowing.
4) Ramp up our job retraining programs to handle those who will be fired by our medical device companies, student loan providers, and small businesses as they wrestle with new taxes, penalties, or in the student loan case, outright nationalization of their business.
6) Investigate an offset to all this extra cost. We may no longer need the Department of Insurance since insurers will now be operating as regulated utilities under the thumb of the federal government.
Republicans should push to lower barriers for buying insurance across state lines, create incentives for states to repeal mandates, and limit frivolous lawsuits that increase the price of insurance.
But for the moment, our federal overlords have ruled. We better start adjusting to our new status as good Europeans.
If something fails, we just have to try harder, on a bigger scale.