An article posted online recently highlights the importance of expanding insurance coverage via health insurance exchanges. [see Health Care Overhaul Depends on States' Insurance Exchanges10.24.10 - TheLedger.com] Conservatives and Liberals like the insurance exchange concept as it promises transparency and market forces to create choice and value.
By 2014, Americans must acquire health insurance or pay a penalty. It is no secret that virtually all states and, of course, the federal government are striving to balance budgets or reduce deficits. Meanwhile more Republicans have taken office recently and are tapping into the deficit angst of the nation.
According to HeraldTribune.com in an article entitled Health Care on Voters' Minds: House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has vowed to "do everything" he can "to stop Obamacare." He included cutting off the appropriations necessary to implement the law. At both the state and federal level, it is reasonable to predict that Blue Dog Democrats will join Republicans in stopping the funding to various projects possibly including monies intended to facilitate the formation of insurance exchanges. In fact it’s already happening. See http://floridadocs.blogspot.com/.
So can we turn to the private sector? According to Albert Santalo, CEO of CareCloud, "Payers benefit from complexity and disorganization." Let's face it; we can't expect the insurance industry to take the lead in establishing the exchanges.
2014 may arrive still offering the same overpriced, mediocre individual health plans that are available in the U.S. today. Thus, self-employed Americans as well as those working for companies without health benefits may find themselves between a rock and a hard place: Pay a steep insurance premium for a subpar product or "Go Bare" and pay the tax penalty. This would not only be a great social injustice, it would also derail the progressive vision of universal healthcare.
About the author: Mr. Herschler is the Publisher and Editor of FHIweekly and FloridaHealthIndustry.com.