Anthem vs. America vs. A National Plan
Here’s my problem – I really want healthcare reform. I also want to make sure every American has access to affordable health insurance via a heavily regulated private sector. No government plan. My issues with the Maine/Anthem battle is we do not have reform yet and it seems a little “un-American” for individual states to push their own agenda on the insurance industry without other meaningful reforms. You will see in my previous blogs that I do not think the insurance industry should get a free pass. I think excessive compensation needs to be addressed via premium reform, competition, and tighter regulation on the industry. Not individual states deciding someone makes too much money. To start a national plan right away has the potential, in my mind, to be completely disruptive to our current healthcare delivery system -most importantly, hospitals and doctors. We may need to fix the system, but doing it overnight with a government plan that would regulate payments could create access issues for patients and a financial crisis for the providers. You can not change their payment mechanism overnight and expect the system to function smoothly.
There is no doubt many people in Maine, as well as across this country, are struggling with high insurance premiums. There is also no doubt we need to fix the problem now. And that is what we are trying to make sure happens in Washington. But let’s be careful how we move forward. We need the insurance markets to work efficiently and fairly. Clearly they do not do that well today. I believe the plan in Senate will move us in the right direction. Then if the insurance industry still does not work, we can start talking about a government plan, just not yet.