Hillary Clinton has unveiled her plan to fix America’s ailing health care system if she becomes the next president. I was especially curious to see her ideas, since she was the person behind the Clinton administration’s efforts to overhaul the health care system in 1993.
Her current proposal is much less oriented towards government-controlled health care than her ideas in the early 90’s. She’s now proposing that people be able to keep their private health insurance, along with an expansion of current government health insurance programs to allow coverage for more people. Her plan also includes tax subsidies to help people pay for coverage, with the money generated from ending the Bush administration’s tax cuts for wealthy families with over $250,000 in annual income.
One of the key points of Clinton’s plan is that health insurance would be mandatory in the US. I cannot agree more. At the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, we’ve written about our vision for health care reform, and our main point is that health insurance must be mandatory, much like auto insurance is in most states.
Many of the 47 million uninsured Americans truly cannot afford coverage, or cannot qualify because of medical underwriting. These might be the people who are just above the cutoffs for Medicaid, or people with serious health conditions and no available employer-sponsored coverage or state high-risk pool.
But there are also plenty of people – we all know someone who fits this category – who could afford health insurance by cutting out a current non-essential expense, but choose to go without coverage instead. These are often young adults who have no medical problems and consider health insurance premiums to be a waste of money. Leaving them a choice of whether to have health insurance is courting disaster. When they have a serious illness or injury, they are often left with no option other than bankruptcy, and the providers who don’t get paid have to eventually charge more to insured patients to make up the shortfall.
Whoever becomes the next president is going to have to do something about the current health care system in this country. Whatever is done, the choice of whether or not to have health insurance needs to be taken away. Just as auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance (for anyone with a mortgage) are non-optional expenses, health insurance should be given the same level of importance and be a required part of every American budget. For those who truly struggle to pay for it, it seems that nearly every plan to revamp the system over the next few years will involve tax subsidies to help defray the cost the health insurance premiums.