HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Convincing the Already Insured about the Need for Health Reform

The Seattle Times has an editorial by Froma Harrop discussing a difficult group to convince that health reform is necessary.   The author writes about some potentially helpful arguments to convince these individuals,

The hardest group to sell on national health reform is those who don't desperately need it. That would include Americans who already have coverage through a workplace, about 160 million in all, and are reasonably happy with their deal.

The comfortably insured are always the target for scare-talk about rationing, loss of choice, higher taxes and government takeovers of health care. After all, they're the ones with something to lose, or so they've been led to believe. . . .

To win, reformers must avoid wonkery and answer this simple question: "What's in it for me?" . . . .

For starters, more money. Your company health plan does not come free. Part of your compensation package, its cost gets subtracted from your paycheck. Employer-provided health coverage cut cash wages by nearly 8 percent last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. . . .

Any rational program would also curb waste. America spends $8,000 per person on health care, about twice the rich-country average. There's lots of room to save money without sacrificing quality. Bear in mind that America's tendency to over-treat people does not produce outcomes superior to the best European systems. And lowering premiums ends up as money in your pocket. . . .

What about freedom to choose providers and treatments? Well, private insurance also sets rules on what it will cover and typically provides lists of preferred doctors and hospitals. If your plan lets you go out of the network, you have to pay extra for the privilege. Nothing wrong with that, but we must drop the romantic notion that private coverage affords total freedom at popular prices.

So what's in it for me, the contentedly covered? If the plan is done right, I am left healthy and wealthier. And if I ditch my job — or my job ditches me — I can find affordable coverage. That should not be a hard sell to anybody.

Thanks to DemFromCt for the link.

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