The Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee today announced their health reform suggestions called “The Affordable Health Choices Act”.
I’ve been scouring the news, Twitter, everywhere for details on what was agreed upon and found nothing! And then a friend of mine in D.C. sent me an official press release that has all the details.
I don’t know how some of these things are going to happen. The recommendations call for guaranteed issue, no pre-existing conditions, and a public plan. There are also provisions for revamping various facets of the health care system, electronic medical records, wellness programs, and tuition payments for nursing students.
I do agree that our health care insurance system needs some changing. We need to address the early retirement gap for people who retire before Medicare kicks in. We need to address pre-existing condition credit for people leaving group plans and going to individual plans. We need to offer plans that are affordable for low wage families (like CHIP here in Texas). But we need to let market forces work into the equation.
There is also a provision that allows the Government to seize assets of health plans if they are deemed to be in financial distress. I think there will be a lot of those after they have to compete with the public plan.
Experienced benefits professionals will not be selling the public plan; instead each State will appoint “Navigators” to explain the plan, advertise it, and help people enroll. Qualified “Navigators” will be Unions, Chambers of Commerce, and other similar entities. Health insurers or parties that receive financial support from insurers to assist with enrollment are ineligible to serve as navigators. I think I’ll head down to my local Chamber of Commerce and have them explain to me what “total out of pocket” in relation to “coinsurance” means.
To get to the meat of the details, you will have to get past the section where everyone is patting each other on the back and saying how wonderful life will be for us all, after taxes of course.
Here is the Press Release from the HELP committee that has all the details released directly from the Committee. $1.5 Trillion and counting.