Kathy-Ellen Kups
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Kathy-Ellen Kups

Kathy-Ellen Kups is the breast cancer blogger for Everydayhealth.com.

Mandating Coverage Is Not a Solution

Passing a bill that mandates every American to carry health insurance is perplexing. I understand that if you own and drive a car that you are mandated to carry insurance, but what does mandating health insurance really mean? Right now it means that private insurance companies are guaranteed clients that may or may not want to purchase insurance and may or may not be able to afford it. We have almost 50 million Americans uninsured, so lets solve the problem by just passing a law that mandates that they have to buy health insurance. It's like trying to fix the auto industry by passing a bill mandating all Americans to buy a car.

Once again, as with the recent announcement of a deal with pharmaceutical companies for discounts as part of health-care reform, I am finding this to be premature. Reform so far is becoming a hodgepodge of ideas. If we are really committed to sweeping health-care reform then the only mandate should be that government must provide a way for every American to have health insurance.

By Kathy-Ellen Kups  |  July 7, 2009; 10:20 PM ET  | Category:  Insurance Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Managing Risk Through Mandating Health Insurance | Next: The Argument for an Individual Mandate

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Justinohio,
Here's where I'm going with the car analagy. How would everyone pay for their car? How would we oversee everyone buying a car? Kind of like the bright idea of making everyone buy health insurance;we're creating new problems without solving the real one.
Kathy-Ellen

Posted by: kathy-ellen | July 10, 2009 5:12 PM
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Detrophy I think your point is definitely a valid one. As a med school student very invested in current healthcare reform (and with a previous parttime job in debt collection), one of the serious problems we, as a nation, face is covering the cost or healthcare via taxes for those people that can't or "can't" afford it post-op and thus let their bills go into default.
These same tax dollars would be much better spent ahead of time for perhaps govt assistance for making sure everyone has healthcare when free clinics aren't an option. This means preventative care to cover 10 times as many patients before many such procedures (for 100s of 1,000s of $s) become necessary.
Admittedly this then brings up the most important issue we face before even getting into funding or logistics: can people be responsible enough to care for themselves and take doctors' advice? THIS is the real problem.

Posted by: Medstudent1106 | July 10, 2009 11:46 AM
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The automobile analogy is a bad one, Kathy-Ellen, and here's why: not everyone NEEDS a car. Everyone will need healthcare in their lives, most likely when they're old.

The car analogy essentially says this: the country is better off if we allow people to skip buying the car when it would cost $5,000 and wait until they NEED the car and it costs $500,000.

I, for one, think it's better economically to buy the $5,000 car early. I wonder if you'd disagree.

Posted by: JustinOhio | July 10, 2009 10:48 AM
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So where does the money come from to pay for the non-insured individual when s/he has an extremely expensive illness or injury? If there is not a mandate or tax to insure EVERYONES health care the choice is to either provide no care if s/he can't afford it (and few can for many illnesses)or to treat them and transfer the costs to the rest of us.
This is not reform - it's the same system we currently have.

Posted by: detorphy | July 9, 2009 12:48 PM
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So where does the money come from to pay for the non-insured individual when s/he has an extremely expensive illness or injury? If there is not a mandate or tax to insure EVERYONES health care the choice is to either provide no care if s/he can't afford it (and few can for many illnesses)or to treat them and transfer the costs to the rest of us.
This is not reform - it's the same system we currently have.

Posted by: detorphy | July 9, 2009 12:47 PM
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