Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do we really need Health Care reform?

After writing my blog entry yesterday and talking with neighbors it got me thinking about something that President Obama said yesterday at his town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH. The president discussed, briefly, the exchange which gives all federal workers the ability to choose their plan among private and non-profit insurers. President Obama went onto say that as Senator of Illinois his wife chose to stay with her health care option at her place of employment.

The narrative and my conversations brings me to this question; Do we really need health care reform? Before anyone jumps off on the question let's take a deep breath. Senators, Representatives, and the President all have touted that the exchange they participate in allows them affordable health care options. That being said, why not open up the exchange to include every American?

Right now taxpayer money, which is part of the federal employees compensation, is given to federal employees to purchase their own health care insurance. A stipulation put on the insurance companies within the exchange is that they cannot drop coverage or deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Now if companies that currently offer health care benefits to their employees give them the option to: A) stay with the current set up or B) allow them to purchase their own on the exchange do we really need health care reform?

In order for this to work the employer will have to increase the wage of the employee by the amount of the current health care benefit provided so they may purchase health insurance on the exchange. By doing this we would be able to find less expensive insurance and insurance companies will not be able to drop or deny employees from coverage.

Going with this approach we accomplish the main goal of reform; reduced cost to the patient. It will also give consumers greater leverage in the market and deter companies from dropping health care benefits if a public option were to be passed. I am curious as to what others may think of this notion. Although the idea progresses some aspects of reform, we would still need to reform Medicare and Medicaid but that is for another time. Keeping focus on this notion is a step in the right direction that the vast majority of Americans can get behind.