Sunday, February 11, 2007

John Edwards has a Universal Health Care plan

John Edwards focused the majority of his recent DNC speech on anti-poverty measures and the need for Universal Health Care.

Fragmented System of Insurance: ... Workers lose insurance when they lose or change their jobs. Worker mobility discourages insurers from investing in care that would prevent later, larger costs for illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Meanwhile, businesses spent $16 billion in 1999 administering their own benefit plans, an inefficient and duplicative process. [Woolhandler et al, 2003]

Small businesses and Americans without insurance from their job, including entrepreneurs, part-time workers, and independent contractors, must turn to an unpredictable and often unaffordable insurance market. Applicants with the wrong age, weight, job, medical or prescription drug history face unaffordable premiums or cannot get coverage at all. In California, insurers often refuse to cover users of dozens of widely prescribed medicines as well as roofers, athletes, and firefighters, even if they are in good health and can afford coverage. In 2005, nearly 60 percent of adults seeking individual coverage had difficulty finding an affordable plan. One in five were denied coverage, charged a higher price, or had a specific health condition excluded from coverage. [LA Times, 1/8/2007; Collins et al, 2006]

First: Business Responsibility. Businesses have a responsibility to support their employees’ health. They will be required to either provide a comprehensive health plan to their employees or to contribute to the cost of covering them through Health Markets.

Second: Government Responsibility. Government also has a responsibility to help families obtain insurance.

Third: New Health Markets. The U.S. government will help states and groups of states create regional Health Markets, non-profit purchasing pools that offer a choice of competing insurance plans.

Finally: Individual Responsibility. Once insurance is affordable, everyone will be expected to take responsibility for themselves and their families by obtaining health coverage.

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