January 16, 2007

THE BUSH/WYDEN DEAL THAT'S JUST SITTING THERE:

Unlikely allies advocate healthcare overhaul: Businesses, unions and others team up to offer proposals to expand insurance coverage. (Tom Hamburger and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, January 16, 2007, LA Times)

In a sign of how the political climate is shifting, powerful business interests that once teamed up to defeat Democratic healthcare plans are joining with labor unions and other unlikely allies to advocate extending medical insurance to millions of Americans. [...]

The broader coalition of insurance companies, doctors and activists on Thursday will present a detailed proposal to expand healthcare coverage to as many Americans as possible -- starting with children. Coalition members range from generally conservative groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Families USA, a liberal advocacy group that was one of the principal champions of the Clinton healthcare proposal.

After the collapse of the Clinton plan, healthcare moved off center stage in Washington. President Bush has avoided sweeping proposals, focusing instead on tax credits to make insurance more affordable for individuals and small businesses.

Bush has been a strong advocate of health savings accounts, in which people pay out-of-pocket, usually routine medical bills from a tax-sheltered savings account while carrying lower-cost catastrophic insurance for major expenses.

Many businesses have started offering these accounts to employees, but it's not clear whether large numbers of previously uninsured people are signing up. [...]

One Democratic senator, Ron Wyden of Oregon, is expected to introduce a healthcare bill this week. His proposal -- which was unveiled in December and combines Republican and Democratic ideas -- would mandate that individuals get their own coverage but require most employers to contribute to the cost.


Just make HSAs the universal mandatory minimum with obligatory contributions from employers and subsidies for the poor and you end up with the Right getting the market mechanisms it wants, the universality the Left wants, an insurance boom with that industry wants and not just lower but predictable health care costs which business wants.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 16, 2007 9:13 AM
Comments

Your first three conclusions I can get. But, "...predictable" -- how do you get there? [I'm not arguing, just want to be able to defend the case as well -- we LOVE the HSA.]

Posted by: JR at January 16, 2007 10:37 AM

Because the costs of catastrophic plans are presumably more stable than for full coverage and the Savings Account part would remain steady.

Posted by: oj at January 16, 2007 11:08 AM

California taxes HSAs, probably because the Dems in Sacramento don't like anything other than socialized medicine. Making it legal to buy health insurance policies from other states would help, too.

Posted by: PapayaSF at January 16, 2007 1:41 PM
« IN THE LONG RUN, IT'S ONLY A QUESTION OF HOW BLOODY THE DECENTRALIZATION NEED BE: | Main | A BOGUS ISSUE BUT A SALIENT ONE: »