Healthcare Finance News
Providing coverage to the nations nearly 43 million uninsured, while well intentioned, will only be detrimental to an already fragile system if the ever increasing rise of the cost associated with the delivery of care is not curtailed. Did Congress forget to address this issue when both the House and the Senate approved their versions of the bill? As Diana Manos, describes in her editorial,’It will be an interesting year..’
Diana Manos, Senior Editor
It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict a major portion of what’s in store for the healthcare industry in this New Year. The top issue will remain: What do we do about rising healthcare costs, now at 16 percent of Gross Domestic Product?
The Senate paved the way for more debate on how to bend the cost curve by passing its version of a healthcare reform package on Christmas Eve. As Congressional leaders begin melding it with the House version, passed Nov. 7, sparks will fly over how to make compromises needed to pass the bill that don’t water down the social objectives too much.
In debates last year, the health insurance industry was singled out as the enemy of social good, responsible for the exclusion of coverage for millions of Americans. Capitol Hill shuddered at the personal stories of denial of coverage over pre-existing conditions.
President Barack Obama has called the Senate and House reform packages “the toughest measures ever taken to hold the insurance industry accountable.”
Yet as much as they’ve been called villains, insurance companies are merely businesses, going about what businesses do best. They are not non-profits. Blaming them for the demise of healthcare in America would be like blaming sharks for being the most effective hunters on earth. It’s in their nature.
If Congress is able to come to a resolution on healthcare reform, it will likely include measures to oversee the insurance industry. Yet that’s not a silver bullet for ensuring that health plans won’t find loopholes for their own fiscal survival.
There has been outrage over so-called universal coverage, and mandates that would force Americans to buy healthcare coverage. However, how can insurance companies be asked to cover more sick people without increasing the pool of healthy beneficiaries to support it?
This comes down to the question of whether the American government can single out portions of our market and designate limits for profit. Liberals would argue it has to be done sometimes for the social good.
But where do we draw the line for where social good ends and free enterprise begins? This is a debate that has launched wars and spilled blood.
It will be an interesting year, to say the least.
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Healthcare Finance News