Saturday, July 25, 2009

American healthcare debate puzzle of the day

One of the many groups that have popped up once healthcare reform was back on the agenda is "Conservatives for Patients Rights". You have to spend quite a bit of time scrolling around their website to find out much about them, and their analytical material, such as it is, leans heavily on the Cato Institute. After a bit of digging, one does find more details including about the group's principal, Rick Scott. And lots of promises of "grassroots" activism, which of course is a feature that conservative lobbying organisations like to shop to potential clients.

But anyway, here's the main point. Try to figure out from CPR's website what their position on pre-existing conditions is. It looks like it's either (a) they don't have one or (b) they actively oppose any kind of mandate on insurance companies regarding preexisting conditions.

It's something of a mystery to this blogger why the those in favour of healthcare reform have not hit much harder on the problem of denial of insurance coverage based on preexisting conditions, since it's something that the public is prone to understand as unfair and once solutions are discussed, the economics of the current system tends to unravel -- because the massive cherry pick available under the current system as an implicit subsidy to insurance companies would disappear.

For example, to the extent that George Bush was willing to discuss solutions to pre-existing conditions at all, it was a vague proposal to dump all such people into taxpayer-financed risk pools, and John McCain would mumble something similar during the last campaign and then hastily move on to another topic. Shouldn't part of the debate involve making conservatives talk about the parts of healthcare that they don't want to talk about?

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