The health care bill is getting bogged down because of its complexity. When people do not understand something they tend to be guided more by their fears than by optimistic expectations. It would seem that it would be wiser to address components of the problem than to address such a complex issue all at once.
For example let’s address the underwriting problem. Currently insurance companies compete by trying to eliminate risks, but it is not the purpose of insurance to eliminate risks but to minimize the impact by spreading the cost of a risk over a more manageable time frame or over a larger group.
If parties agree that we as a country want to assure health care coverage for everybody then we could legislate underwriting rules that make it available to anyone. Yes it would mean that low risk insured would pay more in order to cover higher risk, but that is already happening as those with coverage experience cost shifting from underfunded government programs.
This singularly focused legislation would also set renewal rules that would keep companies from dramatic rate increases when a covered party has a chronic condition.
But the point is to focus on a singular part of the problem where there is a greater likelihood to both reach an agreement and to have a positive impact. Such a bill would be understood easily in its purpose and execution.
Then address the ownership issue. Introduce a bill that would shift ownership of the insurance from the employer to the individual. This could only be done when the former underwriting rules are adopted.
We could introduce a bill to encourage or subsidize the education of more doctors to create more competition and drive costs down. We could introduce a separate bill to encourage advance directives which have been shown to lower costs in the final years and increase patient satisfaction.
But we can address smaller parts of the problem in a logical sequence, and get far more progress than the all or nothing comprehensive approach that is generating such controversy and misunderstanding. In an effort to do something we strive for everything and end up with nothing.