Mandating Health Insurance Behind Closed Doors

If certain politicians, lobbyists, insurance companies, the medical profession and pharmaceutical corporations get their way, having health insurance will not only be our individual responsibility, BUT IT WILL BE A MANDATORY OBLIGATION as well.  And there is talk of actually punishing, via special taxation, anyone who does not have health insurance if they are able to.

AND these discussions and plans are being made secretly:

Behind closed doors

How many Americans knew that since last fall, key stakeholders in the health insurance industry and lobbyists for a wide range of interests in managed care have been secretly meeting with Democratic staff of Senator Edward Kennedy, working to develop the terms for legislating universal health insurance? As the New York Times reports, the talks taking place behind closed doors are unusual. Staff aides said that anyone who revealed the details of the group’s plans outside the secret meetings have been threatened with expulsion.

Reporter Robert Pear writes:

The ideas discussed include a proposal to penalize people who fail to comply with the “individual obligation” to have insurance. “There seems to be a sense of the room that some form of tax penalty is an effective means to enforce such an obligation, though only on those for whom affordable coverage is available,” said the memorandum, prepared by David C. Bowen, a neurobiologist who is director of the health staff at the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

Now, I’m fully aware of the importance of health insurance.  Most especially if you are one who needs to see a doctor several times a year, has medication to be regulated and taken, or was in an accident or has terminal illness.  Yet, how many stories do we hear about people with health insurance who still end up losing everything due to medical bills because the health insurance doesn’t or won’t cover their medical expenses.  What good is having health insurance then?

Then you have someone like me, I see a doctor once a year only because I have to have my thyroid checked to get my prescription renewed.  If not for that, I wouldn’t see a doctor even that often.  I’m a healthy person, even though I smoke, I rarely get ill, let alone sick enough to need a doctor.  Yet I keep paying into my employee sponsored health insurance every month, never meeting even the lowest deductible so that one visit and lab work is always out of pocket for me.  So WHAT exactly do I have this insurance for?  Just in case?  Hell, given how insurance companies do everything they can to avoid covering your particular need, I call that a waste of money I could just put into a flexible spending acct, so it’s ready for me to use when I do need to.

According to the New York Times article Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company (bold emphasis is mine):

Many of the parties, from big insurance companies to lobbyists for consumers, doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, are embracing the idea that comprehensive health care legislation should include a requirement that every American carry insurance.

While not all industry groups are in complete agreement, there is enough of a consensus, according to people who have attended the meetings, that they have begun to tackle the next steps: how to enforce the requirement for everyone to have health insurance; how to make insurance affordable to the uninsured; and whether to require employers to help buy coverage for their employees.

The talks, which are taking place behind closed doors, are unusual. Lobbyists for a wide range of interest groups — some of which were involved in defeating national health legislation in 1993-4 — are meeting with the staff of Mr. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, in a search for common ground.

While President Obama is not directly represented in the talks, the White House has been kept informed and is encouraging the Senate effort as a way to get the ball rolling on health legislation.

Well, so much for transparency in this administration!

IF health insurance were affordable, they wouldn’t have to think about making it a law and mandating it.  If you’re let go from your job, you are usually offered the chance to get COBRA, as I was when I left my job in NYC to relocate here to Phoenix.  It was only going to cost me about $400 a month, and they wanted 2 months payment up front.  Someone explain to me how anyone NOT working can afford that?  Needless to say, I was without insurance (which I really didn’t notice) for a few months until I found a good job.

Some participants in the talks said Congress should specify the benefits. But “the sense of the room seemed to be” that Congress should leave details to a group of experts, according to the memorandum.

Under this proposal, the experts would define the minimum coverage “within statutory parameters” set by Congress. Insurers might be allowed to offer different benefits with the same overall value.

The group has also been discussing the possibility that federal standards “may supersede state benefit mandates.”

I don’t know about you, but the thought of politicians setting standards parameters disturbs me.  I mean, they’ve pretty much shown that they don’t have a whole lot of love or respect for us simple taxpayers.

While I totally agree that healthcare costs are out of control and health insurance costs are not affordable to the average person privately, I find my heels digging in over this idea of actually mandating that every one have health insurance, and if you can afford it on your own and don’t have it, you will be punished.

Maybe it’s a rebellious streak in me, but I’m fed up with these people dictating MY private life choices this way.

Make insurance affordable to the average low-middle income person and we will more than likely choose on our own to have health insurance.  Try to FORCE me, and I WILL resent it, and fight back.

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~ by swfreedomlover on February 24, 2009.

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