Inevitably when lawmakers start talking about health care reform they end up dealing with health insurance reform. The funny thing is that if we think about it we realize that health insurance reform isn’t (or shouldn’t be) the real goal.
Go talk to people and see if you can find anyone who wants health insurance that will challenge their every medical decision and deny a significant chunk of their claims plus almost inevitably delay payment on the claims they don’t deny.
People are interested in some assurance that health care won’t bankrupt them. Insurance is the most common vehicle for that today, but that’s not because they inherently want insurance – just see those young and healthy people who would rather not get insurance because their brain assures them they don’t need it.
I’m not trying to vilify insurers here. It isn’t because they don’t care that they seek to keep payouts down. Even when we feel the pinch and see their actions as unwise, unwarranted, intrusive, or even counterproductive we needed not active sinister motives to the insurance industry.
The fact is that the insurance industry has the motivation and the potential to minimize abuse of the health care system and this they have a very important voice to be included in our efforts to improve that system. The key for policymakers and the public is to keep sight of the true goal, which isn’t to get insurance for everyone but to improve the system so that everyone has the assurance that good care is available when they need it. If we seek that end it doesn’t actually matter what role insurance ultimately plays in a functional solution.
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