From the Desk of Judith Stein

July 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm 1 comment

Health Care Reform:  If It’s Good it Won’t Be Easy

I have represented Medicare beneficiaries throughout Connecticut and the country for over 30 years. While there are surely gaps in Medicare coverage, and recent privatization efforts have threatened Medicare’s stability, Medicare has provided basic health insurance coverage, peace of mind, and enhanced economic security to hundreds of millions of older and disabled people, and their families. Finally, as a result of Senator Dodd’s leadership and the Senate HELP Committee’s bill, there is hope that younger uninsured people and their families will be benefited as older and disabled people have been under Medicare. The Senate HELP Committee bill, like all legislation, is a compromise; it is not perfect, but it is well worth supporting. I do so enthusiastically from three vantage points:

  1. As an advocate for fair access to health care and Medicare, and something of a Medicare historian, I particularly praise the Senate bill’s inclusion of mandated core benefits and a public health insurance option. Medicare teaches that this is the only way to truly provide fair access to comprehensible, secure, affordable health insurance and care. Anyone who truly knows Medicare and who looks objectively at the value and costs of the traditional program versus the private Medicare plans knows this is true.
  2. As a cancer survivor, I applaud this bill as it will bring access to health insurance and coverage to many who now go without by finally prohibiting insurance discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.
  3. As a small business “owner” (founder and executive director of a non-profit organization with 30 employees), I am grateful for the relief that this bill promises to employers, like my organization, that provide employee health insurance coverage. The cost of our good, but not “Cadillac” coverage, is a terrible strain on our budget and limits our ability to hire.

Thanks to the President, Senator Dodd and those on the Senate HELP Committee for pushing forward to provide health care coverage, and with it, access to care.  Please – keep it up.  Bring your Senate Finance Committee and House colleagues along.  This is not easy, but good things rarely are.

We need health care reform!

Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Beware of “Smoke and Mirrors” Savings Yes, Virginia, A Public Health Insurance Option Will Save Money and Provide Access To Good Care

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Keith Bell  |  August 5, 2009 at 9:48 am

    I have long been an advocate of a Medicare option for those under age 65 who are not permanently disabled and otherwise not eligible for Medicare. However, in order for this to work there must be no balance billing on the part of providers, i.e. physicians and hospitals. Medicare for all should be a public program with a core of benefits without pre-existing condition limitations. Medicare Supplemental Coverage should remain available to cover the deductibles and out-of-pocket costs that Medicare does not cover. The permutations of a Medicare Supplement should be similar to what is currently available in the marketplace with plans ranging in price and coverage levels. Rates for the Supplement should be regulated in each jurisdiction/region or state. Furthermore, Medicare for all should be mandated and regulated at the federal level. Subsidy for low income wage earners that are not eligible for employer provided coverage should be subsidized by the government. Illegal aliens should not have the right to the coverage, only bonafide citizen’s of the USA should be eligible.

    Controlling cost of care cannot be found anywhere in healthcare reform legislation. This would require a cultural change that cannot occur overnight and goes against our free market system. However, until costs are controlled healthcare will continue to take a bigger bite and require higher taxes to pay for the core benefits offered.

    As for employer porvided benefits, the government should allow all existing plan permutations available within each market including Health Savings Account Plans, Health Reimbursement Arrangements and other Consumer Directed Healthplans . Costly state imposed mandates should be eliminated or vastly reduced for the “core” benefit plan. Afford each individual within a group plan to buy down or buy up their coverage based on their own unique health insurance needs.


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Health Policy Expertise

We provide effective, innovative opportunities to impact federal Medicare and health care policies and legislation in order to advance fair access to Medicare and quality health care.

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July 2009


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