UPMC Health Insurance Could Suffer From Reform

kill the billWhile the health care reform bill passed by President Obama means well, the state of Massachusetts has already tried something similar without much success.  According to The Washington Post article “As Massachusetts health ‘reform’ goes, so could Obamacare,” columnist Robert J. Samuelson doesn’t believe that Obama’s plans will do much to solve the health care crisis.  By putting caps on premium increases for companies like UPMC health insurance and other small and large insurers, it could easily put them out of business or into bankruptcy.

Massachusetts started by expanding the state-subsidized insurance coverage, but failed to get health care costs under control or make sure that people’s overall health actually is improving from this policy.  Currently, the federal government plan has begun the same way.  Most individuals in Massachusetts are required to compare health insurance coverage and purchase some form.  Middle class families earning too much to qualify for Medicaid but with incomes less than three times above the poverty level receive state subsidies.  Insurance coverage has increased from 87.5% of the (non-elderly) population in 2006 to 95.2% in 2009.

It’s hard to tell whether there has been any improvement in health since many uninsured people were young and healthy.  It will likely take many years to determine that.  But emergency rooms are still full, workers are taking home less pay because of their insurance costs, and less money is being spent on schools, police, prisons, roads, and more because of the increase in health care spending.  While ideas have come about to help decrease overall health care costs and spending, such as per-patient fees combining doctors to make treatments higher quality rather than quantity, nothing has had enough of a blueprint to actually be tried.  There is a dangerous possibility that this unchecked spending on healthcare will increase taxes and budget deficits and hardly show any health gains.

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