Insurance Companies' Role in Healthcare Reform

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Insurance Companies' Role in Healthcare Reform

In the ongoing debate on healthcare and healthcare insurance reform, it is easy to paint the health insurance companies as part of the problem and not the solution. But According to the CEO’s of many of the top health insurance companies in the nation nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact heath insurance companies need to and will play a major role in bringing about needed affordable health insurance reform. Says one industry spokesperson, “Consumers and the health insurance market have always benefited from a pluralistic system. One that does not rely on any one entity such as the government, or the Healthplan providers to provide healthcare services and maintain costs.” It is only through combined innovation and a combined effort of health insurance companies, healthcare providers, and federal and local governments that the current problems facing those without health insurance coverage or in danger of losing affordable health insurance benefits will be addressed.

Many in the Health Insurance industry support calls for so-called Universal Health Insurance. However they believe that it should not be a burden that the government can or should take on themselves. Rather than a huge single payer government bureaucracy such as Medicare, they see Universal Health Insurance reform as something more akin to Medicaid Plus, where public programs are administered by private health insurance plans.

In New York State 14% of residents do not have health insurance despite the state spending more per person on healthcare than any other state in the union. There a consortium of organizations called The New York Universal Health Care Options Campaign, expressed its support for a universal healthcare insurance system, but not one that is so-called socialized medicine.

Instead the group says what it wants is not “socialized medicine”, but “socialized payments”, where consumers pay one entity, but are not limited in their affordable health insurance options. Such a plan could only be enacted with the support of health insurance companies. In fact the idea is very similar to one recently pitched to The Congress by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) the largest trade organization for the health insurance industry.