SB840: Bringing the Failures of Canada to the Golden State Part III
Since my last post in regards to this subject, Massachusetts was able to pass a bill that will require every citizen to be covered. Unlike SB840, which is a single-payer system (aka "government funded"), the Massachusetts system will not criminalize private-insurance, will still-require citizens to seek their own coverage, but will accomplish the goal of insuring every citizen of the state with heavy subsidies, federal funding, and insurance mandates for those financially able to buy insurance. Even though the government is not the ultimate source of funding, citizens and businesses are still required to pay into a government fund, and "everybody pays something. No more entire free rides...Everybody pays what they can afford.> Thus, it still requires funding based on excessive taxation of top and middle, to fund the bottom.
The Massachusetts plan is not as destructive as SB840, but will still have strong economic repurcussions for the state. Furthermore, it will encourage private insurance companies to provide "barebones policies" to the uninsured as a way to meet mandates. Because the bill will require small businesses to provide health insurance for their employees, it will have a strong impact on these small businesses, and will surely force many out of business.
Another option that has been presented is health savings accounts, HSAs. These were most recently proposed by President Bush, created in a medicare bill signed December 8, 2003. While I was initially skeptical and concerned about the proposal, the more I read about them, the more confidence I have in their success. The concept relies on the fact that many people do not utilize the full amount of money they pay for insurance. By matching a health savings account, which could be co-funded by an employer, with a catastrophic insurance policy, patients have more freedom in terms of choice of care (location, extent, etc...). Because care requires payment, there is a prevention of the overuse that plagues single-payer plans. However, HSAs are certainly not for everyone, only those both willing to be proactive in their own health care, and those willing to risk the benefits of the plan against potential for expensive treatment.
As is often the case, the complete solution will be neither of these, nor will it be in the form of SB840 or anything similar. The best solution will likely be an amalgam of private, personal, and governmental coverage, suited to each individual. Any plan that presumes to treat every person identically, or that claims to be able to provide full coverage in every instance is naive.