GPPF: HSAs can reduce unisured by 500,000

The Georgia Public Policy Foundation makes the case that Georgia can reduce the number of uninsured in the State by becoming the “HSA State.”

Specifically, Georgia should:

1. Increase access to new insurance products by allowing Georgia licensed insurers to receive automatic (or fast track) approval of HSA-eligible insurance approved under the laws and regulations of other states.
2. Promote an open market environment that encourages new insurers to sell HSA-eligible insurance in Georgia.
3. Allow greater regulatory flexibility for HSA-eligible insurance products that could lower costs and increase choices.
4. Encourage the development of an online, educational resource to promote transparency and expand information on HSA products, prices and services provided by health insurance agents and/or brokers.
5. Allow the option of expanded coverage for dependent children up to age 27.
6. Exempt HSA-eligible insurance from state and local premium taxes.

7. Provide a new personal state income tax deduction for HSA-eligible insurance premiums.
8. Support citizens’ right to know the cost and efficacy of prescription drugs.
9. Support citizens’ right to know the quality of care provided by Georgia’s hospitals.
10. Establish the patient as the owner of his or her medical records.
11. Expand outreach to enroll Medicaid-eligible families.
12. Create a HSA-eligible high risk insurance pool employing personal responsibility combined with accepted medical protocols and quality standards to cover those who are currently uninsurable due to existing medical conditions.

Read the entire article here.

5 comments

  1. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/paulkrugman/index.html?inline=nyt-per

    February 9, 2007

    Op-Ed Columnist

    Edwards Gets It Right
    By PAUL KRUGMAN

    What a difference two years makes! At this point in 2005, the only question seemed to be how much of America’s social insurance system — the triumvirate of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — the Bush administration would manage to dismantle. Now almost all prominent Democrats and quite a few Republicans pay at least lip service to calls for a major expansion of social insurance, in the form of universal health care.

    But fine words, by themselves, mean nothing. Remember “compassionate conservatism?” I won’t trust presidential candidates on health care unless they provide enough specifics to show both that they understand the issues, and that they’re willing to face up to hard choices when necessary.

    And former Senator John Edwards has just set a fine example.

    At first glance, the Edwards health care plan looks similar to several other proposals out there, including one recently unveiled by Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. But a closer look reveals extra features in the Edwards plan that take it a lot closer to what the country really needs.

    Like Mr. Schwarzenegger, Mr. Edwards sets out to cover the uninsured with a combination of regulation and financial aid. Right now, many people are uninsured because, as the Edwards press release puts it, insurance companies “game the system to cover only healthy people.” So the Edwards plan, like Schwarzenegger’s, imposes “community rating” on insurers, basically requiring them to sell insurance to everyone at the same price.

    Many other people are uninsured because they simply can’t afford the cost. So the Edwards plan, again like other proposals, offers financial aid to help lower-income families buy insurance. To pay for this aid, he proposes rolling back tax cuts for households with incomes over $200,000 a year.

    Finally, some people try to save money by going without coverage, so if they get sick they end up in emergency rooms at public expense. Like other plans, the Edwards plan would “require all American residents to get insurance,” and would require that all employers either provide insurance to their workers or pay a percentage of their payrolls into a government fund used to buy insurance.

    But Mr. Edwards goes two steps further.

    People who don’t get insurance from their employers wouldn’t have to deal individually with insurance companies: they’d purchase insurance through “Health Markets”: government-run bodies negotiating with insurance companies on the public’s behalf. People would, in effect, be buying insurance from the government, with only the business of paying medical bills — not the function of granting insurance in the first place — outsourced to private insurers.

    Why is this such a good idea? As the Edwards press release points out, marketing and underwriting — the process of screening out high-risk clients — are responsible for two-thirds of insurance companies’ overhead. With insurers selling to government-run Health Markets, not directly to individuals, most of these expenses should go away, making insurance considerably cheaper.

    Better still, “Health Markets,” the press release says, “will offer a choice between private insurers and a public insurance plan modeled after Medicare.” This would offer a crucial degree of competition. The public insurance plan would almost certainly be cheaper than anything the private sector offers right now — after all, Medicare has very low overhead. Private insurers would either have to match the public plan’s low premiums, or lose the competition.

    And Mr. Edwards is O.K. with that. “Over time,” the press release says, “the system may evolve toward a single-payer approach if individuals and businesses prefer the public plan.”

    So this is a smart, serious proposal. It addresses both the problem of the uninsured and the waste and inefficiency of our fragmented insurance system. And every candidate should be pressed to come up with something comparable.

    Yes, that includes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. So far, all we have from Mr. Obama is inspiring rhetoric about universal care — that’s great, but how do we get there? And how do we know whether Mrs. Clinton, who says that she’s “not ready to be specific,” and that she wants to “build the consensus first,” will really be willing to take on this issue again?

    To be fair, these are still early days. But America’s crumbling health care system is our most important domestic issue, and I think we have a right to know what those who would be president propose to do about it.

  2. jsm says:

    “So the Edwards plan, like Schwarzenegger’s, imposes ‘community rating’ on insurers, basically requiring them to sell insurance to everyone at the same price.”

    Socialism.

    “So the Edwards plan, again like other proposals, offers financial aid to help lower-income families buy insurance. To pay for this aid, he proposes rolling back tax cuts for households with incomes over $200,000 a year.”

    Forced benevolence, or socialism.

    “…the Edwards plan would ‘require all American residents to get insurance,’ and would require that all employers either provide insurance to their workers or pay a percentage of their payrolls into a government fund used to buy insurance.”

    What if some wealthy would rather self-insure? They shouldn’t be forced to pay insurance premiums, especially to the government.

    “People who don’t get insurance from their employers wouldn’t have to deal individually with insurance companies: they’d purchase insurance through ‘Health Markets’: government-run bodies negotiating with insurance companies on the public’s behalf. People would, in effect, be buying insurance from the government…”

    Come on. The government screws up every social system it touches, and it hires lots of lazy people to do nothing and be inefficient. (Before anyone challenges this claim–my dad was a federal government employee for 25+ years.) I don’t want to buy insurance from the government.

    Why do Democrats have this rosy view of government programs fixing all problems and making the world a better place? I just don’t get it.

  3. Mr. Reid says:

    The healthcare issue is THE issue now. The solution is complex, but due to the failures so far in the existing system, the solutions MUST include at least these 3 basic features: 1. The healthcare plan has to belong to the individual and not the company. It is the individual that is insured, not the company. Therefore the plan should be a permanent plan that goes with the individual for as long as they pay the premium. 2. The plan should be set so that the insurer can not “rate out” the insured by raising rates so that the plan can no longer be afforded. They are famous for this 3. The insurer should not be able to drop the elderly or sick because they have become too expensive. After paying into the insurance company for 20 years for example the insurance company should not have the ability to drop their problematic policy holders. This practice is immoral. Something will have to be given up to get this. 1. You may have to pay more when you are young and healthy. 2. Those who earn more may have to pay a little more. I work for a large multinational company where those who are highly paid pay more into the insurance plan. This is acceptable. I can say that since I am in that group. Insurance companies will say they have to charge smaller groups more since their risk is higher with that group. Of course this is not true since the insurance company does not insure only that small company. They actually insure the entire population of all those that they insure. It is much more profitable to the insurance company to claim to divide their population into small groups in order to charge higher premiums when in fact they actually insure the entire population of their policyholders and not only a small portion. I don’t blame the insurance companies for wanting to make more. It is just the fact that there is a moral element to healthcare that is not true of other issues and some of the practices the insurance companies have adopted like “rating out” and droping the expensive are immoral practices in the light of the moral element (and not just the economical) involved in the care of the well being of people. It may simply be that it is time to wholeheartly support a mutual company that exists to serve the members. It may take this option just like the Vanguard Group revolutionized the mutual fund industry. Perhaps Vanguard would consider healthcare insurance as their next business. We surely need them or someone like them to step up. I am as much of a republican as anyone, but on this issue if the system is not changed to include the elements above that are mandatory in my view, then I will be the first to lead the charge to vote for a completely different healthcare system that is more universal and benevolent. As far as hsa’s are concerned, they are difficult to use because they are yet ANOTHER program that average people have to master. The average person needs to be able to keep up with just one healthcare policy that belongs to them individually.

Comments are closed.