Junkfood Science: Fears over ownership of healthcare

October 29, 2008

Fears over ownership of healthcare

A calm, thoughtful article appeared this morning in the Minneapolis Post examining fears of change in who owns our healthcare coverage. For another side of this issue on everyone’s mind, attorney Peter Nelson examines some of the concerns of losing employer-provided health insurance.

Why employers won't cut and run when individuals own health insurance

Americans agree: Our health-care system needs a serious overhaul… Most of us rely on an employer for health coverage. Unless you're retired, your employer in all likelihood picks, pays and actually owns your health coverage. If the status-quo system relies on employers, and if the system needs fundamental change, then it stands to reason that we should take a hard look at revamping the employer's role. Serious health-care reforms do just that. The Mayo Clinic Health Policy Center's current reform principles focus on moving from employer ownership to individual ownership of health coverage…

Most reforms that promote individual ownership would eliminate the current tax preference for employer-paid coverage and, instead, level the field so that all Americans get the same health-care tax advantages… Individually owned coverage would fix big, systemic flaws. When individuals own their coverage, it's portable from job to job. Portability makes health coverage more secure at a time when jobs are less stable. Moreover, according to the Mayo Clinic, individual ownership "gives patients more control and choice," and because insurers would now compete for the individual, the insurer would offer more competitive rates and improved service ..

Nonetheless, many people find it tough to believe that they would be better off taking ownership over their health coverage. The trouble is that too many people mistakenly believe they will be left entirely on their own to wander the wilderness of coverage choices where the cost of whatever they choose comes entirely out of their own pocket…

Rest of article here explains why it’s not an either-or scenario and owning our health coverage does not mean being abandoned or losing employer health insurance benefits.

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