Monday, October 12, 2009

Insurance news: Insurers blast health reform, and "intergenerational strife" in the debate

The news of the day seems to be the insurance industry's assertion that proposed health-care reform will cost people with private insurance more:

The New York Times described the situation as "Insurance Industry Assails Health Legislation." And the Washington Post (via the Tacoma News-Tribune) had this succinct summary in its story:

“After months of collaboration on President Barack Obama’s attempt to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, the insurance industry plans to strike out today against the effort with a report warning that the typical family premium could rise over the next decade by $4,000 more than projected.”
The NYT also had an interesting story revisiting a theme that keeps cropping up in this debate: the fact that the elderly already have a system that, by and large, works for them. Writer Eduardo Porter urges that powerful voting bloc to "Think About the Grandkids," and notes that:
“This political arithmetic led Tyler Cowen, a blogger and professor of economics at George Mason University, to wonder whether the passage of Medicare in 1965 wasn’t a tactical mistake that doomed broader health reform…The share of resources devoted to the old versus the young is a function of their relative political clout.”
Providence Journal columnist Froma Harrup writes about the same issue:
In terms of health coverage, one date separates the most secure Americans from the least secure: a person’s 65th birthday. Age 65 is when one qualifies for Medicare, the government insurance program for the elderly and disabled. It’s become a source of intergenerational strife — not so much between the old and young as between the old and the nearly old."
The Associated Press notes that whatever happens in D.C., the results won't be quick:
“Sixty years is how long Democrats say they’ve been pushing for legislation that provides health care access for all Americans. They’ll have to wait another three if President Barack Obama gets a bill to sign this year.”

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