Cross-Purpose Reform

Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts’s healthcare proposal (PDF) strikes me as a hodgepodge with components at odds with each other. There doesn’t appear to be a guiding principle, creating the risk that the good points of the program would put a reform-like light on the bad parts, potentially without even passing themselves.
New representative Frank Ferri (D, Warwick) today put forward a bill advancing one of the better suggestions:

The legislation (2008-H 7493) — which Representative Ferri is submitting in conjunction with Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts as part of her “Healthy Rhode Island” health reform act — would allow health insurers licensed in Massachusetts and Connecticut to offer insurance products in Rhode Island without having to get any additional licenses.
This reciprocal licensing would make Rhode Island a more inviting market to insurers, and could increase the number of insurers in the state. Currently, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island and United HealthCare of New England are the only insurers licensed in Rhode Island.

But other parts of Healthy RI increase state government involvement, fine employers that don’t provide health insurance coverage $1,000 per employee per year. and layer on mandates, such as the requirement that all dependent “children” up to age 25 may be covered under their parents’ policies whether they’re in school or not. Representative (D, Providence) Edith Ajello’s mandate appears to be additional:

A state mandate already requires insurers to cover fertility treatment for women between the ages of 25 and 42 who are otherwise healthy but are unable to achieve or sustain pregnancy for a period of a year or more. But under current law, the mandate applies only to married women.
Arguing that that the stipulation is discriminatory and would not be permissible in other areas of state law, Representative Ajello has submitted legislation (2008-H 7239) to eliminate the word “married” from the mandate and extend coverage to all 25- to 42-year-old women, regardless of their marital status.

So the state is seeking to attract insurers to Rhode Island, and it may force employees to finance the policies, and it’s going to require everybody over four times poverty to have a plan, while layering on regulations that will drive the price up — all under the increasingly pervasive watch of the nation’s most corrupt and (arguably) incompetent government. Shouldn’t health-conscious politicians be attempting to lower citizens’ stress levels?

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16 years ago

More government oversight – a sure cure for what ails you.
What will happen with the $1000 per year per employee fine? Will this go towards some sort of coverage for same or into the general revenue black hole?
Speaking of black holes, what will happen to Representative Ferri’s bill?

Ragin' Rhode Islander
Ragin' Rhode Islander
16 years ago

If we can’t impose “single payer” socialized medicine on the merits, we’ll impose it surreptitiously and incrementally, first through Medicare (neutralizing the “senior citizen” voting block); Medicaid (marketing this as “compassion” and “aid to the poor” while further expanding the pool of voters with a vested interest in socialized medicine and promoting the acceptance of the erroneous concept that health care is a legitimate function of government); then targeting those free of Medicare / Medicaid by moving on incrementally with employer fines and individual mandates … then the coup de gras, seeking “savings” by consolidating administration by placing everyone under “Medicare” so that we in “the land of the free” will also have the same socialized medicine as Canada, so that there will be equality with everyone enjoying long waits and rationing (oh, and by the way, unionized healthcare employees that would now be de facto government employees, providing hundreds of millions of dollars of dues money to fund Democrat candidates who will raise taxes to provide public-sector like pay and benefits for health care workers, and impose even more mandates so that more dues paying health care workers are hired, which will result in even more dues money going to Democrats … talk about a “virtuous circle!” You think that public school teachers send us a lot of money, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!).
Yours Truly,
Vladimir Roberts

16 years ago

“while layering on regulations that will drive the price up”
This is exactly how a “workers comp” crisis was created several years ago. And this is why there are only two health insurance companies in Rhode Island (one of which doesn’t even cover individuals).
In short, Rhode Island has a whole history vividly demonstrating the danger of over-regulation and over-requirements of insurance providers. It drives them out. How can we go down this road yet again?

16 years ago

If leaving the word “married” in the legislation is discrimination, how long will it be before they remove the age constraints aslo

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