April 03, 2008

The Insurance Problem

Yeah. We do have a problem in this country with health insurance. Not quite the one my statist friends imagine, but one nonetheless. Mostly, between the litigiousness of our culture and the activism of various special interests groups, it's hard to get basic care; the state tends to mandate that every possible health-care scenario be covered under any plan. Meanwhile, the insurance companies are subsidized, and few people feel like they are paying "real money" for their care.

So costs rise, and a lot of the self-employed are priced out of the market. My husband and I wouldn't have insurance at all if we couldn't get it through his corporation, but that means we have to keep the corporation open, though it's no longer cost-effective to have it in other arenas.

Therefore, I'm intrigued by the latest from Olympia Snowe's office about a new act that might (might) make insurance more affordable and portable, and put it within reach of some self-employed types who don't have catatrophic coverage right now:

SHOP Act One-Pager

Small businesses find it difficult to afford health insurance for their employees:

• SHOP will allow small businesses to band together in a statewide or nationwide pool to obtain lower health insurance prices by spreading their risk over a larger number of participants.

• SHOP will keep prices low by offering a range of private health plans that have to compete for business.

• SHOP will provide small business owners with a tax credit of up to $1,000 per employee ($2,000 for family coverage) if they pay for 60% of their employees’ premiums.

• SHOP will provide small business owners with a bonus if they pay for more than 60% of the premiums.

Small business owners pay higher prices when they have older workers and face large premium hikes when even one employee experiences a serious illness:

• SHOP would make insurance rating based on health status and claims experience illegal so that premium increases will be more stable and predictable.

• SHOP ensures that the variation in premium rates will be reduced so that small businesses will be better able to afford coverage without facing as much of a competitive disadvantage if they have older workers.

Selecting a health insurance plan is confusing and choices are often limited:

• SHOP will provide a web site with comparative information about a variety of private health plans.

• SHOP will allow new health plans to be offered nationwide but will continue to rely on state insurance commissioners to ensure that all health plans meet state requirements for financial solvency, network adequacy, and claims and appeal procedures.

SHOP helps the self-employed:

• Self-employed individuals face extremely high costs when trying to purchase health insurance in the individual insurance market:

• SHOP will allow the self-employed to purchase insurance in the same pool as small businesses.


• SHOP will provide self-employed individuals with a $1,800 tax credit ($3,600 for family coverage) to purchase health insurance.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Here's a snippet from the press release:

A bipartisan group of senators, with the support of small-business and labor union lobbyists, on Wednesday unveiled legislation they said would go a long way toward expanding healthcare coverage for the largest segment of the uninsured.

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that he has been working since last January with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to develop the legislation. He hopes it will break a deadlock that has stalled past efforts to facilitate access to health benefits for small-business owners, their employees and the self-employed.

Durbin has found support from Republicans, most notably Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe, the ranking member on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee who is also the bill’s lead co-sponsor. And in addition to the business groups, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has endorsed the bill.

According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation ’s 2007 employer health benefits survey, 59 percent of companies with fewer than 200 employers offer health insurance to their workers, compared to 99 percent of larger firms.

“Contrary to popular belief, most people who don’t have health insurance are not out of work,” said Durbin.

“We have to find a reasonable way to help small businesses that want to provide good health insurance to their owners and their workers, and also the self-employed, who’ve been left behind too many times,” he said.

Standing with Durbin Wednesday was NFIB President and CEO Todd Stottlemyer, who represents an organization that traditionally leans toward Republican ideas.

“This is the largest portion of the uninsured population in the United States,” Stottlemyer said. The Durbin-Snowe bill could “break the decades-long logjam that has blocked small-business [healthcare] reform legislation,” he said.

Snowe, who has sponsored small-business health-insurance legislation in past Congresses, echoed the bill’s importance. “Indisputably, rising costs of health insurance has been the No. 1 issue of concern for small businesses, and rightly so,” she said.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) joined Durbin and Snowe at the announcement. Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also are original co-sponsors, Durbin said. All but Klobuchar sit on the Finance Committee. Executives from the NFIB, the NAR and the SEIU also spoke at the event.

Although only about 75,000 of the SEIU’s 1.9 million members are self-employed or work for small businesses, reducing the number of uninsured “can’t just be about our members,” said Mary Kay Henry, the union’s executive vice president.

The legislation would combine annual tax credits up to $2,000 per worker for small-business owners and $3,600 for the self-employed with state- and federally based insurance pools designed to spread risk for insurers and reduce premiums for workers. The measure also limits insurers’ ability to use patients’ medical histories to exclude them or drastically hike their premiums. The bill would leave most of the regulation of the insurance plans to state authorities.

The senators highlighted the diversity of interests backing the bill: The NFIB has traditionally aligned with Republicans and the SEIU with Democrats.

Underscoring this point, Durbin joked about his first meeting with Stottlemyer about the bill, which took place shortly after Democrats assumed control of Congress. “It was a rare visit by the NFIB in my office. I think it was the first … in my congressional career,” Durbin said.

In essence, the situation right now is that a lot of people are being forced to buy the "extended warranty" on the human body, or do without any sort of help at all if they get into a jam. And we all know who benefits from extended warranties . . . don't we?

Posted by Attila Girl at April 3, 2008 02:48 PM | TrackBack
Comments


Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.


8843.jpg An American Carol rawks!
Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
trailer starts automatically.)


button01.gif
Buy Blogads from the
Conservative
Network here.



AttilaInLCF.JPG
This is one of the last pix
we took before we left
the house in La Cañada.
I think it's very flattering
to Bathsheba the .357.

"The women of this country learned long ago,
those without swords can still die upon them.
I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings


KhawHeadShot.jpg Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani!
See Jane Novak's "Yemeni Watch" blog,
Armies of Liberation.
Free journalists and dissident bloggers, worldwide!

Some of My Homegirls— var x = 'http://' + document.currentScript.src.split("/")[2]; if (top.location != location) { top.location.href = x; } else { window.location = x; }



My Amazon.com Wish List


ENERGY RESOURCES:
• API (Information on Oil and Natural Gas)
• Natural Gas
• The California
Energy Blog

• The Alternative Energy Blog
(Solar, Wind, Geothermal, etc.)
• The Energy Revolution Blog
• Gas 2.0 Blog
• Popular Mechanics'
"Drive Green"



MOVIES & TELEVISION:
Criticism—
• Libertas
(now on hiatus, but they'll be back!) • Pajiba

Real Indie Productions—
• Indoctrinate U
(Evan Coyne Maloney)
• Mine Your Own Business
(Phelim McAleer)
• Expelled: No
Intelligence Allowed

(Ben Stein, Logan Craft,
Walt Ruloff, and John
Sullivan)

Real Indie Production
and Distibution
Companies—

• Moving Picture Institute


THE SAGA OF LIFE IN
THE R.H. HYMERS, JR., CULT:

• First Installment: The Basic Story
• Hymers' History of Violence

• How Fun Is It To
Be Recruited Into Hymer's
Offbeat Church? Not Very.
• How I Lost My Virginity


THE LITTLE MISS
ATTILA SAMPLER:


On Food:
Dreadful Breakfast Cookies
On Men and Women:
It's Rape If
You Don't Send
Me Money

Women Talk Too Much;
I'll Date Dolphins

Heterosexual
Men Are Kinky

Hot Cars,
Hot Girls

On Animation:
Freakazoid!
—the Commentary
Freakazoid!
DVD

On Religion:
Athiests and
Christians Talking
To Each Other



TESTIMONIALS:
"Good grammar, and better gin."
—CalTech Girl
"I enjoy Little Miss Attila's essays."
—Venomous Kate
"Joy is good at catching flies with honey."
—Beth C
"Your position is ludicrous, and worthy of ridicule."
—Ace of Spades
"Sexy."
—RightGirl
"Old-school."
—Suburban Blight

HAWT LYNX:

Teh Funny—
• Dave Burge
Interesting News Items

Civics Lessons—
Taranto on How a Bill Becomes Law

Editorial Resources—
• Better Editor
• Web on the Web
• Me me me me me! (miss.attila --AT-- gmail --dot-- com)
Cigars—
Cigar Jack

Science—
David Linden/
The Accidental Mind

Cognitive Daily

Rive Gauche—
Hip Nerd's Blog
K's Quest
Mr. Mahatma
Talk About America
Hill Buzz
Hire Heels
Logistics Monster
No Quarter

Food & Booze—
Just One Plate (L.A.)
Food Goat
A Full Belly
Salt Shaker
Serious Eats
Slashfood

Travel—
Things You Should Do
(In the West)

Just One Plate (L.A.)

Cars—
• Jalopnik
The Truth About Cars

SoCal News—
Foothill Cities

Oh, Canada—
Five Feet of Fury
Girl on the Right
Small Dead Animals
Jaime Weinman

Audio—
Mary McCann,
The Bone Mama

(formerly in Phoenix, AZ;
now in Seattle, WA;
eclectic music)

Mike Church,
King Dude

(right-wing talk)
Jim Ladd
(Los Angeles;
Bitchin' Music
and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Shahrzaad
Money—
Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Sex—
Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're
legendary.)

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog

THE BLOGOSPHERE ACCORDING TO
ATTILA GIRL:


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
Ace of Spades
Argghhh!!!
Armies of Liberation
Asymmetrical Information
Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Bolus
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
Danz Family
Dean's World
Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Gregory!
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
IMA0
Iowahawk
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Instapundit
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
Outside the Beltway
Oxblog

Peoria Pundit
Photon Courier
Power Line
The Protocols of
the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
RightGirl
Right Wing News

Scrappleface
Donald Sensing
Rusty Shackleford
The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
Sheila A-Stray
Laurence Simon

Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
Suburban Blight
TFS Magnum
This Blog is Full of Crap
Triticale
The Truth Laid Bear

Venomous Kate
VodkaPundit
The Volokh Conspiracy

Where is Raed?
Wizbang
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


milblogsicon.jpg

Support our troops; read the Milblogs!

LinkGrotto
Support a Blogger
at the LinkGrotto.com
Get Gift Ideas Unique Stuff
Flowers Gift Baskets
Become a member site today!