Friday, August 28, 2009

McMorris Rodgers and the Right Way

Representative Cathy McMorris-Rodgers writes in a Tri-City Herald article that health care reform must be done the right way. Her desire is that consumers have more options and that government-run health plans not dominate the insurance market.

She was willing to stipulate that that government options -- Medicare, Medicaid, Tricare and the Veterans Health Administration -- make up about half of the medical coverage in the United States, with the other half falling to the private sector.

Several people were on hand to dispute her view at the meeting.

I think Cathy has missed the real point and is just trying to find some way to justify her good-political-soldier opposition to the public option. The lack of competition isn't the problem. Currently insurance companies are competing by trying cherry-pick the pool of clients. They are protecting the interests of their shareholders by only covering people who can pay high premiums and make few claims. There is no profit to be made by accepting low income and high risk customers. There is nothing the government can do to make it any easier for insurance company to get into this business.

In the end she has no alternative to offer folks who would have to opt for public coverage other than to just continue watching the insurance industry ignore their needs.

By having a public plan we can eliminate medically-induced bankruptcy. We can provide insurance for people who insurance don't want.

By not having a public plan we can either continue to let people go uninsured (this is not a moral option). Or we can force insurance companies to cover less-profitable customers by regulation. Cathy can either be immoral or suffer unpleasant regulation.

What's a good Republican to do?

For a good play-by-play of the meeting see Michelle Dupler's excellent liveblog of the meeting.

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