Health Insurance Reform: Senate Bill (with House Fixes) Passes; Now for the Hard Work–Ensuring the Promises Become Real

In the debate for health care insurance reform, I am disappointed with how far from the idea of single payer that the present law is (H.R. 3590, H.R. 4872). I watch cautiously to see how the real world interprets and executes this law. When former Washington D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams closed D.C. General Hospital, he offered magnificent plans. Needless to say, not a shovel of dirt has been moved to this day to implement those plans.

The  issues of concern is the individual mandate and the excise tax on high-cost insurance plans.

The provision for the individual mandate to purchase a private industry product is understandable theoretically, but I am wary for placing that much trust on a monopolistic health insurance industry. One thing of which I am certain–the highly paid executives of those companies will not reduce their salaries or their bloated bureaucracies.

Hopefully, the health care law can address this somehow. There will be a test with the next premium increase, Wellpoint’s increase received a tongue lashing from President Barack Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services; however, the premium increase remains in effect. I truly hope this does not foretell reactions in the future.

The excise tax is another provision that must be watched. Will premiums be raised to such an extent that by the time the tax comes into effect that even more purchasing power is removed from wage earners who barely scrape by with a skyrocketing cost-of-living?

It is a shame that certain beneficial provisions of the law is clouded by these not-so-beneficial provisions, but that is how the politicians crafted the bill.