The sweeping health reform plan proposed today by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus suffers from several expensive and fatal flaws. Baucus’ plan would destroy any choices that consumers have to select health coverage that meets their individual needs. If enacted, every American would be stuck with a government-designed and regulated health plan that will drive up costs and limit access for too many consumers.
Sen. Baucus’ plan also would expand Medicaid and SCHIP for low-income families and expand Medicare — allowing individuals aged 55-64 to enroll. Research has found that such an expansion in coverage would result in families dropping their private coverage to enroll in public coverage – putting a bigger burden on taxpayers.
In addition, whenever these types of regulations are imposed at the state level, premiums have jumped two to three times the national average. Mandated coverage would force consumers to buy plans with benefits they may not want at prices they cannot afford.
The Baucus plan includes many of the same elements implemented in the Massachusetts mandated health plan, which is now suffering from massive cost overruns for the state and escalating premium costs for consumers. Many newly insured patients have been unable to find doctors willing to treat them under the new reimbursement levels.
The solution is portable coverage that moves with workers from job to job, and that allows families to choose the level of benefits they need at a cost they can afford. To curb costs and improve quality, we must provide patients more control over how they spend their health care dollars.
The good news about the Baucus plan is that Congress is discussing solutions to the health care crisis. However, it’s critical that we move forward with a solution that really works.