Senator: Is there enough money on planet to subsidize healthcare?
All the government subsidies in the world will not be enough to make health insurance premiums affordable for Americans without more cost control and competition in the proposed sweeping reform backed by President Barack Obama, one Senator says.
No that’s not a Republican talking, it’s a Democrat.
As congressional Democrats work to narrow their differences over healthcare reform some are worried that people will be unable to afford the premiums on the medical coverage they will be required to buy.
Legislation being considered in the Senate and House of Representatives include substantial subsidies, but will that be enough to make insurance affordable? Democratic Senator Ron Wyden does not think so.
“My own theory is there will not be enough subsidy money on the planet to get the kind of affordability if that is the only approach you use,” Wyden said.
“The approach that is going to get more cost containment more quickly for more people is competition and choice,” he said.
Democrats are focusing on creating a new government health plan to compete with private insurers as one way to provide more competition. Republicans are opposed to what the Democrats are proposing.
Democratic Senator Thomas Carper said lawmakers are discussing ways to give states “plenty of options” to provide “competition and choice that works to the advantage of consumers, not insurance companies.”
Beyond a government run insurance plan and nonprofit cooperatives, some ideas being considered include states standing up their own public plans, and allowing states to create compacts to allow plans to be sold across state lines.
Photo credit: Reuters/Natalie Behring (Protesters at an HMO in New York in October)