Thursday, December 28, 2006

Rell Proposes Health Care Plan

The vision thing is on the move. Gov. Rell has proposed a health care plan for uninsured adults called the Charter Oak Health Care Plan. From the Courant:
The initiative, called the Charter Oak Health Plan, would be open to adults of all incomes and cost each participant about $250 a month in premiums.
[...]
The Charter Oak Health Plan would offer a full prescription drug package with copays ranging from $10 to $15. Enrollees with pre-existing medical conditions would not be restricted from coverage.

There would be no maximum annual benefits, but there would be a lifetime maximum of $1 million of coverage. Laboratory and X-ray services would require a 20 percent copay while copays for prenatal, postnatal and preventive care would be lower than regular office visits to encourage people to receive that care.

The plan also would discourage costly visits to emergency rooms by requiring customers to pay for a portion of the visit if it's a non-emergency situation.
[...]
Rell said her proposal is not a "big government program." Rather, it encourages insurance companies to offer The Charter Oak Health Plan as an affordable choice in their offering of health care plans to reach people who otherwise can't afford coverage.

Senate President Donald E. Williams Jr., D-Brooklyn, said he's pleased Rell offered the proposal, but said the state will have to spend more money on health care.

Long quote, I know. But there's a lot to talk about, here. The idea is that the state wouldn't actually pay for the plan, but promote it. Insurance companies (and subscribers) would pay for it. Apparently, insurance companies are interested in offering it.

If it works, and it's affordable (although $250/month might be a bit steep for some), it's definitely worth considering over more traditional universal health care schemes.

I'm very interested to see what people have to say.

Source
"Rell Unveils Health Care Plan For Uninsured Adults." Associated Press 27 December, 2006.

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

A great plan! I think this is the right way to go-- but I would make two changes to turn this into "universal access":

1) Require everyone who doesn't have insurance to buy into the plan. (Like Massachusetts)
2) Have a subsidy for everyone 200% above the poverty line (or something like that-- I don't know how much it would cost).

This would be the best way to provide healthcare to all. If the Dems come out with a true "universal health care" (a la Britain or Canada), that would be worse than this.

Genghis Conn said...

I like what I see so far. I'd like to know more about it, of course, but the idea of a public-private partnership that would benefit both consumers and industry sounds great. Whether it's workable is another story.

But this is the kind of idea that makes me glad I voted for Rell.

Matt said...

There is literally nothing to this "plan" -- Rell isn't suggesting that the state fund this program, nor mandating that private insurers even offer it. She's learned a lot from the national GOP - this blind stab at "vision thing" governing is nothing more than 1) praying that the free market will bail the government out of problems its executives can't solve, backed up with 2) a bunch of money for advertising and P.R.

The only thing this could possibly accomplish is leaving a very large portion of the 340,000 who would be insured by universal coverage uninsured, using Granny Rell's popularity to convince people that the Governor's office is "working on it" while it is working on absolutely nothing.

Genghis, if this is a source of pride for you, maybe you should re-examine your priorities. This lame bureaucratic shuffling in the face of an increasingly dire healthcare situation is a mirror image of the "surge" P.R. offensive waged in the face of a dire foreign war. And supporting them both makes one either a right-winger willing to justify preventable deaths and injuries to cover for the wealthy and the politically craven - or a patsy unwilling to see that the emperor has neither clothes nor a healthcare plan. Hopefully neither of those things are the working definition of a "moderate" around here.

Matt said...

I propose expanded pony access for everyone in Connecticut. Genghis, you'll be providing the coverage. I don't know who will pay for it. But I do already have commercials made with my little nephew feeding a pony sugarcubes.

It's fun to be a moderate! Whee!

Can I count on your vote?

Anonymous said...

The liberals will not like it since it is not antibusiness and does not demand the huge hiring of additional staff from Local 1199

GMR said...

I am self-employed, and therefore purchase my health insurance directly from Anthem BCBS. I am 36, my wife is 34, and we have a 2 year old son. Our monthly premium is now $957. Before our son was born, two years ago, it was about $450 per month for my wife and me. But we had a $1,500 deductible for pregnancy. We have a $10 deductible for generic prescriptions and a $25 deductible for brand prescriptions.

So in any event, I guess $250 per month is more or less how much adults cost, but young children really make the insurance costs skyrocket.

Anonymous said...

GC,

Just think,for a mere $6000 out of pocket plus copays a year this wonderful Gov you voted for is offering you and you wife a healthcare package the insurance industry is going to get $1200 to administer.

When are you signing up?

PS- hope you don't want a family because kids aren't included in this plan.

Anonymous said...

$250 a month sounds very cheap, although she was not clear in terms of any coverage particulars.
I employ 30 people (community rated) and offer a modest health care plan. $250 per month would equate to a premium for the youngest members, but higher age groups are charged significantly more.
I do "shop' this insurance every year and my premiums are very competitive.
I did notice there were no insurers joining in this announcement but maybe they'll come later.

Anonymous said...

"the state will have to spend more money on health care"

Typical liberal mindset - spend, spend, spend.

Any chance we could try something creative that doesn't require spending lots of money?

Donny must be furious. Yet again, Jodi pulls the carpet out from under him!

disgruntled_republican said...

It's a start but I have a couple comments. First, a similar plan is already available through ConnectiCare with their Solo insurance plan. I know for a fact that it less than $250/month as well. My girlfriend had it when she switched jobs and was in the probationary period. She wrote a check for $185 a month so why would one want to pay another $65?

Next, the cost concerns me as well. A lot of the folks who are uninsured don't have $250 per month to spend on this. Now I realize that it is up to $250 but we have to play with the worst case number if we can't get anyhting concrete. And if we require it, then what? Listen, don't get me wrong, this is better than the socialized medicine proposal DeStefano tossed around but it needs work. It needs to be more affordable if we expect folks to take part.

In the article Patrick Scully, the spokesman for Senate D's, mentions that we spend roughly $350 million a year on uninsured now. He suggests using that to lower the cost for residents. Now I don't think we should use it all because to be frank, part of the thinking in this should be to lower state costs, I don't think its a terrible idea to use perhaps half to do just that.

And let's be honest. Rell and the Hartford Courant both say there is no cost to the state beyond marketing. Bullsch. Let's be honest, it'll have some costs and we should know what it is both moneterally and man-hours wise.

It's a start - let's hope the discussion goes from here.

cgg said...

I'd much rather see some actual legislation. Rell's proposal seems like fluff to me. And D_R is right about cost for those who couldn't afford the $250.

Anonymous said...

Uh, how does this differ from HUSKY? Or is this cover for the insurers and providers who don't like HUSKY?

Anonymous said...

Of course the Donkeys don't like the Rell plan. It doesn't create or pander to a class of 'victims.' It proposes a solution that rests on self-reliance. If you get married, or have kids, why shouldn't you be responsible for their care? Don't make enough money? Get a better job!

Anonymous said...

If put to a statewide vote, the Rell plan would win over any Democrat plan that spirals upward endlessly and creates a costly bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

the "Rell Plan" is the insurance company and medical lobby plan.

Anonymous said...

So Rell anounces her "vision" for healthcare two days after Christmas. This doesn't do jack about the burgeoning costs for companies and government agencies that already offer up health insurance nor does it do anything for those who buy insurance on the open market. Doing anything to really lower costs would mean taking on the doctros, hospitals and insurance companies and that wouldn't be very Rell.

Anonymous said...

Two adults, two kids cost $20 per week for insurance. Most families pay more than that in babysitting expenses.

disgruntled_republican said...

Two adults, two kids cost $20 per week for insurance.

Where is this Anon?

Anonymous said...

The Rell plan is targeted at the uninsured. And it is on target.

Anonymous said...

On target? How can we say when it lacks so much detail. How are the lowest income, highest risk uninsured going to afford this? Its good in theory but so is communism.

Anonymous said...

The Rell plan looks like the Mickey Hebert Plan being designed to help out the HMO's. And you must be uninsured for six months before you can enroll, too.

Anonymous said...

Looks like anon confused cost per month with cost per year. Everybody would be ecstatic with health insurance at$250 per year.

Anonymous said...

Rell's just reading from the script put in front of her. She's clueless as usual when it comes to helping businesses and local taxpayers spend less.

Anonymous said...

We should aid cheap health care along with cheap gas and cheap electricity to the list of Donkey entitlements.

Anonymous said...

One danger is that this new "cheaper" plan by the private insurers ends up being subsidized by the currently insured.

Anonymous said...

Had this "plan" been announced by the health insurers it would be better understood as the marketing gimmick that it appears to be. This does nothing to lower anybody's costs and it's not even clear that it's affordable enough to encourage the half of the ranks of the uninsured are uninsured by choice to sign up. Basically, the state will pick up some marketing costs for the HMO's as if the HMO's haven't already saturated the airwaves, internet and print with their offerings.

If the so-called plan actually meant something we'd see some clarifications here instead of the usual sniping from the Republicans.

TrueBlueCT said...

Rell is being intellectually dishonest.

I agree that every adult should be able to find health insurance at a maximum of no more than $3,000/year. But sadly, this ain't the case.

Rell suggests that even those with pre-existing conditions would be able to buy into her "plan". Yeah, right. Without state subsidies, no insurer will be so generous. We know that, Rell knows that, and she is lying out her ass.

Also, Governor Press Release is batshit crazy if she thinks $3,000 a year is "affordable" to most of CT's uninsured. Someone struggling to make ends meet on 20K a year will still have to rely on the Emergency Room for his or her healthcare.

Anonymous said...

Rell is only being dishonest in that she refuses to admit she doesn't know waht she's talking about. And many who rely on the emergency room do so out of lazyness. There are community health centers in every major city that offer up serivces on a sliding scale based on ability to pay.

TrueBlueCT said...

Genghis, you wrote:
The idea is that the state wouldn't actually pay for the plan, but promote it. Insurance companies (and subscribers) would pay for it. Apparently, insurance companies are interested in offering it.

If it works, and it's affordable (although $250/month might be a bit steep for some), it's definitely worth considering over more traditional universal health care schemes.

I'm very interested to see what people have to say.

----------------------------------------------------

Genghis, one, I'm very interested in hearing from either you, or Governor Rell, which insurance companies are apparently interested in offering this plan. My guess is none.

Two, what in heck do you mean by, "traditional universal health care schemes"?

Anonymous said...

The only way this plan can work without a state subsidy is a gutting on mandated coverages. The state mandates dozen of coverages which increases the cost of insurance in the state. The insurance industry would be willing to agree to a lot (in the short run) if some of the mandates went away.

Anonymous said...

I love how the conservatives who bitch that high taxes are causing jobs and companies to flee the state think that people who can't afford health insurance should just go out and "get a better job," like it's buying a new couch, easy as pie!

Of course, the same people who think we should all just get better jobs here in the good 'ol USA also fervently support corporations shipping their entire companies overseas.

It makes me wonder if any such conservative has actually tried to get a job in this country in the last 30 years.

Matt said...

anon 3:01 -- Right wing conservatives believe that there are natural under-classes and upper-classes, and that forcing the poor to go without health insurance will somehow teach them discipline (see Anon 12:27 deriding the "lazyness" of those using emergency room services). Using the government to bring those in poverty towards a "middle-class" status is considered a moral failing, because it rewards the weak, at the expense of the morally righteous (i.e. the "independently wealthy").

It is not shocking or surprising that the same people who demand favorable treatment (rewards and subsidies) for corporations would be opposed to minimum wages, progressive taxation, and heath coverage for the poorest Americans.

What is surprising is that so-called "moderates" are willing to subscribe to this worldview, when it is in fact quite radical. If Granny Rell's health care "plan" was written by James Dobson, it would not have turned out much different.

wtfdnucsubsailor said...

All I know is what I read in the papers this morning but this looks like a gimmick. $250/month per person is out of reach of most uninsured. The state will help market the plan for the insurance providers - that sounds like a deal for the insurance companies - not the consumer. I hope the General Assembly can come up with a "real" plan.

Anonymous said...

Has anybody heard any reaction from the insurance companies? Seems logical that you would have them on board at least in principle before trotting out this proposal. Or is this something Rell thought up on the way to the office?

Anonymous said...

Some activists have stuck their noses into the business of the HMO's offering up HUSKY. This plan should help to keep the activists out of the insurance companies stuff since the state will just be the marketing agent and not the purchaser of the plan like they are with HUSKY. I'm going to double down on my insurance company stock investments. Thanks for the tip, Jodi!!

Anonymous said...

Giving Rell credit for some kind of ideological bias on this is ridiculous. She needed some press with something "frugal" and the insurance industry gave her a press kit. This is classic Rell.

G-BuryMan said...

Actually, my problem with Universal Health care is I don't want my taxpayer dollars paying for some fat slob, eating twinkies and Mc'D's or smoking cigs like a chiminey, who is sick or needs pills for some disorder.

Constitution says pursuit of happiness but does not guarantee it.

G-BuryMan said...

What's next universal employment? Where does it end?

I went three years without insurance in my 20's and the Democrats are thinking about making healthy people that age have insurance even if they don't want it.

Thanks for the freedom or lack there of.

Matt said...

G-buryman, what are you talking about? We don't get to choose whether we want a military, or roads, or a town hall, or senior centers, or schools, or public beaches -- whether you or I use any of those things or not. It's called the public good.

If you were in that position now, and felt like exercising your "freedom," you could simply choose not get your injuries treated.

Anon 4:19 - Rell might not be an ideologue, but she's dumb enough to take their bait, and right-wingers are aware enough to cheer her on when she does.

AB said...

Sipel way to end this discussion. look at every single country in this world that offers Universal, Government subsidized healthcare and you will find patients waiting months or years for treatment, procedures not available and ultimately those same universally covered people flocking to the United States for treatment and healthcare. Why, simple, the US has the best doctors, best treatment, best healthcare system in the world. The left wingers focus on the 20 percent of the American population that has not coverage and in the name of their socialist ideals, wished to break the system for the other 80 percent......

To a point made earlier, whats next, universal employment, a guarantee that all will be employed and guaranteed a very specific wage , maybe $40K or $50k? why not right......its liek the myth of minimum wage. Minimum wage was never designed to be a living wage...never, read some history.........

Back to healthcare, the concept that the doctors are responsible for the highcost is nonsense.Insurance companies dictate what coverage costs.....

Matt said...

AB - as it turns out, there's one aspect of the American health system that is uniquely successful in the world - namely, that if you have a limitless amount of money, we live in the country most likely to be able to treat a malady.

However, people travelling from Canada or wherever illustrates a problem: people living in all of those other countries get all the advantages of universal coverage (ability to visit any doctor, routine preventative care and testing, lowered infant mortality rates, increased life expectancy, free or extremely cheap prescription drugs) and the super-wealthy can still travel and get access to very expensive treatments by an elite core of doctors that neither you nor I have access to anyway.

We, unfortunately, get none of the benefits of universal coverage, and as a result, have the world's highest per-capita spending on healthcare (measured both in dollars and as a percentage of GDP), as well as the highest infant mortality rate and one of the lowest life expectancies of any industrialized nation. And satisfaction with our health system (40%) is among the world's lowest -- while Italy's is worse (20%), Canada (46%), U.K. (57%), Sweden (58%), France (65%), Finland (81%) and Denmark (91%) all have universal coverage with which the population is more satisfied than we are with ours.

Americans prefer universal health insurance by a 62-32% margin over our current system. 80% think that "it's more important to provide health care coverage for all Americans, even if it means raising taxes, than to hold down taxes but leave some people uncovered." Yet somehow, "tradition universal health care schemes" are derided as unpopular or somehow less worthy than private, inefficient, and incomplete healthcare systems.

Universal healthcare is a moderate position, supported by a vast majority of the American public, most of whom are quite dissatisfied with our current system. People like you, AB - and yes, you too, Genghis - are acting as extremists in this matter. When you're on the wrong side of 80% of America, you can either revise your opinion, or accept that you are very far out of the mainstream.

MikeCT said...

Plebicola gets to the heart of the problem and the profound cynicism in Rell's proposal:

But it would be a mistake to think that Rell has suddenly switched sides in this debate. Her tactics of rhetoric as an alternative to actual leadership is designed to allow her to appear that she is taking action on issues on which the public expects action, while simultaneously allowing her to wiggle out of actually doing what the public wants.
....

Critical to the whole tactic is that she says that her plan does not require legislative approval. This is, of course, because her plan does not actually do anything. Basically, her plan comes down to saying that she is going to talk to insurance companies and persuade them to voluntarily offer a quality health insurance package at a lower cost than they would ever voluntarily offer. If the insurance companies were going to do this, they would have done it already.

But, the rhetorical statement is made. M. Jodie Rell hereby declares that universal health care coverage exists, holding her press release in hand as proof.

This will, she hopes, enable her to veto any plan enacted legislatively by the Democrats as too expensive, while having the cover of being able to say that she is "already working with insurance companies to create" the health insurance that would be offered under her plan.


Matt,
You're right on, except that Genghis supports single payer (despite his curious support of Rell).

Anonymous said...

Rell's plan won't work. The uninsured don't need insurance; they have no assets to protect so they won't pay $250 a month plus a high deductible. Providers routinely budget a high percentage of gross income for bad debt - a lot higher than the electric company, landlord or the grocery store that doesn't extend credit anyway.

A payroll tax system to provide universal coverage is the solution because whether one want it our not, everyone partakes. Negotiated rates for procedures - like medicare - will help keep costs down.

Anonymous said...

If your mommy can get you a job working for the State Senate you too can have universal healthcare.

Fuzzy Turtle said...

Anonymous said... The Rell plan is targeted at the uninsured. And it is on target.
SHE WANTS YOU TO BE UNINSURED FOR SIX MONTHS BEFORE YOU QUALIFY. HOW IS THIS A GOOD IDEA???

She's crazy. I'm glad I didn't vote for her.

Anonymous said...

The notion that Medicare has kept costs down is just plain ludicrous.

Matt said...

MikeCT - I know, but there's a weird tendency of self-identified moderates to publicly claim how much better nothing would be than what they themselves think is progress.

I'm sure that on some level he favors ending the war in Iraq as well, but issued a curious endorsement of escalation last week. It's not really a problem with Genghis so much as the perverse cynicism that suggests that to be responsible, one must support stupid or flatly wrong proposals, even if it means going against the vast majority of public opinion to do so.

I think there's a connection between government inaction in the face of crisis, and a class of "moderates" who see the promoting the common good as somehow incompatible with enhancing their own reputations. McCain and Lieberman are our two finest and most shameless national examples of this absurd approach, I just get very critical of more local examples when they happen to pop up.

AB said...

Matt,

As long as you are going to quotwe survey's, 80 percent of Americans are against gay marriage, so therefore it should be outlawed correct?

Matt said...

The most recent poll I've seen pegs legal marriage at 30%, civil unions at 30%, and no legal recognition for gay couples at 32%. This was a Fox News poll that came out just around election day.

60% favor legal recognition and rights for gay couples. Since I don't care to be known as a moderate, I'm happy to be in the minority when I feel strongly about an issue, but gay marriage /civil unions isn't one of those issues, I'm afraid. The fundamentalists are sadly behind the times on this issue as well.

AB said...

Sorry, I meant to say 60 percent according to a Washington Post ABC news poll oppose gay marriage....

Anonymous said...

the majority of Americans believe that we shouldn't be in Iraq; let's get out!!!