A Public Option Will Help Us Avoid CARD Act Issues in Health Care
Currently the government has come to a harsh reality; companies that were profiting heavily before the recession, even at the expense of consumers, will do whatever they have to now to maintain those profitable margins.
Case in point, credit card companies in wake of the CARD Act. Though the bill was passed in May of this year, the changes weren’t slated to go into effect until February 2010. Credit card companies moved swiftly to squeeze as much as they could out of their cardholders before stricter regulations were enforced. Now Congress is considering their options for expediting the process so that US consumers aren’t bled dry by next year.
So during all this health care reform discussion, Congressman should consider one thing; will health insurers do the same once a bill is passed?
A Public Option Would Keep Health Insurers Honest
Many credit card companies saw their window of opportunity and took it, raising rates on cardholders with no warning (something that is prohibited under the new CARD regulations). It was a business move not humanitarian move, which is understandable – they’re a business. Profits are the bottom line, not how many people go bankrupt to get those profits.
With health reform on the horizon that overhauls and increases regulations over health insurers, I question whether they will do the same thing. There will be an interim period between the passing of the law and the law actually taking affect.
What’s going to stop insurers from jacking up premiums or dropping and denying coverage while they can? What about after the laws go into effect? What’s going to stop insurers from taking advantage of loopholes in the legislation?
A public option, that’s what.
Unlike the credit card industry, we have the means right now while the bill is being crafted to create competition that will keep health insurers more honest. Without a public option it’s a win-win-win for health insurance companies.
If reform mandates that most people get health insurance and there’s no public option that leaves only the health insurance companies, guaranteeing them more business. For the most part we’d be rewarding an industry that has operated so unethically and inefficiently that a drastic overhaul is now needed.
We must have a public option to keep insurers honest. Just because the regulations are being reformed doesn’t mean the mindsets and priorities of health insurance companies will as well. Legislators need to learn from their mistakes with the CARD Act and take the necessary steps now to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen with the health reform bill.