Ron Bliss: It is time that both parties sit down and work out a good healthcare plan
The U.S. Senate took its summer break without another vote on healthcare — as President Donald Trump insisted they do.
Now, when they come back, both sides need to sit down and not do what is good for their parties, but what is good for the American people.
Health insurance is out of whack. While the Affordable Care Act has done a lot of good things, it also has major flaws that need to be fixed and it is the job of Congress to fix it. The Republicans dealt with the issue the way their Democratic colleagues had when they passed the ACA without a single Republican vote in 2010.
But the fact they couldn’t even convince all of their own party to go along, it should be obvious to the Republican Party that it is time to put party pride aside and work out what is best for the people.
President Trump promised to make health insurance better and cost less. This is his opportunity. He needs to concede it is time to work with the other side to get something that is workable.
What is needed are hearings on healthcare where new ideas are debated.
Having huge deductibles that make the patient pay $6000-$7000 before the insurance company pays its part is not the answer. Have plans where the insurance company joins with the client to help pay the expense of healthcare – indemnity plans – is something that needs to be seriously considered. And let them pick and choose aspects they want and need. The one-size fits all approach is not workable.
As much as some dislike it, having a mandate to buy health insurance is something that is needed. If you don’t have everyone required to buy insurance, only the sick will buy insurance and rates will continue to go up, as they have been. Maybe the subsides need to be even more and not leave middle class folks earning more than $48,000 as individuals and $67,000 as a couple without subsidy assistance. The level for help needs to be increased, if you are going to convince more people to sign up.
One of the failings of the ACA was that it didn’t do a good enough job of convincing the young and healthy to buy insurance and many didn’t.
They need a way to convince everyone to buy in. If that means a fine, so be it. And the longer they go without, the more the fine should be.
If you don’t have auto insurance in Nevada, there is something like a $500 fine, until you get it. The ACA started out with a $95 fine per person. Many looked at that and laughed.
As President Trump found out after getting into office “it is a lot more complicated than I thought.”
That is why Congress needs to take time and do it right. And if both sides decide on what is needed, it will be easier for the public to buy in.
A good start would be to take actions to stabilize the insurance market before the upcoming open enrollment. Taking away cost-sharing payments right now would have a disastrous effect on the nation’s citizens and cause chaos.
Ron Bliss is an independent insurance agent in Carson City who is certified on and off the exchange in both Nevada and California. He has sold ACA plans every year since the program started in 2014. He offers a wide range of health insurance products, including dental and vision and Medicare supplements and Medicare Advantage. He can be reached at 775-224-7169.