Momentum Builds for U.S. Role in Paying Highest Health Costs. -- The cowboy's reaction: Don't confuse me with the facts.
In seeking to rein in the costs of the runaway insurance premiums paid by employers and their workers - nearly $520 billion this year and rising - politicians of both parties and some business groups are pushing an idea known as reinsurance. Such an approach might take its place alongside existing federal reinsurance programs, like the ones for floods and other natural disasters, or for the damages that might result from acts of terrorism.
Although Mr. Kerry's proposal calls for a much larger government role than a plan recently floated by the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, the goals are similar: to reduce the financial burden on employers when their workers' medical bills rise above a certain threshold.
Otherwise, proponents say, more companies will join the trend of cutting back or eliminating employee health benefits. Of the 45 million people without health insurance in this country, nearly 70 percent are working full time or are the dependents of those workers.
The United States Chamber of Commerce, which represents many small businesses and has long called for government action on health care costs, describes reinsurance as "a worthy concept, an excellent use of federal dollars."
Bush campaign officials said they had no comment on the Frist proposal. That plan envisions a federally chartered but privately run reinsurance organization, analogous to the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae mortgage companies that were established to assume the risk of lending so that bankers can give homeowners more affordable mortgages.
Dr. Frist has referred to it as a "national publicly chartered, privately run 'Healthy Mae.' "
(Excerpts from the New York Times.)
Of course Bush didn't comment on Frist's plan. It makes sense. As a small business owner, I can tell you that the fear that "more companies will join the trend of cutting back or eliminating employee health benefits" is reality. The increases over the past few years become harder and harder to absorb.