- A prohibition on pre-existing condition exclusions.
- Guaranteed issue and renewal: insurers can't drop you for getting sick; you lose your coverage only for not paying your bill or defrauding your insurer.
- Insurers can charge you higher premiums as you get older, but the highest geezer premium can be no more than twice the best young-pup premium.
- Health plans must cover mental health and substance abuse treatments, preventive care, and (here's the real pro-life policy!) maternity and well-baby/well-child care.
- Cost-sharing—deductibles, copayments, etc.—on essential coverage is capped at $5K per individual and $10K per family, with annual increases tied to the Consumer Price index.
H.R. 3200 is not single-payer, so obviously, Dennis Kucinich and I are disappointed. but for those of you who think we can sit back, do nothing, and let the magical invisible hand solve everything, consider Rep. Kucinich's damning assessment of health care in America:
Medicine in the U.S. is a profit driven market commodity distributed according to the ability to pay rather than a basic human right distributed as a public service according medical need. No wonder that the United States ranks 47th in life expectancy and 23rd in infant mortality. In this profit driven, private insurance based system there are over 1400 manage care organizations and 5000 health insurance plans. We have the most expensive health care system in the world – over 16% of our GDP. Two point four trillion dollars a year goes to health spending and 1 out of every 3 dollars go to the activities of the for-profit system- for corporate profits, stock options, executive salaries, advertising, marketing, and the cost of paperwork. Yet 47 million people remain uninsured and another 50 million are underinsured. I submit that there is a direct relationship between the for-profit health care system and the uninsured and the underinsured [Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), opening statement, House Education and Labor Committee, 2009.07.15].
The market isn't working. We need a public option—yes, one run by the government. The ideal would be single-payer, but if we can get even a partial public option to compete with the private insurers and put people over profits, we'll have made progress.