Monday, May 18, 2009

An example that Alaska should not follow

In the May Dose of Reality, Neil Davis examines the results of the Massachusetts Health Reform Law of 2006. In short, the reform has failed.
There is of course a reason for the failure. The framers of the Massachusetts legislation refused to address head-on the major problem with American health care: the control exerted upon it by the private for-profit health insurance industry. They did not just ignore the problem, they exacerbated it by giving the industry even more power than it had before to dictate to many more Massachusetts residents who gets health care and how much.
Davis warns that this may be relevant to Alaskans' health care future because
Despite the failure of the Massachusetts health insurance reform, Alaska may find itself led down the same garden path to higher health care costs and decreasing access to health care. An attempt to push the state in that unfortunate direction was made in the 2008 legislative session by the introduction of SB 160. The sponsors emphasized that the bill was patterned after the Massachusetts legislation enacted earlier. Senate Bill 160 failed to pass the senate, but Senators Hollis French and Johnny Ellis, both Democrats, resurrected it as SB 61 (short-titled Mandatory Universal Health Insurance) during the just-concluded 2009 session. Although SB 61 went through several hearings, it was in committee when the session ended and is still alive for consideration during the next legislative session.

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