Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dose of Reality: Obamacare

April's Dose of Reality is a discussion of the 900-page Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which may, says Davis, actually do some good.
Anyone aware of the control that the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries exert over Congress should not be surprised that the new law does good things for these industries, and very little that may harm their profitability right away. The surprise (for me at least) is that the new law actually does do some good for the public—and in ways that might and should eventually lead to the demise of the for-profit health insurance industry and the continuing obscene profits of the pharmaceutical industry.
The act allows for self-insuring, although it does not include a public option, unfortunately. Health care cooperatives already exist, and this bill may strengthen them by providing an option that costs less. (Obamacare doesn't do much to reduce health care costs, alas--some, but not much.) Neil uses the example of the Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative. The more people who join health care cooperatives, the stronger they will become. And cooperatives, unlike insurance companies, exist to benefit their members. (Insurance companies, you recall, exist to make a profit for their investors.)

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