We All Have Pre-existing Conditions – by Elisabeth Rosenthal – NYT

“The Republican health care plan recently passed by the House would hollow out one of the most popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act: a prohibition on charging higher prices to people with pre-existing medical conditions. States, under the plan, could waive that rule, provided they offer publicly funded alternatives for coverage.

The Republican plan raises questions, including about cost: Many experts believe the more than $100 billion earmarked for alternative programs, such as “high-risk pools,” would be inadequate. According to the Congressional Budget Office, many patients with pre-existing conditions would be priced out of the market.

But the Republican proposal also raises a more basic issue: Who will decide what constitutes a pre-existing condition?”

DL: It took me years of study to figure out that the only good solution has been discovered and applied almost everywhere in the developed world but the US, it is called a single payer system. Medicare is an example of a single payer system.

Here is a comment I heartily endorse:

Christine McM is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 6 hours ago

“Turning away people with just a hint of illness is a reasonable business strategy. But as so often occurs in the profit-oriented health system, what is best for business is not necessarily good for patients.”

Excellent article because it nails, above, the essential paradox of America’s totally insane healthcare system. As long as medical price inflation isn’t tamed and insurers run for-profit businesses, the American patient suffers.

No other country in the world treats healthcare as a luxury, a profit center for insurance companies. Modern countries abroad employ government-run single payer systems with universal coverage and price controls.

Are there at times waits for nonessential services? Of courses there are. But these countries realize that the price of universal coverage without a greedy for-profit insurance industry acting as gatekeepers over life and death is worth it, to protect all citizens.

When I worked in drug marketing, it was widely known that the US healthcare market made up for price controls in Europe and elsewhere. In other words, our sky-high drug prices subsidize the more rational approach taken by Canada and Europe, where new products must be first proven effective and then, priced rationality, not for grotesque profits.

Our healthcare system is a mess because it favors the insurance industry, priced exorbitantly and viewed by politicians as a privilege not a right.

And this is morally wrong.

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