Utah Plan Would Require Mandated Health Insurance

As a follow-up to this post about Barack Obama's response to Paul Krugman's column about the failure of Obama's health care plan to include a mandate for universal health care coverage, I thought it interesting that Utah is considering a plan that would require every resident to have health insurance. Advisors to Gov. Gov. Jon Huntsman say it's the way to go:

"This is not government insurance. We don't think that's the solution to these challenges. Individuals are going to have more responsibility," [House Majority Leader Rep. David Clark,] said. "Our goal is to try to find a way for every Utahn to have an opportunity to have access to health care." For the poor, the plan would aim to boost enrollment in existing programs such as Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and Utah's Premium Partnership for Health, which helps workers pay premiums.

Working residents who do not qualify for those programs but can't afford health insurance would receive subsidies that put coverage within their reach. People who can afford health insurance but don't buy it could be prohibited from enrolling in university classes or getting a job. Nielsen said it's possible they could also someday face a tax penalty, as is the case in Massachusetts.

The Salt Lake Tribune has more on the plan.

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    A working universal plan next door (none / 0) (#1)
    by Natal on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 04:14:11 PM EST
    I really don't understand the aversion to universal health care through a single payer. There's a working plan right next door in Canada. According to the England Journal of Medicine health care costs in Canada are one third of those in the US and the gap is widening. It seems to me that the various programs to be offered in Utah would only increase costs compared to a single payer.

    US senior Medicare is highly touted as an example but it's expensive compared to Canada. Each qualifying senior in the US pays $93.50/month for Medical Services but has hospital free. However, to my understanding there is a deductible and co-pay. In Canada some provinces have no premium while others charge such as BC $54/month for a single person but no deductible or co-pay. Coverage is mandatory and those below the poverty line have free coverage.

    For Canadians having medical treatment in the US payments are made in accordance what the plans pay Canadian doctors. Invariably it is quite a bit less than the US doctor charges. I read that US Medicare only pays for treatment in the US, not outside the country.

    I've been under Canadian and US plans and personally there is a more secure feeling and peace of mind under the Canadian plan. This is worth something to me. I can't remember the amount of time I had been on the phone dealing with US insurance companies over payment hassles but it was days in a year.

    The main argument against the Canadian Medicare system is that it's socialism. It's been in place for 40 years and right next door to investigate.

    Sure, lets investigate! (none / 0) (#2)
    by Wile ECoyote on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 05:09:13 PM EST
    1.  Layton accused of hypocrisy for visiting private clinic

    Layton is leader of the New Democrat party.  The elites do what they want and the taxpayer stands in line, even in Canada.

    1.  Top doctor admits to queue-jump  Head of the CAMA can't wait in line like everyone else.  

    2.  Canadian Supreme court issued an opinion last Thursday saying, in effect, that Canada's vaunted public health-care system produces intolerable inequality.

    Unsocialized Medicine
    A landmark ruling exposes Canada's health-care inequity.

    1.  Top court strikes down Quebec private health-care ban  Great read!

    2.  The Ugly Truth About Canadian Health Care

    Socialized medicine has meant rationed care and lack of innovation. Small wonder Canadians are looking to the market.


    Yes I've heard (none / 0) (#4)
    by Natal on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 05:56:04 PM EST
    I've heard about those things. But it's undeniable that medical costs are much less in Canada for exactly the same service request. In addition, prescription drug costs are 50% less in Canada. Anyways I'm not much of a supporter of allopathic medicine and it is the focus of all the proposed health plans to prop it up which I feel is in the wrong direction.

    Sounds a little crazy... (none / 0) (#3)
    by desertswine on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 05:34:46 PM EST
    People who can afford health insurance but don't buy it could be prohibited from enrolling in university classes or getting a job.

    reminds me (none / 0) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 06:02:34 PM EST
    of how not paying your child support results in loss of your drivers' license in some states or ability to renew a passport.

    yeah, that's what i was (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 08, 2007 at 11:43:55 PM EST
    thinking as well. i'm at a loss as to the connection being made there, since the one wouldn't, on the surface, appear to have any direct connection with the other.

    of course, the problem with this plan is that it still includes all the duplicative admin. costs of having multiple insurance plans, costs having nothing to do with actual care. this is the beauty of the single-payer plan: it's a lot more cost efficient to administer, and wields super power, with regards to negotiating dr's fees and prescription drug costs. adam smith would be proud; economies of scale in action!

    this is why the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries are so adamantly opposed, their earnings per share would take a hit.

    for dr's, it would be close to revenue neutral: what they lost in fees, would be made up for, almost entirely, by the decrease in their admin costs. it would also cut down on their personal stress levels, and let them concentrate on being dr's.

    funny thing, the WTO found the canadian health system to be pretty good, overall. as it did both the british and french state systems. clearly, they aren't perfect, but then, neither is ours.


    I'm not a fan of.... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 10:12:21 AM EST
    "buy insurance or else!" plans like this.  To me, these plans only really benefit insurance companies.  I don't like the govt. forcing me to do business with insurance companies, which I view as generally rather crooked.

    I do think health care solutions might be best dealt with on the state level though...the bigger a system is, the more problems.  I'd love to see somebody come up with a workable state level single-payer plan.

    I want choice (none / 0) (#8)
    by katmandu on Mon Jan 14, 2008 at 02:35:30 AM EST
    I don't like the idea of being forced into
    a "one size fits all" health insurance.
    There is no reason a single company would respond
    to complants if there is no other option for
    consumers.  A monopoly will encourage higher fees
    and lower service.  Competition is a better way
    to go.  Also, I prefer dealing with private
    companies instead of the gov't--at any level.