Thursday, February 25, 2010

If you still think we don’t need health care reform ...

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2010 at 5:37 PM

You may be spending a little time today checking out the big health care summit going on in Washington, and if so, good for you for caring about such a critical issue. But whether you’re watching the D.C. talkathon or not, take a little time out to read “Rising Blue Cross bills stun N.C. families” in today’s paper, picked up from Raleigh’s News & Observer. Unless you’re a right-wing zealot, or simply don’t give a rip about anyone else (often the same thing), you have to conclude that the hard slog of passing real, fundamental health care reform has to keep going forward.

The N&O story, by Alan Wolf, reports on Blue Cross Blue Shield raising premiums for a healthy 17-year-old Durham girl more than 50 percent. Why? Because she has two pre-existing conditions: 1. She’s female; and 2. She turned 17.

No one knows what the result of the health care debate in D.C. will be, but any final law should at least include regulations that would make the kind of predatory gouging that the 17-year-old’s family is going through a thing of the past. And, better yet, make it a crime. Two days ago, Robert Reich, former labor secretary for Clinton and present-day professor and writer, called for the elimination of health insurance companies’ exemption from anti-trust laws, which would make it easier to control these outlandish premium increases. It’s a well-reasoned and researched article, which you can read here.

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