Rigging Universal Health Coverage

Devising a system of universal health coverage in Utah is a high priority for our governor (I’d say it’s second to expanding our state economy). As usual, Scott is pointing out the glaring flaws in the approach the governor is taking.

I find it more than a little disconcerting that a task force made up of people who make their money on health care are being put in charge of coming up with ideas. It should not be surprising that such a group would encourage a mandate on individuals. If we should have a mandate at all, shouldn’t it be a mandate on those who make their money on health care, perhaps a mandate that insurance companies must offer a broad array of plans, or that health care providers publish their prices (these are very preliminary ideas, just suggesting that a mandate on individuals is misguided).

I also think that the task force should include some people who are not already insured – at the very least they should spend a lot of time talking to people (insured and uninsured) to find out what kind of plans would attract more people to purchase insurance. That should be the basis of any policy decisions and, if necessary, mandates for the insurance companies.

In my experience, one of the reasons that doctors and clinics don’t want to publish their prices, is that they charge different prices depending on your insurance. They accept that when they want to charge someone $100 for a visit the insurance company will return the bill saying that they will only allow them to charge $88 for that visit and that they will pay $73 of that (leaving a $15 copay).

It seems to me that the pricing system is upside-down. Doctors should publish their prices and insurance companies that will accept that doctor will agree to pay that published price (of course allowing for the copay structure). Doctors who charge higher prices would not be accepted by as many insurance companies and insurance companies who would not pay enough to cover the costs to doctors would not be able to offer access to as many doctors. People without insurance would also be able to make informed choices on the services they use. If my experience is any guide, the option of health savings accounts combined with a high deductible policy (sometimes called catastrophic coverage) would look much more desirable to more people.

About David

David is the father of 8 extremely organized children (4 girls / 4 boys) who is constantly seeking answers to tough questions related to parenting, education and politics while moonlighting for 40 hours each week as a technology professional. He also enjoys cooking, gardening, and sports.

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5 Responses to Rigging Universal Health Coverage

  1. forHealth says:

    I agree. It is odd that prices are considered proprietary information. Ridiculous!

  2. David says:

    I look forward to reading your blog. The thing this debate really needs is more accurate information so that people understand what’s really happening to their health care dollars.

  3. In my post tonight I tell my story on why I currently have no health care insurance. I’m one of more than 46 million like me. Check me out at peoplepowergranny.blogspot.com and let me know what you think needs to be done to improve health care accessibility for all in the USA.

  4. Mark Hansen says:

    Ah! We agree!

    While it is true that people who make their money in health care both have some knowledge and a stake in the field, it could very much end up one-sided.

    And as much as my family relies on public assistance for health care, I would hate to see it fully in the hands of those who are already charging too much.


  5. David says:


    Your comment go caught in my spam filter – sorry for the detour.

    I’ve been in the same Cobra joke you are experiencing. I learned that the cheapest insurance is generally the best – you control the money rather than giving it away in premiums, especially if you know how to save what you aren’t spending in premiums.

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