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Robert Reich
NationofChange / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 14 November 2013
Democrats should stand firm for a change.

Having the Backbone to Set Minimum Standards for Health Insurance

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Democrats are showing once again they have the backbones of banana slugs.

The Affordable Care Act was meant to hold insurers to a higher standards. So it stands to reason that some insurers will have to cancel their lousy sub-standard policies.

But spineless Democrats (including my old boss Bill Clinton) are caving in to the Republican-fueled outrage that the President “misled” Americans into thinking they could keep their old lousy policies — and are now urging the White House to forget the new standards and let people keep what they had before.

And some congressional Republicans are all too eager to join them, and allow insurers to offer whatever crap they were offering before — exposing families to more than $12,700 in out-of-pocket expenses, canceling policies of people who get seriously sick, failing to cover prescription drugs, and so on.

Can we please get a grip? Whenever industry standards are lifted — a higher minimum wage, safer workplaces, non-toxic foods and drugs, safer cars — people no longer have the “freedom” to contract for the sub-standard goods and services.

But that freedom is usually a mirage because big businesses have most of the power and average people don’t have much of a choice. This has been especially the case with health insurance, which is why minimum standards here are essential.

Yes, the President might have spelled this out a bit more clearly beforehand, explaining that 95 percent of us aren’t in the private insurance market to begin with and won’t be affected, and that most of the 2 percent who lose their lousy policies and have to take better and more expensive ones will be subsidized.

But right now the President needs all the political support he can muster to hold insurers’ feet to the fire. Democrats should stand firm for a change.

This article was originally posted on Robert Reich's blog.



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ABOUT Robert Reich

 

ROBERT B. REICH, one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy, is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. Time Magazine has named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written thirteen books, including his latest best-seller, “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future;” “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages; and his newest, an e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His syndicated columns, television appearances, and public radio commentaries reach millions of people each week. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, and Chairman of the citizen’s group Common Cause. His widely-read blog can be found at www.robertreich.org. Robert Reich's new film, "Inequality for All" is available on DVD
and blu-ray, and on Netflix in February.

It's really difficult for

It's really difficult for progressives to rally behind this thinly disguised bailout of insurance companies when everybody who isn't on their dole knows that we need single-payer in this country.

One of the first things that Obama said in 2009 was that he wasn't going to let the critical billion-dollar insurance 'industry' go down the drain. He had majorities in congress and the senate ready for Medicare-for-All and he blew it and now he and what's left of the Democrats are reaping what they sowed. I won't be signing any petitions to save this monster called 'The Affordable-Care Act'.

Reich is wrong.This is not a step toward single payer; it further entrenches the insurance leeches in our medical system,

How can you have standards if

How can you have standards if you dont have a system first so you know what a good standard is and how to define it but that would be thinking as well.
You may have raised the bar nut people are running into it and now need dental work is that covered.

Okay whats next companies

Okay whats next companies dropping all health insurance for employees and claiming they can get it cheaper from the other providers of insurance. Only the money not being spent on health insurance stays in the companies pocket no
sharing with the employees who should get some of the money that was being spent on them. It seems to me that a trial State should have been set up long ago two years ago to get the bugs out but that would be thinking and not hoeing.
Speaking of hoes what insurance can they get the same as senators and congressmen and women I suppose.

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