A Republican Health Care Plan

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Better late than never, I guess. While individual Republicans have offered proposals (and hundreds of amendments), there has been no real GOP alternative to the various health care bills that are working their way through Congress. Now, John Boehner says they are going to produce one. But when you look at what the House Minority Leader is describing as an “innovative” solution, you’ve got to wonder.

Specifically, he points to the kind of high-risk pools that many states have established for those who find themselves uninsurable as a result of a serious illness. That is not a new idea–some states have had these pools for three decades–or a solution for many. These pools already exist in more than 30 states, but they tend to be too expensive for those with limited means to buy into. And often, people cannot get into them for as long as a year after they apply.

When my brother developed kidney disease and his health insurance refused to pay to treat it, I looked into Texas’ high-risk pool and discovered it would be far out of his reach, with premiums that typically run twice as expensive as regular insurance policies. California’s high-risk pool has been a disaster, covering only 2% of the medically uninsurable.

It will be interesting to see what kind of solutions Boehner offers for the kinds of problems that have made these pools so ineffective in the states that have tried them.