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FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK

it was 1993

By Joseph Andresen, MD It was 1993: Louise: But this was covered under our old health insurance plan.

Moderator: To send Congress a message on flat community rating, call today. Twenty-six years later, Louise and Harry reappear a bit older, but with much different concerns:

Harry: Yea, that was a good one, wasn’t it? Moderator: Things are changing and not all for the better. The government may force us to pick from a few health insurance plans designed by Washington bureaucrats. Louise: Having choices we don’t like isn’t having any choices at all. Harry: And they choose. Louise: And we lose. Moderator: For reforms that protect what we have, call toll free 1-800/285-HEALTH. Know the facts. If we let the government choose, we lose. Call today.

Harry: Health care costs are up again. Small companies are being forced to cut their plans. Louise: Tell me about it. You know, Lisa’s

Harry: Louise, Todd was just telling me that his state has community rating. Louise: Everyone pays the same rate, no matter what their age, if they smoke, or whatever. Does it work? Todd: My health insurance went from $1,200 to $3,200 a year. Harry: More than doubled? Todd: Yea, thousands dropped their insurance. We actually have fewer covered now than before. Harry: Congress can do better than that. Louise: If we send them that message.

husband just found out he has cancer. Harry: But he’s covered, right? Louise: No, he just joined a start-up and can’t afford a plan. Harry: Too many people are falling through the cracks. Louise: Whoever the next president is, health care should be at the top of his agenda. PAGE 6  |  THE BULLETIN  |  MARCH / APRIL 2009

Joseph Andresen, MD is the editor of The Bulletin. He is board certified in anesthesiology and is currently practicing in the Santa Clara valley area. We are now in a very different time than the early 1990s of the Clinton administration, when health care reform was proposed and failed. Then, the American Medical Association, manufacturers, insurance companies, and private industry were all in opposition. Many experts agree that there is a much different mood now. Private insurance companies see their business declining. Hospitals and physicians are struggling with increasing numbers of uninsured patients. Small businesses are hoping for help with the continually rising costs and the financial burdens of providing health care coverage for their employees. Uwe Reinhardt, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, spoke recently about the hidden costs of the health care bureaucracy in a timely and very informative interview (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story. php?storyId=101706614). Reinhardt is the James Madison Professor of Political Economy and has been a member of the Institute of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences since 1978. He has served on the editorial boards of many publications, including the Journal of Health Economics, the New England

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