Continuing our Newt's Greatest Ideas About Healthcare, his second bullet hits close to the mark, kinda:

• Make health insurance portable. The first step toward genuine portability—and the best way of solving the problems of pre-existing conditions—is to change federal policy. Employers should be encouraged to provide employees with insurance that travels with them from job to job and in and out of the labor market. Also, individuals should have the ability to purchase health insurance across state lines. When insurers compete for consumers, prices will fall and quality will improve.

I've put the key words in bold. Making insurance portable has been one of those EUREKA ideas for quite a long time. People lose their jobs and find that they are quite vulnerable to catastrophic illnesses that can bankrupt them. Or worse. What's worse than bankruptcy? How about death? It's well known that every two months as many people die from our so called healthcare mess than died in the World Trade Center attack on 9/11. So you could say portability is kind of important, yes?

Except nothing has been done about it. Nothing. Why is insurance even tied to employment? That was a WWII gimmick to give businesses an upper hand to recruit people as they couldn't raise wages in wartime.

Now to those two key words of Newt's. First, "encouraged". Love it. We'll "encourage" companies who currently don't give a good hot darn about their employees--except of course for the bottom line--to shop around for some insurance that could be portable...for the good of their employees! Not for the bottom line...nobody cares for that do they? Of course, Newt might have some financial incentive in mind, but unless it would knock the socks or stockings off the CEO, well, it just ain't happening. And given the current double digit increases in premiums...don't count on this affecting anyone's insurance savings.

The other key word, purchase, is just such a quaint idea isn't it? We all should have the ability to purchase our own plans across state lines. Across state lines? How about the ability to purchase any kind of plan anywhere?

Prices will fall, and quality improve. Well, maybe in Newt's dreams, but here in the real world, it's going to take a whole lot more that Republican dreams.


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