Letter: Hagedorn wrong on insurance mandates
Published 8:30 am Wednesday, May 15, 2019
I read an editorial by Rep. Jim Hagedorn arguing against mandated insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Hagedorn maintained that high-risk insurance pools funded by insurance companies and state governments are a better option. He is wrong.
Minnesota had the most successful high-risk insurance pool in the nation called the Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association (MCHA). While being best, the MCHA had serious problems. Premiums, despite state subsidies and insurance company funding, were very high. Minnesota rates were as high as 125 percent of standard rates. Some states with pools allowed 150 percent above standard and half of the states allowed 200 percent. Deductibles ranged from high to very high. Most of the states with high-risk pool plans had enrollment caps. This meant seriously ill people had to wait for an opening in the pool to receive treatment. All in all, high risk insurance pools, while necessary before the ACA, were at best a band-aid. We should not give them another try.
Rep. Hagedorn’s plan implies that fixing our health care system is simple. It is not. As a nation, we must decide; are we going to simply forget about our sick and injured neighbors? Will we expect them and their families fend for themselves? Will only those who can pay get lifesaving care? This is a moral issue that reflects who we are as Americans.
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We need someone in congress who understands that the problems we face are complicated, instead of offering a panacea taken straight from their political party playbook. We need someone who is ready to do the hard work of learning the merits and disadvantages of potential solutions. Above all, we need a representative who will talk straight with us.