I think 6% of income is too high. I don’t think it should be based on income. It makes more sense to base it on age, just like younger drivers pay more for car insurance, it makes sense that older people pay a little more.
I can’t disagree more.
Premiums absolutely should be based on income and absolutely should not be based on age. I say that not just because I am in the 60+ age bracket and you likely are not. I say that because of my 25+ years in employee benefits. However, I do agree that there should be a penalty for delayed enrollment similar to what Medicare Part B imposes.
When you come right down to it, the whole health care debate boils down to two issues. How do you expand health care coverage and how do you pay for health care.
Expanding coverage is important because it spreads the risk among the sick and the healthy equally.
Make it straightforward and uncomplicated
This past spring, Health Affairs, the premier health policy journal, had an interview with the German Minister of Health, Ulla Schmidt. The interview focused on reforms to Germany’s health system instituted principally in 2007. Minister Schmitt was asked what were the goals of the reforms. Her answer – she wanted to preserve the principles of social solidarity and affordability that had always been a part the German health system.
In comparison to health care in the United States, the Germans system could hardly be called a system in crises. The per capita costs were about half of what they were in this country $3,200 per person in Germany compared to $6,400 here. But they did have too many uninsured – about 0.2% of the population. The United States, by comparison has 15% uninsured.
So the question is, What do Germans understand by social solidarity? Minister Schmitt explained that everyone in Germany has guaranteed access to health care and everyone contributes to the financing based on their ability to pay. Well, if that is social solidarity, where does affordability fit in? For Minister Schmitt, if the entire system is not affordable, the social solidarity begins to break down.
Too much of the health care debate in this country is muddled by ideology on both sides. For many in this country, European health care sytems smack of “socialism.” Yet, two of the defining characteristics of the German system are not real popular among progressives in this country. The Germans have an individual mandate and they rely on insurance companies, although in Germany they give them a more accurate name, Krankenkassen, or Sickness Funds.