While much of the attention on health care has shifted to Washington and the Obama Administration, there is still action taking place in the states. Governor Richardson, having largely failed to impose his original vision of bureaucratically-managed health care on New Mexico, has revised his plans and come up with a new “streamlined” health care plan.
Richardson recently unveiled a series of health care bills that will be introduced during the 2009 session. Among the initiatives he has planned are:
It would require agencies that buy insurance for public employees and retirees to work more closely together to save money, but it would leave the agencies themselves in place;
Increase use of electronic medical records;
Require insurance companies to spend 85 percent of premiums on health care and restrict premium increases over time; and
implement “guaranteed issue” policies that would force insurance companies to insure individuals regardless of medical condition
First and foremost, while they sound like a great idea, forcing doctors to shift to electronic records is not a panacea for our health care system;
Unfortunately for us, Richardson seems hell-bent on increasing costs and degrading patients’ ability to obtain coverage. Demanding that insurance companies spend 85 percent of their premium collections on patients simply reduces the incentives insurance companies have to appropriately administer coverage to their customers.
“Guaranteed issue” regulations are another bad idea. They have been found to increase the cost of insurance by 23 percent in the first year and 50 percent higher during the second. Increasing costs ultimately drive young and healthy people out of the marketplace.