So Explain To Me Again

by Paul on November 20, 2009

…why a single-payer national health care plan was never a part of this year’s reform discussions?

I wonder what the Senate bill has to say about situations like this one.

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center says it might stop accepting Regence BlueShield — the region’s biggest health insurer — as a provider because its reimbursement rates are too low.

Regence said in a news release Thursday that Swedish wants a 32 percent rate increase over a three-year contract. Regence says its members can’t afford the higher premiums that would result.

Swedish insists it has not yet made any decision to stop accepting Regence, but the insurer’s reimbursement levels are well below industry standards, and it hopes the sides can agree on new rates.

My cardiologist is affiliated with Swedish. My pretty good employer-based insurance is through Regence.

I’m pretty sure this is just some negotiators playing hardball to the point where they are making threats in public, and that some accomodation will be reached. But the thought that a million people are being used as pawns in a contract negotiation really pisses me off. I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling if I were going through cancer treatments, or some other long-term health crisis requiring continuity of care.

The largest hospital in Seattle is fighting with the largest insurer in the region, and the patients lose. And they are both nonprofits. Imagine what it would be like if there were also quarterly profit figures at stake.

The status quo in our health-care-financing system is, simply, insane.

I’d be happy to trade my health care plan for that on any of the Senators who is threatening to filibuster. I bet they don’t have to worry about hospitals not taking their insurance anymore.

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