Past efforts by the federal government to reform the health care system offer instructive guidance about future prospects for meaningful reform.
Lesson learned – why go for the simple fix when the Rube Goldberg fix will do. Limit the fix to only a small hole in the system. Make sure it has a good story line. Congress gets some political mileage with little down side. In addition, it keeps bureaucrats and lawyers busy figuring out what Congress intended.
Let me illustrate with two examples.
Thirty state legislatures have attempted to address a real problem – health care coverage for young adults. Young adults generally lose coverage as dependents on their parents’ plan when they turn 19. The technical term we in the benefits profession use is “age off.” Young adults who continue as full time students can generally continue on their parents’ plan if they and their college or university jump through some administrative hoops.
These ideas evolved in a quainter world when young people could find jobs at 18 or 19 that offered health insurance. Rarely true today. Read the rest of this entry »