Republicans like to bring up so-called "high-risk pools" as an alternative to health-care reform. They're in the plan Boehner released this morning, they were featured in McCain's campaign proposal, and they're generally popular among people who want to say they're doing something to help the sick but don't want to actually do very much.
A high-risk pool is where a state creates a special insurance pool for people with preexisting conditions and then subsidizes their coverage. About 200,000 Americans are currently in these pools, the costs are high, the coverage varies wildly in quality and the service is often quite poor, as a couple thousand low-income sick people aren't much of a political constituency. To put it simply, if you eventually developed a preexisting condition -- asthma, say -- would you rather a world in which insurers couldn't discriminate against you or a world in which you could send in a form to the state of Missouri and ask if they had any room in their Big Pool o' Sick people?
Thought so. For more on high-risk pools, see Harold Pollack's interview with HRP expert Katherine Swartz.
November 3, 2009; 4:26 PM ET
Categories: Health Reform
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