Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Affordable health insurance

Imagine that there were laws limiting the cars available for sale in Montana to fully loaded Toyota Landcruisers. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but current mandatory health insurance benefits have that general effect.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Tom McGillvray, R-Billings would lift some of those restrictions and allow more stripped down insurance policies to be made available. Might it mean that some Montanans would have health insurance that "underinsured" them -- of course, but given a choice between underinsured and uninsured, which is worse?

We've not done a full study of the legislature, but we suspect that the GOP caucus has a disproportionate number of self-employed individuals and small-business owners. We suspect that the Democratic contingent contains a disproportionate number of employees on the state payroll.

The one knows a little something about the realities of this issue that the other doesn't. Employers in Montana tend to offer pretty good health insurance when they can, since it is the benefit that employees and potential employees scrutinize most carefully -- if you want to get and keep good people, you'll generally provide more than is required by law.

But many businesses don't have that luxury, and avoid having full-time employees because they can't afford the benefits, or don't have as many as they might otherwise hire. The most important factor of health insurance is to provide for major catastrophic care. Those Montanans who can't afford "fully loaded" health insurance should be given the opportunity to buy "stripped down" models that can avoid financial ruin in the case of a catastrophic health event.

1 comment:

Wilhelmina said...

Keep up the good work.