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Consumer Watchdog to Obama: Open Medicare to All Americans
Date:12/2/2008

  • The most efficient and cost-effective way to provide the "public option" to the private market that Obama promised during his campaign is to open Medicare to all Americans.
  • Any new federal health care reforms should not preempt state laws and regulations; they should follow the model of existing federal law, which promotes a state-federal partnership.
  • Obama should reject proposals to require consumers to purchase insurance from private companies, as he did during the campaign. The individual mandate is highly unfair and unaffordable in practice.

Of the requirement that all Americans must buy private insurance, Consumer Watchdog wrote:

"A mandatory purchase regime, particularly one without a true public option such as universal access to Medicare and without vigorous cost controls and guaranteed benefits, amounts only to a government-funded customer delivery system for the fragmented, wasteful private insurance market. It will not solve our nation's health care problems and will only encourage the industry to demand higher premiums and more taxpayer subsidies, while providing less health care.

"There is a big difference between universal participation in a cost-effective government program that protects us all (like Medicare) and being forced to buy an unregulated private product. A mandate may get us closer to universal insurance coverage, but we'll still be far from achieving universal health care. Why? Because the requirement will likely be for 'affordable,' bare-bones policies - the kind that comes with $5,000 deductibles, big co-pays and holes in coverage and benefits."

Consumer Watchdog's founder, Harvey Rosenfield, authored the landmark insurance reform initiative Proposition 103 in 1988, which has saved California drivers $62 billion over 20 years. Consumer Watchdog was also one of t
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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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