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Ever since Bill Clinton took a turn at health care reform, the issue has often been discussed as an economic one. Bill Clinton first framed the health reform issue in 1992 before he took office. He had famously kept as a center piece of his campaign the idea that “it’s the economy, stupid” and health care became part of that dialog. He heard from the CEOs of many businesses, including the three Detroit automakers, that they were having a hard time competing in the global economy because they had to bear the cost of health insurance whereas their foreign competitors did not. So, when President Clinton convened his economic summit in Arkansas after he was elected but before he took office, health care was front and center.
The terrible shootings in Arizona have been described, mourned and their causes much discussed. There has been a particular debate about whether these crimes could possibly have been encouraged by some of the more heated political discourse that has occurred in this country over the past year or so. While it seems likely that when all is said and done, the causes of the Arizona shootings will be put down to a unique set of factors/mental state of the individual who did the shooting, the nature of the discussion about these causes is a separate and concerning issue in and of itself.
The Arizona Medicaid program has been much in the news lately for its decisions to deny Medicaid coverage for certain transplants. The state has variously argued several things about these decisions. First, that these are evidence based decisions; that is, that the transplants were denied because the research shows that they don’t actually work. But, when challenged by transplant surgeons and others, the state has given other reasons for their denial, with cost being at the top of the list.
One of the big issues that prompted the passage of health reform last year was the 39 percent rate increase proposed by Anthem California for the individual market. That action both strengthened the will of the Democrats to enact health care reform and provided a clear cut talking point about the need for reform. As a result, one of the provisions included in the reform law was that health insurance premiums could not increase at “unreasonable rates”.