LA Times Series Explores Nation’s Health Insurance Crisis

Anyone looking for a thorough examination of the issues facing today’s health insurance system should be sure to read check out the three-part series appearing in this week’s LA Times ( On Tuesday, the Times explored the problem caused by fewer and fewer employers offering health insurances to their workers.

Using real-life examples, the article written by Lisa Girion and Michael A. Hiltzik looked at various situations where individuals were not able to secure coverage for themselves or family members in the individual health insurance market.

The authors note that because of rapidly rising costs, the percentage of Americans covered by traditional group health insurance has steadily declined over the past several years. This has forced more and more people who are seeking coverage into what they describe as a lightly regulated individual health insurance market where coverage is more expensive for all but the young and healthy, fewer benefits are provided, and insurers can reject applicants for even mild preexisting conditions.

Quoting Bruce Bodaken, chief executive of Blue Shield of California, the article suggests that universal coverage is the answer. Bodaken said government should mandate that everyone obtain health insurance and that insurers sell to all comers regardless of their health.

Health Plan Innovation Take: Agree or disagree with the conclusions drawn in this article that universal coverage achieved through a government mandate is the answer; the LA Times has done a very good job of stating that case that the status quo is not the answer. The subheads in the article spell out the problems: Cherry-picking, Rejection and rescission, Losing coverage, Skimming the risk pool, ‘A matter of economics’. Using real life families as examples, the Times has done a solid job of pointing out all the many ways the current system is flawed. This is good background reading for anyone interested in this issue.

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