An Unexpected Observation

John Marcille

Long ago we all learned about common flaws in logic, including the one that goes: I performed a rain dance on Tuesday. It rained on Wednesday. Ergo the dancing caused the rain. Last month, we published an article about how the presidential campaign may affect managed care under the scary title “Plans Unsettled by Prospect of Democrat in White House.” The sub-headline took the edge off by adding that “the health insurance industry might be able to help itself by coming up with ideas to influence the presidential debate.”

So, using another bit of faulty logic, I’ll emphatically deny that Aetna President Mark Bertolini read the last line of that article and then hurried on down to Charlotte, N.C., where he called for major health care reform that would cover everybody in the United States.

He wants this done via a public-private effort and not by a single-payer system. “The result of a single-payer system is decreased access and services,” Bertolini says in a Q&A with the Charlotte Observer.

In that conversation, Bertolini brandishes a phrase that’s gaining currency, the “young immortals,” people who don’t accept that they’ll ever get sick, let alone die.

When you subtract the YIs, illegal immigrants, and those on public assistance rolls, he estimates that about 15 million to 17 million are left who really can’t afford insurance.

He also notes that the greatest hindrances to insurance are coverage mandates; that employers have to be, and therefore will remain, involved; and that people are terrified of losing their insurance.

Finally, who of the presidential candidates does he think offers a plan that will prove most effective? Sen. Hillary Clinton, that’s who.

Will wonders never cease?

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