MANAGED CARE November 2002. ©MediMedia USA
Re-underwriting would be prohibited under a bill introduced in the House and Senate on Oct. 16. Under the legislation, insurers would not be allowed to increase or reclassify premiums "based on a health-status-related factor," says Sen. Bob Graham, one of the sponsors.... Health benefits for part-time workers were the focus of a labor dispute between a union representing janitors and 30 cleaning companies in Boston. Under a tentative deal ending a three-week strike, about 1,000 part-time employees who work in the largest buildings and who are members of Boston Local 254 of the Service Employees International Union will get health insurance through employers. About 75 percent of the union's 11,000 members are part-time workers.... Meanwhile, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine says that the only way to help the working poor and all other segments of society is to switch to a single-payer health care system. In a New York Times opinion piece, Marcia Angell says that the fatal flaw in today's system is that medical care is treated "as a commodity." She adds that "the criterion for receiving it is ability to pay, not medical need."