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Blue Cross Offers to Rearrange Deck Chairs on Titanic

By Matt Wood in News on Oct 19, 2006 12:24PM

chicagoist_200610_insurance.jpgBlue Cross & Blue Shield of Illinois is trying to do its part to solve the crisis of uninsured employees in the state. Yesterday they proposed legislation that would require small businesses to offer basic health plans, which of course, wouldn't be so bad for their business either. The proposal calls for businesses that employ two to 50 workers to offer group health plans, although there would be no requirement for the companies to pay part of the premiums. Theoretically, this would cut costs for those workers currently paying for their own insurance because they would be covered under group rates.

Not to be totally cynical, because at least they're trying to do something, but there's just something inherently wrong about this. In what other industry would we applaud when a company, whose services are so expensive that many people risk their lives to go without them, proposes that the solution should be to require by law that more people be offered those same expensive services at only a marginal discount? Chicagoist has been paying small group rates for a while now, and it's scarcely cheaper than paying for our own individual coverage. We don't see workers clamoring to sign up for insurance that has gone from being super-expensive to one hair shy of super-expensive. The proposed legislation would increase access to health coverage, but people don't go uninsured because they can't find insurance; they go uninsured because they can't afford it. Maybe some of you healthcare wonks out there will pile on and tell us this is all anecdotal and we don't know what we're talking about, but we see the bills every month and they're painful. And we don't see this proposal making the slightest difference in the number of insured.