A quick primer: High Risk Pools are used to offload a particular group of individuals with chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, from the general insurance market because they have pre-existing conditions, which will cost insurance companies too much to care for them. Separating these individuals from the healthier general insurance pool allows for lower rates for the larger majority of people buying health insurance. Several years ago, we did this separation of individuals when we set up a program to pay for renal dialysis patients.
Why do I propose High Risks Pools might work now in the current political climate of repealing and replacing the ACA? My proposal is that we consider people 55 years old and older as a High Risk Pool and allow them to buy into the federal High Risk Pool that currently exists using income adjusted subsidies. That High Risk Pool is called Medicare.
This Medicare idea is a version of an idea I admit “stealing” from Dr. Michael Kitchell, a neurologist and a leading medical thinker in Iowa.
For all the same reasons that I listed in my April blog post regarding Medicare expansion, I think this proposal works. I am merely renaming it. As Victor Hugo said, “No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.”