Universal health is possible


To the editor: Ever since I entered the insurance field in 1975 I have been a proponent of universal health insurance. Not a government-run program, but a private industry program, government-monitored. In the past I have contacted all of my representatives in Washington and shared some ideas as to where we might find the funds to make universal health insurance possible. However, these ideas may have either been too cumbersome or complex without enough gain for special interests, including the insurance industry. I feel that the insurance industry with some change in government mandates has the expertise to make universal health insurance possible by simply redesigning some insurance products and better utilizing the dollars we already have available. For example, every employer in this country is required by law to purchase workers’ compensation. Most employers offer health insurance to some degree. However, job-related sickness or injury must be covered by workers’ compensation. Off-the-job sickness or injury must be covered by health insurance. This has the employer paying out of two different pockets for one common end — health insurance. By mandating universal health insurance and shifting that part of the workers’ compensation premium that covers health issues to universal health insurance, these premium dollars will be better utilized. One more insurance product that could contribute to universal health insurance is automobile insurance. A large portion of auto insurance premium is for bodily injury and medical payments. Shouldn’t bodily injury be covered by health insurance? Let’s move these premium dollars to universal health insurance. Changes in state automobile laws throughout the country will be necessary, but we are a very mobile country and we need more uniformity in this area. Shifting of some dollars with just these two products, along with changes in some laws will go a long way toward making universal health insurance possible. Calvin Raymond Stratham