We were so caught up last week in all the talk about the mortgage and credit crises that we neglected to mention another bit of news, courtesy the New York Times: if elected president, Sen. Hillary Clinton would try to cap health insurance premiums at somewhere between five and ten percent of income. While premium caps are mentioned in the summary of a reform agenda the campaign unveiled last September, they weren't detailed. Clinton told the Times that she envisions a single cap based on a national average, rather than caps that vary by income level.
She also appeared to back other ideas that she hasn't supported before, including a mandate that insurers spend a certain amount of the premiums they collect on health care, rather than on overhead or profit. (Even conservative analysts have concluded that the Medicare spends less on administrative costs than private insurance, even before sales charges and profit are factored in.) She also said she was willing to raise the excise tax on tobacco to pay for universal health care, if other mechanisms to fund the bill -- which she estimates will run $110 billion -- fall short.
We'll have more to say about health care in an exclusive Q&A with a health policy analyst from the National Federation of Independent Business coming soon. Stay tuned.