Here's an interesting story from last week's New York Times that suggests we're closer to fundamental national reforms in how we deliver and pay for medical care that many believe. America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the two largest trade groups/lobbyists representing self funded medical plans and health insurers, each released statements that they favor a proposal requiring them to provide health coverage to all applicants, regardless of medical history, so long as every individual is required to obtain coverage. The idea is pretty simple: insurers and employers can afford to provide benefits to people who are sick only if if those who are healthy are also paying premiums. It's the healthcare insurance version of "there ain't no free lunch."

The willingness of AHIP and the Blues to accept all comers regardless of health history so long as every person is required to pay for coverage is significant. The opposition of insurers and self funded plans were a big reason that the Clinton Administration's efforts to pass comprehensive healthcare reform failed in the '90s. If they are on board, the sea change in healthcare may come sooner than we think.

Of course, the big unanswered question is "how much will it cost?" Nobody is talking too much about that yet. But they will have to sooner rather than later. 

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