FIXING HEALTH INSURANCE.

A recent Bloomberg/LA Times poll tells us that those surveyed preferred the health insurance policies of the Democratic presidential candidates over those of the Republican candidates:

Americans also back Democrats when presented with specific plans to deal with these issues: Just over half those surveyed say they favor requiring everyone to buy insurance; barring insurers from turning people down or charging extra for medical reasons; and subsidizing those who can't afford coverage. Those proposals have been offered by Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

Even many Republicans like the Democratic ideas:

Almost half of Republicans surveyed say they like the idea of requiring large businesses to either offer insurance to their workers or pay a tax to help cover the costs of those who can't afford it on their own, a plan put forth by Clinton, 59, Edwards, 54, and Illinois Senator Barack Obama, 46. More than seven out of 10 Democrats and more than six out of 10 independents support that approach.

Americans back Democrats' ideas partly because the Republicans haven't been as detailed in their proposals, said Jason Furman, director of the Hamilton Project policy initiative at Brookings Institution, a Washington research group.

It's true that the Republicans haven't explained in any detail what their plans might be, assuming that they have such plans. Giving some people more tax cuts without fixing anything else in the current patchwork system of health insurance is not the best way to address the three major problems I see when it comes to health care access: the gaps in employer-based group health insurance system, the treatment of pre-existing conditions, and the lack of alternatives for those too poor to afford private sector coverage but too rich to qualify for Medicaid.

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