By George Bohmfalk, M.D.
Aspen (Colo.) Daily News, Letters, July 21, 2021
Your Monday story on ACRA’s presentation of a new health care alternative (“ACRA early to highlight health care alternative during May meeting,” July 19) was a challenge to comprehend, as is the proposed new alternative itself. As best I can determine from further reading, an ICHRA (Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement) is nothing more than yet another attempt to reduce the amount that employers are obligated to pay for their employees’ health care. This is another step in “cost-shifting” this expense onto employees. I appreciate that Mr. Laird saved some money for the Third Street Center, but inevitably this cost his employees in either dollars or adequacy of coverage. There is no free lunch.
But there is a much better one that can cost everyone less — Medicare for All. Rather than sifting through the complexities of byzantine plans like ICHRAs, and dumping responsibility on employees, why not have a single plan — one size that indeed fits all needs — and pay less for it? Employers, employees, self-employed, and unemployed would all have guaranteed, comprehensive health care coverage, equitably paid for by progressive taxes, with no restrictive provider networks, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs. Employers could focus on their businesses rather than health care insurance.
Ask the next foreign visitor you encounter whether they would trade their current health care coverage for an ICHRA. Be prepared for them to laugh at the idiocy of what we do here, or cry in sympathy for you.