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Aetna President Discusses Health Care Reform

Armen Hareyan's picture

Aetna President Mark Bertolini as part of a campaignto discuss U.S. health carereform with business leaders and lawmakers spoke this week in Charlotte, N.C.,the Charlotte Observer reports. In an interview with the Observer, Bertolini saidthat everyone in the nation should be required to have health insurance, addingthat this should be done through a public-private system, not a single-payersystem.

"The result of a single-payer system is decreased access andservices," he said, adding, "I don't think Americans are willing togive up the access to care they have at the level of quality they have." Healso advocated the expansion of Medicaid and SCHIP.

Although nationwide health reform is still years away, he said states shouldpush for local changes to improve health insurance coverage. Bertolini said onesolution would be reducing the number of coverage mandates imposed on insurersthrough state laws. He said that mandates make it hard to tailor a plan toyoung adults because they do not need or want to pay for coverage of conditionsthat typically affect people later in life.

"If we had more flexibility at the state level, we could actually puttogether a product that appeals to them," he said. He also said tailoredplans would help low-income, uninsured people purchase coverage (Garloch, CharlotteObserver, 11/21).

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Letter to the Editor

Although it might be"easy to believe that employer-based health care is headed for the scrapheap of history," many "employers believe strongly in the existingmodel that companies are providing workers," John Castellani, president ofthe Business Roundtable, writes in a USAToday letterto the editor in response to an article on employer-based health insurance. Castellanicontinues that it is "clear that reform is needed" because the"current system isn't working." He concludes that "business,government and consumers" must "act now and act together to make thehealth care system better and more affordable for everyone" (Castellani, USAToday, 11/20).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.