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Another look at health care?

June 14, 2005

About $1 out of every $12 spent on health insurance premiums goes to pay for health care provided to the uninsured, according to a new study by a professor at Emory University.

For families in West Virginia, that means an extra $1,800 a year, or about 15 percent of the average policy's $11,890 a year cost.

West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is promoting the West Virginia Small Business Plan, designed to help smaller companies provide health insurance for their employees.

But a spokesperson for Families USA, which commissioned the study, said what is needed is universal nationwide health care coverage. Such a plan has not been seriously considered since Hillary Clinton tried to create one in 1993.

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The dilemma of how to provide health care for those who can't afford it is often portrayed as a problem for the working poor and the jobless.

But this month General Motors announced the layoff of 25,000 workers, saying it could no longer afford to pay for their health care. The health of U.S. corporations - and the jobs they provide - is facing a major risk.

And, all citizens will pay through their taxes for services for those laid-off workers and through their insurance policies for care of the indigent.

Twelve years ago, Mrs. Clinton failed to craft a new system, in large part because she tried to do too much of it in secret. It's time to look at the system again, before other corporations start following GM's lead.

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