How should policy makers fix the current insurance market for individuals? What is the best policy approach, and what has to happen to avoid a Republican or industry attack that could kill health care reform efforts?
While there is agreement that the market for buying health insurance as an individual doesn't work well, and that the system needs serious improvement before more people can be added, proposals for how to do it vary significantly.
Republicans generally want to give insurers new freedoms to offer a variety of health plans, even plans with catastrophic benefits, and to allow people to buy insurance in any state they wish. The idea is to create competition among health insurers to lower costs.
Democrats, however, want to crack down on insurers. President-elect Obama and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., have both proposed prohibiting insurers from denying coverage to people because of pre-existing conditions and poor health status. Insurers have indicated that they could live with this only if every person has insurance.
-- Marilyn Werber Serafini, NationalJournal.com