Insurance companies must focus on protecting people, not manipulating products to maximize profit. The artificial split between worker's compensation and employer-based health insurance removes value from both systems at the expense of workers.
In the State of California, the position of Insurance Commissioner is an office that is elected by popular election. For this reason, the economics platform of the Green Party focuses on the vision we propose for that office.
Insurance companies aggregate the risks faced by individuals and businesses and spread that risk across all similar policyholders. They justify prices based on these groupings. Except where the law prohibits it, these groupings are created to manipulate prices for the benefit of the company.
This is most apparent in the area of health care where the price for the same family of four differs depending on how they are trying to obtain their coverage. If the family is obtaining coverage through a large employer, insurance companies will have them pay one price; if they are buying through PacAdvantage - the California small business Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative - they will pay another, and if they are trying to purchase the coverage as individuals, they will pay yet another price. That is if they are even able to obtain coverage as individuals. A recent (June 2001) study funded by the Kaiser Family Foundation and conducted by the Georgetown University Institute for Health Care Research and Policy found "The individual health insurance market is unpredictable, inconsistent and expensive. The benefits you receive and what you pay depend on your personal circumstances and the reaction of individual insurance carriers".
To promote fair and socially just access to insurance the Green party advocates the following:
Workers Compensation Insurance is an area where reform is long overdue. We must work to minimize the tremendous redundancies and inefficiencies in maintaining the medical component of worker's compensation insurance separate from employer sponsored health insurance.
We need to cooperate with other states on a multi-regional approach to regional disaster coverage. There may be legal obstacles to this. We need to make sure that those that offer Earthquake insurance are taking into account the subsidy they will receive from the Federal government if an affected area is declared a disaster area and becomes eligible for Federal funds.
It is important that we become aggressive in educating the public about Long Term Care insurance (LTCI). We should also be pro-actively examining the ways that Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) is currently provided in places with more experience in it than we have. Alberta, Canada has developed reimbursement strategies for LTCI that attempt to reward keeping residents as healthy as possible.
We must have universal, single payer health coverage. Financial intermediaries do little or nothing to improve the delivery of health services and their role must be minimized.