Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger on Monday urged elected leaders “to look past the din of this summer’s health care debate” and seek consensus.
“Constructive debate about health care reform is essential, but it should be rooted in the facts, with a clear understanding of the difficult policy decisions facing the nation,” Praeger said in a prepared statement.
Praeger, a Republican and former mayor and state senator from Lawrence, said the bipartisan work of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who died last week, should be used as an example in seeking common ground.
The present health care system’s skyrocketing costs and failure to cover millions of Americans are the core issues that must be addressed, she said.
“In order to finance health care through insurance as efficiently and as affordably as possible, everyone — the young, the old, the healthy, and the sick — has to be in the system,” she said.
This means insurers can’t deny insurance for a pre-existing condition, nor set premiums based on health status, gender or occupation, she said.
But for that to work, she said, everyone must be required to purchase health insurance, while providing subsidies for those who cannot afford coverage.