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2008 Presidential Election Promises Change for Health Insurance Industry

Candidates for both the Democratic and Republican 2008 presidential nominations have proposed changes in the current health insurance system. Climate change is another topic of debate.

Regardless of whom the parties nominate or who actually wins, the 2008 presidential elections are likely to have the most immediate impact on the health insurance industry. At press time many of the candidates had outlined programs to address real or perceived problems in healthcare.

Much attention has focused on Hillarycare 2.0 -- Hillary Clinton's $110 billion plan that mandates coverage and would provide subsidies for people who can't afford to pay for insurance. Other Democratic candidates, including John Edwards and Barack Obama, also outlined plans that mandate coverage, and Dennis Kucinich has endorsed a single-payer system. On the Republican side, the call has been for market-based solutions intended to make the private insurance-based system more efficient.

Another issue with implications for insurance that is likely to be the subject of at least campaign rhetoric (thanks largely to Al Gore's prominence this year) is climate change. Depending on steps the next president does or does not take, the implications are significant for everything from underwriting and catastrophe management to data center operations.

But a host of other issues that have consequences for insurers' hiring/staffing plans, customer interactions, and competition and growth strategies -- including education, privacy/security, immigration, trade, catastrophe risk, and pension/retirement funding -- have, for the most part, not been among the presidential candidates' talking points.

Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio

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