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Sara Horowitz founded Working Today - Freelancers Union in 1995 to represent the needs and concerns of the growing independent workforce. In recognition of her efforts to create a self-sustaining[…]

Sara Horowitz charts a plan for universal coverage

Question: What is your vision for health care moving forward?

Sara Horowitz: I like the idea of having, like, a basic… basic amount that all Americans have.  And I don’t really care whether it’s a public plan or it’s the government finances, a private plan, I just want to set amount of money that goes… that every individual can count on, that they’re going to get health insurance and not have to worry.  And I think that’s just civilized.  And then, I would like to see the government encourage the groupings of people to come together.  The employers have been an important grouping and, in many ways, the only grouping since World War II.  But I think that we have to move beyond just the employer and have others.  Another… An example will be the Federal Employee Health Plans, the benefit, FEHBPs.  And what people often think of is that those individuals just get government plans but they actually go through their union, the unions come together, and through groups.  That’s how they get all these choices.  So I think that it will be great if groups like ours will be able to group together and start delivering that kind of safety net that would supplement the basic amount that all Americans would get.  And so, what you will get for that grouping is, number one, you have actuaries and experts and advocates who will be able to really argue about coverage, who would really make competition meaningful.  What I think will be the worst case scenario would be that we individualize everything.  And I think that that’s the vision of both the left and the right, which troubles me.  So the left is, you know, we’ll have single payer and the individual will get from the government.  And the right will be… We’ll have individual plans for the individual versus the insurance company.  But just play out the scenario of one person has a problem and they have to call and they stay on the phone and they have no leverage.  But if, let’s say, a number of people within a plan have that same problem, you can troubleshoot it, you can act as an ombudsman.  And it really goes much more with our national culture of, you know, this… the realization that we associate.  That’s what makes America a strong democracy, not because we’re just a bunch of individuals.  And I think that’s underappreciated right now, especially in Washington.