Thursday, March 20, 2008

Update on Fast Lanes and Premium Medicine

Days ago I did a post on innovations in road management and health care delivery that favor the rich, those with resources to pay for premium service. Who doesn't want that shorter commute time or instant access to a doctor when sick? Flipping through web sites this afternoon, I found additional information in both areas.

The Transportation Department staffer behind pricing road congestion, Tyler Duvall (pictured above), is up for promotion. President Bush nominated him for UnderSecretary of Transportation Policy. The Washington Post highlighted Tyler''s role in privatizing public road infrastructure.

In addition to concierge medicine where the rich get catered care, I found a corporate reference to executive health benefits. It seems while employers cut insurance coverage and share a greater percent of the premiums with employees, the big dogs aren't leading by example. Consider this from SM&A's 2007 proxy mailing:

Exec-U-Care Coverage. The Executive Officers are eligible for a maximum medical benefit of $100,000 a year through the Exec-U-Care program. During 2006, five of the Executive Officers participated in this program. Exec-U-Care supplements an Executive Officer’s basic health plan by reimbursing annual expenses not covered under the basic medical and dental benefit plan that are available on a Company-wide basis. Examples of such expenses include deductibles, co-insurance amounts, special health equipment and chiropractic care. The Executive Officer is entitled to receive reimbursement for documented medical expenses of the Executive Officer and dependents.

What happens when previously public services become pay? How do those with fewer resources keep their access? As for concierge medicine and exec-u-care coverage, the wealthy and powerful keep rich health benefits while cutting it for others. Something wicked this way comes...