Phil Lebherz is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Health Coverage Education, which has as its mission the goals of educating uninsured people about their options to get insurance. Phil is also the Founder and Chairman of LISI, a company that provides sales support services for employee benefits insurance brokers. With colleagues at the Foundation (including Alain Enthoven, Len Schaeffer and David Helwig) Phil just released a report that was featured in Health Affairs that basically said that most uninsured people showing up in Emergency Rooms in San Diego should have been covered by Medicaid, and that the set-up of Medicaid in California makes it impossible for them to enroll themselves. This is preciously close to the conservative argument that there are no uninsured because they all “could be” covered by Medicaid. But given that under the ACA Medicaid is going to massively expand, you may surmise that I’m not altogether won over by this argument.
So a fun conversation with Phil ensued. You can listen to it here (and look at for the bit where he claims that Len Schaeffer–the man who built Wellpoint into the force it is today–is really a supporter of universal health care because he ran HCFA under Carter for a few minutes in the 1970s!). And no, it wasn’t all violent disagreement–but enough was to make it interesting.
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