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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:42 pm 
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As everyone's no doubt aware, one of the requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was that insurers cover already sick children at the same price as healthy children.

So, health insurers Wellpoint, Cigna, Aetna, Humana and CoventryOne will stop writing policies for all children. They have simply decided to quit the market. So, parents of sick children will be saved from expensive insurance - by being unable to obtain any insurance at all. The same rules, I believe, kick in for adults in 2014...I think we know what to expect will happen then (Aetna Inc. … provides (similar) plans to Home Depot Inc., Disney Worldwide Services, CVS Caremark Corp., Staples Inc. and Blockbuster Inc., among others).

Oh, and despite the President's "promise" that no one would have to change their plans, the better part of a million people have been left without coverage because their insurer, the Principal Financial Group, decided to leave the market. And McDonalds might just drop all coverage for its 30,000 workers unless HHS grants them specific waivers

...wait a minute, appointed bureaucrats being given the power to apply laws, or not, at their discretion, to favour politically connected special interests...naw, wouldn't happen here.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:55 pm 
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I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that the main cause of so many insurers pulling child-only policies was less about differing costs for coverage per se, and more that the new rule says children cannot be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

At reason.com, Peter Suderman wrote:
[Lawmakers] built a provision into the law telling insurers that, starting this Thursday, September 23, they could no longer turn down child for a child-only health policy because of preexisting conditions. In effect, though, that means that children who are already sick won’t be turned down, which, yes, sounds very nice — and would be if it were feasible and not likely to lead to insurance gaming.

Here’s the problem: It also means that parents attempting to enroll their children in these policies might have the option to wait until the last minute to pick up coverage and then drop that coverage immediately thereafter. There's an enrollment period that's supposed to limit jumping on and off insurance, but as Politico notes, the rules don't "address how to cover anyone — healthy or sick — outside the open enrollment period if, say, a child’s parent loses his or her job and coverage." Consequently, the article explains, "insurers are worried that children — or, more likely, their parents — might apply for coverage literally on the way to the hospital or doctor’s office and cancel it once treatment is complete." That would drive up expenses for child-only policies, which would push more people out of the insurance pool, which would further drive up coverage costs, and so on and so forth spinning faster and faster until the out of control merry-go-round has thrown off just about everyone.

And so at least six large insurers have decided to stop offering these policies entirely. ...

In some ways, it’s a small change: Child-only policies currently comprise less than 10 percent of the individual market, and insurers will still cover children, including those with preexisting conditions, in policies that aren’t strictly child-only. Existing child-only policies won’t be canceled. But it’s indicative of one of the new health care law’s fundamental contradictions: Insurers are expected to both abide by new rules, which could prove costly, and not significantly change their prices or services in response to them. And it suggests how easy it is for well-meaning policies to backfire. A provision intended to ensure that children have unimpeded access to health insurance coverage has ended up resulting in fewer options for covering children’s health.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 5:18 pm 
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Things like this are exactly why I oppose the Obama Health Care plan. I think that insurance-based health care is a horribly broken, and immoral, system. The entire nature of insurance is complete anathema to how a healthy health care system should work. There is no way to "fix" the existing system to make it workable; the existing system is, by its very nature, unworkable.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:02 pm 
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The health insurers' concerns would be addressed by the individual mandate... When does that kick in, again?

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:20 pm 
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I think most would agree, for possibly different reasons, that the new Obamacare didn't fit what they deem ideal. IIRC FB wanted full single-payer, as I would if I was an American, and a lot of the righties wanted no changes at all other than a token change to limit physician liability for malpractice.

It's a matter of half-a-loaf vs. no loaf at all, FB. There was no way in Hades that a full single payer system, Medicare for all, was ever going to get through the process so laughably called legislative in the US. I honestly think what they got through was as much as possible at this time in history, and it will still probably cost them votes with moderates of both left and right leanings, the left cranky about how it didn't change enough and the right afraid of "The Government Takeover Of Health Care."

You had to know that the insurance companies were going to find some way to game the system to their benefit, as they always do, and this is one of those games. It amazes me, though, that they are going to be getting millions more paying customers as required by the new law but are complaining that they can't exclude people who actually need health care. A little bit of cake and eat it too, insurance companies?

TBH, I think the window for universal health care in the US passed decades ago, probably about when the Cold War started and America started taking such a "Communism/Socialism/Marxism/Giving a crap about anybody but yourself is the Devil!!!111!!!" position. Even we Socialist Canadians barely got it through the legislative process in the early 60s. Tommy Douglas, this tip of the hat is for you!

Oh, and for the record: Douglas was definitely a socialist, and had more than a bit of connections with open Communists here in Canada and the US.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:24 pm 
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drachefly wrote:
The health insurers' concerns would be addressed by the individual mandate... When does that kick in, again?

2014, as near as I can tell, with penalties that start small but ramp up by 2016.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:25 pm 
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baconbotsforever wrote:
It's a matter of half-a-loaf vs. no loaf at all, FB. There was no way in Hades that a full single payer system, Medicare for all, was ever going to get through the process so laughably called legislative in the US. I honestly think what they got through was as much as possible at this time in history, and it will still probably cost them votes with moderates of both left and right leanings, the left cranky about how it didn't change enough and the right afraid of "The Government Takeover Of Health Care."


Actually... in a way... this bodes well for the US.

if there is no loaf of bread, there's no one to complain about the government stepping in and issuing loaves of bread.

As you said baconbits, the choice is down to 1/2 loaf vs no loaf. If private health insurance isn't going to step up to the plate and provide children with universal healthcare, then the US government will have to.

drachefly wrote:
The health insurers' concerns would be addressed by the individual mandate... When does that kick in, again?


Depends on which state you live in and that particular state's disposition towards Obamacare. 2014 is the absolute deadline for all states to come into compliance.
Regardless of where you live though, the insurance lobby is already gearing up to fight against Obamacare. I doubt the law will be repealed outright through congress, but it might very well die in the courts.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:30 pm 
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Medicare-for-All might not have passed, but government-run and issued insurance, the "public option", would have, had it been put up to vote. 3 out of 4 health care bills that came out of committee had the public option, the public option had a solid 60+% support in public polls, and the filibuster is not a Constitutionally mandated check. The Democrats control enough of the Senate (51) to declare a brand new Congress, thereby abolishing all these stupid rules, including the filibuster.

A better Bill was possible, but the Democrats are too bleeping timid to work for anything right and good.

My reps (Rep and Senators) were all on the side of the public option, and voted thusly (Binghaman was on the committee that passed a bill without public option, and he voted in favour of the public option whenever he could), so I'm going to continue to support them. But I'm glad to see some sell-out Democrats, like Mary Landrieu, go.


Last edited by FreakyBoy on Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:31 pm 
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Ironically, even Frederick Hayek - so often quoted by economic conservatives in opposition to "Socialist" policies (see The Road to Serfdom) - considered health care to be one of the few exceptions where government intervention did have a useful and legitimate purpose.

That's right, the 20th century philosopher most coherently and vehemently opposed to Socialism supported socialized medicine.

And now you know.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:32 pm 
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Richard Nixon supported public health care. If not for Watergate, he might have gotten it through.

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 Post Posted: Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:22 pm 
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Well, the mal-economics of healthcare are pretty well known amongst economists. The market for health care and health insurance has almost none of the conditions required for a healthy and functioning free market, it's a classic example of market failure. Even your staunchest free-market advocate, assuming one who actually understand economics as an academic discipline and not a quasi-religious ideoogy, can't just wave his hands and make all those problems go away.

As for the dropping of children, ugh. I believe some of the legislative sausage just leaked out of the casing. Drachefly's right, the individual mandate would address this, but only if it actually works. The Democrats really screwed this one up by making the child coverage kick in right away, but not the individual mandate (for children at least). Even those who supported this rube goldberg contraption knew very well that it wouldn't work without both ends of the bargain. You can't forbid insurance companies from dropping sick people unless you also make everybody buy insurance. It all falls apart otherwise, like exhibit A right here.

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 Post Posted: Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:33 am 
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Yeah, the mandate was what held this absurd system together - why did they think this was supposed to work without it?

Of course the whole system was messed up from the get go, but whatever. And by get-go, I mean before Obama ever got involved. The medical care system is held together by hacks and duct-tape, and has been for a while. The only reason insurers have been so successful is because they base their business around exploiting loopholes and screwing over their customers. If their industry actually worked the way it was supposed to (as insurance) they would be forced to pay for any disease you contracted while insured whether you remained part of their insurance plan or not. (If you bought fire insurance and your home burned down, does the company magically no longer owe you any money if you discontinue the insurance? No, because that insurance industry makes sense. They simply don't cover you if your home burns down AGAIN).
Health insurance was already operating on a "you can have your cake and eat it to" business model.

As far as business dropping employment insurance... offering the insurance through your employment is a vile practice to begin with, considering the limitations I mentioned above, and as long as we were planning to continue with the messed up system we have, that poop should have been made illegal a long time ago. So, again, I can't say I give a damn.

Anyways, from what I understand there's no problems with the states pushing the mandate earlier. Once its in place, it will very easily be possible to turn a profit covering children again, so maybe the states should get on that, huh?

Edited to Add: While I still think the new system will be terrible, once fully implemented, I'm pretty sure it will be better than the old one. It will, at least, make it a lot closer to a free market situation than it was before (heresy, I know, but its true). If you institute any major change in bits and pieces like this though, you got to expect it to fail.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:34 pm 
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Well, this is still on the first page of the forum...so maybe it's not a zombie yet.

Anyway, updating the general trend of the previous discussion (if not the original topic) the Individual Mandate was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in Virginia. Of course, there's no doubt that this (or one of the other cases) will be appealed all the way to the SCOTUS before it's resolved. But it does seem to suggest the possibility of a bad end for the individual mandate.

And if that goes, the rest of Obamacare collapses. Possibly in a legal and not just metaphorical sense; the Bill wasn't designed to have its component severable.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:50 pm 
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It's not entirely clear that the judge's decision is founded on sound constitutional logic. After all, it seems that he tried to read the Necessary and Proper Clause out of the Constitution.

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 Post Posted: Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:54 pm 
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Call me when they declare insurance unconstitutional.

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