Last week after the conclusion of the latest Washington “crisis,” the “fiscal cliff” debacle, believe it or not, some of Barry Obama’s supporters were extremely unhappy with the amount of the tax increases in the deal. That left a lot of us scratching our heads, since the ratio of tax increases to spending cuts was 41:1. There are a couple of reasons that I shouldn’t have been confused. Like you, I know that (1) the appetite of the Left for other people’s money is insatiable and (2) they will always find something to complain about. Today I say, “cheer up, leftists Barry’s single payer plan only a few months away!”
On yesterday’s show, I referred to this story from the Liberal Death Star, but I didn’t have the chance to talk about it. “Despite New Health Law, Some See Sharp Rise in Premiums.” reads the headline. How can that be? Oh, it be. Check this out:
Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers.
Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own.
In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013. These rate requests are all the more striking after a 39 percent rise sought by Anthem Blue Cross in 2010 helped give impetus to the law, known as the Affordable Care Act, which was passed the same year and will not be fully in effect until 2014.
In other states, like Florida and Ohio, insurers have been able to raise rates by at least 20 percent for some policy holders. The rate increases can amount to several hundred dollars a month.
The proposed increases compare with about 4 percent for families with employer-based policies.
Wha? Let me get out my shocked face. It turns out that there is a “loophole,” to use the term that liberals like to use to denigrate policies that they don’t like, in Obamacare. I guess when you have to pass bills without reading them to find out what’s in them, that will happen. The loophole is as follows, according the NY Times’ story: the power of state regulators differs state to state. In California, for example, the insurance regulators can review rate requests, but only for technical violations, not for the amount of the increase. Cue the sad trombone.
But, fear not. If, as you follow my sage advice, and read to the end of these Lame Stream Media stories, you’ll see that hope is making a comeback. This whole evil private health insurance scheme that we mistakenly thought served us so well for decades is destined to go the way of the quill pen, the 8-track tape and the Constitution, all outmoded, out dated, out of style and out of time. Why? Because
The practice of medical underwriting — being able to consider the health of a prospective policy holder before deciding whether to offer coverage and what rate to charge — will no longer be permitted after 2014 under the health care law.
And with the end of medical underwriting, bye bye private insurance. Hello single payer. How long will employers be able to continue to subsidize employee coverage when the premium must be sufficient to pay for the treatment of the sickest person in the pool, who by law can’t be charged any more than the healthiest one? Barack lied about it in 2009, but back in 2007, he told a friendly union audience that single-payer is what he wanted, and that’s the reason for this whole heinous scheme. All of the yip yap about “pre-existing conditions” was just that. For approximately 90% of the population with private insurance, there was never was issue of pre-existing conditions because they got their insurance through employer plans. That’s because of provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPPA). Specifically, as the Heritage Foundation notes here:
With respect to employer-group coverage, Congress took a reasonable and balanced approach to setting rules under HIPAA.
In particular, HIPAA rules on the application of pre-existing-condition exclusions with respect to group coverage encourage good behavior (buying health insurance before it becomes necessary) and discourage bad behavior (waiting to obtain health insurance until medical care becomes necessary). Good behavior is thus rewarded with what could be called an earned right to obtain future coverage on favorable terms. All an individual needs to do to earn such favorable treatment is to have at least one year of “creditable coverage” (defined as any public or private major-medical plan), with no gaps in coverage of more than 63 days. Furthermore, even if an individual does not have sufficient creditable coverage, employer-group coverage is still “guaranteed issue,” and any pre-existing-condition exclusion is time-limited.
This balanced approach to setting rules and incentives explains why, for the past 15 years, pre-existing-condition exclusions have not been a barrier to coverage for the vast majority of privately insured individuals who are covered by employer-group plans. It also explains why that market has been able to function with a guaranteed issue requirement, but without the need to mandate that individuals obtain coverage.
However, with respect to the individual market, Congress only applied that kind of balanced approach to those limited cases where a worker loses group coverage and obtains individual replacement coverage. It was the failure of Congress to apply a set of reasonable rules to the entire individual health insurance market that has resulted in continued inequities in that market. It also thwarts efforts to shift to a true consumer-directed health care system where individuals, not employers or the government, own their health insurance.
Specifically, under HIPAA rules a person who purchases individual market coverage, and later needs or wants to change individual coverage, can be refused the new coverage, or the new insurer can impose pre-existing-condition exclusions on the coverage or charge the individual a higher rate based on past medical history. Unlike the rules for group coverage, HIPAA does not require individual market insurers to credit applicants with prior coverage.
Thus, in the individual health insurance market, people who buy health insurance before they need it are treated the same as those who wait until they need medical care before buying insurance. Aside from being inequitable, such rules are contrary to the public policy goal of encouraging people to buy health insurance before they need to use it. This flaw in HIPAA also left an opening for supporters of more government intervention to push for a blanket prohibition on the use of pre-existing-condition exclusions, which Congress then included in the Obamacare legislation.
Rather than simply extending HIPAA’s sensible employer-group rules to individual health insurance coverage (the remaining 10 percent of the private market), in Obamacare Congress replaced HIPAA’s balanced approach with a complete ban on pre-existing-condition exclusions under any circumstances, and then attempted to limit the damage caused by that policy blunder by adding an individual mandate to buy coverage.
Did you know that? Did you know that the whole “pre-existing condition” meme, with the inevitable Lame Stream Media sob stories, featuring some poor sap tearfully describing his illness and his cruel treatment at the hands of an insurance company, was a lot of hooey? If you had employer-provided health insurance, and had been buying health insurance consistently, even if you changed jobs, you weren’t subject to any pre-existing condition denial of coverage. But, rather than simply tweak an existing law, and thereby go a long way toward addressing the ostensible problem, Barry and his merry band of Marxists imposed a horrendous, ridiculously expensive bureaucratic nightmare on this country, and thanks John Roberts, it’s here to stay. But wait, you may be saying, that change in HIPPA would only have addressed the issue of pre-existing conditions those with private insurance. In 2009, approximately 64% of the population had private insurance. Fine. What about the illegal aliens, irresponsible sperm donors who impregnate their irresponsible playmates, stinking, shopping cart pushing aggressive panhandling winos, and various other aggrieved parties who don’t have private insurance because they don’t have jobs? People like this woman, Angel “Someone’s Gotta Pay for my 15 Children” Adams. (~approximately 2:20 into the video). Now you’ve swerved into the real heart of the matter. Why is it “fair” that just because you work, you get health insurance and she and her children by God only knows who, don’t? This whole “employer provided” insurance is just a vestige of all the “Mad Men” world of racist suburbs, private automobiles, traditional “unequal” marriage, stay-at-home moms imprisoned by sexism, and all the rest of the 1950’s-style “unfair” Amerika that Barack vowed to throw on the ash heap of history when we put him in charge. Things won’t be “fair” until you and your children don’t have any better health care than Ms. Adams.
If we have to destroy this inequitable system, one that works very well for the vast majority of the people who are part of that traditional society to fix things for the Ms. Adamses of the world, so be it! Of course, Barack and Michelle, their spawn, Valerie and other members of the political royalty will have their medical needs handled outside the system that you will share with Ms. Adams.
Sort of like the difference between their vacations, and yours, if you had one.
So, once the private insurance industry is destroyed, Barack Obama will have completely remade America, and accomplished what for him are three extremely important objectives: (1) Destroying the private insurance industry (2) Continuing his never-ending project of eradicating Amerika’s “unfairness” and (3) most important of all, increasing the size of government and the power of the political class, and giving them the power of life and death over every American. Any questions?
All of these things seem so obvious to us. Why do so many of our fellow citizens not see what is right in front of their faces?