The much hyped proposal on health insurance reform has finally hit the web. You can probably find many versions, but the most concise and readable form can be found here.
So what new and exciting things are in this proposal?
It is as if Obama and Sebelius failed to study for the final exam and instead decided to cheat by copying from the person sitting next to them in class.
Problem is, they are not copying off the smart kid's paper.
Most of the cost saving measures are just a rehash of what we have heard all along. Eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.
I have to ask, as I have been asking all along, why do we need a trillion dollar bill, or any bill at all, to make the government do what they should be doing all along?
Of course many of the provisions will increase premiums, and do so substantially, rather than making health insurance more affordable. Apparently the folks in DC haven't been paying attention to what happened when the NY version of Obamacare was passed 20 years ago.
Another provision that will increase premiums is the proposal to close the "donut hole" on Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. That means premiums for PDP coverage will increase, significantly in some cases. Wonder how the seniors feel about that one?
The one new wrinkle is federal oversight of health insurance premiums. Apparently the folks in Washington feel the states aren't doing their job and need big brother looking over their shoulder.
This is a pure political power play. If this idea is implemented it will backfire. Consider this.
If health insurance carriers are prohibited from obtaining rate increases at renewal, or those increases are unfairly limited to an arbitrary figure, guess what will happen. Any number of things including . . .
Carriers will simply withdraw from the market. This has already happened in states like NY where there are only a handful of carriers offering a limited choice of plans and none of them affordable.
Yeah, that works so well in NY let's take that idea and run with it in the other states.
Other options include reducing benefits on renewal. Yes, the premium increase is moderated but the true increase is offset by a corresponding reduction in benefits.
Another possibility is to eliminate the plan you have when it comes up for renewal. You cannot keep the plan you have but will be permitted to swap the old plan for this newer one with similar benefits but at a higher rate than DC allows.
These are just a few ways to deal with the stupidity of placating voters by offering them a plum that is rotten.
Of course if either Obama or Sebelius had ever held a real job in the private sector they would know that their plan is as bogus as a $3 bill and will never work.
That assumes they have the votes to get this through Congress.
I wouldn't bet the farm on that happening.
So one might ask if there is anything positive in the Obama-Sebelius proposal. Actually, there is.
Among other things they supposedly eliminate the special deals cut in the massive vote buying moves in exchange for support of the previous House & Senate bills. I applaud that and would suggest that they don't stop with this proposal but eliminate all these shady dealings that anywhere else would be a criminal act.
One other provision in this proposal is the expansion of Community Health Centers. This is a good thing.
The only complaint is they are only investing $11 billion for this program. That is one area where I would suggest an increase.
Of course it could be paid for by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse . . .