Thursday, September 08, 2011

An Offer You Can Refuse

The Obamneycrap evil mandate will probably come to a head next spring, just as the 2012 campaign is heating up. This should make an interesting sidebar.

The folks over at KHN (Kaiser Health News) have a different, and possibly better, idea.

The folks who weighed in on the roundtable were mostly people who, from appearances, never held a real job in the private sector, with exception of an actuary.

By definition, actuaries are the green eye-shade folks that crunch the numbers based on real world data.

The others that participated are ivory tower think-tank types.

In my opinion, the best suggestion came from (actuary) Cori Ucello.
In the absence of an individual mandate, a combination of approaches will likely be needed -- for instance, lengthening the time between open enrollment periods to two years or longer, along with imposing higher premiums for late enrollees.
This has a lot of merit. Those who don't want to pay now will have to pay later and pay a lot more.

But it is not flawless.

Those who delay until they get sick may still end up with unpaid bills that are then shifted to the rest of us.

Paul Starr from Princeton also gave an interesting perspective.
In the alternative that I've proposed, the government could allow individuals to opt out of the new insurance system, without a penalty, by signing a form on their tax return acknowledging that they would then be ineligible for federal health insurance subsidies for a fixed period -- say, five years. During that time, if they had second thoughts, they would have no guarantee that they could find a policy or that it would cover pre-existing conditions.

Again, not perfect, but better than what we are faced with now which is incredibly stupid, even for Congress.

Buy health insurance and pay up to 10% of your income or do nothing and pay a 1% fine.

Forest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does".
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