Thursday, March 03, 2011

Giving Health Insurance Companies the Boot

Residents of North Carolina want the Obamacrap health insurance Exchange to be run by someone other than insurance companies. I have to admit, it makes a lot of sense.

Barber Lou Meyers has been cutting hair for over 30 years, but he blames the rising cost of health insurance has caused him to lay off his staff, except for his family.

Apparently North Carolina is in some sort of Bermuda Triangle where prices for food, gasoline, utilities and other necessities are stable, and only health insurance premiums rise.

He's hoping a health exchange will bring prices down, but he's worries that a bill working its way through the legislature would allow insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, to sit on the exchange's board of directors.

Insurance companies are for profit entities, which some feel is a conflict of interest.

I suppose it is OK for barber shops to earn a profit but not insurance companies. After all, we can all be hippies and never cut our hair.

Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman Lew Borman says it wouldn't make sense it the company wasn't a part of the conversation.

"We know how to set up these mechanisms, such as a call center, different kinds of cost plans," Borman said. "We know what people are looking for because we deal with it every day."

That's the problem though -- according to the new coalition called Citizens for Responsible Health Care. It consists of more than a dozen non-profits that are urging lawmakers to keep insurance companies out of the new exchange.

"We do not think that insurance companies should be setting the criteria for health plans sold in this exchange," said Abby Emanuelson, MS Society.

Rather than having carriers involved in the decision making progress, let people who have no clue about risk management involved.

That is like electing people who have no real world business experience to run the country and manage the economy. We know how well that works.

Insurance companies are profit driven, but the margins on health insurance are in the 3 - 4% range. For those who are not smarter than a 5th grader, that translates in to $3 - $4 for every $100 in gross premiums.

Perhaps the Exchange should be run by the same folks that manage Medicare. They have done so well with that health insurance program.

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