Friday, February 15, 2019

It's all so incenstuous: Redux

Just over 3 years ago, we noted the revolving door between the government and the insurance business:

"As regular readers know, AHIP (the health insurance industry's lobbying organization) has been on-board Team O'Care since Day One. What folks may not know is just how deep the ties run between the administration, major labor unions and the insurance industry."

We mentioned several folks specifically, including one who went from the AFL-CIO to AHIP, and then on to running EmblemHealth in New York.

We also pointed to "the lovely and talented Marilyn Tavenner, who came to AHIP directly from her previous gig as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services."

Notice a pattern here?

Well, the other day the industry news reported breathlessly on the objections of the current Keystone State Insurance Commissioner to Short Term Medical (STM) plans:
Here's what she had to say:

"One big problem with expanding consumer use of short-term health insurance is that consumers may have no good way to know what a policy will really cover."

Well for one thing, this is true of every insurance policy of every type: who actually reads them? And whatever happened to personal responsibility? It's true that STM's are underwritten, and don't over pre-existing conditions, maternity or routine physicals.

On the other hand, they offer a much less expensive alternative to ObamaPlans, and generally have significantly lower out-of-pocket maximums, to boot.

On the gripping hand: they appear to be a threat to ObmaCare, since lots of folks have figured out that they are an efficient, lower cost alternative.

Which is a problem for O'Care proponents.

Which brings us back to Ms Altman, who, it turns out, has a vested interest in curtailing the flight of folks from ACA to the short term market. As I pointed out on Twitter, "Ms. Altman worked at the U.S. Department of [HHS] for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, where she developed policy and facilitated implementation of the Affordable Care Act. No vested interest here."

And then co-blogger Patrick chimed in with even more helpful information: turns out, she's also the daughter of current Kaiser Family Foundation President Drew Altman (KFF has been a consistent and vocal ACA supporter).

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