We might go for the Ryan budget bill in regard health insurance directly, but others have already noted that either (a) he doesn’t have a clue how insurance works, or (b) he’s trying to pull a fast one on the American public. At any rate, the phase I of the ACA repeal is essentially a gigantic giveaway to health insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, a tax boon to those in the upper 0.1% income bracket, and a dismantling of the Medicaid program. The contents of Phase II have been tipped. It’s on the Speaker’s website, but requires a bit of unpacking:
“Administration actions, notably by HHS Secretary Price, to stabilize the health insurance market, increase choices, and lower costs…”
Translation: The content of health insurance policies, currently listed as “essential provisions” for all policies, is under a head on assault.
If a corporation is going to offer a comprehensive health insurance policy for sale to customers, it must include “ambulatory care for patients in a hospital or not,” “emergency services,” “hospitalization,” “pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care,” “mental health and substance abuse treatment,” “prescription drugs,” “rehabilitation,” “laboratory services,” “preventive and wellness care,” “pediatric care including vision and oral care,” and “birth control and breastfeeding coverage.”
Now, just guess what parts of this coverage the GOP finds objectionable? If you guessed anything having to do with WOMEN give yourself the prize of the day.
Why, the guys grouse, do I have to have a policy covering maternity and neo-natal care, birth control prescriptions, and pediatric care? It’s because of how insurance works.
Aside from the obvious part wherein it requires both men and women to create a ‘maternity situation,’ the whole idea of insurance is encapsulated in the word POOL.
“When you buy insurance, you join many others who pay money to an insurance company. The insurance company uses the money collected to pay claims that are submitted by those who have purchased insurance. The money is “pooled” and losses and expenses are shared. An important aspect is the members of a pool share similar risk characteristics.” [HIW]
In the case of health insurance, the “shared characteristic” of note is that everyone who buys a policy is a human being, who at some point will need health care. The more people (policies) in the pool the wider the risk can be shared. And, that’s the point of insurance — spreading the risk among as many policy holders as possible.
Creating ‘cafeteria’ policies might be profitable for the insurance corporations, but it doesn’t make health care affordable for most people. If we carve out special coverage for maternity care and remove this from the larger pool (which includes men) all this serves to do is to increase costs for those remaining in a smaller pool. Similarly, if prostate cancer screening and treatment is carved out from comprehensive coverage, this serves to increase costs as the overall pool is diminished.
Got it? If not, think of your auto insurance. 10 people buy GenZ Insurance, 9 of them never file a claim, 1 does. The costs related to the one claim are shared among those who bought into the pool and paid premiums to maintain their insurance. We require all automobile owners in this state to have at least minimal insurance. In Nevada, this means you have to have a policy covering $15,000 for bodily injury or death in an accident for one person, $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two persons in an accident, and $10,000 to cover property damage. Thus, all Nevada drivers must have at least minimal participation in the auto insurance pool. Again, the larger the pool the greater sharing of risk, the entire point of having insurance.
Back to health insurance, if we thought Phase I is a disaster, Phase II should be even worse. Phase III is the ‘portability canard.” Has it occurred to anyone in the GOP hierarchy that nothing that really prevents insurance corporations from selling their policies across state lines — IF they agree to accept the standards set by state insurance commissions for the protection of their consumers. More on this later — if necessary.