Monday, February 24, 2014

All These Health Insurance Experts

After 40 years insuring human beings, I am amazed at the sudden appearance of hoards of health insurance experts as it relates to Obamacare.  The word ‘Insurance’ usually puts people to sleep, but all of a sudden everyone seems to like their insurance company?  The Health insurance industry’s lobbying is the most effective in the United States.  No politician can fight an industry that  can put a dozen agents in every congressman’s office with just a few hours notice.  I still don’t know how America’s Health Insurance Plans, (AHIP) was able to participate in the writing of ObamaCare while at the same time donating $83 million to The US. Chamber of Commerce to run ads attacking the plan using the Chambers name rather than their own.  They can use one side of a story to make people angry, and it’s obvious that angry people don’t think with clear minds. Consider:

1.     Announcing that ObamaCare will increase insurance premiums.  What else is new.  Insurance premiums have gone up virtually every year in memory.  Now the insurance companies can blame someone other than themselves for this.

2.     Scaring people that a government bureaucrat will be deciding the type of medical care you receive.   Right now you have a private insurance company bureaucrat deciding what medical care you will receive.  Not only that, but he may get pay increases by keeping claims down.

3.     Health insurance company profits have been huge in the two years since the  passage, and analysts generally are bullish on future profits.

4.     With the exception of large self insured plans, all insurance is regulated by the states.  Each state has different rules and procedures for insurance companies.  That Obama didn’t know this is deplorable.

5.     Social insurance is provided by the government and allows us to manage risks that pertain to all of the population.  The Armed Forces insures the country’s security, covers all risks and is paid for by all of us.  Social Security, The FDA, OSHA, and Medicare are other examples.

6.     Private insurance companies are formed to manage risks of groups of people, over and above what the government covers, and does this by underwriting , (selecting the best risks and not covering the worst).

7.     The Canadian system is in fact at least 10 separate systems.  One for each province.  Some do a great job, others not so good.

8.     The insurance companies are allowed to keep 20% of premiums for “expenses”.  Medicare is able to do it’s administration for 4% of premiums.

9.     ObamaCare has Republican roots that can be traced from Romney to Nixon.  It is nothing like what the Democrat’s had ever proposed before.

10.  Because all 50 states have laws that require hospitals to serve the uninsured in their emergency rooms, we’ve had the most expensive kind of universal health insurance coverage for a decade or so.

11.  The way most hospitals pay for these uninsured ER visits has been by corrupting their billing system by charging different prices for the same procedures, because of deals they make with separate insurers, causing the highest billings to go to the uninsured.

12.  Because the government under ObamaCare will take care of the catastrophic claims, the private insurance companies have no risk to manage.  Without underwriting, the insurance companies are not taking part in the practice of insurance, they are simply transferring money.  Is it any surprise that United Health Care is putting so much effort into their Optum Bank?

Until the American Voters realize that the special interests are interested in maintaining their power through divide and conquer tactics I see little chance for positive change.  The biggest problem with health insurance today is the insurance companies.  As long as they are at the table in the discussion of Americas Health we will be spending 15-20% more than we need too.  The real problem should be finding jobs for those who are currently employed in this frequently highly paid and unnecessary industry.