Skip to main content

View Diary: What Real Compromise Looks Like (8 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Not-for-profit can still be VERY expensive (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Jaffa

    The prototype for the Exchange is the Massachusetts Health Connector, a pillar of RomneyCare.  It functions as the state's assigned risk pool.  If you can't get a better deal elsewhere, you can get a high-priced HMO policy through the Connector.

    As far as I know, all or almost all of the providers on the Connector are non-profit.  The state's big insurers tend to be incorporated that way.  Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts, Fallon, Neighborhood and BCBSMA are all, AFAIK, non-profit.  This doesn't mean they're entirely altruistic!  HPHC paid its CEO (a former Romney cabinet minister) megabucks and now he's running for governor as a rethuglican.  He can do quite a lot of self-financing from insurance "surplus" bonuses.  Aetna, United, and Cigna sell in the state but not on the Connector.

    We have the country's highest insurance rates.  The Connector does not have price controls.  It can't ask about pre-existing conditions but it assumes that most people who use it are high-cost.  Even with four companies bidding in the Boston area (not that they cover exactly the same geography), rates are skyrocketing.  Providers can charge what they want, knowing that insurers can pass it along to a public that is no longer allowed to go without.  

    So demand is up, supply is constrained, and prices go up.  This is economics 101.

    A public option would help, but price controls at the provider end, combined with strict limits (as you suggest) on "medical loss" ratio, are needed too.  Otherwise it's just subsidies for drug giants and sme surgeons' yachts and McMansions.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site