Rants, Recipes and Ramblings

Who’s Captive to the Insurers?

Let me get this straight:

Which side wanted to try to LOWER cost by eliminating the antitrust excemption that protects Health Insurers from competition?  Rep

Which side wanted to FORCE every person in the country to have to buy insurance from the Health Insurers thereby bring MORE business to those same Health Insurers? Dem

With the passage last night of Obamacare I’m reading this morning that the Dems are going to try to push back against the Reps between now and November with the claim that it’s the Reps that are in the pocket of the Health Insurers when the Reps try to slow/repeal/change the Legislation.  Sorry that dog don’t hunt.

Competetition is what drives down cost.  Not forced purchasing.  You don’t see Health Insurers advertising on TV because they have no need to.  They get an employer to offer their service to their employees and the employee has the option – once a year – of signing up.  Once signed up the employee is trapped with that insurer and that employer because the insurance is “owned” by the employer and there is always the threat of an illness, etc… making it difficult or impossible to get coverage with another insurer due to a “pre-existing condition.  This makes the employee little more that an indenturered slave to both the employer and the insurer.  The Dem’s legislation only solves one aspect of this but does so only through force.

Here is a better solution.

1. Eliminate the anti-trust excemption to open the Health Insurance market to competition.  In some states (like Alabama) this ban on competition has led to a single company (Blue Cross) controlling 91% of the market!  That is not competition that is monoploy.

2. Eliminate the minimum required policy options.  The other side likes to make the bogus comparison of the  (state) requirement to have car insurance as why the (fed’s) will make you get Health Insurnance.  For the sake of argument let’s say fine, you have to have Health Insurance.  What’s different?  With car insurance I can buy buy either a liability policy or a comprehensive policy.  Additionaly I can add various riders to the policy as a need (glass, towing, etc…)  With Health Insurance no such luck.  The Fed are making me buy a comprehensive policy.  I would rather have an Insurer offer me a low cost no frills high deductiable catestrophic policy coupled to a tax exempt HSA.

(Indiana is doing this to great effect: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704231304575091600470293066.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion)

This would allow me to use buy a policy to protect me if things really got bad while setting aside pre-tax dollars to cover the basic lower dollar cost things like wellness visits and checkups.  At the end of the year if I have money left in my HSA account I can use that money for whatever I want.  Leave it in the HSA, use it to pay the premimum on my catestrophic policy or spend it on a new flat screen TV.  What ever.  I don’t even have a problem on having to pay tax on that money if I pull it out of the HSA to spend on something not health related.  However, if an elective health procedure like an abortion or botox is allowed I think I could make the argument that a flat screen TV would be good for both my eyes and my mental health 🙂

If a private individual is able to purchace their own health care with pretax dollars like a business can you break the indenturered servitude between the employee and the employer.  If the employee now has no obsticle to changing jobs and since it is their own policy and not the employers policy the policy is portable.  That helps address the issue of pre-existing conditions.

Plus, if the policy was owned by the Individual and not business the health insurers woudl be having to advertise just like the car insureres do.  You can’t go an hour without seeing Geico, Progressive, State Farm, Allstate, General, etc… trying to get your business by talkiing about how much money that can save you if you give them your business.  They offer you additional discounts if you expand your relationship with them. Car, House, Property, etc…  If competition was allowed in the Health insurance market we would soon see those same broad base insurnace companies offering health policies to compete against the verticle market insurers like  Blue Cross, Humana, etc…  Because you could carry multiple policies with them you are spreading the risk which helps bring down the cost too since they would offer discounts if you added a health insurnace policy to go along with your car, boat, house, etc…

Competition is the key.  Not force.

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