Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why Obama's Health Insurance Reform Program Will Pass

Because the health insurance industry's treatment of people like the family in this story exposes the cynicism of the health insurance industry and how out of touch it is with common, hardworking people who pay their premiums and do nothing wrong.

How absolutely pathetic and disgusting is it that a health insurance company will deny coverage to a healthy 2-yr-old girl just because she's a bit small and weighs in at 22 lbs? If the health insurance industry can deny coverage for this reason, they can deny coverage for any reason. Apparently, all they need to do is pull one out of thin air.

What's next? Your kid goes to public school? Too risky for swine flu. Insurance denied.

Your kid's maternal great, great grandmother died of breast cancer? Too risky for future breast cancer. Insurance denied.

Your kid's a red-head with fair skin and easily subject to sunburn? Too risky for future skin cancer. Insurance denied.

Your kid stomps in rain puddles? Too risky for a staff infection. Insurance denied.

Your kid plays football? Too risky for future arthritis. Insurance denied.

When insurance companies deny coverage because an otherwise healthy girl is apparently on the small side for her weight, they've already lost the battle. And what's more, they give ammunition to the pressing need for a public option. If the greedy private sector won't cover this girl, then charitable and humane American citizens should ... and will.

Support a public option! It may be the only option your child has.

4 comments:

Eric said...

Of course, the public option has very little to do with adressing these types of problems, most of which are caused by underwriting differences between group and individual insurance policies.

Legislation allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines, and legislation which would allow individual policies to be pooled together like group policies would do much more than the proposed
"public option" to address these issues. And such legislation has broad bipartisan support, unlike the public option.

Even the legislation that looks likely to pass, which would mandate the purchase of insurance coverage while precluding private insurers from denying policies for pre-existing conditions, addresses this problem without the use of a public option.

And it is also worth noting that a similar issue in Colorado, where a young child was denied coverage for being overweight, was overturned by the insurance company after beign reviewed, and they admitted that their underwriting policy was flawed (after the story got national coverage). Often times, whether we are talking about public or private malfeasense, the best solution is simply to shine a public light on the problem.

And while we're at it, let us not forget that when it comes to denying insurance claims presented by healtchare providers, Medicare is the #1 culprit in the USA (they deny claims at a rate 3 times higher than UnitedHealth). I see that as a good argument AGAINST the public option, regardless of what other reforms we are going to employ.

Huck said...

Even the legislation that looks likely to pass, which would mandate the purchase of insurance coverage while precluding private insurers from denying policies for pre-existing conditions, addresses this problem without the use of a public option.

I doubt this. First, being a healthy, but low-weight young girl is not a pre-existing medical condition. Insurance companies will find a way to deny coverage to people they think are too risky to cover. They'll simply say the provision prohitibing them from denying this young girl coverage for a "pre-existing condition" would simply not apply because her condition is in no way linked to a pre-existing health problem requiring medical treatment. Or, they'll simply say, "Yeah, we'll cover her, but you have to pay 20 times the regular premium." In this way they won't be "denying" coverage technically, while denying coverage practically. In order to preserve the kind of private sector freedom that I think conservatives seem to want, that would require allowing private insurers to deny coverage to people. If they can't deny anyone coverage at all under any circumstance, and if they have to make the premiums affordable, then how can anyone say that we really have anything but a public healthcare system. I say, let insurance companies deny folks coverage. And let these folks then partake of a public option. If that drives private providers out of business because of their own foolishness, so be it.

Eric said...

"If they can't deny anyone coverage at all under any circumstance, and if they have to make the premiums affordable, then how can anyone say that we really have anything but a public healthcare system."

Which is exactly the argument conservatives have been making.
Careful, Huck, or we'll have to send your comments to the White House for spreading 'fishy' rumors.

"I say, let insurance companies deny folks coverage. And let these folks then partake of a public option."

Then talk to Obama about it, becasue to my knowledge there is no plan on the table that looks anything like that.

I also wonder how you would propose the public option deals with covering people who apply for insurance but are already sick? If it is totally funded by premiums (and not taxpayer subsidies), won't it have to charge people rediculously high rates in order cover all the castoffs from the private sector?

andrew said...

This clusterfuck is probably one of the reasons I tend to dislike our legislative systems.

This needs to be done by a committee made up of a group of individuals who DON'T need to worry about re-election.

Each and every regulation proposed needs to be looked at thoroughly because otherwise you stand the chance of making a mistake that does significant harm.

Health insurers are NOT government entities. If it isn't profitable for them to exist, they don't have to. They can liquidize, yank the cords on the golden parachutes and give us the one finger salute all the way to the Caribbean.