Author Topic: Government Takeover: White House Forces Obamacare Insurers To Cover Unpaid Patients At A Loss  (Read 399 times)

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 12/14/2013 @ 7:42AM
Government Takeover: White House Forces Obamacare Insurers To Cover Unpaid Patients At A Loss
Avik Roy Avik Roy, Contributor

Of all of the last-minute delays, website bungles, and Presidential whims that have marred the roll-out of Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges, what happened on Thursday, December 12 will stand as one of the most lawless acts yet committed by this administration. The White House—having canceled Americans’ old health plans, and having botched the system for enrolling people in new ones—knows that millions of Americans will enter the new year without health coverage. So instead of actually fixing the problem, the administration is retroactively attempting to force insurers to hand out free health care—at a loss—to those whom the White House has rendered uninsured. If Obamacare wasn’t a government takeover of the health insurance industry, then what is it now?

On Wednesday afternoon, health policy reporters found in their inboxes a friendly e-mail from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announcing “steps to ensure Americans signing up through the Marketplace have coverage and access to the care they need on January 1.” Basically, the “steps” involve muscling insurers to provide free or discounted care to those who have become uninsured because of the problems with

HHS threatens to throw non-complying plans off the exchanges

HHS assured reporters that it would be “urging issuers to give consumers additional time to pay their first month’s premium and still have coverage beginning January 1, 2014.” In other words, urging them to offer free care to those who haven’t paid. This is a problem because the government has yet to build the system that allows people who’ve signed up for plans to actually pay for them. “One client reports only 15 percent [of applicants] have paid so far,” Bob Laszewski told Charles Ornstein. “So far I’m hearing from health plans that around 5 percent and 10 percent of consumers who have made it through the data transfer gauntlet have paid first month’s premium and therefore truly enrolled,” said Kip Piper.


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Total genius. Force the insurance companies to break themselves.
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Offline AbaraXas

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Work at a loss. Works in so many other industries so well, why not insurance?
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Offline Scottftlc

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Total genius. Force the insurance companies to break themselves.

And break themselves they will.  Ours is a fascist system.

They will blithely and peacefully walk into their own "gas chambers."
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Offline Oceander

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The title - and the article - do not accurately describe what the Obama (mal)administration is attempting to do here.  Certain it is that they believe they can bully and bludgeon insurance companies into saving the (mal)administration - and the democrats - from some of the worst consequences of the Obamacare rollout disaster; however, this effort isn't merely about forcing insurers to cover unpaid patients at a loss - certainly not in any long-term sense - but about getting insurance companies to in effect extend a month's credit to people who have already demonstrated the intent to purchase - and pay for - a policy from those insurance companies, an intent that they will act on as soon as they can (or are permitted to).  In other words, the (mal)administration wants insurance companies to agree to be paid in arrears for the first month of insurance coverage; it doesn't require that they agree to do so indefinitely.  It also doesn't mean that the insurance companies have to provide coverage that will never be paid for; the intent is to get companies to provide coverage for a month in advance of receiving payment of the premium for that coverage, not to permanently forego being paid for that month of coverage.

I'm not saying that what the Obama (mal)administration is trying to do is good, or even legal (it ain't), all I'm saying is that this is basically just another in a long line of examples of short-sighted action intended to save the democrats from themselves, and not some sinister step on the road toward the extinction of private for-profit health insurance companies.
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