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Health Care Odds & Ends

1. ObamaCare Beginning To Worry Insurers.

Insurance companies that participate in the exchange are worried that the exchanges won’t be viable for long.  The recent announcement by the Obama Administration that people could keep their health plans through 2015 has only added to the troubles as insurers were hoping those people would see their plans cancelled this year and then join the exchange.

From the Washington Examiner:

Though the department [of Health and Human Services] has reported that 4 million have signed up for health care plans through one of the program’s new insurance exchanges, that number drops to 3 million when individuals who haven’t kept up with paying premiums are included (about 20 percent never paid the first month’s premiums, and an additional 2 to 5 percent haven’t paid the second month’s premium, Laszewski writes, citing insurance carriers).

That isn’t enough to create a sustainable risk pool with a critical mass of young and healthy enrollees to offset the cost of covering older and sicker individuals who are now guaranteed an offer of coverage.

Well, NCPPR warned them about these problems a while ago.  Sometimes being right is a real pain.

2. Unions Also Worried About ObamaCare.

Here is the key paragraph from an analysis by UNITE!, a union that represents people who work in the hospitality industry, airports, food service and so on: 

Ironically, the Administration’s own signature healthcare victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality. Yes, the Affordable Care Act will help many more Americans gain some health insurance coverage, a significant step forward for equality. At the same time, without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss  of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage. 
Read more about it here.


3. Testimony Before The Senate HELP Committee Tomorrow

I’ll be testifying before the Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, which is part of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.  The topic is “Access and Cost: What the U.S. Health Care System Can Learn from Other Countries.”  It will take place between 10am and noon EDT, and you should be able to view a webcast here.  What will I say?  Well, here is a sneak peek at some of the testimony I’ve submitted:

I think the best lessons we can take from other nations is what NOT to do to our health care system.  The most important lesson is that we should avoid putting more and more of our health care system under the control of politicians.  Politicians, like everyone else, face a system of incentives and constraints.  Specifically, most politicians want to get re-elected and that will have a substantial impact on health care policy. Groups that have political clout, that can influence a politician’s reelection chances, are more likely to get good treatment under government-run health care systems.  Groups that lack such clout are more likely to be neglected by politicians and receive inferior care.

Unfortunately, people who are quite sick—those who need an operation or cancer treatment or have a serious chronic condition—usually lack such political clout.  First, the very sick are relatively few in number, which means they amount to a very limited number of voters, too limited to have much impact on elections. Second, they are too sick to engage in the type of political activities such as organizing, protesting, etc., that can bring about change in health care policy.  Furthermore, they may be completely unaware of how government health care policy has affected their plight, in which case they will not feel a need to vote or organize to change health care policy.  Ultimately, under a government system, those with the most medical need are the most likely to have difficulty getting the care they need. 

Or, you can see the whole testimony here.


4. And For Something Totally Unrelated To Health Care.

Here is Rosey Grier, one of the defensive linemen of the then-Los Angeles Rams known as the “Fearsome Four”:

And here is Grier singing “It’s All Right to Cry”:

Hat tip, Kyle Smith.


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