The GOP’s “solution” to the high cost of health insurance is to make health insurance worthless.
Short-term plans can turn away people with preexisting conditions, including asthma and acne. They can charge older or sicker people prohibitively expensive premiums.
Or they can enroll such people at what looks like a bargain-basement price and then refuse to pay for any care related to preexisting illnesses — including illnesses that enrollees didn’t even know they had when they enrolled, such as cancer or heart disease. Some plans have dropped consumers as soon as they got an expensive diagnosis, sticking them with hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexpected medical bills.
Unlike Obamacare plans, short-term plans also are not required to cover any particular benefits, even for the relatively healthy.
A Kaiser Family Foundation review of short-term plans offered around the country found that most did not cover prescription drugs, and none covered maternity care. Preventive and mental-health care are also frequently excluded.
Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post, 8/3/2018
Worse yet, they can throw the markets for real health insurance into chaos.
This parallel system of insurance will siphon off healthier, younger, less expensive people from the exchanges. That will leave behind a pool of sicker, older, more expensive people, which will drive up premiums on the exchanges.
Between this and repealing the individual mandate, Republicans are actively sabotaging Obamacare to make it seem like a failure.
I’ve been meaning to write a post about how all of the health policy ideas Republicans have proposed are terrible, but it looks like someone beat me to the punch.
Republicans are ready to cherry-pick from a Rolodex of bad ideas, ones that promise a race to the bottom for consumer protection and higher costs for people who need health insurance the most.
Jason Silverstein, VICE
Ever since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) became law in 2010, Republicans have been talking non-stop about repealing it and replacing it with a health care plan of their own. But they can’t even agree on what that plan should be in broad terms or if there should be a replacement plan at all.
Some replacement plans have been proposed by Republicans to give the impression that they care about the problem. And yet a lot of hard-core conservatives just don’t think the government should even be trying to expand access to health coverage at all. They just want to repeal Obamacare but not replace it with anything…perhaps their replacement plan should be called Wedon’tcare?
It’s still not a pretty picture in my home state of Indiana when it comes to preventable medical errors…like severe bed sores, wrong-site surgeries, foreign objects left inside of patients and falls. From The Indianapolis Star:
For the past eight years in an effort to curb the number of preventable mistakes that happen in Indiana, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, abortion clinics and birthing centers have been required to report 28 serious adverse events to the Indiana State Department of Health.
In 2013, 111 medical errors occurred at 293 facilities, according to a report recently released by state health officials. That’s more medical errors than have occurred in any year since the state started requiring facilities to report these events.
Indeed, preventable medical errors are the #3 cause of death in America, responsible for 1 out of 6 deaths. So this problem is literally killing us in very large numbers, and we don’t seem to be making much progress.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In a six-country survey, U.S. patients reported the highest rate of medical errors…a dubious honor indeed. (In case you’re wondering, the other five countries in the survey were the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Canada.)
I know that physicians and hospitals recognize this problem and are making good-faith efforts to improve this and trying all kinds of strategies to improve it. But why aren’t we making any real headway? Why is the care in the United States so uniquely inconsistent despite costing so much more?
If you’ve read enough of this blog, you probably know the reasons already.
What do you think? I’m interested to read your comments.
Reasons for cautious optimism on the future of Medicare: Medicare trustees are now projecting solvency through 2030. We still have a lot of work to do to fix all that is wrong with Medicare, and there’s no time like the present. But it’s nice to know the Affordable Care Act is working for Medicare!