About those Obamacare Cancellation Letters

Insurance

It is indeed understandable that people would be upset to learn that an existing insurance plan is being cancelled, especially if it raises costs.  But it isn’t quite what it seems and part of that is poor planning on the promotional side of the Affordable Care Act.

The plans being cancelled are not up to new standards, standards that protect the insured from practices that in the past could deny care based on a range of criteria including employment, occupation, and health.

Moreover, you hear a lot of complaints from people saying Obamacare takes from young, healthy people and gives it to older and less healthy people, but that isn’t all that different from how healthcare had worked in the United States.

Health insurance companies are happy to sell insurance to people not likely to draw on it and they do.  As you get older you get more limits and higher costs, especially if you get sick.

In the old system, insured people routinely were denied payment for services based on medical conditions, pre-existing or otherwise.  If you have tens of thousands of dollars of medical expenses in the old system and find your insurance not covering it…well, that’s a cancellation letter that really packs a painful punch.

But that’s the way it was and it was a profitable system that under-served the overall health of our nation while driving up costs, the highest in the developed world.  For the self-insured in particular, it was a system that collected from the young and healthy and denied to the sick.   Remember, our health care system is a for profit system.

Obamacare is an attempt to take some of the pain out of health care insurance.  Moreover, for as long as health care is not considered a right in this country, it is an attempt to make quality health care more available in a profit-driven system.

I would venture to say it is a moral issue, too, but we won’t go there in this Christian country.

Anyway, these cancellations are part of the hurt of getting out of one system and transitioning into a better one.  Perhaps the plan should be more generous with subsidies — not a bad idea — but that isn’t going anywhere in a society that sees less and less value in committing resources to the common good.  While it does’t diminish the problems raised for the people affected, the number of people being transitioned from non-complying insurance programs to better programs is small.  And the number that are not getting assistance in the form of credits smaller still.

Nonetheless, increases like this are ridiculous.  We should be covering more of the costs — like our peers in other advanced countries — and serve all with comprehensive programs.  We don’t do that now and it sucks.  How does making that broken system a bit better suck more than what we have now?

Want a simple solution?  Single payer.

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