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HEALTH PLANS/POLICY: Emily Firedman rips the individual market a new one

Nothing that you haven’t already seen on THCB many time before, but in taking on (and slightly misrepresenting but not much!) the Mass concept that we should just tell all the uninsured to buy into the individual market, veteran commentator Emily Friedman has created a wonderful  blistering critique of the individual market and the parasites that dwell in it.

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BCPeterJack E. LohmanMatthew HoltBarry Carol Recent comment authors
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Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Peter — Since it is extremely unlikely that anything substantive is going to happen nationally on healthcare reform during the final two years of the Bush Administration (regardless of the outcome in the 2006 election cycle), this is an ideal time to get some real world experience at the state level to learn what works and what doesn’t. Healthcare consumes 16% of GDP in the U.S. and if it is going to be reformed, I want to see as much substantive experience as possible from within the U.S. that is proven to work in our society and our culture. I… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Barry, here’s a good working opinion on mandated health coverage that I found from one of Matthew’s links.
Emily Friedman:
“Her basic point — it’s wrong to mandate individuals into a dysfunctional, rigged, and overly expensive health insurance system.”
We’ll see how much MA does to take the rigging, dysfunction and expense out of their system. I’m not holding my breath.

Peter
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Peter

Well the plan does give politicians and their industry feeders some more time as everyone says let’s see how the MA plan works out. The fact that the Heritage Foundation had a hand in it leads me to think it is a providers plan, not a patients plan. Some research found some of the administrative requirements in the plan that will add costs while not controlling provider costs. “Every employer and employee in the state must sign “under oath” a Health Insurance Responsibility Disclosure form, testifying to whether the employer has offered insurance and whether the employee has accepted or… Read more »

BC
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BC

Peter – Current estimates that I have heard are that 175 million people get their coverage from employers. Employers are already free to stop providing health benefits to their employees. They offer health benefits because employees want them, and employers are interested in attracting and holding competent people. The 300% of poverty threshhold for subsidies is what Massachusetts is using. The state subsidy covers the entire cost of the premium at very low incomes and phases down to where it is quite modest at 300% of FPL. I don’t think making just slightly over the limit would be much of… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Barry, you say that your way would be to offer the individual market access to Medicare and the FEHBS (community rates). I wonder how private insurers would react if they found themselve in competion with the feds? And then how many employers would look at that option in deciding whether to offer employer coverage? It may however get us closer to a single pay government system. I also assume your 300% of poverty level would be in 06 terms about $60,000? $60,001 and up no subsidy? Who would administer such a program? How many people would refuse raises and limit… Read more »

Jack E. Lohman
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Here’s an interesting link that includes a lot of data, but as you know, when and where you get “data” often colors it. Most of it looks reasonably accurate.
http://www.unity08.com/node/152
Unity08 is a group forming to start a “center” political party for 2008. They haven’t yet picked a candidate.
Jack

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

Jay–She may be a crazy lady on the corner. But if you hunt around in THCB you’ll find plenty of documented evidence for the sins of those in the individual market. And I note plenty in your blog too!

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

I think the problem of high administrative costs and skimpier benefits in the individual insurance market could be addressed by opening up access (at community rates) to Medicare and the Federal Employee Health Benefit System. People could be offered a range of deductibles from low to quite high with sliding scale premium subsidies for those with income below 300% of the federal poverty level (FPL). If they can get a better deal in the individual market, go for it. Even for people who cannot quite afford a high deductible, the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have coverage… Read more »

Jay
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Reading that seemed more like listening to a crazy lady on the corner than reading an article. She had a lot of misleading facts and stuff that appears she just made up. It would be nice if she could’ve provided sources or links other than “Another friend of mine”.