Matthew Holt

Lisa Girion is a hero

One reporter changed the behavior of every health plan in California all by herself.

Even before Tuesday’s announcements, however, health insurers in California had all but stopped the number of policy cancellations, state records show. Last year, only four such cancellations were reported to the managed healthcare department, down from 1,552 in 2005.

Where the hell is her Pulitzer prize?

Categories: Matthew Holt

7 replies »

  1. My friend had a medical emergency( almost died) during an attempt at a spinal implant, so save the comments on how there are other treatments besides opioids.

  2. It is not heroic to help make finding treatment for intractable pain more difficult. I am sure she is progressive on other issues but she did the typical thing in her series on Prescription drug abuse; ignore patients. A intractable pain patient who is helped only by opioids has no rights that need be respected by anyone. Suicide is astronomical among intractable pain sufferers. My best friend is a good candidate for the “Oregon solution” if she cannot achieve good pain control after almost two years of under-treatment of RSD after the death of her pain specialist. Why is her life worth less than an overdose victim.

  3. I would go further than Matt and say that Girion’s reporting on rescissions was a significant contributor to the passage of health care reform.

  4. Meanwhile, I’m curious to know what peoples reactions are to Sheri Fink winning the Pulitizer for investigative reporting on the Anna Pou story. Not sure what I make of that one, myself

  5. Matt, virtually all of the media coverage and commentary from politicians on recissions has insinuated that 100% of the profits from recissions have flowed directly into the pockets of health plan CEOs and shareholders. I think this is a fantasy because having once worked in the health insurance industry I know a thing or two about the rate setting process. Eliminating recissions will ultimately influence actuarial assumptions and drive rates higher (all other factors held constant). As for the “7 years” of publishing your blog, you and I both agree that cross-subsidies from the healthy and the affluent to the sick and the poor are essential. But your numerous blog posts over the years attacking the insurance industry have consistently underplayed the elephants in the room: in a voluntary health insurance market, insurance plans cannot force healthy folks to buy insurance if they don’t want to nor can they force providers to become more efficient. These problems are far more important than odious practices like recissions.

  6. Skeptic–you are ignoring 7 years of my publications on this blog where I have called for a universal health insurance pool funded by a progressive income tax
    What about “shifting costs” am I hiding here?
    And if you think that the “savings” from recissions went to “other individual plan subscribers” your reading of the 10Ks of Wellpoint, Healthnet et al has been, shall we say, weak.

  7. Yes, it is a good thing that recissions are declining. But let’s not kid ourselves, there is no free lunch: a non-trivial portion of the cost of covering all of the people with pre-existing conditions who might have otherwise lost their coverage will now be shifted to other individual plan subscribers. This is an incovenient truth that Matt Holt doesn’t want you to know about.