Thursday, November 03, 2016

How Senator Rubio And The Republicans In Congress Rigged Your Healthcare Premiums To Go Up


Hot off Wednesday's Thom Hartmann Show:

This is why the insurance companies participating in the Affordable Care Act are raising their premiums next year. As we know, the ACA ended the practice of denying coverage to people with previous conditions (which was causing people who were very ill to go without health care, and others to die). Even though the insurance companies would profit in long-term from overall increased number of enrollees, they screamed because of the short-term losses due to mandatory coverage of people who were already chronically ill. This period of short-term loss due to the addition of high-risk enrollees was dubbed "the risk corridor."

So to sweeten the deal, Obama then added extra subsidies for any losses incurred in the risk corridor. (Poor insurance companies! After all, CEO Helmsley must not be allowed to lose 1 cent of the one billion dollars+ he takes yearly in personal income from United Health Care.) The risk corridor subsidies were of course dependent on Congress passing budget bills that provided the funds for them.

This year, Senator Marco Rubio stripped out funds for the risk corridor subsidies, not as part of a budget bill (which is the honest way to do it), but as a rider to an unrelated bill, which Obama was compelled to sign, for whatever reasons pertinent to the purposes of the actual bill. As a result, the strip-out, and who did it, never got covered in the news. (Which is just how the Republicans wanted it.) And, as a result, the insurance companies will not get the subsidies that provide their short-term profits next year. Instead of "manning up," as the Conservatives like to say, and taking the losses next year in stride (which is what corporations used to do, and found acceptable as part of doing business, when we baby-boomers were kids), and disregarding that these losses will eventually be made up by long-term increased enrollments, the insurance companies are raising their premiums. A lot. Who knows... They may even end up making more money than they would have with the government subsidies.

Meanwhile, the enrollees are screaming bloody murder, as they should, and getting massively ripped off so Helmsley can buy another villa ala vineyard on the South Italy coast. Or whatever he and his CEO cronies do with all that money. And because MSmedia is owned and run by essentially the same people who own and run the insurance companies, and is therefore keeping its collective mouth shut, Republicans get to scream some more that "Obama-care doesn't work!" without revealing the real reason why, and that they're the ones responsible for it. Conveniently during the election.

This is how the Republicans do it. Remember this. Remember the name Marco Rubio and Republicans when your premiums go up. This is why we need single-payer health insurance (Medicare for All). Health care cannot work as long as it's conducted as a for-profit enterprise. And as it is essential to life, it should not be for profit, any more than water, or fire departments should be for profit. I'm not saying we shouldn't all pay for these services, nor that people should not make a decent living from helping to provide them. I'm saying that particular individuals should not be allowed to take ridiculous profits from doing work that is necessary to human beings' basic survival. Certainly people who simply shuffle the money around for these services, or coordinate the processes involved, should not be taking huge profits, adding to everyone's costs. Given that people die without them, that is extortion, and abuse of power. (We actually used to understand these principles in America. These things went without saying.)

Yeah. Obama-care: The only health care solution Republicans would even marginally accept. A system modeled after Republican plans (specifically, as I recall, Mitt Romney's). A system that doesn't work, because the Republicans won't allow it to work... Nice.

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