Saturday, May 11, 2013

No “Do-Overs” in Obamacare

One of the intentions of the Affordable Healthcare Act, better known as “Obamacare,” once a derisive term, was to lower monthly healthcare premiums by introducing competition in the insurance marketplace. As it stands today, a person who works for a company that offers group medical plans is forced to deal with the companies that have made a deal with the employer’s HR department, and typically there is only one vendor selected.
Now, with Obamacare, there is true competition, and insurance companies are finding their monthly rates are posted in state marketplace websites so potential clients can compare rates and services. In Texas, of course, we don’t have a similar website to go to for the best deal in the healthcare exchanges. That’s because Perry has declined to set one up and wants the feds to do it. If Obamacare succeeds, you see, Rick Perry and his TEApublicans fail.
For a president who has been accused of being a socialist, this is not a very socialist state of affairs, is it?
It appears to me to be more of a progressive arrangement: breaking up monopolies by encouraging competition.
For example, Think Progress has a story out today about two events in Oregon. It seems Oregon has a website where one can view the monthly premiums being set by insurance companies, and two of these companies participating in the health insurance exchange have asked permission to lower their monthly premiums by as much as 15%.
Click me. I get bigger.
See, they were playing by the old rules of monopolistic health insurance. Their competition was severely underbidding them. So two insurance companies one of them being Providence Health Plan, have embarrassingly found that they are charging too much and want a do-over. I am actually in favor of not allowing do-overs. Let the market decide which company survives and which do not. That is as close to laissez-faire capitalism as you can get.
And what is so wrong with that?
In the oil and gas business, they have offshore lease sales from time to time, and the company that wins a lease has bid the most. It doesn’t work if you get a do-over. In school districts, vendors bid on everything from toilet paper to building construction. If they get underbid they lose. There are no do-overs.
So, no do-overs in Obamacare, OK? Let the market run its course and let the strong survive.
That’s Obamacare.

No comments: