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Big Companies and Unions getting waivers from New Healthcare Law

Wednesday, November 03, 2010
The unintended consequences of the new health care law keep piling up... about 30 large corporations including McDonald's, and at least two unions, like the United Federation of Teachers, threatened to either raise premiums or drop health insurance  coverage altogether for their workers if they had to comply with it.  So what did the government do?  Exempted them from the new law, that's what! 

It's just another example of the hard truth that the new health care law does nothing to control health care costs and in fact will increase them. Read this article in USA Today to learn more.

Only a few dip their toe in Missouri's new high-risk pool

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

When the new health care law was passed earlier this year, much was made about new high-risk health insurance pools, run by individual states, which would offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.  Missouri's plan launched in July but so far it has received just 70 applications and approved 47. That's out of almost 170,000 Missourians who are eligible for the high-risk pool.

Why the low-turnout?  Program officials say they haven't started the "outreach" yet.  Don't you think they should have started to spread the word before the program launched?!  Read more about the Missouri high-risk health insurance pool here.

Unintended consequences of Healthcare reform

Thursday, August 26, 2010
This is a  good TIME magazine article on some unpleasant consequences of the new healthcare reform law.  To summarize, independent brokers and agents, as well as many small insurers, could be forced out of business when the full brunt of the law comes into effect in 2014.

Is this the start of the Death Panels?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The FDA is considering revoking its approval of the drug Avastin for use on women with advanced breast cancer.  True, the drug may only extend life by a few months but the precedent is disturbing, as this article from a British newspaper points out. Will the FDA become the 'death panel' detractors of the healthcare law warned us about?

United Healthcare, Assurant Dropping Child Only Coverage

Friday, July 16, 2010

While politicians, pundits and just plain regular folks continue to debate  whether the new healthcare law will be good or bad for America, two large health insurance companies - United Healthcare and Assurant Health - have already rendered a verdict on at least one portion of the new law:  the part which guarantees coverage to children with pre-existing health conditions, scheduled to be implemented in September 2010.

Their decision? To exit the business of offering "child-only" health insurance altogether. Instead, the two health insurance giants will only insure children if their parents are current customers or Mom and Dad are buying health insurance as well.

While many will be quick to attribute the move to greedy health insurance companies abdicating their responsibility to protect America's kids, it's a matter of simple economics. Although there is still much that is murky about the way the new law will be implemented, I can imagine some absurd scenarios. For example, under the new system, i.e. guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, a social worker at St. Louis Children's Hospital can simply start handing out insurance applications to the parents of patients. The parents of a child with cancer, for example, whose bills might run tens of thousands of dollars a month, would be able to start paying premiums for,say,  $125-200/mo. -- with the insurance company responsible for paying the difference.

Obviously I feel for the child with cancer, but that's not insurance anymore -- that's a social welfare program which has been shifted to the insurance companies.

Exasperating the situation is the recently-signed Missouri law which mandates that health insurance companies pay as much as $40,000 a year per child for autism treatments.

While the intent of the legislation was to bring down healthcare costs, I fear many people will see their health insurance premiums actually rise in the months ahead as these companies scramble to cover their losses insuring kids with pre-existing conditions. Other companies may follow the example of United and Assurant and simply stop offering coverage for children.

I know there is a problem with health insurance in this country but forcing the insurance companies to bear the burden by themselves is not the answer. This is just a taste of what 2014 will bring.

On January 1, 2014, the new healthcare law mandates coverage by health insurance companies of any person with any pre-existing condition, if they are not already covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

Only 36% approve of the new healthcare reform

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
CBS news has published a new poll that shows only 36% of Americans think the new health care law is a good idea. 
(49% disapprove the plan; 15% have no opinion.) 

Furthermore, by a 2-1 margin, Americans believe the new law will hurt them (33%), while 48% say it will have no effect. Only 13% believe it will help them. 

More ominous signs employers may drop coverage...

Friday, June 11, 2010
There is more evidence that employers are getting increasingly nervous about changes that will be forced on their health insurance plans by the new health care law. Many are worried new regulations, which are being written now by the Department of Health and Human Services, will raise their health insurance premiums to the point where it would be cheaper just to pay the new penalty for companies that don't offer health insurance to their employees. Read this article for more information about why the new health care law might actually INCREASE the costs of health care in this country.

Canadian Healthcare system on shaky ground

Tuesday, June 01, 2010
The government-funded "free" healthcare system in Canada is often held up as a model for other countries to follow. But it seems like the model is showing signs of aging. What's the problem? Graying baby-boomers are starting to use more and more of the system's services, putting a huge strain on resources and threatening its very existence in its current form.  Some provinces are being forced to take drastic action -- like requiring co-pays for doctor visits!  Read more about the Canadian health care crisis in this enlightening article.