About Me

My photo
This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Insurance: Who Needs It? -- By James Taranto, The Wall Street Journal

ObamaCare was supposed to "help" the uninsured, but The Wall Street Journal reports the uninsured aren't buying it. "Early signals suggest the majority of the 2.2 million people who sought to enroll in private insurance through new marketplaces through Dec. 28 were previously covered elsewhere," the paper reported Saturday.

Unlike the age and sex data released earlier this month, the numbers here aren't comprehensive. But they are in line with what one might expect: A McKinsey & Co. survey found that "only 11% of consumers who bought new coverage under the law were previously uninsured." One insurance broker reported that 65% of its exchange-plan enrollees had prior coverage, and a Michigan insurer said just 25% of its purchasers had been uninsured. That would suggest the number of newly insured ObamaCare exchange customers would be somewhere in the vicinity of half a million.

This shouldn't come as a surprise. For most people who are uninsured, ObamaCare reduces the incentives to purchase insurance. All the mandates drive up premiums, especially for young people, who are the least apt to worry about medical emergencies. Before ObamaCare, going without insurance entailed the risk of getting sick and becoming uninsurable on account of what would then become a pre-existing condition. ObamaCare removes even that risk.

Thus the only uninsured people who have an incentive to sign up for ObamaCare are those who were previously uninsurable because of pre-existing conditions. And even they aren't necessarily better off, as illustrated by this story from the Boston Globe:
When Nancy Petro needs routine tests to make sure her thyroid cancer and high blood pressure have not returned, the retired gas station attendant and general store clerk must now drive an hour over mountainous roads to seek care, even though there is a hospital just minutes from her home in rural northern New Hampshire.
Petro, 62, had been uninsured until January, when she obtained coverage through President Obama's groundbreaking health law. The benefit, just $26 a month, came with a downside, however.
To keep premiums affordable, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Hampshire, the only insurer in the state offering coverage in the new insurance marketplace, radically reduced the hospitals in its network. Petro's local provider did not make the cut. . . .
Of the state's 26 hospitals, 10 are excluded from Anthem's network. Not on the list: Petro's former provider, Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital, where the uninsured receive free or discounted care. The 16-bed facility, located 15 miles from the Canadian border, serves New Hampshire's largest geographic area and its neediest patient population.
So whereas she was able to get care nearby without insurance, now she has to drive 50 miles each way. That's especially dangerous with all the global warming this time of year.

True, this case is an outlier. New Hampshire--whose senior senator, Jeanne Shaheen, cast the deciding vote that led to ObamaCare's enactment--is one of only two states that have no competition on the exchanges (the other is West Virginia). But Petro's plight vividly illustrates the hubris of forcing an insanely complicated "comprehensive" reform on an unwilling nation.
(Click link below to read more)
READ MORE Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Post a Comment