A few days ago President Obama told the nation he was "frustrated about" the bumpy roll out of the new Health Care Exchanges website, required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). And the President took responsibility for that, saying that "Ultimately, the buck stops with me."
The President went on to say: "I am sorry that they [who got these cancellation letters] -- you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me."
Well that was a stand up thing to say, but I would like to suggest that the President isn't the only one -- who should be uttering the words "I'm sorry." It seems there are several other "decision-makers" in the U.S. health equation, who might want to step up and shoulder some of the citizen-victimization blame game ...
by Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News Staff Writer, kaiserhealthnews.org -- Oct 30, 2013
Q. Why am I getting this notice?
A. Most likely your plan didn’t meet all the standards of the federal health law. One type of policy being discontinued by Florida Blue, for example, did not cover hospitalizations or emergency room visits and paid a maximum of $50 toward doctor visits. It’s possible your plan also had deductibles and other potential expenses – such as copayments for doctors and hospital care -- that exceeded the law’s annual out-of-pocket maximum of $6,350 for individuals or $12,700 for families. Insurers may have just decided to end certain types of policies, something they have always had the ability to do. Some policies that fail to meet the law’s standards can still be sold, but only if the insurer decides to continue them and they are “grandfathered,” meaning you purchased one before March 2010 and neither you nor the insurer has made any substantial change since then. Adjusting an annual deductible, which many people do each year to keep down their premiums, is a change that could end grandfathered status.
Q. My insurer says if I renew before the end of the year, I can keep my current plan. What does this mean?
A. In some states, insurers are offering selected policyholders a chance to “early renew,” meaning they can continue their existing plan through next year, even if it doesn’t meet all the law’s standards. If you choose this option, your premium may still go up, but the cause would be medical inflation, rather than the need to add benefits because of the health law. Not all states allow early renewals. Fearing insurers would offer such renewals only to their most profitable plans, a handful of states, including Illinois, Missouri and Rhode Island, barred insurers from doing it.
It's the Insurance Corporations who are the ones cancelling those dirt-cheap junk policies (because of stronger consumer-protections required by the ACA) -- It's not the president sending out all those cancellation letters, chocked full of the corporate fine-print (to try to "scam them" one last time).
When will the Insurers ever say "sorry" to their customers, whom they had previously bilked, and are currently dropping and/or exhorting? Most likely never.
Ever notice how the Rightwing smugly call it "a broken promise" when Obama does it? But when John Boehner makes election promises about "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" -- and then actively blocks the very same -- they call THAT just "good opposition politics."
When will Speaker Boehner ever said he's "sorry" for the millions of good jobs he's blocked. Probably never.
by Kate Pickert, time.com -- Oct. 28, 2013
Obama’s promise of coverage continuity has been broken for those who currently buy private plans on the open market, but many may be better off. The individual health insurance plans being cancelled this fall are generally being discontinued because they do not meet new ACA standards for insurance. The law requires that plans cover a package of what the federal government defines as “essential health benefits.” These include basic categories of care, including hospitalization, emergency care, maternity services, mental health services and prescription drugs. The law also limits out-of-pocket spending and bans insurers from setting various annual and lifetime limits on coverage. (To balance the increased cost of covering these services, some insurers have narrowed the provider networks for plans being offered under the ACA.)
These new standards will lead to more comprehensive coverage for many people. Previously, many plans sold on the open market offered coverage so skimpy that it did not protect consumers from financial ruin. More than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the U.S. in 2007 were due to medical bills. Of those who declared bankruptcy due to medical costs, about three-quarters had health insurance.
Remember those good ole days prior to the consumer-protections of the Affordable Care Act? Remember when the free market, and junk insurance, and pre-existing condition exclusions, could turn a simple hospital stay -- into a life-changing, bank-draining, insurance-windfall event?
Those were the days, eh? No one said they were sorry then either -- for making you sell your house, close out your savings and 401Ks -- all in order for a 'fighting chance' to try to cure your family member of cancer, lymphoma, high blood pressure, etc. (pick your verboten ailment.) You know, the stuff insurance is supposed to cover.
Medical Bankruptcy in the United States, 2007: Results of a National Study (pdf)
David U. Himmelstein, MD, Deborah Thorne, PhD, Elizabeth Warren, JD, Steffie Woolhandler, MD, MPH
Department of Medicine, Cambridge Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass; Department of Sociology, Ohio University, Athens; and Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass.
American Journal of Medicine
Using a conservative definition, 62.1% of all bankruptcies in 2007 were medical; 92% of these medical debtors had medical debts over $5000, or 10% of pretax family income. The rest met criteria for medical bankruptcy because they had lost significant income due to illness or mortgaged a home to pay medical bills. Most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations. Three quarters had health insurance. Using identical definitions in 2001 and 2007, the share of bankruptcies attributable to medical problems rose by 49.6%.
Those were the days, eh? Those were the days THAT the Republicans would STILL like to return us to -- If they can just repeal Obamacare, for the 48th time; If they can just get the new government regulations off of the insurers' backs; If they could just re-burden that unaffordable insurance back onto the blood, sweat and tears of us lowly American workers. Us workers, too lazy or shifty to deserve to live.
THEN they will have achieved their free-market Agenda. Then they will have returned us to the out-of-control era of Medical Bankruptcies, left and right; Then they will have ushered in the glory days of double-digit annual increases, in insurance corporate profits. You know, the American-Corporate-persons way.
THEN on that day, the day they end Obamacare, the Republicans would have even more of the self-satisfied, smug arrogance -- than they do today (if that were even possible). And on that day my friend, it will be us -- the American people -- who would be the ones who were "truly sorry" then.