OK, here’s the situation. There are three major elements to healthcare plan decisions:
- Cost: How much does it cost per month or year, just to have it?
- Deductible: How much does the consumer have to kick in for any given procedure?
- Network: Who is willing to take you on as a patient, if you use that plan?
With me so far? Good. What Obamacare does is turn all of this into a zero-sum game: it mandates an across-the-board, let’s-slap-something-together, we-don’t-care-about-your-stinking-special-circumstances product and doesn’t really care how insurers and consumers cope with the situation. So the insurers are left with a quandary: if they want to keep the networks intact, thanks to the various mandated procedures and general bureaucratic detritus either the total cost will go up, individual plan deductibles will, or both. And the same is true for the other two categories: push one down and the other two rise. All the good intentions in the world will not alter this calculation.
And this is where we get to Washington State. Because insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler seems to think that simply ordering state-based insurers not to narrow their networks will have no effect on costs. He “is expected to approve new rules this week that would make it harder for insurers to thin out their networks,” despite the sudden panicky commentary from certain people on the Washington State Health Benefits Exchange Board (who will be the ones yelled at first when prices go through the roof). But “Kreidler says he doesn’t believe prices will increase.” The article doesn’t explain why Kreidler thinks that, given that the cost-deductible-network problem has been cropping up from Bangor to San Diego and hitting all points in between; I’m legitimately curious as to whether the reporter even knew whether that was a question to ask.
Well, it’s not like the GOP didn’t warn people about this from the start. And for what it’s worth? I am honestly sorry that nobody in either the Obama administration or the leadership cadre of the Democratic party can do basic math. It’s not my fault, but I still feel bad for everybody who got, or who will get, hammered over it…
Washington state getting ready to eliminate cheapest policies under O’care. http://t.co/AHTNeASaJj
— Brian Faughnan (@BrianFaughnan) April 22, 2014
Moe Lane (crosspost)