Insurance industry fights back with PriceWaterhouseCoopers report

posted at 11:36 am on October 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Until now, the health-insurance industry has mainly held its fire against the ObamaCare proposals in Congress, hoping that its givebacks would be enough to sate the Democratic class warfare that erupted this summer.  Now, however, they have apparently taken off the gloves with a new analysis by accounting firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers.  The study predicts that the Baucus plan would increase premiums for an average American family by $4,000 per year, a breathtaking increase from a plan that purports to save costs:

After months of collaboration on President Obama’s attempt to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, the insurance industry plans to strike out against the effort on Monday with a report warning that the typical family premium in 2019 could cost $4,000 more than projected.

The critique, coming one day before a critical Senate committee vote on the legislation, sparked a sharp response from the Obama administration. It also signaled an end to the fragile detente between two central players in this year’s health-care reform drama.

Industry officials said they intend to circulate the report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers on Capitol Hill and promote it in new advertisements. That could complicate Democratic hopes for action on the legislation this week.

That prompted a rather snide — and laughable — response from the Obama administration:

“Those guys specialize in tax shelters,” said Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform. “Clearly this is not their area of expertise.”

Er, what?  Health insurance premiums are not the area of expertise for health-insurance companies?  Accounting is not the expertise of accounting firms?  We can compare that to the White House, whose expertise thus far has been in getting elected, and not much else — certainly not economics, military strategy, or governance.

This doesn’t surprise me in the least.  The Baucus plan is chock-full of fees and taxes, which Democrats keep insisting will punish those meanie insurance executives and doctors who steal tonsils and feet for big, big money.  As with all such penalties on producers, the costs get borne by the consumers.  Given the wide-randing taxes on medical devices and the “fees” Baucus envisions for an industry with an average profit margin of 3.3%. I’d actually guess that the $4,000/year increase may shoot a little low.

If we want to make health care more available and more affordable, we need to avoid imposing new costs on the industry and remove pricing opacity.  This isn’t brain surgery, another discipline for which this White House doesn’t have expertise.


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The whole point is to make private insurance so expensive that the Democrats have to swoop in and save us all with single-payer.

uknowmorethanme on October 12, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Ed, Are you claiming that by making something more expensive, it becomes less accessible?
Crazy talk!
/S

redshirt on October 12, 2009 at 11:41 AM

It must be racism!

VegasRick on October 12, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Good God, it’s like watching Animal House.

Obama: “Did we give up when the doctors began amputating feet and tonsils for profit?!”

America: “Tonsils?”

Insurance Companies: “Forget it, he’s rolling…”

Flyover Country on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

They are going to get rid of high deductible policies, tax DME, tax expensive insurance (even if it isn’t “cadillac”). Yep. That is going to increase costs beyond belief, but it will eventually eliminate the private insurance industry, so their mission will be accomplished.

bopbottle on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

When both sides are providing “facts” that support their positions, the truth merely becomes who do you want to believe unless you research the origins of the “facts” being submitted before establishing what you actually believe.

volsense on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Facts! They’re using facts! Those are old fashioned, don’t they know that Fauxbama won the NPP!

Juno77 on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Barak Hussein Obama Mmm, mmm, mmm…

GrayDog on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

I’ve been pointing out the flaws in these bills for a long time, being someone who works in the health care field and has for over 10 years. Everyone I talk to shrugs off my concerns, etc. Because apparently school teachers and farmers know more about health care industry than someone who WORKS in it.

mjk on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

So now the OMB is crazy and the insurance companies know what they’re doing. My how times change.

The Calibur on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

Ed, be careful about criticizing Barry. The DNC wil call you a tree-killer, or electron-waster, or something.

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 11:45 AM

The whole point is to make private insurance so expensive that the Democrats have to swoop in and save us all with single-payer.

uknowmorethanme on October 12, 2009 at 11:41 AM

But how will the government fund the single payer system without jacking up taxes? Or rationing care?

Doughboy on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Health insurance premiums are not the area of expertise for health-insurance companies? Accounting is not the expertise of accounting firms?

Legislating is not the area of expertise for legislators. And for this adminstration, execution is not an area of expertise for the executive. So it is not surprising they came to this conclusion.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Tort reform!

For God’s sake… TORT REFORM!

Daddy-O on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

volsense on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

If this is true, we might do well to go back to some first principles, such as what authority the federal government has. Any governmental involvement in health care is blatantly unconstitutional. That really should settle the matter, yet it doesn’t seem to. Perhaps getting them out of education–involvement in which is also unconstitutional–would result in greater understanding of our system of government. A girl can dream, can’t she?

DrMagnolias on October 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

I definitely trust the government more than a private accounting/auditing firm like PWC.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

So basically this is proof that the Democrats don’t intend on creating ‘competition’ for insurance but rather aim for ruining insurance companies.

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 11:50 AM

I definitely trust the government more than a private accounting/auditing firm like PWC.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Admit it, you stole that line from AnnInCA.

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM

The Prodigal Need Coverage, too.

You mean, we can’t flit around the globe or take higher pay rates or a crack at a bigger accomplishment in jobs (or as an independent contractor) that have no health insurance like The One’s long suffering Mom? He mentioned her fight on preexisting conditions during the campaign. Of course, He forgot all about her Harvard Law grad son paying her bills, but that seems to be a theme in some places. Walking out on family, I mean.

You couldn’t expect her to burden any er, husband, or Indonesia, could you?

We can’t get away with a small fine now?

And government costs will go up? Those darn accountants!

IlikedAUH2O on October 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Barrack Hussein Obama Mmm mmm mmm
The health plan will put us all in arrears
With Pinocchio lies make the the nose grow longer
With Obama it’s the ears

MaiDee on October 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM

I definitely trust the government more than a private accounting/auditing firm like PWC.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

Yup! I just received my Social security statement last week, and I sitting pretty for my retirement in 25-ish years.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM

But how will the government fund the single payer system without jacking up taxes? Or rationing care?

Doughboy on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

By elminating the profit motive, uh der.

/s

Joe Caps on October 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Tort reform!

For God’s sake… TORT REFORM!

Daddy-O on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Even more so, there’s nothing about increasing competition across state lines. The Dems repeatedly complain about virtual monopolies in certain states, but then they don’t ask the reason(s) why that is. As I understand, too many companies through up their hands and back out of states that require too many crazy bells and whistles for policies.

What single male needs to have in vitro coverage as part of his policy? Sex changes? Alcoholism?

When are Dems going to undertake a serious discussion about the problems that are driving cost increases? Simply dumping a fictious government option as a means of providing competition is a joke.

BuckeyeSam on October 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Admit it, you stole that line from AnnInCA.

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Comparing me to crazyanninca…. you just ruined my day.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Remember on Friday when Bleeds Blue was -proud- of the fact that the most basic coverage in MA cost more than a much better plan in DC? Heh.

lorien1973 on October 12, 2009 at 11:54 AM

What is cost of “Cadillac plans” that are subjected to higher taxes? If most people’s plan goes up by $4000, how many will be subject to the “Cadillac plan” tax?

zmdavid on October 12, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Remember on Friday when Bleeds Blue was -proud- of the fact that the most basic coverage in MA cost more than a much better plan in DC? Heh.

lorien1973 on October 12, 2009 at 11:54 AM

The magic of redistribution makes healthcare more fair and just in MA.

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 11:56 AM

definitely trust the government more than a private accounting/auditing firm like PWC.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:49 AM

I trust neither!!! But of the two evils, PWC is more competent so I chose them.

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Tort reform!

For God’s sake… TORT REFORM!

Daddy-O on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Guillotines would be more effective

larvcom on October 12, 2009 at 11:56 AM

Tort reform!

For God’s sake… TORT REFORM!

Daddy-O on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Well the dems can’t do that now, can they?!?! Whatever would happen to those poor, poor ambulance chasers?

capejasmine on October 12, 2009 at 11:57 AM

I bet the White House analysts don’t even crossfoot their spreadsheets.

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 11:57 AM

BTW: Has anyone else been struck that the GOP is the only party with doctors in both houses (Coburn and a WY senator in the Senate and a few in the House) and they’re all very sharp on these issue, and yet Dems completely disregard everything they say.

I guess those doc-legislators are in the tonsil-and-foot-removal crowd that Obama has criticized.

BuckeyeSam on October 12, 2009 at 11:57 AM

But how will the government fund the single payer system without jacking up taxes? Or rationing care?

Doughboy on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

You know you aren’t allowed to ask about the details!!!! Like Creigh Deeds says, “I have a play, but I can’t tell you!” Democrats’ mantra.

uknowmorethanme on October 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM

If the Democrats were willing to attack insurance companies when they were on board with this abomination, now they will get really ugly.

zmdavid on October 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM

Yup! I just received my Social security statement last week, and I sitting pretty for my retirement in 25-ish years.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Yea i can hardly wait only 15 years for me.

Call me excited!

heshtesh on October 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM

dmit it, you stole that line from AnnInCA.

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Comparing me to crazyanninca…. you just ruined my day.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Yeah, really, Vashta, that was cold!!!

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

If most people’s plan goes up by $4000, how many will be subject to the “Cadillac plan” tax?

zmdavid on October 12, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Since Cadillac was once bankrupt and will probably be again if the sales trends continue, the use of “Cadillac plan” is quite appropriate since it will bankrupt us and/or the country.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

“I have a play, but I can’t tell you!”

should be:

“I have a PLAN, but I can’t tell you!”

uknowmorethanme on October 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

I trust neither!!! But of the two evils, PWC is more competent so I chose them.

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 11:56 AM

I’d definitely side with PWC.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Comparing me to crazyanninca…. you just ruined my day.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Yeah, really, Vashta, that was cold!!!

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

It does appear, though, that some conservatism and limited-government thoughts are starting to sink in with her. Four months ago limited government arguments did not register at all.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 12:01 PM

Pitchforks, tar and feathers. The time is coming if not already here.

johnsteele on October 12, 2009 at 12:02 PM

But how will the government fund the single payer system without jacking up taxes? Or rationing care?

Doughboy on October 12, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Let the printing presses spin as fast as the SRM.

farright on October 12, 2009 at 12:02 PM

Comparing me to crazyanninca…. you just ruined my day.

txag92 on October 12, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Yeah, really, Vashta, that was cold!!!

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

I figured she was the most benign comparison of the available choices…

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 12:04 PM

Yup! I just received my Social security statement last week, and I sitting pretty for my retirement in 25-ish years.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM

And yet Bernie Madoff goes to jail for his Ponzi scheme, which is trivially small compared to Social Security and Medicare.

Madoff gave a lot of people hope, you know. I think he should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

mr.blacksheep on October 12, 2009 at 12:05 PM

This is because the insurers believe the individual mandate is too weak as it currently exists:

“At the heart of the argument is whether the Finance Committee bill does enough to draw young, healthy people into the insurance risk pool. By postponing and reducing penalties on people who do not sign up for health insurance, industry analysts predict it would attract less-healthy patients who would drive up costs.

“Market reform enacted in the absence of universal coverage will increase costs dramatically for many who are currently insured by creating a powerful incentive for people to wait until they are sick to purchase coverage,” the authors of the report wrote.”

If you want coverage for pre-existing conditions, you need to pair that with an effective individual mandate that makes it expensive for people to not have insurance.

That’s why I’m all in favor of requiring people to have health insurance and making it expensive for them if they don’t.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

I figured she was the most benign comparison of the available choices…

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 12:04 PM

lol!

catlady on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Yup! I just received my Social security statement last week, and I sitting pretty for my retirement in 25-ish years.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:52 AM

Somebody asked me about my prodigious amount of saving a few weeks ago, and noted the projected payout from SS. I laughed and said that neither one of us will get SS payments; the only difference is that I have known that for a decade, any he just found out.

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM

And yet Bernie Madoff goes to jail for his Ponzi scheme, which is trivially small compared to Social Security and Medicare.

Madoff gave a lot of people hope, you know. I think he should get the Nobel Peace Prize.

mr.blacksheep on October 12, 2009 at 12:05 PM

I sure would love to see any politician that is aspiring to win the Presidency in 2012 ask the difference between Madoff and SocSec. The only difference that I can see, besides the size of the fraud as you pointed out, is that Madoff had to schmooz his victimes. Govt has the force of law behind them.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM

And yet Bernie Madoff goes to jail for his Ponzi scheme, which is trivially small compared to Social Security and Medicare.
mr.blacksheep on October 12, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Social Security isn’t a ponzi scheme! It says so right on their website!

(That’s sarcasm, but expect personal attacks from some of the poor dupes who think Social Security is great)

zmdavid on October 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Wow. Burning the Constitution while insurance companies laugh all the way to the bank. Great thinkin’ chief.

The Calibur on October 12, 2009 at 12:09 PM

If you want coverage for pre-existing conditions, you need to pair that with an effective individual mandate that makes it expensive for people to not have insurance.

That’s why I’m all in favor of requiring people to have health insurance and making it expensive for them if they don’t.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

I agree that is the poison pill in the whole plan… but just how does the US Gov do that CONSTITUTIONALY?

Romeo13 on October 12, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Er, what? Health insurance premiums are not the area of expertise for health-insurance companies? Accounting is not the expertise of accounting firms?

The Secretary of the Treasury has “TurboTax problems”?
The Ways and Means Chairman has “tax problems”?

redzap on October 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM

The whole point is to make private insurance so expensive that the Democrats have to swoop in and save us all with single-payer.

uknowmorethanme on October 12, 2009 at 11:41 AM

Exactly. I’ve been reading some comments on liberal sites, and the rallying cry/talking point this morning seems to be “this is why we need single payer.”

mbs on October 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM

That’s why I’m all in favor of requiring people to have health insurance and making it expensive for them if they don’t.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:06 PM

Good to see you value theoretically cheaper health insurance for a small percentage of Americans over personal liberties.

If our country stands for anything it’s heavy taxation in order to create a more just and perfect society?

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 12:12 PM

It’s about freaking time the insurance companies got some spine!

Stepan on October 12, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Headline in the local liberal rag today(McClatchy owned):

“NC allows Insurance companies to charge women higher premiums”

jp on October 12, 2009 at 12:14 PM

“NC allows Insurance companies to charge women higher premiums”

jp on October 12, 2009 at 12:14 PM

But remember we can’t call liberals fascists or socialists – they don’t want to directly control or own industry they just want to ‘temporarily’ buy into an industry because it’s too big to fail and enact strict regulations to save us from the tyranny of corporations…

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 12:16 PM

“Even more so, there’s nothing about increasing competition across state lines”

–Buckeye Sam, here’s what the Baucus bill does:

Interstate Sale of Insurance

No later than 2013, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shall develop model rules for the creation of ―health care choice compacts.‖ Starting in 2015, states may form ―health care choice compacts‖ to allow for the purchase of individual health insurance across state lines. ―Health care choice compacts‖ may exist between two or more states. Once compacts have been agreed to, insurers would be allowed to sell policies in any state participating in the compact. Insurers selling policies through a ―health care choice compact‖ would only be subject to the laws and regulations of the state where the policy is written or issued.

National Plans

The Chairman‘s Mark would allow national plans, with uniform benefit packages that are offered across state lines. These national plans must be licensed in every state that they choose to operate and would be regulated by the states in terms of solvency and other key consumer protections and would offer coverage through the state exchanges.

Such national plans must be compliant with the benefit levels and categories detailed in the Mark, but would preempt state benefit mandates– thereby allowing these national plans to offer a single, uniform benefit package. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), in consultation with consumer groups, business interests, including small businesses, the insurance industry, federal regulators, and benefit experts, will develop standards as to how benefit categories should be implemented (e.g., what constitute prescription drug coverage) taking into consideration how each benefit is offered in a majority (26) of the states. After NAIC publishes these standards, the state insurance commissioners will ensure that insurance companies offering national plans are providing plans that are compliant.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Please allow me an opportunity to supply a rebuttle for Ms Nancy-Ann DeParle’s original statement.

I know you think you understand what you thought I said, But I am not sure if what you understood is what I really meant.

Maybe they could make this a rubber stamp to go out with all press releases

Guest1.1 on October 12, 2009 at 12:17 PM

Is this the same insurance industry that refuses to cover any of my pre existing conditions?

Ah yeah, that one.

As of now I don’t bother with insurance considering they don’t want the inconvenience of covering me for anything else but doctors visits. I can negotiate those out of pocket.

For big problems, university hospitals are well endowed and county hospitals you can write off on the taxpayer if your income is low enough…..mine is.

I’d be happy to pay a premium every month if they’d cover a preexisiting problem.

Otherwise, what’s the point?

rickyricardo on October 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Romeo13 and Calibur, Commerce Clause and Taxation Clause of the Constitution. Pretty simple and pretty clear this bill complies with the US Constitution, as it’s been interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

“Those guys specialize in tax shelters,” said Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform. “Clearly this is not their area of expertise.”

Was this statement released by Anita Dunn?

BigMike252 on October 12, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Mmm mmm mmm
Oil’s back over 73
Mmm mmm mmm
Dollars’ on its ass
Mmm mmm mmm

TexasJew on October 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

The insurance industry is concerned because the penalties for not having coverage have been significantly reduced.

Baucus’ bill requires all Americans without health insurance to buy it, starting in 2013, and creates tax penalties for those who don’t. The original bill had penalties ranging from $750 per person to $3,800 per family.

But an amendment Oct. 1 trimmed those penalties down to zero in 2013, $200 per adult in a household in 2014, $400 per adult in 2015, and up to $750 per adult by 2017.

Insurers say the original mandate wasn’t that strong anyway, and that the new, lighter penalties make it all but unenforceable.

Starting in 2013, the bill says insurers cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing health conditions or cancel anyone’s policies for health reasons. Insurers think these changes are fine – as long as everyone is required to buy health insurance.

Without such a mandate, they say, many of the industry’s new customers will be the less healthy, which will increase the cost of insurance for everyone.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Romeo13 and Calibur, Commerce Clause and Taxation Clause of the Constitution. Pretty simple and pretty clear this bill complies with the US Constitution, as it’s been interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

I’m sure this is what the founding fathers envisioned – the Congress/Judiciary interpreting the Commerce Clauses and Taxation Clause and anything to do with the ‘general welfare’ to do anything they want to do.

It’s almost like they wrote the Constitution to protect the citizens from the government and not to empower the government to run the lives of the people.

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Stop lying to people on the constitutionality of these schemes.

elduende on October 12, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

You’re just providing more proof that the intent of the bill is to kill insurance companies and not provide actual competition.

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

200 dollars?! I’m a small business owner friend. We’ve had to close down one shop because of this asinine economy and now my wife is helping us make ends meet with a part time job at Kohl’s. I don’t have that kind of money and if I did, I wouldn’t be able to afford the deductible anyway.

The Calibur on October 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I agree as far as that goes — IF you’re going to have guaranteed issue at a community rate and no exclusions of pre-existing conditions, you’d better have a real mandate. Otherwise the incentives are potentially disastrous actuarially.

Which set of fines was scored, do you know? High (original) or low?

DrSteve on October 12, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Since Cadillac was once bankrupt and will probably be again if the sales trends continue, the use of “Cadillac plan” is quite appropriate since it will bankrupt us and/or the country.

WashJeff on October 12, 2009 at 11:59 AM

Lay off Cadillacs.

I love my Cadillac. They didn’t go keplunk. GM did. They make money on Cadillac. Liberals hate it, they cut me off in their Asian boxes all the time. Blacks love it and that is fine with me.

IlikedAUH2O on October 12, 2009 at 12:26 PM

So look out Price Waterhouse. Obama will attack. CPA firms have audited Insurance companies for many decades. They have industry specialists that work insurance industry only. Obama is an empty suit. His cesspool ACORN is an example of a firm auditors won’t touch. They don’t keep records.

seven on October 12, 2009 at 12:27 PM

So help me figure this out, the White House agrees with 5 people who decided that Obama deserved the Nobel Peace Prize and yet disagrees with PriceWaterhouse Coopers whose more than 163,000 people in 151 countries go to work to help their clients succeed. From Dublin to Durban, from Minneapolis to Manila, their job is channelling knowledge and value through their lines of service and 22 industry-specialised practices don’t know what they are talking about?

Yeah riiiiggghhht!

fbcmusicman on October 12, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Somebody asked me about my prodigious amount of saving a few weeks ago, and noted the projected payout from SS. I laughed and said that neither one of us will get SS payments; the only difference is that I have known that for a decade, any he just found out.

Vashta.Nerada on October 12, 2009 at 12:08 PM

I’ve worked on that assumption from almost the moment I started receiving a real pay check.
SS, Medicare, Medicaid — nothing more than funny names for portions of your federal income tax.

Count to 10 on October 12, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Harry Reid and I had identical cars a few years back. Harry, reading this? Same finger is up I gave you last time! Just being childish.

I wonder if the insurance company eventually paid for The One’s mom’s treatment?

I think we would have been regaled with stories of the terrible economic price if they hadn’t. Maybe not, since some wiseacre might have asked what He did to help out.

With humble apologies to Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:20 PM — who is very smart,

Send everyone to Cuba who doesn’t have coverage and pay them the $200 they collect from everyone else down there. Ask Michael Moore. BTW, Hannity really went powder puff with him during their “debate”.

IlikedAUH2O on October 12, 2009 at 12:37 PM

It’s extremely doubtful that the following phenomena:

(1) increasing by several millions the number of persons who can effectuate a demand for health care (and who presumably would be expected to have real demand, otherwise we wouldn’t care that they don’t currently have health insurance);
(2) eliminating a major component of health insurance companies’ ability to hedge against risks (rather than pay for certainties);
(3) subsidizing the purchase of health insurance

… will reduce costs. We’re looking at increased demand, adverse selection (if the mandate is toothless), and insulation of consumers from internalizing costs.

DrSteve on October 12, 2009 at 12:38 PM

Now, however, they have apparently taken off the gloves with a new analysis by accounting firm PriceWaterhouse Coopers.

good start.

That’s why I’m all in favor of requiring people to have health insurance and making it expensive for them if they don’t.

“Pre-existing” condition ? Are there any supporting stats for denial of health care based on this and lack of alternatives ? Group insurance – you can’t be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. So, the focus seems to be in the individual market, but then an individual can become a group and coverage will not be denied. Thirty states have high-risk pools – specifically for folks with pre-existing conditions who cannot afford med insurance on their own. Some professional organizations (e.g. freelance writers) have pools also. A person can show up in an emergency room with any condition – pre-existing or otherwise, and get med care. Is it possible that this whole “insurance reform” is some kind of oabmascheme to install government control over every aspect of our lives ???

runner on October 12, 2009 at 12:39 PM

How about we fund health care with a windfall profits tax on lawyers. Say 30% on legal fees over $50/hour.

agmartin on October 12, 2009 at 12:45 PM

Er, what? Health insurance premiums are not the area of expertise for health-insurance companies? Accounting is not the expertise of accounting firms? We can compare that to the White House, whose expertise thus far has been in getting elected, and not much else — certainly not economics, military strategy, or governance.

But…but Ed? Obama won a Nobel Prize!

gryphon202 on October 12, 2009 at 12:47 PM

Given the wide-randing taxes

perhaps you meant wide-ranging taxes?

MarkTheGreat on October 12, 2009 at 12:48 PM

What I want to know is why the insurance industry is finally entering the debate. From what I understand, they had a gentlemen’s agreement with Obama where, in exchange for certain concessions in the ObamaCare bill, the insurance industry would stay on the sidelines. That agreement seems to no longer be in force.

So, what changed? In any event, I’m glad the insurance industry is finally entering this debate. I also wish Glenn Beck’s coverage would get more coverage… He had a great chart up the other day showing that Medicare denies more claims (by percentage and by volume) than ANY private insurance company… So much for the myth that private insurers stand around denying claims all the time!

Outlander on October 12, 2009 at 12:50 PM

So now the OMB is crazy and the insurance companies know what they’re doing. My how times change.

The Calibur on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

I’m guessing that you haven’t bothered keeping up.

The OMB stated that the many taxes in the Baucus bill will allegedly compensate for the new expenses in the Baucus bill. It said nothing about what would happen to the price of health insurance.

MarkTheGreat on October 12, 2009 at 12:51 PM

Well the dems can’t do that now, can they?!?! Whatever would happen to those poor, poor ambulance chasers?

capejasmine on October 12, 2009 at 11:57 AM

More likely, they are concerned with how those poor, poor, ambulance chasers will be able to continue donating to the Democrats, if tort reform goes through.

MarkTheGreat on October 12, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Is this the same insurance industry that refuses to cover any of my pre existing conditions?

rickyricardo on October 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

The alternative is waiting till you get sick to buy insurance. WHich apparently is what you are trying to do.

MarkTheGreat on October 12, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Price may be expert on tax shelters. This administration doesn’t bother with such niceties; it just skips taxes.

burt on October 12, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Romeo13 and Calibur, Commerce Clause and Taxation Clause of the Constitution. Pretty simple and pretty clear this bill complies with the US Constitution, as it’s been interpreted by the US Supreme Court.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 12:18 PM

According to you, and unfortunately the supreme court, the commerce clause means that the rest of the constitution is meaningless.

MarkTheGreat on October 12, 2009 at 12:59 PM

According to you, and unfortunately the supreme court, the commerce clause means that the rest of the constitution is meaningless.

MarkTheGreat on October 12, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Exactly – also the clause referring to the ‘general welfare’ apparently allows Congress to ignore the Bill of Rights and any other restriction on the powers of government.

gwelf on October 12, 2009 at 1:03 PM

Good God, it’s like watching Animal House.

Obama: “Did we give up when the doctors began amputating feet and tonsils for profit?!”

America: “Tonsils?”

Insurance Companies: “Forget it, he’s rolling…”

Flyover Country on October 12, 2009 at 11:44 AM

I bet if you got Barry drunk he’d say something like this:

America: Hey Obama… you were supposed to fix the economy. WTF are you doing!?

Obama: You F***ed up! You trusted us!

Chaz706 on October 12, 2009 at 1:04 PM

It’s about freaking time the insurance companies got some spine!

Stepan on October 12, 2009 at 12:13 PM

No kidding. I haven’t heard much from them at all, or they’ve been speaking and no one has been reporting. Same with the AMA, haven’t heard much from them. Nor the AARP.

scalleywag on October 12, 2009 at 1:04 PM

How about we fund health care with a windfall profits tax on lawyers. Say 30% on legal fees over $50/hour.

agmartin on October 12, 2009 at 12:45 PM

This is a hardy perennial in my arguments with price controllers — hey, how about we pass a law that says no one doing work requiring a law license in their state of employment can earn more than the equivalent of $100,000 per year?

That’s when old man Marshall’s point generally dawns on them: Equilibrium quantity exchanged is determined by the short side of the market.

DrSteve on October 12, 2009 at 1:05 PM

This will truly deflate the process. Devastating news for reform, although it doesn’t surprise me. The Baucus bill is nothing but a huge complicated mess.

AnninCA on October 12, 2009 at 1:05 PM

And just WHO or WHAT is Nancy-Ann DeParle?

Dhuka on October 12, 2009 at 1:07 PM

Ed, sometime last week a reader at NRO’s “The Corner”– someone familiar with the health-care profession– demonstrated in detail, albeit briefly, how the Baucus “fees” on medical devices would escalate the cost of of even the simplest laboratory text exponentially. Some of these tests are run several times a day for particular patients. Multiplying that number by the number of patients served would drive health-care costs into the stratosphere.

We have legislators crafting laws when they have no idea re health care, insurance, or basic economics.

The Dems thought that they had a winning strategy in demonizing health-care insurers. In their delusion, they thought that they were attacking some faceless monolith.

Rush was just now mentioning how one of these deluded do-gooders had no idea how many, many health insurance companies are out there competing for business. The best solution is to cut the one-size-fits-all mandates that states impose and to allow cross-state competition for individuals or for companies that include coverage in their salary packages.

onlineanalyst on October 12, 2009 at 1:09 PM

Group insurance – you can’t be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. So, the focus seems to be in the individual market, but then an individual can become a group and coverage will not be denied. Thirty states have high-risk pools – specifically for folks with pre-existing conditions who cannot afford med insurance on their own.

Runner, you can be denied coverage under group plans for pre-existing conditions for a period of time if you haven’t been covered by other insurance. In addition, many states do not let one person be a group for insurance purposes–and, even if they do, insurance companies can price the insurance coverage on the basis of that group’s health, including pre-existing conditions, meaning that the premiums can be unaffordable. And the premiums for many high risk pools are simply unaffordable: it would cost me about $2700/month in Texas for my family under Texas’ high risk pool insurance.

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 1:12 PM

“NEVER RUN A LEMONADE STAND” OBAMA KNOWS BETTER!

marklmail on October 12, 2009 at 1:16 PM

If the Democrats were willing to attack insurance companies when they were on board with this abomination, now they will get really ugly.

zmdavid on October 12, 2009 at 11:58 AM

For sure. Obamao will be the only one standing between them and the ugly Dem legislators. I jest.

onlineanalyst on October 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Calibur, look at http://www.usnews.com/money/business-economy/small-business/articles/2009/09/25/the-baucus-healthcare-plan-what-small-business-owners-need-to-know.html.

Small businesses under 50 employers are apparently exempt from penalties imposes on larger businesses for not providing insurance coverage (the individual mandate applies to individuals, not businesses, so the $200 would apply to you as an individual, not your business). It also looks like your business would be eligible for some tax credits

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Jimbo3 on October 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Unfortunately, the credit will only last 4 years and my wife, who is employed part time, would apparently be taxed 200 right off the bat, which would pretty much equal out to free money for the insurance companies and nothing for the rest of us.

The Calibur on October 12, 2009 at 1:25 PM

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