Finding out what’s in ObamaCare: McDonald’s needs waiver for health-care coverage for hourly workers

posted at 2:55 pm on September 30, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

No good deed goes unpunished.  McDonald’s takes a lot of heat for the nutritive value of its menu, usually from self-assigned food nannies, but the company did try to find ways to improve the health of its part-time staff by offering them a low-cost health insurance plan that was affordable and effective.  That effort will have to end, thanks to ObamaCare, which mandates that certain percentages of revenue have to go to claims rather than administrative costs.  That will leave tens of thousands with no option for coverage except expensive comprehensive plans they can neither afford nor really need:

McDonald’s Corp. has warned federal regulators that it could drop its health insurance plan for nearly 30,000 hourly restaurant workers unless regulators waive a new requirement of the U.S. health overhaul.

The move is one of the clearest indications that new rules may disrupt workers’ health plans as the law ripples through the real world.

Trade groups representing restaurants and retailers say low-wage employers might halt their coverage if the government doesn’t loosen a requirement for “mini-med” plans, which offer limited benefits to some 1.4 million Americans.

The “mini-med” plans offer limited coverage, mainly for routine checkups and acute issues, in exchange for very low rates.  The Wall Street Journal reports that the annual cost of the McDonald’s plan was $728 for an annual maximum of $2000 in payouts, or $1664 for an annual maximum of $10,000.  The premiums were paid each week by the hourly workers whose employment is so volatile that the administrative expense of keeping up with enrollments goes much higher than with traditional employer-based coverage.  For that reason, and because this is a low-risk pool that utilizes the health-care system less frequently than other populations, the plan spent more than 20% of its revenues on administration.

In the ObamaCare world, however, that is no longer allowed.  Regardless of whether the employees and the employer believe the service to be valuable, the federal government has decreed a cost-to-revenue structure that forbids this kind of offering.  McDonald’s and other retailers want an exemption, but it’s difficult to see how HHS will justify it.  The intent of Congress and this administration clearly aimed at exactly these kind of plans — the nimble, niche, low-cost plans for younger and healthier people who don’t need expensive comprehensive health insurance.  They want those people in larger plans to subsidize the risk for those who will now get policies under mandates to cover pre-existing conditions and adult offspring of customers.

In other words, this isn’t a bug at all.  It’s a feature.

However, it once again exposes the dishonesty of Barack Obama’s insistence that those who liked their coverage could keep their coverage.  It also exposes the damage done when politicians in Washington assume the arrogance to reorder an entire industry — two of them in this case, insurance and health care — without any extensive experience or knowledge of either.  To lift a slogan from a McDonald’s competitor, we can’t have it our way any longer.

Note: ABC reports that McDonald’s is denying that it intends to dump the plan, but the WSJ has a memo from McDonald’s asking HHS for a waiver on this mandate:

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a memo by McDonald’s, asking federal officials to determine if their most basic health insurance plans can be exempted from the medical loss ratiorequirements of the new health care law. The law requires that 80-85 percent of the premiums received go directly to patient care, not to other expenses like overhead, executive salaries or dividends for shareholders.

The McDonald’s plan, according to the report, has higher overhead costs because it provides insurance to a highly transient population of hourly workers in its restaurants and would not likely meet the minimum requirements of the new law.

HHS today called the story premature, saying guidance on the new medical loss ratio rules have not even been issued.

New rules will be implemented after the National Association of Insurance Commissioners submits its report, due at the end of the year. The NAIC is still soliciting comments on its draft proposal.

“The medical loss ratio isn’t even settled,” Sebelius said at a reporters’ breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor. “As soon as we have a regulation that has a process in it we will begin those discussions.”

What happens if they don’t get the waiver?  They’ll have to dump the plan, regardless of the hedging today by McDonald’s.

And so we come to another problem with ObamaCare: regulatory uncertainty.  The “loss ratios” should have been set by Congress as part of the bill (or not set at all, and left to the market) so that employers could plan for coverage options — which have to be settled by about this time to get enrollments set for 2011.  It’s been more than six months since ObamaCare’s passage, and no one can tell employers yet what the rules are?  Apparently, no one in the government understands the bill, nor do they understand that employers have to negotiate with insurers for plans months ahead of enrollment to budget properly for the next year.

And Democrats wonder why businesses aren’t hiring.


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Including the annual changes in the present value of off-the-books liabilities, including Social Security and Medicare, the annual 2008 deficit was $5.1 trillion dollars. The 2009 actual shortfall likely was around $8.8 trillion, instead of the official cash-based $1.417 trillion, according to Shadowstats.com.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article22841.html

Chuck Schick on September 30, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Cheap and high deductible ‘catastrophic-only’ insurance plans are the best way to go, to control costs and eliminate medical bankruptcies while remaining affordable. The liberals though attack these plans, saying they are useless ‘because they don’t pay for anything’. Yes, they don’t pay trivial recurring costs and that’s what keeps them cheap, -duh.

Looks like MacDonald’s has put together their plan to keep the liberals happy and off their back. In order to make it affordable, they have to set the maximum payout low. I see what they are doing, -putting together a plan to keep the liberals at bay. It might not be the best plan for their employees however.

That’s an effect of government interference in a market, companies design plans to keep Congress off their backs, rather than doing what might be best for employees.

I’d use the car-insurance-paying-for-oil-changes example again, but I don’t think there’s much hope for liberals to see the light. They want government healthcare and that dream/nightmare blinds them to reason.

slickwillie2001 on September 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

The authors of that miserable bill probably wanted as many corporations as possible to drop their company benefit plan in favor of the government plan. The objective has always been a single payer system, this just helps.

fourdeucer on September 30, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Fixed.

Too bad for all of us, including themselves, that those Democrat dimwits aren’t smart enough to understand what the phrase “unintended consequences” mean.

‘What do you knuckle-dragging Conservatives mean when you say that the health care bill is going to raise the cost of health care in this country? That makes no sense to me – isn’t health care going to be free for everyone now?’

Bizarro No. 1 on September 30, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Cheap and high deductible ‘catastrophic-only’ insurance plans are the best way to go, to control costs and eliminate medical bankruptcies while remaining affordable. The liberals though attack these plans, saying they are useless ‘because they don’t pay for anything’. Yes, they don’t pay trivial recurring costs and that’s what keeps them cheap, -duh.

Looks like MacDonald’s has put together their plan to keep the liberals happy and off their back. In order to make it affordable, they have to set the maximum payout low. I see what they are doing, -putting together a plan to keep the liberals at bay. It might not be the best plan for their employees however.

That’s an effect of government interference in a market, companies design plans to keep Congress off their backs, rather than doing what might be best for employees.

I’d use the car-insurance-paying-for-oil-changes example again, but I don’t think there’s much hope for liberals to see the light. They want government healthcare and that dream/nightmare blinds them to reason.

slickwillie2001 on September 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

I’ll summarize: Economic illiteracy is the foundation of Modern Liberalism.

Try to talk to your average Lib about any fundamental economic truths. They’re clueless.

visions on September 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM

If you like your health plan, you can keep it!

bitsy on September 30, 2010 at 4:47 PM

I’ll summarize: Economic illiteracy is the foundation of Modern Liberalism.

Try to talk to your average Lib about any fundamental economic truths. They’re clueless.

visions on September 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Between their delusions of “magic candy” and their fascist leader’s jackboot-to-the-human-face-forever powerlust, they are unfit for any society, let alone a free one.

ebrown2 on September 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Do you think your mortgage company would be happy with that sort of coverage?

What if you own your property with no mortgage? Might not be smart to not have if fully insured, but why should Congress require you to pay for a policy you don’t need, and don’t want?

Definition: Insurance is designed to protect the financial well-being of an individual, company or other entity in the case of unexpected covered loss.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 4:15 PM

Coverage levels are a factor in determining premiums. If you don’t buy the coverage, you don’t get the insurance. Why should people who live on top of hills purchase flood insurance? But, if you can afford it, they’ll sell it to you. Under ObamaHome Insurance everybody is forced to buy flood, earthquake, storm, termite, mold, etc…policies.

You don’t have a choice.

BobMbx on September 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM

I’ll summarize: Economic illiteracy is the foundation of Modern Liberalism.

Try to talk to your average Lib about any fundamental economic truths. They’re clueless.

visions on September 30, 2010 at 4:44 PM

I have a friend who received a car key in the mail, attached to a scratch off advertisement. She scratched and revealed the “winning” number.

She is still confused about why she didn’t win.

It goes without saying, but, she’s a liberal.

BobMbx on September 30, 2010 at 4:56 PM

The dhim scumbags passed this infectious disease without reading it, so they don’t know what’s in it.

They did know what was in it for them for a yes vote, and were enlightened by Nancy and Harry concerning what it would cost them for a nay.

I guess it was a lot easier call knowing that you and your family wouldn’t be burdened with the fallout, other than the collapse of the capitalist system, that is.

And Oliar calls his voters sitting this election out irresponsible. That’s projection with a side order of desperation.

These traitors will be lucky if their only punishment is at the polls.

ontherocks on September 30, 2010 at 5:01 PM

it’s a shame ed’s only interested in inciting, not informing, his readers.

sesquipedalian on September 30, 2010 at 3:57 PM

LOL, so you “inform” us with a link to the New Republic written by a far-Left loon from the American Prospect? That’s pretty funny.

What are Jonathan Cohn’s credentials in this field? I find absolutely nothing in a quick web search about the guy, other than that he’s a graduate of Harvard and lives in Ann Arbor. What did he degree in?

Del Dolemonte on September 30, 2010 at 5:01 PM

So, McD’s asks for a waiver.

What is the expected reply to your average small business that need waivers? Go suck on a rock?

drfredc on September 30, 2010 at 5:03 PM

its hard to know if people are actually more stupid now than in earlier times….a certain fraction has always fallen for the demagogue

but of course the great hope was a free press and competing checks and balances would mitigate against that

Teddy Kennedy blocked the Carter healthcare and the Nixon healthcare because of his own venal interest. The press lionizes him as the guy who stands up for the poor.

too sad to contemplate what this country would be with an honest press

r keller on September 30, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Wasn’t it Jimbo who told a young female commenter on Hot Air to go kill herself.

I am sure that is why he believes in Obama-care but why is he still allowed to comment?

He crossed the line.

Dhuka on September 30, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Proof even Ronald MacDonald has more on the ball the this presidentBOZO.

AsScLoWn

esnap on September 30, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Barry, would you like a side of lies with that?

*grimace*

Christien on September 30, 2010 at 5:20 PM

We can argue about details until the cows come home, and they ain’t coming home.

The Obamacare fiasco is not about health care. It is about instituting socialized medicine. It is not about health care. It is about the lust for power by our beneficent fascists. Even mighty McDonalds has to go cap in hand to the mighty Sibelius for a waiver.

I never thought I would see the day when this country would fall so low.

Dhuka on September 30, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Cheap and high deductible ‘catastrophic-only’ insurance plans are the best way to go, to control costs and eliminate medical bankruptcies while remaining affordable. The liberals though attack these plans, saying they are useless ‘because they don’t pay for anything’. Yes, they don’t pay trivial recurring costs and that’s what keeps them cheap, -duh.

Looks like MacDonald’s has put together their plan to keep the liberals happy and off their back. In order to make it affordable, they have to set the maximum payout low. I see what they are doing, -putting together a plan to keep the liberals at bay. It might not be the best plan for their employees however.

That’s an effect of government interference in a market, companies design plans to keep Congress off their backs, rather than doing what might be best for employees.

I’d use the car-insurance-paying-for-oil-changes example again, but I don’t think there’s much hope for liberals to see the light. They want government healthcare and that dream/nightmare blinds them to reason.

slickwillie2001 on September 30, 2010 at 4:40 PM

What McDonald’s is offering is not a catastrophic-only plan. The benefits under McD’s plan end when they’ve paid out no more than $10,000 a year. Catastrophic-only plan benefits start at $5,000 or $10,000 a year.

Look at the coverage chart here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703431604575522413101063070.html?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTWhatsNews

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:24 PM

blink, you’re only eligible for Medicare if you are 65 or older or have some disabilities. There are a few 65+ workers at McDonald’s, but not many.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Wasn’t it Jimbo who told a young female commenter on Hot Air to go kill herself.

I am sure that is why he believes in Obama-care but why is he still allowed to comment?

He crossed the line.

Dhuka on September 30, 2010 at 5:05 PM

–And I apologized and she accepted. What’s your point (other than trying to get someone kicked off the board because you disagree with what they’re saying)?

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Jimbo, I don’t know if you’re being disingenuous or not, but it seems a stretch to call the mini-meds plans the “exact opposite” of the HSA/HRA plans. They do approach things differently, but both seem to avoid the problem that Ed explicitly explains in the quote you used.

The problem is that the “standard” or mid-range plans are often not practical for younger folks who tend to have fewer medical problems. From my undersanding, the mini-med plans are cheaper alternatives that cover (quantitativley) less, and the catastrophic plans are cheaper and cover (qualitatively) less. Both are cheaper alternatives though that aren’t geared towards offsettng to costs of routine maintenence…a service that young people frequently need less of.

I guess what I’m saying is there is no “exact opposite” of the HSA/HRA plans…different plans have different elements, but it depends on which things you emphasize when determining which plans are more “opposite”. To try to paint Ed as flip-flopping on his position requires an ungracious reading of his words.

BlueCollarAstronaut on September 30, 2010 at 4:36 PM

I wasn’t being disingenous. HRAs require out-of-pocket first dollar payments (with some of that being reimbursed) but with the insurance provisions of the plan not kicking in until the out-of-pocket limits have been reached. The McDonald’s plan provides first dollar coverage (subject to co-payments) and ends when the limits have been reached.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Wonder if Sebelius has called their CEO yet to threaten him.

Midas on September 30, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Should I take this answer as submission? Do you have anything to say about Medicaid?

blink on September 30, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Many of these people would be on Medicaid, if available (or be eligible for indigent free medical care, if it wasn’t). But the calculation has then got to be that basically 90% of the participants would likely exceed the limits in the McDonald’s plan because the uninsured cost of one visit to a hospital would probably come close to exceeding the $2,000 annual maximum in the lowest plan.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Jimbo, the point is not whether or not I agree with what you say.

The point is that the young lady you told to go kill herself has not been back, and you have.

You went beyond the pale, even though the young lady you told to kill herself was gracious enough to accept your rather specious apology.

Dhuka on September 30, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Many of these people would be on Medicaid, if available (or be eligible for indigent free medical care, if it wasn’t). But the calculation has then got to be that basically 90% of the participants would likely exceed the limits in the McDonald’s plan because the uninsured cost of one visit to a hospital would probably come close to exceeding the $2,000 annual maximum in the lowest plan.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Oh, but Medicaid’s broke too, Jimbo. Blue Dog Jim Cooper:

“Medicare alone is $34 trillion in all. We don’t even know how to measure Medicaid, but it’s probably an equal amount. So just right there Barack Obama is inheriting over $60 trillion of problems. This is not counting the bailout, or Social Security or anything.” He continues, “The argument as a Democrat is that the best way to preserve those programs is to prepare for their needs. The way to destroy them is to ignore their needs.”

I know you’re ignoring me. I’ve been on this board for years and everytime I remind a liberal of the big picture of Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security’s inevitable collapse they ignore me.

It’s the fact you know this is what make you people so detestable.

Chuck Schick on September 30, 2010 at 7:25 PM

Won’t most of these people be on their parents healthcare plans? Even more now that the age of inclusion has been raised to 26? If not, because most of them are young and see themselves as invincible, many of them probably refuse the insurance anyway.

I’d like to see what proportion of McD’s employees this 30k represents, and how many have refused insurance.

slickwillie2001 on September 30, 2010 at 8:01 PM

McDonalds is going to drop most of the people they cover. So will most employers. It is simply cheaper to pay whatever the required fine is for not covering their employees than it is to cover them. This is not an accident. It is by design. Ultimately, of course the only option (for those of us who rely on our employers for health insurance) will be a public option. This is not some flaw in Obamacare. This is the point of Obamacare.

DarkKnight3565 on September 30, 2010 at 9:19 PM

DarkKnight3565 on September 30, 2010 at 9:19 PM

but, didn’t Julio Osegueda petition Obama for help with his pay/insurance etc at Mickey D’s??? He been workin there like four years, maybe nearly six by now….

What’s poor Julio going to do?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6v0l_KEayk

ted c on September 30, 2010 at 9:44 PM

The authors of that miserable bill … wanted as many corporations as possible to drop their company benefit plan in favor of the government plan. The objective has always been a single payer system, this just helps.

Bingo. That’s really as simple as it is. Destroy private insurance so that people have to go to the government for health care.

I believe the term we are looking for is fait accompli

englishqueen01 on September 30, 2010 at 9:54 PM

I wasn’t being disingenous. HRAs require out-of-pocket first dollar payments (with some of that being reimbursed) but with the insurance provisions of the plan not kicking in until the out-of-pocket limits have been reached. The McDonald’s plan provides first dollar coverage (subject to co-payments) and ends when the limits have been reached.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 5:32 PM

Well, when you put it like that, you’re right….
…but that was sort of my point, which I did not make very clear at all, so I apologize.

Compared to one another the mini-med and the HRAs do approach things quite differently, but that’s not the comparison Ed was making. He was saying that HRAs often make more sense for younger people than the more traditional comprehensive plans. He’s pointing out that mini-med plans, likewise, often make more sense for younger people than the more traditional plans, and — even though their approach is different — it’s for the same reasons. The traditional comprehensive plans cost a premium because they are, well, comprehensive, and for younger folks, that typically doesn’t work out to their advantage.

By focusing on the different methodologies of the two types of plans Ed was advocating, you were justified in saying they were opposite, but you were being unfair (equivocating?), by extending that to suggest that Ed was flip-flopping in advocating both when his rationale for supporting each one was essentially the same. That strikes me as disingenuous, but maybe I misread you.

BlueCollarAstronaut on September 30, 2010 at 10:05 PM

BlueCollarAstronaut, what I understood Ed to say earlier was that people in their 20s regularly needed perhaps one or two visits to their doctor in a year, which would cost about $300-$400 and that anything beyond that was unnecessary. If that’s the case, then the mini-med policies don’t make sense, because what they do is provide some coverage for “normal” doctor visits for checkups and similar things (up to $2,000 or $10,000 a year).

In addition, the economics are totally different. In a catastrophic plan with an HRA/HSA component, the incentives are for people to minimize their initial health expenditures because they are all out-of-pocket costs (subject to some reimbursement from funds in the HSA/HRA account). In McD’s case, there is no incentive to initially minimize doctor visits (subject to co-pays) until an employee believes they will max out.

Jimbo3 on September 30, 2010 at 11:09 PM

Jimbo3, you can argue details all day long. It doesn’t mask the fact that this is just the beginning. Employers are going to dump insurance on their employees en masse once the financial reality of Obamacare starts kicking in.

The existing government programs are broke and cannot afford to stay afloat as is, let alone with the coming influx.

Moreover, they are reimbursement programs dependent on actual care being provided by private entities. It’s unclear what will happen to those entities – doctors and hospitals – once the fraction of fully insured patients starts to drop even further, but it doesn’t look good.

Do you have a substantive response to to any of that, or can you only manage this legalistic bleating we’ve come to expect from you?

Missy on September 30, 2010 at 11:28 PM

“The medical loss ratio isn’t even settled,” Sebelius said at a reporters’ breakfast

You didn’t work that out first, before the vote was passed? Millions of hourly workers will be affected; they will have to purchase their own health insurance; ObamaCare mandates that everyone have insurance by 2014, no? How much more will that cost for individual plans (as opposed to employer/group coverage)?

So between now and 2014 (when everyone is required to purchase insurance), what will these employees do for medical care? There isn’t enough money allocated to the states for increased medicare, not for so many, so soon. The states are tapped out, taxpayers are tapped out, as is our federal money.

TN Mom on September 30, 2010 at 11:42 PM

“McChicken” The official sandwich of the Obama administration.

tbear44 on October 1, 2010 at 2:00 AM

However, it once again exposes the dishonesty of Barack Obama…

That devil better stop invoking Christ’s name in his stump speeches, or I will pray for a tragic end to his career. He is alive by God’s mercy, and had better knock off the BS of his “faith.” I’m SICK of this fool.

leftnomore on October 1, 2010 at 4:35 AM

Jimbo, the point is not whether or not I agree with what you say.

The point is that the young lady you told to go kill herself has not been back, and you have.

You went beyond the pale, even though the young lady you told to kill herself was gracious enough to accept your rather specious apology.

Dhuka on September 30, 2010 at 6:35 PM

I remember too, Dhuka, and was appalled at Jimbo’s comment.

“Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”–Matthew 12:34

Grace_is_sufficient on October 1, 2010 at 6:23 AM

So, the total cost to medicare is 19% HIGHER for medicare. Great job, Jimbo3.

blink on September 30, 2010 at 5:09 PM

Not quite. Many of these workers will go to their local emergency rooms. The emergency room is obligated by law (EMTALA) to treat them regardless of their ability to pay, and without reimbursement for those costs by the Government.

So Medicare is off the hook for whatever this unfunded mandate costs the hospitals. That’s one reason why so many hospitals are closing their emergency rooms — under EMTALA, the hospitals offering emergency room service are hemorrhaging money.

The numbers in the McDonalds case are indeed interesting. Out of all the employees covered, only 100 out of 10000 exceeded plan, or about 0.1%, but when they did so, they generally “broke the bank” for everyone else.

unclesmrgol on October 1, 2010 at 7:25 AM

Excuse me, about 1%. Bad decimal point above.

unclesmrgol on October 1, 2010 at 7:29 AM

HHS guidelines on the medical loss ratio will be based on a report issued by the NAIC, due at the end of the year. Today, the NAIC said that “mini-med” plans will be subject to new medical loss ratio regulations and the group has no plans to ask for an exemption for those.

So much for exemptions….

“Mini-med plans that are sold as stand-alone coverage — and are not supplemental to a comprehensive plan — will be subject to the MLR requirement, and we have no plans to ask HHS for a specific exemption on their behalf. If they are sold as comprehensive coverage, we expect them to meet the same MLR standards as other health plans,” Kansas Insurance Commissioner and chair of the NAIC Health Insurance Committee Sandy Praeger said in a statement to ABC News.

Two nails in the coffin by the NAIC.

Hmm. “Kansas Insurance Commssioner” One wonders how state monitoring of insurance companies will proceed when Congress has made insurance a federal issue. I see a court case on precisely this matter.

unclesmrgol on October 1, 2010 at 7:35 AM

This photo looks like Barry is getting a taste of his own legislation.

NoDonkey on October 1, 2010 at 7:47 AM

Mickey D’s will get the waiver–anything to calm the PR storm. However, thousands of other companies who are not so noteworthy will drop their plans.

Welcome to the Hayekian nightmare, where the gubmint picks the winners and losers. If you’re not connected, why bother?

PattyJ on October 1, 2010 at 10:20 AM

Repeal – its the only option.

txmomof6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Let’s see, 728 dollars for coverage under a low cost plan. Not a huge benefit to the worker, but some. Employer drops coverage and individual doesn’t get coverage because similar coverage plans are a)not available or b)too expensive and pays a 750 dollare fine to the government and gets Zero benefit.
I think Democrats are missing a math gene, or never got past 3rd grade math in school.

txmomof6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:48 AM

I just sent in the latest development on this. Are you ready?

The WH announced it will be “Flexible” implementing the new law…

I am getting teh idea that ObamunistCare is going to implode quite suddenly. You might say I “expect” it.

dogsoldier on October 1, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Jimbo3, you can argue details all day long. It doesn’t mask the fact that this is just the beginning. Employers are going to dump insurance on their employees en masse once the financial reality of Obamacare starts kicking in.

The existing government programs are broke and cannot afford to stay afloat as is, let alone with the coming influx.

Moreover, they are reimbursement programs dependent on actual care being provided by private entities. It’s unclear what will happen to those entities – doctors and hospitals – once the fraction of fully insured patients starts to drop even further, but it doesn’t look good.

Do you have a substantive response to to any of that, or can you only manage this legalistic bleating we’ve come to expect from you?

Missy on September 30, 2010 at 11:28 PM

Employers should have gotten out of the health care insurance business years ago. I’m sure they’ve regretted being in that business for quite a while, but there were no real good options available in many cases. The employees will now have options–the regional exchanges–starting in 2014, which they didn’t have before and will likely get insurance through those exchanges. I’m fine with all of that. Is that substantive enough for you?

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Repeal – its the only option.

txmomof6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:43 AM

Do you really want kids to be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions? Do you really want people to lose insurance coverage because they were laid off and are uninsurable? Without a good GOP answer to those things, don’t expect me to vote for repeal.

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

750 dollar fine to the government and gets Zero benefit.
I think Democrats are missing a math gene, or never got past 3rd grade math in school.

txmomof6 on October 1, 2010 at 10:48 AM

One doesn’t have to pay the fine either.

dogsoldier on October 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Do you really want kids to be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions? Do you really want people to lose insurance coverage because they were laid off and are uninsurable?
Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Yes. It’s a business not a charity.

dogsoldier on October 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Do you really want kids to be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions? Do you really want people to lose insurance coverage because they were laid off and are uninsurable?
Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 11:34 AM
Yes. It’s a business not a charity.

dogsoldier on October 1, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Then assume I’ll fight you on this until my dying breath.

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Ok! But we probably want to have it out before all the insurance companies go out of business or stop issuing policies, as they have started to do already.

Or before there are too few doctors left for anyone to see.

dogsoldier on October 1, 2010 at 2:06 PM

I am a senior with Medicare, last year I joined an Advantage program for which I pay an additional $58. per month on top of the $100. a month they deduct from my SS for Medicare, I did this because I didn’t want to lose the doctor I have, he is not taking any new Medicare patients due to the lower reimbursment.
To-day I received a letter from my advantage carrier that as of Dec. 31st. they are no longer offering insurance under this plan.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for what is coming under Obamacare.
I will be first in line on Nov.2

concernedsenior on October 1, 2010 at 3:11 PM

I’m fine with all of that. Is that substantive enough for you?

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 11:31 AM

What happens to the thousands of people who will be dumped out of their employer-based insurance? Do you think the insurance provided by the regional exchanges will be at the same or lower price? Will it have the coverage they need? Will they get to keep their doctor? What happens to the people who pay the fine and choose not to purchase insurance? If they get sick, who pays? What happens to the people who were purchasing catastrophic insurance when those policies get nixed? What about the premium hikes for the employees who don’t get dumped?

This is going to be an epic disaster. It is already beginning to be one.

I can’t wait for you to come to Hot Air over the next few years and explain to us the menu options in the dining room on the Titanic, though. Because apparently the choices are a little bit different from what Ed says they are, and we’ll need you to explain the details.

Missy on October 1, 2010 at 5:07 PM

What happens to the thousands of people who will be dumped out of their employer-based insurance? Do you think the insurance provided by the regional exchanges will be at the same or lower price? Will it have the coverage they need? Will they get to keep their doctor? What happens to the people who pay the fine and choose not to purchase insurance? If they get sick, who pays? What happens to the people who were purchasing catastrophic insurance when those policies get nixed? What about the premium hikes for the employees who don’t get dumped?

This is going to be an epic disaster. It is already beginning to be one.

I can’t wait for you to come to Hot Air over the next few years and explain to us the menu options in the dining room on the Titanic, though. Because apparently the choices are a little bit different from what Ed says they are, and we’ll need you to explain the details.

Missy on October 1, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Do you want to continue having people bound to one employer because of health insurance? Or not? If you don’t, then there has to be changes.

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Do you want to continue having people bound to one employer because of health insurance? Or not? If you don’t, then there has to be changes.

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 5:15 PM

Actually I do think the employer-health insurance bond needs to be severed. It was one of the original distortions which separated consumers from the real price of health care and caused costs to spiral. It also places sick people in the same “risk pool” (i.e. not really a risk pool) with healthy people, simply by merit of the fact that they work for the same employer. This also causes distortion.

Ideally consumers should be able to shop for health care in the same way they shop for other kinds of insurance.

But none of that matters, at least not at the moment. There is no more “has to be changes.” There is only the reality of Obamacare. We are not talking hypotheticals anymore. And Obamacare as written and passed by Congress will be a disaster.

Missy on October 1, 2010 at 5:26 PM

Well – I just got a letter from my former company (one of the DOW Industrials), which says that as of Dec 31, 2014 they will be dropping all retiree health care coverage.

Dasher on October 1, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Well – I just got a letter from my former company (one of the DOW Industrials), which says that as of Dec 31, 2014 they will be dropping all retiree health care coverage.

Dasher on October 1, 2010 at 5:36 PM

Not surprising. They’ve almost all dropped it now because of Medicare and the Medicare drug program. Companies only provided it because other insurance wasn’t readily available. With the health exchangs in 2014, retiree health insurance isn’t needed.

Jimbo3 on October 2, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Do you want to continue having people bound to one employer because of health insurance? Or not? If you don’t, then there has to be changes.

Jimbo3 on October 1, 2010 at 5:15 PM

The way the insurance companies mitigate risk is to use groups. People are not bound to one employer because of health insurance — they choose to be employed by a given employer as part of a full benefits package — which includes health insurance. If you are not part of a group, you carry a very high risk, so insurance companies charge you more to mitigate that risk. And, if the risk is high enough (i.e., a certainty that they will pay out far more than they ever get in premium payments), they will not insure.

Now, to answer your question — I’d rather have the choice of insurance plans I have now via employment than to have exactly one insurer of record — the federal government. Why?

We spend, here, several hours a month “fighting” insurance companies for reimbursement. They always reimburse in the end. If I have a dispute with the Federal Government over a reimbursement, what can I expect? I’m sure that any law making the Federal Government a provider will include immunization against liability should it fail to provide coverage. My current insurance companies don’t have that immunization, which is an advantage to me…

Firstly, good health is not one of the rights enumerated in the Constitution, and therefore it would be overreaching by the Federal Government to provide same. Even rights expressly enumerated by the Constitution do not obligate the Federal Government to provide them. Freedom of the Press does not obligate the Federal Government to provide me a printing press, nor does Freedom of Religion require the Government to provide me a religion.

Secondly, the moment the Government tries to guarantee something, it always does it badly — witness the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Administration as prime examples of Government failure in healthcare. Can I expect that the Government (or rather, the Democrats, who are the ones pushing for the “single payer” plan) will allow any form of competitive marketplace to flourish when they speak of Cadillac Taxes and death panels? I don’t expect.

Thirdly, any time the Government takes over an area of business which was previously private, two things happen: (a) the government takes the businesses presently in the sphere the Government wants to occupy, and (b) the intrusion is manifestly Unconstitutional — for the “right” the Government would provide would have been provided over 200 years ago if such “right” were a Government obligation in the first place.

unclesmrgol on October 2, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Uncle, the federal government will not be providing the insurance. Those will be provided by state exchanges, and possibly regional and federal exchanges. There’s no public option in the existing law.

Jimbo3 on October 2, 2010 at 12:32 PM

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