Sides in the New Health Care World


This one article is too little evidence for sweeping statements, but there’s a telling thread throughout it.  The basic news is that health insurance companies in Rhode Island are looking for a big increase in premiums, even though the plans on offer are requiring more and more out-of-pocket spending.

What’s interesting, though, is the attitude of Health Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Hittner:

… Hittner’s staff is still reviewing the proposals, and the commissioner was reluctant to characterize how this year’s requests stack up to previous years.

“It’s difficult to say,” said Hittner, explaining that because of the many changes brought about in recent years by the Affordable Care Act, “it’s like comparing apples to oranges.”

“What our job is now,” she said, “is to look at these rates and make sure we have received all of the assumptions made by the carriers and make sure these rates are reasonable.” …

“People like to point at the insurance companies, but it’s not all about the insurance companies,” Hittner said. “It’s all of the other things that go on with what we want in health care and the way it’s delivered.”

Notice how…

  1. We can’t compare these prices to those pre-ACA, because that would be “apples to oranges,” even thought the ACA was sold on the grounds that it would lower prices.
  2. It’s all about “what we want” in the way health care is “delivered.”

The government and the insurance companies are now completely on the same side.  The insurance companies want money, and the government wants to keep and expand its new health care powers.

This is exactly the dynamic that citizens should want to avoid, because it will result in higher prices, inferior results, fewer options, and less freedom.

  • ShannonEntropy

    We can’t compare these prices to those pre-ACA, because that would be “apples to oranges,” even thought the ACA was sold on the grounds that it would *lower* prices.

    Yeah … and if you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance, too

    What is really weird to me is how excellent & efficient & inexpensive Mass ‘Romney·care’ was compared to our current Rhodent·care — which can charitably be described as a “big fricken mess”

    I say ” Romney·care *was* ” cuz Mass just last year dissolved the State exchange and signed up with federal Obozo·care. And it is *still* 10 Xs better than Rhodent·care

    And now Hittner — who I know and who personally is very nice but she has absolutely no background in the health insurance field so why is she our health insurance commissioner ??? — is gonna sock it to the premium-payers even more than they are already hosed ??

    Luckily for me I am on Medicare. But if I was stuck with Rhodent·care, I would be madder than a pit bull with a toothache

    • D. S. Crockett

      But, those being fully subsidised are not!

      • ShannonEntropy

        If you are “fully subsidised” you are on Rhody Medicaid … which is totally free

        Not many of those recipients are “mad”

        Most don’t hesitate to drop into an ER for free whenever they have a sore throat, either

      • ShannonEntropy

        Our man D.S. Crockett really gets around !!! =►

  • Warrington Faust

    I have no idea how long the Commission has been in existence, but probably 50 years. It is foolish to think the Governors and the Governed are not i together. Certainly over the years they have reached “understandings” on what will be allowed and what will not. So, the companies “weight” that which will be allowed and the Commission agrees not to look too closely. I may oversimplify.

    For almost 80 years the Massachusetts Ratings Board controlled the cost of auto insurance in Massachusetts. Setting minimum pries and disallowing competition. Those of an age may recall the insurance ads on Channels 10 and 12, for car insurance. Particularly State Farm They carried the on screen message “Not Available in Massachusetts”. They were too cheap, the ratings commission wouldn’t approve their rates, to protect the Massachusetts companies. Rates were not state wide, so a number of people registered their cars with parents, or relatives, in the suburbs. This drove Boston rates ever higher. Commissioners are “government workers”, why do we imagine they will work hard, or “keep their hands clean”?

    • ShannonEntropy

      Rates were not state wide, so a number of people registered their cars with parents, or relatives, in the suburbs. This drove Boston rates ever higher.

      That is one of the oldest Tricks in the book.
      And Trvst me … it still goes on today

      Just like how LaProv parents figure out how to send their kids to Cranston schools. And how folks in the UK work their NHS “postcode lottery”

      • Warrington Faust

        Interesting, many blacks believe that their skin color is coded into their SS number. Not quite correct. But, SSN are arrived at by a formula which was also used to originate Zip Codes. So, a person knowledgeable about Zip Codes for predominately black areas could make an educated guess. For instance, older SSN’s from southeastern Mass tend to begin 027, as do the Zip Codes in that area.

        Many also believe that the CIA invented crack cocaine in order to decimate the youth in inner cities. As time goes by, it does not appear that the CIA formulated such a plan. However time has shown that they were probably complicit in allowing the drug trade as the money was funneled to “covert operations” particularly the Contras in Nicaragua.

        • ShannonEntropy

          The first three digits of your SSN are from the State you were born in or applied for the number in

          In Li’l Rhody, that would be 035 thru 039

          Mass SSN’s begin with 010 – 034

          I was born in Ohio … so my SSN begins within that State’s assigned 268 – 302
          … race or zip code has nothing to do with it

        • Benghazi!

          Relax, It’s only for fun and games. What would the baggers do with their vast amounts of free time if there weren’t any conspiracy theories? You can just watch Fox News all day, can you?

          • Warrington Faust

            Fox news all day?

            Why not! We got the best girls.

          • Jason

            Only an idiot can make fun of a tragedy.

          • Warington Faust

            ” conspiracy theories? ”

            I suppose the SSN theory does amount to conspiracy theory. Unfortunately, there is hard evidence of the CIA complicity in the crack epidemic. I think I did point out that they did not conceive it, they simply aided what they found. . Even John Kerry thought it worth looking into.

          • ShannonEntropy

            I often wonder how ‘crack’ ever got invented

            It must have been something like those old Reese’s® peanut butter cup commercials where one guy with a chocolate bar and another with peanut butter bump into each other …

            “Hey!!You got cocaine in my baking soda !!”

            “And You got baking soda in my cocaine!!! “

    • Warrington Faust

      In furtherance of my theory here is a cut from today’s news regarding the agency which “regulates” private trade schools:
      “Consumer advocates also blame fear of litigation and a culture at the Education Department that views itself as a partner with schools, rather than a regulator working on behalf of students.”