ObamaCare clusterfuck: Putting less cereal in the box, while leaving the size of the box the same
That's an old, familiar way to keep profits high, or raise prices without anybody noticing; people who don't read the fine print and check the weight think they're getting the same value for
a "box of cereal" when they're not. Candy manufacturers use the same play: They shrink the size of the bar, and leave the size of the wrapper the same.
And so, to ObamaCare. ObamaCare apologists consistently make the argument that ObamaCare is "affordable" because the prices are low* or at least not too high, but they always talk about price and not about value.** And they can't talk about value because ObamaCare's insurance policies have not yet been revealed! In any case, the value story isn't looking good for ObamaCare's Exchanges:
WASHINGTON — Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.
“That can be positive for consumers if it holds down premiums and drives people to higher-quality providers,” [Adam M. Linker, a health policy analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center, a statewide advocacy group] said. “But there is also a risk because, under some health plans, consumers can end up with astronomical costs if they go to providers outside the network.”
If I were the super-paranoid and cynical type, I'd feel like I were being lured into the trap by the cheese of low price, only to have the jaws of poor value close on me later.
Somebody who really knows about how insurance companies can tell me whether this scenario makes sense. Let's use North Carolina as an example:
2. One of the well known occupational hazards of the textile trade is byssinosis, "brown lung," from exposure to cotton dust.
3. And assume that byssinosis is a chronic disease that is costly to treat (where, from a profit-maximizing perspective, any cost is costly).
Let's postulate that a profit-making entity -- Health Insurance Parasites, Inc. -- is building a "thin plan" for North Carolina in a textile industry.
3. Hospital A has a nationally recognized byssinosis program, and Hospital B does not.
So, which hospital does HIP, Inc. include within the "narrow network" of its thin plan?
I say Hospital B, meaning the byssinosis costs get shoved onto the patient or some other third party because they're not "in network" (Medicaid, I would imagine, after the house is sold). Note that I'm sure that Big Data makes "medical gerrymandering" like this quite easy.
Readers, is this logic plausible? Do you have any evidence for it?
Oh, and notice the beauty part: You're still paying money for insurance and then not getting care. Business as usual!
NOTE * I'm betting that counterexamples from FL and OH are politically engineered.
NOTE ** Yes, I know about kids on their parents policies until 26, and I know about coverage of pre-existing conditions and the prohibition of rescission. The former is a minor fix that doesn't require the elaborate Rube Goldberg device of ObamaCare at all. You don't need exchanges to put kids on their parents policies! The latter we'll just have to wait on, but for my money it's going to come down to how the insurance companies game the regulations. After all, the profit motive, which incentivizes them to do so, still remains.