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Monday, June 26, 2017

More Media Misrepresentations

I just read an article about a change that the Republicans are making in the senate to their healthcare bill.  Under the change, anyone who goes without health insurance for more than 63 days will have to wait for six months before they can get new insurance.  According to the media, this is a "heartless" proposal designed to protect insurance companies from having to sell insurance to those who are sick.

This is total nonsense.  Let's look at this for a moment.

First, let's suppose that right now, under Obamacare, a 26 year old person decided not to buy insurance for 2017.  That person is uninsured, and Obamacare requires that he or she pay a fine for failing to have insurance.  Now let's assume that this person decided in April finally to buy insurance.  Can he or she just go on the exchange and purchase a policy?  The simple answer is NO.  Under Obamacare, once you drop insurance coverage by your own choice, you cannot buy a policy until the next open enrollment period.  That means that once you do not have insurance you cannot get insurance again until January first of the next year.  In other words, the person who dropped coverage under Obamacare last February will be barred from getting insurance for eleven months and has to pay a fine on top of that.  That makes the existing Obamacare law much harsher than the proposal put forward by the Republicans in the senate.  Strange, isn't it, that the media doesn't call the existing Obamacare law "heartless".

Second, there's a very good reason for this provision.  If someone could buy insurance only once he or she got sick, there would be no reason for anyone to purchase insurance.  It would make more sense to keep the premiums and go to get insurance only once it is needed.  Sure, you might have a few days of expenses to deal with before the insurance kicked in, but most people could live with that.  The problem is that if many people opted for a buy-as-needed insurance plan, the premiums for the rest of us would go through the roof.  The six month waiting period is meant to provide an incentive to people to buy insurance. 

So we have a perfectly sensible new law with a less harsh alternative to the existing Obamacare law.  The media calls it "heartless".  The truth is that the media is wrong.  The law isn't "heartless"; the media is "mindless".


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