Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Public Option--It's Heeere!

Remember all the angst and handwringing from liberal Democrats when ObamaCare did not include a public option to compete against the insurance companies?  Well fear no more.  The Obama Administration has announced a new program that is a public option in all but name.  The Dept. of Health and Human Services will start a program to allow people with preexisting medical conditions who have not been able to buy health insurance for at least six months to purchase from a high risk insurance pool being set up by the federal government.  The program is intended to be "temporary" until January 1, 2014 when insurance companies are supposed to accept everybody, regardless of their medical conditions.

The program will start with $5 billion to pay medical claims for people in this high risk pool.  The premiums are supposed to be based on "standard rate" which are supposed to be no higher than somebody without preexisting conditions.  Plus the total out of pocket expenses is to be no more than $5,950 per individual. 

If this is not a public option, I don't know what is.  It sounds like an act of compassion to allow people to buy into a high risk pool now until the insurance companies have to accept them in three years.  But my hunch is that by 2014 this program will be so popular that it will be impossible for the federal government to withdraw the program.  This in essence will be Medicare for people with preexisting conditions.  Even though ObamaCare states that insurance companies have to accept everybody who applies for insurance, which in fact is everybody thanks to the individual mandate to buy insurance, the very crafty people who work there will figure out a way to dump patients into this new program.  The nationalization of the medical industry has already begun.

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