By John Ballard
As I've said before, all these healthcare reform posts I put together do get old. The subject, no matter how importnt it is, makes for dry reading.
This time take a moment to pay attention because a milestone in health insurance has just passed, the requirement of the new law that insurance companies actually use a meaningful part of premiums collected for medical care. Imagine that. For the first time ever a limit on how much can go for advertising, administration, corporate profits, executive bonuses and whatever other so-called "overhead expenses" have been eating up our premiums. Here is the Forbes summary...
...can private health insurance companies manage to make a profit when they actually have to spend premium receipts taking care of their customers� health needs as promised?
Not a chance-and they know it. Indeed, we are already seeing the parent companies who own these insurance operations fleeing into other types of investments. They know what we should all know � we are now on an inescapable path to a single-payer system for most Americans and thank goodness for it.
Whether you are a believer in the benefits of single-payer health coverage or an opponent, mark this day down on your calendar because this is the day seismic shifts in our health care system finally get under way.
If you thought that the Obama Administration chickened out on pushing the nation in the direction of universal health care for everyone, today is the day you begin to understand that the reality is quite the contrary.
If you believe that the end of private, for-profit health insurance is some type of nefarious step towards a socialist society, then you might want to attend church this Sunday to mourn the loss of health insurers being able to worm out of covering the bills of a cancer patient because she forgot to write down on her application that she had skin acne for three months when she was a teenager.
Of course, those of you who fear the inevitable arrival of universal health care really shouldn�t be too fretful. There will always be a for-profit health insurance industry for those who want to pay for it. The only difference will be that those who cannot afford private coverage will also have an opportunity to get their families the medical care that they need
Everyone wins-except the for-profit health insurers.
There has been a lot of carping about the details, and the numbers are not the same for different arrangements but the ratio range mentioned most is 80:20 to 85:15. (Here is a link to a superior detailed explanation by Dr. Timothy Jost at Health Affairs which combs through the messy particulars, many of which remain unresolved.)
For those looking for the tip of the spear in PPACA this may be it.
Next time you hear one of tose GOP clowns use the phrase "repeal Obamacare" remember this post and the two links below. They can rattle those political sabers all day long, but they have no meaningful alternatives to offer. All that crap about patient choice, market forces and the evils of gubmint control are nothing but empty rhetoric. We have all that now and have never had anything else and the result is the most expensive healthcare system on the planet with costs going out of sight.
Paduda's 20-20-20 post (great takeoff on 9-9-9, huh?) drives home the point that without ACA -- in 2020 America will be shelling out 20 percent of GDP for healthcare with 20 percent of the population uninsured.