Some, perhaps most, people believe the health insurance companies supported Obamacare. It is commonly believed they were thinking, “All those previously uninsured people will be forced to pay us money!”
This isn’t really true.
I recently talked to a former health insurance lobbyist who still works in the industry. I was told that if they were to publically oppose “affordable healthcare” they “might as well set themselves on fire”. They are highly regulated and those regulatory agencies, as well as the SEC, IRS, and media, would have been employed by the politicians to punish any company that put up resistance. As dustydog recently reported, “90% of legislative work is strong-arming businesses into paying protection money – threatening to pass detrimental legislation if the money isn’t paid.”
Do gun companies and gun shops back talk to the ATF? The NRA, yes, but they aren’t regulated by the ATF, the gun industry is very careful what it says to politicians. Insurance regulators may not stomp kittens to death and slam pregnant women against walls but insurance companies fear their regulators too.
Insurance companies know Obamacare cannot succeed. They knew it long before any of us did. The best they could do was build up cash reserves to make it through until the law is changed. It’s happened before in various states (such as Washington) and they believed they could stay in the game long enough for the political winds to change. It was like being forced to play in a card game where you know the dealer is crooked but if you play what you are dealt carefully enough you probably can hold out until the dealer is replaced.
Yes. They did have input into the legislation. They got the individual mandate put in. It was relatively easy to demonstrate that they would hemorrhage to death in short order if that provision didn’t exist. They avoided direct opposition to the politicians and they deflected damage as best they could but they did not “support” it.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands access to coverage to millions of Americans, a goal health plans have long supported, but major provisions will raise costs and disrupt coverage for individuals, families, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.
The broad market reforms outlined in the ACA took effect on January 1, 2014. Individuals and families purchasing insurance in the individual market will be guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, and their premiums cannot vary based on their gender or medical history. There will also be subsidies to help consumers afford the cost of coverage, and new health insurance exchanges will help consumers find the policies that best meet their needs.
At the same time, other provisions take effect that will significantly increase the cost of coverage, such as the health insurance tax, minimum essential benefits, and restrictions on age rating. The cumulative impact of all of these provisions increases the likelihood that some individuals will choose to purchase insurance only after they become sick or injured, further increasing the cost of coverage for everyone else with insurance.
The ACA also takes a number of preliminary, but promising, steps toward reforming the delivery system to improve patient safety and quality in Medicare and Medicaid. Many of these initiatives build on successful private-sector programs that health plans have pioneered and implemented.
Ultimately, the ACA coverage expansion will not be sustainable until policymakers and stakeholders take meaningful steps to reduce the rate of growth in medical costs.
It doesn’t take much squinting to read between the lines and realize they know they are playing a rigged game with a gun to their heads and believe private-sector solutions are better for everyone.