The promises aren’t being fulfilled, are they? Well, they are for some.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
The bad, the good, the missing debate
Are problems with the HealthCare.gov website a forerunner to the eventual demise of the Affordable Care Act? Too soon to tell. But it is not too soon to recognize a number of promises the administration made selling the ACA are not happening. One example: Many individuals and small businesses are not able to keep policies they were satisfied with; the policies are being cancelled.
In testimony before Congress on Oct. 29, the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) administrator blamed this on insurance companies. Yes, insurance companies sent out the cancellation letters. They had no choice. The cancellations were necessary because the policies did not provide the coverage mandated by the ACA.
In order to offer/issue those coverage expansion mandates, many of which are not wanted or needed by all policyholders, insurance company actuaries and risk managers find it necessary to raise premiums, contrary to administration promises that most premiums would be reduced.
Insurance companies are subject to strict government oversight and regulations — for example, premium increases must be approved by the respective state Department of Commerce. In spite of that and operating under a very modest underwriting profit because of competition, they remain solvent and accumulate assets. They know how to manage their business, including sound investment practices, while limiting waste and fraud.
BOB JENTGES, North Mankato, Minn.
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I know there has been a lot of negativity lately regarding MNsure and the ACA. Well, the programs did just what they promised for my family. Under my current employer’s insurance plan, we are paying $604 per month to cover my wife. After shopping on MNsure, we found a plan that fits our needs for only $289 per month — a 52 percent drop in our monthly costs and an annual saving of $3,780. By the way, my wife retained her current doctor, clinic and hospital. Give it a try!
JOHN GROBE, Minnetonka
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In his recent commentary (“The ACA: The good, the bad and the GOP,” Oct. 28), Bryan Dowd wrote that the administration should have been more revealing to the public about the pros and cons of health care reform.
Do you remember U.S. Sen. Max Baucus having protesting doctors and nurses thrown out of his Finance Committee hearings on the proposed Affordable Care Act? The medical providers were there to point out that the single-payer option had been preemptively taken off the table in favor of the administration’s ACA-or-nothing approach.
The single-payer advocates wanted to point out that the ACA, while offering advantages to some, is a complex, cumbersome and, ultimately, expensive system. The website difficulties indicate how difficult it is to tie the disparate components together into one efficient system.
Dowd is right that the public has not been presented with the relevant alternatives. We still must debate whether we wish to have universal health care, including all Americans, or whether we will continue to accommodate the needs of the health insurance companies. We cannot do both.
JOEL CLEMMER, St. Paul
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.