Wednesday, September 22, 2010

News from around

1. Insurers decide to stop selling child-only policies because they can't make enough profit unless they deny care to sick kids. And people wonder why we said there needed to be a public option?
Major health insurance companies in California and other states have decided to stop selling policies for children rather than comply with a new federal healthcare law that bars them from rejecting youngsters with preexisting medical conditions..... An estimated 80,000 California children currently without insurance — and as many as 500,000 nationwide — would be affected, according to experts.

Insurers said they were acting because the new federal requirement could create huge and unexpected costs for covering children. They said the rule might prompt parents to buy policies only after their kids became sick, producing a glut of ill youngsters to insure. As a result, they said, many companies would flee the marketplace, leaving behind a handful to shoulder a huge financial burden....

The explanations left healthcare advocates fuming. They accused insurers of trying to skirt the law's new requirement to cover children with health problems.

"Insurers need to decide if they are in the business of providing care or denying coverage," said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer group.

2. THe Florida court has ruled bans on gays adopting is unconstitutional.

3. Of course, you heard that the Defense Bill was successfully filibustered. It contained, not a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but allowed a repeal to be considered after a Pentagon study. Nearly 80% of Americans think gays should serve openly, but the Christianists gay-haters got their way and the persecutions will continue. Meanwhile, in Georgia, a staffer of Sen Saxby Chambliss apparently posted a comment on the gay blog Joe.My.God, announcing that "faggots must die". Why am I not surprised.

DADT is still in the courts: r emember that it was found unconsitutional by a federal judge in CA (the Obama administration has not yet appealed), and another case has gone to the judge. A telling fact is that as long as a GLBT person is "in theater" they don't prosecute. No, they wait for them to come home, first. This proves it is not about "unit cohesion". The NY Times takes it on here:
History will hold to account every member of Congress who refused to end this blatant injustice.

Update relevant to JimB's comment, from the NY Times
The insurers were willing to cover the Thompsons and their older daughter, but not Emily, who was later discovered to have mild autism as well, or her 13-year-old brother, who had a diagnosis of attention deficit disorder.

Starting Thursday, the insurers will not be able to do that, as the new health care law prohibits them from denying coverage to children under 19 because of pre-existing health conditions. In 2014, the change will extend to people of all ages.
And that's why, denying child only policies is a problem.


Jim Pratt said...

On the insurance issue, it's not as unreasonable as it appears.

Insurance works by spreading the risk around a large pool. When something skews the pool, the insurer collapses.

Why would someone buy a child-only policy, rather than a family policy? If they have insurance through their workplace, family coverage is available and, under the new regs, coverage cannot be denied because of a pre-existing condition.

Someone buying a child-only policy, therefore, is someone without insurance, who doesn't want to pay for insurance for the whole family (at the affordable rates that the new system is supposed to provide) but merely to offset the costs of one member of the family. This, plain and simple, is scamming the system, and the insurance companies are quite right to ban the practice.

Universal insurance coverage only works (socially and fiscally) if everyone, sick or healthy, is included in coverage.

And no one is being denied coverage. If the whole family signs up for coverage, the sick child has to be included.

IT said...

Then why are there child-only policies at all?

JCF said...

It's ALL f@cked up, until we get Single Payer!

We can beat around EVERY bush in creation about this, but the health insurance industry exists to collect money and NOT pay out for illness/injury!

That's the bottom line. End of discussion.


[And then we're left with Mike Huckabee's "a person [child] w/ a pre-existing condition is like a burned-down house" analogy. }-p]

MarkBrunson said...

Because the society cares about the money, not the person. As long as the person(s) continue to allow that by being terribly concerned about their own profit, it will continue in its sick cycle.

JCF said...

Off-topic: IT, I'd love your take on this.

What's the difference between Conservative Calvinists, and Conservative-Calvinists-Turned-Atheists?

It's [ ]!

[MadPriest would also probably get a kick outta this 'un.]

Jim Pratt said...

The Thompson case did not involve a child-only policy. They wanted insurance for the whole family, the insurer only wanted to insure the parents.

Under the new law, they cannot make that decision -- they have to insure the whole family. (I hope there's no loophole that would allow them to decline the whole family because of the child's pre-existing condition). So in the Thompson case, the new law works, they cannot be denied coverage.

The real problem, as the NYT points out, is that, if one of the parents had a pre-existing condition, the insurer could exclude coverage, because the part of the law that prevents denying coverage for an adult's pre-existing condition doesn't come into effect until 2014. That's where the new law falls short, and what advocates should be fighting.