ACA Issues and Thoughts

Subject: ACA Issues and Thoughts
From: Michelle McLaren
Date: 21 Jul 2017

An Open Letter - Dear Congress, Senate, President and anyone else who cares,
In listening to the arguments about the health insurance issues I wonder how often you have actually talked to anyone who sells health insurance and works with people on a day to day basis. I do just that and wanted to give you my ideas on some fixes for the ACA or its successor.
1) Repeal the employer mandate – Employers should NOT be obligated to pay for health insurance. It is a BENEFIT that some employers choose to provide to help them keep good people. This mandate didn’t help people and it angered many – get rid of it.
2) Allow insurers to offer plans that do not meet all of the Essential Services – good idea! This will bring prices down for those plans that cover less (include the annual and lifetime limits). HOWEVER, only do this if you REQUIRE those insurers still offer at least 1 plan that still covers or allows to cover all of those services. This will allow people real choice and help them see what they are paying for. Make sure that all of the contracts have a statement that people understand the risks they are taking by choosing plans without certain coverages.
3) Increase education – grants for health insurance education programs, payouts for agents who help educate the public, and get a better PR firm to discuss the positive aspects as well as the risks of the program. No one expects to get into a car accident and then buy insurance to pay for repairs. That’s what health insurance can do right now – that’s an amazing thing but it costs more and people need to understand why it does.
4) Consider allowing people to buy into Medicaid/Medicare programs. One of the reasons all of this isn’t working is that the insurance companies want to make a profit. Obviously the individual market isn’t big enough to help them much or they wouldn’t be running away in droves (even OFF the Markeplaces). Perhaps allowing more people to jump in the state/federally funded pools would help some of those issues. Make the premium to join these programs increase on a sliding scale based on income, age and household size. (judge enrollment as support for single payer system)
5) Work on the costs of medical care (part of the ACA). There is an insurance price (one for each company) and a cash price and a Medicaid price and a base price. How about average them all out to one reasonable price – making sure it is still worthwhile for doctors to spend all that time and money on med school and pharma companies to spend time on research without gouging.
6) Make up your mind and set clear rules AND THEN FOLLOW THEM – The rules and payouts of the ACA were NOT followed by the government. At this time the insurers are not sure what is happening with tax credits and cost subsidies for the past or the future. That’s asking companies to invest in a product you haven’t designed yet and it’s not fair to anyone.
I don’t think it should matter who came up with the idea (Obamacare vs Romneycare vs Trumpcare) – what matters is how can we prevent people from suffering needlessly. If that is not your goal then state that clearly, stop requiring hospitals to take people who can’t pay and tell the poor, ill and aged that they are out of luck. Our country is now deciding if health care is a right or a privilege. That decision has to be made and clarified for this issue to move forward. Our leaders are tasked to make that decision and whatever is decided someone will be unhappy. This is not an easy decision. Who do you care about making happy?
Peace and Health to you all - Michelle McLaren - Owner/Broker of Just the Facts Insurance Agency and concerned citizen.