A Better LA, a decade-old Los Angeles nonprofit, said last week it was signing up 50 low-income people for health plans in California’s health-insurance marketplace. The charity, which said it has the blessing of the state agency overseeing the marketplace, will pay $50 to $100 a month to cover the share of the people’s premiums not already financed by federal subsidies.
Nonprofits, including some hospitals, say paying premiums would ensure coverage for people currently uninsured who can’t afford even a small monthly payment for health insurance.
But. There’s always a but. This but is this, from Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the health-insurance industry’s trade group (who, incidentally, declines to explain the claimed logistics problem of reissuing health insurance plans that were in force just a month ago):
It is a conflict of interest for hospitals and drug companies to pay patients’ premiums and cost-sharing for the sole purpose of increasing utilization of their services and products.
Of course, Ignagni has no conflict of interest herself. Mm, mm.
[The] HHS unit that is implementing the health law said it would “discourage” hospitals and other commercial entities from paying premiums. It asked insurers to reject such payments and warned that it would take further action if necessary.
HHS has significant concerns with this practice….
The Democrats and the insurance companies in cahoots with them pretended to concern about the poor and the elderly sick being unable to afford medical care because they couldn’t afford health insurance. Now those same worthies are moving to block those poor and elderly sick from getting exactly that coverage solely because they’re not getting coverage in the way those Democrats deem acceptable. Apparently, the Democrats’ concern had nothing to do with the welfare of the poor and the elderly sick and everything to do with getting their votes.
The insurance companies? It’s time to cut out the coddling and dump them into a free, competitive market place.