July 25, 2014

OPINION: It’s I-told-you-so time on health care overhaul

Danedri Thompson

dthompson@gardnernews.com

Well, duh. This is the sort of oversight that occurs when members of Congress fail to read thousands of pages of legislation to overhaul one-sixth of the American economy.

The few of us in the American populace who bothered to read the legislation – and yes, my life is that exciting that I waded through the monstrosity, too  – sounded the alarm that the healthcare law would result in ever-increasing numbers of private sector companies dropping health plans for their employees.

And now, it’s we-told-you-so time.

McDonald’s has warned federal regulators that its health care plan for more than 30,000 U.S. hourly workers isn’t compatible with Obamacare. It could lead to the mega-chain dropping insurance before Obamacare kicks in. For those keeping score at home, that will occur two years after the 2012 presidential election. But, lucky us, we get to start paying for it now.

At issue for McDonald’s is a requirement that businesses pay between 80 and 85 percent premiums on health benefits. According to The Wall Street Journal, the percentage is unrealistic for McDonald’s and its mini-med plan due to high administrative costs from high turnover and low spending on claims.

Guess who else will be affected by the requirement? Colleges.

The immediate concern is that until Bureaucratic Health Bonanza fully jump starts in 2014, many low-income workers who were once covered by mini-med plans like McDonald’s will be without health care. (The long term problems – death panels, long waits for cancer treatments, some bureaucrat deciding whether granny gets a hip transplant – are a story for another day.)

Of course, forcing everyone into a bureaucrat-run health system was always the endgame. In the meantime, The Journal reported, benefit consultants anticipate most employers will stop offering plans like McDonald’s. They’ll likely be forced to pay a fine as a result, which should totally help the job market, by the way. Really.

It should also drive down the cost of insurance for the rest of us. No, wait. It will drive up the cost of insurance for the rest of us as those without health insurance are much more likely to visit emergency rooms with no means to pay.

McDonald’s has formally requested a mini-med waiver, according to The Wall Street Journal article. And congratulations, Kansans, our Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger told the paper she doesn’t think mini-med plans deserve the exemption.

Praeger is the head of a state insurance commissioners association.

“If (the plans) are sold as comprehensive coverage, we expect them to meet the same standards as other health plans,” she said.

Nice work, Congressional idiots. And, no thanks to Praeger, who will get to retain her job this November. After beating a more worthy opponent, David Powell, in the Republican primary, Praeger, a Republican In Name Only, has no general election opponent.

Comments

  1. ThePatriot says:

    “At issue for McDonald’s is a requirement that businesses pay between 80 and 85 percent premiums on health benefits.” This is a bold-faced act of deception;

    The law is in fact: “For certain large employer plans, the law requires that at least 85% of all premium dollars collected by insurance companies be spent on health care services and health care quality improvement.” It does not require McDonald to pay between 80 and 85 per cent of the premium; it requires the insurer to spend 85% of its dollars collected for premiums in actual care for it insured members. Businesses can negotiate whatever the premium will be.

    “If you are in an individual or small employer plan, the law requires that at least 80% of the premium dollars be spent on benefits and quality improvement. You are in an individual plan if you buy insurance for yourself or your family directly from an insurance company, and not through your employer. You are in a small employer plan if you get health benefits from an employer with 50 or fewer employees.”

    The quoted material is attributed to the below website.

    Please see the actual facts at: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/provisions/premiums/index.html

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