An update on the Colorado secession story.
Pushing back against the growing stories of people losing their individual health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare apologists have taken to scapegoating the insurance companies, even claiming that the cancellations were happening because the companies couldn’t compete, as in this mendacious Talking Points Memo piece.
In California, at least, that just ain’t so:
Specific language in the contracts major health insurers signed with Covered California to participate in the exchange required them to cancel the individual coverage which is at the center of a growing national debate.
Anthem Blue Cross, Kaiser Permanente, Health Net and Blue Shield of California have confirmed to the San Francisco Business Times that their Covered California contracts, signed in August or September, required the cancellations. Other plans on the exchange are subject to the same contract language.
“All QHPs (of which we are one) had to sign that contract,” said Darrel Ng, a spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross, referring to insurers known as qualified health plans.
And here’s the language in question:
“Contractor agrees that effective no later than December 31, 2013, except as otherwise provided in State Law, it shall terminate or arrange for the termination of all of its non-grandfathered individual health insurance plan contracts or policies which are not compliant with the applicable provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Contractor agrees to promote ways to offer, market and sell or otherwise transition its current members into plans or policies which meet the applicable Affordable Care Act requirements. This obligation applies to all non-grandfathered individual insurance products in force or for sale by Contractor whether or not the individuals covered by such products are eligible for subsidies in the Exchange.”
“Grandfathered” products could avoid this requirement, but, as we’ve seen, Senate Democrats made it very easy for insurance plans to become non-grandfathered and thus illegal.
I’ve often said that the California legislature is the AAA farm team for congressional Democrats; whatever nonsense federal progressives come up with, their junior partners in Sacramento will sign onto it with pathetic enthusiasm in hopes of earning a promotion to the “Big Leagues” in D.C.
I wonder how Edie Sundby will feel when she learns that her state government had a large hand in endangering her treatment for stage-4 cancer?
via Jim Geraghty
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)
Today, the relationship between patient and doctor in this country is something to be envied any place. The privacy, the care that is given to a person, the right to chose a doctor, the right to go from one doctor to the other.
But let’s also look from the other side, at the freedom the doctor loses. A doctor would be reluctant to say this. Well, like you, I am only a patient, so I can say it in his behalf. The doctor begins to lose freedoms; it’s like telling a lie, and one leads to another. First you decide that the doctor can have so many patients. They are equally divided among the various doctors by the government. But then the doctors aren’t equally divided geographically, so a doctor decides he wants to practice in one town and the government has to say to him you can’t live in that town, they already have enough doctors. You have to go someplace else. And from here it is only a short step to dictating where he will go.
Or forcing him to take patients at the State’s direction.
The Left regularly attacked Reagan as a dummy, an “amiable dunce.” But, in this quote, as in so many other cases, he was actually a lot smarter than his critics.
Edie Sundby is a Californian suffering from stage-4 gall bladder cancer. With a predicted survival rate of just two-percent on diagnosis, that she is alive at all is something of a miracle. And her survival is a tribute not only to her own resilience and determination, not only to the skill of he doctors at UCSD, Stanford, and in Houston, but also to the insurance company that has so far shelled out over a million dollars for her care, without once questioning or denying a treatment. In the midst of the awful situation in which she finds herself, Edie is very happy with her doctors and insurance.
And, thanks to Obamacare, she can’t keep them:
But in January, United Healthcare sent me a letter announcing that they were pulling out of the individual California market. The company suggested I look to Covered California starting in October.
You would think it would be simple to find a health-exchange plan that allows me, living in San Diego, to continue to see my primary oncologist at Stanford University and my primary care doctors at the University of California, San Diego. Not so. UCSD has agreed to accept only one Covered California plan—a very restrictive Anthem EPO Plan. EPO stands for exclusive provider organization, which means the plan has a small network of doctors and facilities and no out-of-network coverage (as in a preferred-provider organization plan) except for emergencies. Stanford accepts an Anthem PPO plan but it is not available for purchase in San Diego (only Anthem HMO and EPO plans are available in San Diego).
So if I go with a health-exchange plan, I must choose between Stanford and UCSD. Stanford has kept me alive—but UCSD has provided emergency and local treatment support during wretched periods of this disease, and it is where my primary-care doctors are.
As I’ve said before, with the elderly and the very ill the trust relationship between physician, insurer, and patient is crucial, if only for the psychological state of the patient. That Ms. Sundby cannot keep the relationships she values isn’t just wrong, it’s cruel.
And it is very possibly endangering her life:
For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people’s ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.
This story appeared in the Wall Street Journal and has set the Internet ablaze since it first appeared last night. One would think the White House would rush to control the damage by finding some way to help Edie, maybe one of Obama’s infamous waivers.
Instead, the official Team Obama response is to attack Edie Sundby by essentially calling her a liar:
— Dan Pfeiffer (@pfeiffer44) November 4, 2013
Pfeiffer is “Senior Adviser to the President for Strategy and Communications.”
Congratulations, Dan. We got the message.
RELATED: More sticker shock for people who’ve had their insurance canceled by Obamacare. Glenn Reynolds meditates on the hubris of technocrats and recommends a book Obama should have read. My blog-buddy ST has also written on this news.
PS: If you’re among those who are losing their coverage thanks to Obamacare and want a direction to aim your anger, remember one thing.