Elimination of ‘Public Option’ Threw Consumers to the Insurance Wolves

Big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman.

When members of Congress caved to demands from the insurance industry and ditched their plan to establish a “public option” health plan, the lawmakers  also ditched one of their favorite talking points, that a government-run plan was necessary to “keep insurers honest.”

Getting rid of a government-run insurance option was the industry’s top objective during the health care reform debate. Private insurers set out to persuade President Obama

Read the Story

Good News on Health Care in 2014, but We’re Still Spending Too Much

Fewer uninsured and less inflation, but debt, mental health coverage and dental care are on the agenda for 2015.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on what went right and what didn’t and to speculate about what might happen in the coming 12 months.

So let’s take a look at how the U.S. health care system changed in 2014—the first year of close-to-full implementation of Obamacare—and take note of what we need to

Read the Story

Good News on Health Care in 2014, but We’re Still Spending Too Much

Fewer uninsured and less inflation, but debt, mental health coverage and dental care are on the agenda for 2015.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on what went right and what didn’t and to speculate about what might happen in the coming 12 months.

So let’s take a look at how the U.S. health care system changed in 2014—the first year of close-to-full implementation of Obamacare—and take note of what we need to address

Read the Story

High-Stakes Health Care Battle in the Green Mountain State

Upcoming financing plan will reignite debate over single-payer system in Vermont.

Two weeks from now, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin will describe how he thinks the country’s first state-based single payer system will be financed. Whether the Green Mountain State keeps moving forward with its goal of achieving universal coverage while also reducing the growth of health care spending depends largely on how the state’s residents and businesses react to what Shumlin has in mind.

Vermont lawmakers passed a bill in

Read the Story

Obama Administration Let Opponents Define the Affordable Care Act

The Democrats’ strategy seems to have been to say as little as possible about why reform was needed and how the final law would protect us from insurance industry abuses.

When I saw the news coverage of White House health care adviser Jonathan Gruber’s remarks, in which he essentially called Americans stupid, I thought of the old saying, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”

My next thought was, who’s being stupid here?

Gruber is an MIT health economist

Read the Story

Health Insurers Win Midterm Election!

Stock prices climb as companies target changes in Affordable Health Care Act.

Republicans weren’t the only big winners in last Tuesday’s election. So were health insurance companies, many of which spent heavily to influence the outcome.

There are several provisions of the Affordable Care Act that the insurance industry would like the next Congress to change. If insurers get what they want—and with the GOP in control of both houses of Congress, it’s a decent bet they will—Wall Street

Read the Story

Don’t Let $418 Million of FUD Fool You

Obamacare-bashing politicians have outspent its supporters 15-1 trying to convince Americans the law’s not providing peace of mind.

Last November, I predicted that once millions of Americans were able to join the ranks of the insured, the public’s approval of Obamacare would start to go up.

I, of all people, should have known not to go out on such an unstable limb.

As someone whose responsibilities at work once included trying to get people to think, act and vote the

Read the Story

Health Insurers Turning Into Who Knows What?

Squeeze on profits will continue to transform the industry. 

As I wrote last week, one of the nation’s biggest employers — Boeing — is pioneering a concept in providing health care benefits to its employees that eliminates insurance companies as middlemen.

What Boeing is doing represents a seismic shift in health care financing and delivery that potentially will have more far-reaching effects than Obamacare, primarily because it is coming from the private sector, not the government. It is a

Read the Story

Defeat of California Iinitiative Would Protect Insurers’ Profits

Proposition 45 would allow state to reject rate hikes.

For the next two months, Californians will to be subjected to a barrage of TV, radio and online ads, which, ironically, they unknowingly will be paying for with their health insurance premiums.

The ads are a part of a multi-pronged, multimillion dollar campaign — developed by public relations, advertising firms and political consultants for the state’s biggest insurers — to convince voters that an initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot designed

Read the Story

Washington’s Cynical Misinformation Game

Distortion now a standard part of political discourse on health care.

In most of our country’s major institutions, we have little tolerance for cheating and lying. Whether it’s the court system, schools, businesses, even our sports teams, we impose stiff sanctions against those who deceive us to gain some advantage.

If convicted of lying on the witness stand, you’ll pay a fine and possibly wind up in jail. If caught cheating on a test, you’ll probably fail the course or

Read the Story