By Steve Anderson
The time is perfect for everyone who despises Obamacare to demonstrate loudly and clearly, once and for all, your total disgust for the health reform law. It’s time to vote with your paycheck.
Wait. Strike that. It’s even easier to show your distain for the Affordable Care Act: simply vote with your insurance company’s rebate check … by ripping it up.
That’s right. If you’re part of the considerable percentage of Americans who apparently think the insurance industry has been doing a dandy job of providing quality coverage at reasonable prices, then you’ll undoubtedly see the $1.3 billion in rebates announced this week as an unfair burden on that industry.
Unfair burden, you say? Well, when HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius called out Anthem Blue Cross for massive 39 percent premium hikes in 2010, she also pointed out that Anthem Blue Cross alone had taken in $2.7 billion in profits in one quarter in 2009. As blogger Linda Bergthold writes, the MLR’s burden on large insurers is “not insurmountable.”
If you’re in Texas – which had a higher percentage of uninsured residents than any other state in 2011 – you might not feel so bad for insurers, especially since data showed that some residents faced premiums as high as $29,000 per person per year. Now, that’s a burden, especially considering how the industry has been faring.
By the end of 2009, roughly 2.7 million Americans lost their coverage, while CEOs of the top five firms each received as much as $24 million in compensation. It is a bitter pill to swallow.
Feel like Obamacare is playing Robin Hood by picking the pockets of a rich insurance industry in order to give cheap coverage to the poor? Also, are you convinced that Congressional opponents of the ACA have been protecting you? (or is it possible they were serving as hired muscle to protect the industry?)
Still hate Obamacare? Then here’s what you do: RIP UP THE CHECK.
Come on. Surely, the modest rebate for folks in the individual market is a small price to pay to be able to clearly demonstrate solidarity against the health reform bill.
One more thing to consider: think about how much premiums would be rising this year without the MLR. If the medical loss ratio enforced by the Affordable Care Act had been in effect in 2010, the insurance industry would have had to shell out another $2 billion in rebates to consumers for failing to meet the medical loss ratio target.
If you seriously believe that the industry has been doing everything it can to make premiums affordable (and you are not concerned by industry profits that have exploded over the past decade) … RIP UP YOUR CHECK. Send it to your member of Congress so he or she can use it to persuade Americans that it’s time to back off.
Say it with me: “Rip up the check.”
Posted April 26, 2012
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