Topic: health care
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December 10, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Provides treatment for those with pre-existing conditions
Andrew Reding might be among the small minority who have to pay higher health insurance premiums under the Affordable Care Act [“I can’t keep my health plan,” Opinion, Dec. 6].
However, he fails to recognize he is actually getting more. Not only can he no longer be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition, it cannot be rescinded if he utilizes it. Should he suffer from a catastrophic illness or injury, there is no longer a limit on what his insurance will pay. Of bankruptcies filed in 2007, over 60 percent were due to medical expenses — 75 percent of those individuals had health insurance.
This doesn’t happen in other developed nations. They provide universal health care at a lower per-capita cost than the U.S. system, and have better outcomes. They don’t utilize for-profit insurance companies, and because all are covered, treatment is sought at earlier stages.
December 9, 2013 at 6:25 AM
It works and people like it
Initially Republicans killed the Affordable Care Act’s public option that might have led to a national single-payer health-care system. Throughout they’ve relentlessly pursued their self-fulfilling prophecy that all of the ACA shall fail.
Perhaps we should reconsider the single-payer system, even though the ACA still contains very significant improvements over the present system, at somewhat lower costs.
Canadian single-payer universal health-care costs total only 60 percent of the present U.S. system, with better results (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.). Despite misleading ads by U.S. insurance companies, the Canadian system is also very popular. The evidence? When May 2011 elections gave conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper a conservative parliamentary majority, guaranteeing passage of any conservative legislation, he quickly assured Canadians of no change in their single-payer system.
December 7, 2013 at 8:20 AM
Also, address the chargemaster pricing problem
Thank you for publishing Andrew Reding’s guest column on health insurance ["State’s health-insurance exchange site remains down," Online, Dec. 5]. Like Reding’s Blue Shield experience, my Lifewise policy is canceled as of the end of the year. I will be transferred to a new plan with premiums that increase almost 20 percent and a deductible that increases 81 percent to $6,350.
November 18, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Obamacare justification should not be political
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler made a valiant attempt to justify the seriously flawed Affordable Care Act in his column [“Your health plan and Obamacare,” Opinion, Nov. 13].
Sticking entirely to his party line, he listed the reasons why we all should embrace Obamacare. However, commissioner, the dilemma of policy cancellations to the middle class is not about politics. It is seriously affecting nearly 300,000 residents in the state of Washington.
Sure, policy criteria premiums change annually, but never to the extent we are currently witnessing. Does it really make sense that those of us fortunate enough to be healthy and have incomes above the government subsidized threshold should incur the brunt of making this plan work? My wife and I currently have a perfectly good plan, not one referenced as “inadequate.” Yet, Regence has advised us the premiums will nearly double. In addition, along with the privilege of contributing more to support those “in need,” our deductible and out-of-pocket limits will actually increase.
And of course, the commissioner’s office has apparently blessed the new plans presented by Regence. I have to believe that many of the 300,000 affected Washington residents are in situations similar to ours.
Wes Pitman, Woodinville
November 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Employers won’t be able to cope
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler understates not only the impact on those who are losing their health plans under Obamacare, but also the number of people affected [“Your health plan and Obamacare,” Opinion, Nov. 13].
Kreidler states health plans have often canceled coverage. No, they discontinued plans for new sale and his office required the older plans be maintained for current subscribers. His regulators used to be aggressive against filed rate increases. Now, in the face of a 100 percent increase for a higher deductible, he sheepishly offers that we’ll get more. He says no one could afford coverage if you could buy maternity coverage only when you need it — but that is exactly what happened here 15 years ago, which led to the total collapse of the individual market. Kreidler supported easy sign-up then, and now he fears returns for those “checking in” during open enrollment.
The 290,000 residents cited as losing individual coverage is just the beginning. As a health-insurance broker, I know some employers just can’t cope with the added cost and overregulation. So they contemplate reducing hours below the eligibility threshold, or dropping group plans entirely. Some employees will find their way into the exchanges, many others won’t.
But the worst loss of coverage, which Kreidler doesn’t even mention, is in the small group market. We have had a thriving association market, serving hundreds of thousands of Washington residents. This is being virtually obliterated by Obamacare’s regulation. Many employers are forced off this market. Most of the association health plans will actually have to shut down in 2014. Sorry, you can’t keep your health plan after all.
There is no smiley face Kreidler can put on the rate increases, loss of coverage for so many and the decimation of our health-insurance market. Forget the bumpy rollout of exchange plans. This is truly ugly.
Hugh Hendrickson, Renton
November 7, 2013 at 7:37 AM
Notions that prior plans were substandard is a lie
I want to add to the many voices of people on the individual insurance market who say their health insurance plans were pretty much ruined by Obamacare [“Canceled health insurance plans add to angst of change,” page one, Nov. 3]
Our plans in the past covered our risks very well. In 2014, my insurance premiums will balloon to cover conditions that are non-risks for me. I will pay all costs out of pocket unless I am hospitalized.
Only exchange plans are subsidized, but they all have greatly reduced doctor and hospital networks. The plans might help with some upfront coverage, but without in-network access to specialty centers and research hospitals, they do not insure against financial hardship for the most catastrophic conditions. Regence is now the only provider that offers a broad doctor/hospital network.
Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, believes that our plans were substandard because they didn’t cover our non-risks. I wonder if Stephanie’s homeowner policy covers tornadoes and hurricanes — her non-risks. The state had its own mandates to ensure that our plans were adequate.
I am all for helping people in need, but we should do so as a country, rather than disproportionately foisting the expense onto people in the individual market.
The bottom line is that a law that you have to lie about is a bad law — and yes, the blanket notion that our plans were substandard is a lie.
Teresa Atkinson, Sammamish
November 2, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Delay implementation and fix the legislation
The president’s repeated claims about his signature health-care reform law have proved to be more than the usual exaggerations and spin we expect from politicians; they are outright lies [“Your health plan is canceled: Q & A on a growing headache,” page one, Oct. 30].
Dozens of times during the past three years he has claimed that if you like your current policy, you can keep it. For the millions of Americans who purchase individual plans, that is simply not true, and the president has known it all along. The truth is that all Americans will have enhanced coverage, whether they want it, need it or can afford it.
Health-care reform is a must, but this is a bad law poorly implemented, and we simply can’t afford it. Delay implementation and fix the legislation while you fix the website.
Mark Stratton, Bothell
October 8, 2013 at 7:31 PM
Hikes in price do not look promising
As tragic as it is, Paul Krugman’s column is most likely correct. ["Health-care reform is here to stay," opinion, Oct 6].
It is a sad day for many, even though several are still learning that truth Krugman used an already tired line regarding the Republicans and their fear of Obamacare’s success or failure. To this, it really is more a point of view rather than anything else. From the point of view of people I know, it’s a horrible failure.
People have lost huge amounts of working hours due to companies cutting back to avoid paying insurance for their employees. Some have lost jobs entirely. Others who already have insurance have seen their monthly amounts go up to unreasonable amounts. One person I know went from $250 to more than $1100 per month. She checked the exchanges and found nothing she could afford there either; We are told there are good rates on the exchanges, but I have talked to many people and haven’t heard of one yet.
So if Obamacare’s point of view was to have people earn less money, be mandated to purchase something they can’t afford or face the IRS over penalties, then by all means it’s a great success.
Eric Vane, Seattle
October 6, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Go broke or break the law?
Mr. President, twice the cost for half of the coverage. Is that affordable care? [“A user’s guide: 20 things to know about the Affordable Care Act,” Section J, Sept. 22].
Today Mr. President, I learned from Group Health Cooperative, my insurance provider in Washington state, that my HSA Insurance plan(premium $323 per month) was canceled and the new policy will have a premium will be $532.67 per month and my “deductible/out of pocket maximum” is changing from $2,750/$5,500 to $4,000/$8,000. Is that affordable health care?
Mr. President, I am 60 years young, I have a healthy lifestyle and have always carried my own insurance. Unlike the U.S. government I have gone to great lengths to keep my cost of living down. Hence I did the research to find an Health Savings Account Plan that did not cover pregnancy. Now pregnancy is covered — just-in-case!
What happened to keeping my plan and keeping my doctors? With the new plan none of my doctors are in network. To see them will cost 80 percent more.
The federal debt is already despicable. Now you want responsible citizens, who up until now have managed their own money more responsibly than the government, to go into the poor house rather then break the law.
Of course you, Congress, and your staff who wrote the law for the other 350 million, will be supplemented.
Marjorie Masel, Seattle
October 4, 2013 at 4:29 PM
America should focus on its own disadvantaged
Dear Sen. Paul and Rep. Reichert:
We have known for decades that the U.S. health-care system leaves tens of
millions of Americans uninsured. At the same time, Canada and most
if not all European countries have systems in place which provide care
to all their citizens at half the cost of care in this country and with much better outcomes.
There have been times since World War II when the Republicans have
had complete control of the government such as under President Regan and
more recently President Bush. My question is: ”Why didn’t your party
come up with solutions which would provide care to every one and
not bankrupt them or the country?”
Even now your party does not have a plan which would ensure every American gets care that is affordable. It seems the only game your party is good at is starting unfunded wars which the country ends up losing, leaving countries such as Iraq in worst shape than they were before we attacked them.
You express concern about the debt limit being raised when your party is
a little more guilty in regard to the huge debt the country has incurred due to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and tax breaks for the wealthy who could well afford to pay more taxes since many of them have enough money to buy multimillion dollars houses only to tear them down to build even more expensive houses.
At the same time it is the least fortunate of Americans who have and continue to make sacrifices to fight wars and sustain military
presence in over a 144 countries and provide billions of dollars in aid to rich countries like Israel.
I have been waiting for answers for decades as to why America cares so
little for its own disadvantage citizens.
Looking forward to answers.
George Whitaker, Bellevue
GOP to blame for health-law stagnancy
Your headline, [“Health law’s rollout to reignite battle,” News, Sept. 22] is grossly misleading and unfair. There’s nothing for the Democrats to compromise about, and no one to compromise with.
The Affordable Care Act is law, and it was reaffirmed by both the U.S. Supreme Court and by President Obama’s re-election. The Republicans, though, are against it, not because they’re afraid it will fail but because they’re afraid it will succeed, making Obama and the Democrats look good.
It’s more than unfortunate that the GOP is entrenched in its radical willingness to sacrifice the full faith and credit of the United States in order to achieve their goals.
Tim Walsh, Seattle
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