Last week, pharm House Democrats held a series of events for Consumer Protection Week, with a focus on health reform. Highlighting problems with health insurance companies, Democrats are working to build support for Obamacare.
As I noted before, attacking health insurance companies may be clever politics, but it is somewhat selective. Rescission isn’t limited to the private sector. (I wrote on Britain’s National Health Service.)
Several readers pointed out that we don’t necessarily need to look across the Atlantic to make the argument.
In a recent essay, John Goodman, President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, considers some of the problems with government and healthcare: right here.
Yet, in all the episodes of abuse, do you recall even a single instance where an insurer:
- Arbitrarily dropped coverage for tens of thousands of enrollees with the stroke of a pen — just to save money.
- Dropped entire categories of care — such as dental care or home health care — because it decided these services were too costly?
- Arbitrarily reduced the fees it paid to doctors and hospitals, pushing many out of its network, and leaving its enrollees with serious access to care problems?
Probably not. For a private insurer, each of these activities would be a serious violation of contract. Yet there is one insurer that does these things routinely. It’s called Medicaid. About half of all the newly insured people under the new health law will be enrolling in it.
Goodman goes on to name “a few tug-at-the-heart-strings examples” in his essay:
- A nine-year-old Denver boy died because Medicaid quit paying (in error, it turns out) for his asthma medications.
- An elderly Michigan woman died of a severe dental infection after Medicaid cut off her dental benefits.
- A 64-year-old Tennessee man lost his Medicaid coverage right in the middle of his treatment for colon cancer because of income eligibility changes.
- Maryland Medicaid refused to pay for life-saving liver transplants for two children — arguing that while the procedure was medically necessary, it was not appropriate.
To read Goodman’s outstanding article on rescission, Medicaid-style, see his latest Kaiser Health News column.