Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fwd: qotd: Rural areas not benefitting from exchange plan competition

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject: qotd: Rural areas not benefitting from exchange plan competition
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2013 10:19:16 -0700
From: Don McCanne <>
To: Quote-of-the-Day <>

The New York Times
October 23, 2013
Health Care Law Fails to Lower Prices for Rural Areas
By Reed Abelson, Katie Thomas and Jo Craven McGinty

As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama's health
care law, evidence is emerging that one of the program's loftiest goals
— to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low
— is falling short for many rural Americans.

While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and
small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law's online
exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose
from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal
government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The
New York Times has found.

Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than
half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance
carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data
provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530
counties, only a single insurer is participating.

The Obama administration, while not disputing the findings, responded to
the analysis in a statement that the marketplaces "allow insurers to
compete for customers based on price and quality."

Observers cautioned against drawing too many conclusions from the
current landscape, noting that several major insurers were waiting to
see what happens next.

October 23, 2013
Polis fights sky-high rates as ski town signups stall
By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon

Health insurance rates are so high in Colorado's mountain resort areas
that U.S. Rep. Jared Polis plans to seek waivers from the federal
government so people who skip buying insurance in 2014 won't face
financial penalties.

Health coverage guides working to enroll Summit County residents in new
health plans through Colorado's health exchange have been deeply
disappointed. They have not enrolled a single new client since
Colorado's health exchange launched on Oct. 1.

Comment: Another flaw in Obamacare is the failure in rural areas to
make premiums affordable through health plan competition, primarily
because the markets are too small to attract enough insurers to promote

An example is found in the Colorado mountain resort areas such as Summit
County where not one person has been enrolled through the exchange.

How many times do we have to say it? The Affordable Care Act was the
wrong model for reform. It leaves in place our profoundly expensive,
administratively inefficient, fragmented, dysfunctional health care
financing system. Compared to what needed to be done, the improvements
were only marginal, and some of the problems actually increased, such as
underinsurance - plans that provide less health security and less
financial security than many of us had before.

Besides, even in areas with greater plan competition, health care costs
are still out of control. A publicly-administered single payer program
is far more effective in getting health spending right than is health
insurer competition.

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