The headline said "Insurers take heat off GOP." Three of the big health insurance companies have announced that they will voluntarily maintain some popular provisions of the health care reform law ("Obamacare") regardless of the pending Supreme Court decision on it.
UnitedHealthCare, Aetna and Humana will continue to provide health insurance for young adults who piggyback on their parents' policies, eliminate co-pays for some preventive care, do away with lifetime limits on coverage and keep some other elements of the federal law.
It's sort of the "free market" at work, although let's be honest, the companies wouldn't be doing this if the health care reform law hadn't been passed.
Honestly, this isn't a surprise to me. I have always assumed that the Republicans will never "Repeal Obamacare on Day 1" because far too many Americans like far too much of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act. We all want lots of high quality health care…of course, the problem is: how to pay for it.
Now the recent announcements by the insurance companies are easy to understand: many parents and young adults are all too willing to pay for health coverage (that's revenue, a winner for the insurance companies). Preventive care actually reduces the future cost of treatment for actual health problems, a winner for the insurance companies. Most people don't use all of their "lifetime coverage" benefits, so eliminating the cap really doesn't cost the insurance companies much at all. And so on…
And yeah, I guess it does provide some political "cover" for Romney and Boehner and Republicans who thunder that they'll "Repeal Obamacare on Day 1." If the Supremes invalidate the law, or failing that, if the GOP manages to repeal the law, who will care if all the popular provisions remain intact?
Oooops. How to pay for improved health care insurance available for all Americans as the years go by? How to get all Americans to actually pay for the insurance, so they're actually paying for the emergency room and other health care they get? How to reduce the relentless increase of costs? How to get the drug companies to stop selling drugs to Medicare at absurdly high prices? UnitedHealthCare and Aetna and Humana didn't mention that. Romney and Boehner haven't mentioned anything about that recently…..the "free market" isn't going to fix it….
We're getting health care reform, slowly but surely….the "slowly" part is costly to all of us.
More thoughts on health care...