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October 2009
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More on Health Care

My friend and associate Kevin Hoffberg just posted a wonderful article which I strongly recommend you read. The following is my response to Kevin’s post.

I too was happy that President Obama “took off the gloves” as it relates to the insurance “industry”. But did he? As this debate, if that is really what is going on, continues there are a number of things that I find troubling.

Let me offer up my own story. Being on Medicare I already live with the “public option”. It is confusing, expensive and did I say confusing. Among a number of issues, under the onerous threat of a huge penalty, I am forced to buy Part D drug coverage. I am very lucky and don’t take any prescription medicines so I currently have no need to buy this insurance. The premium just went up 36% – no choice. And don’t get me started on the “donut hole” gap in coverage. Then there is my supplemental insurance policy because Medicare doesn’t cover that much. Even with issues it seems to work. At least everyone over 65 has an insurance option.

When you consider what I pay the government for Medicare, AARP for supplemental and AdvantraRX for Part D my health insurance costs are not cheap, in fact they are close to what I paid for health insurance before Medicare. But it works.

So why this story? My complaint is with the Administration and the Democrat leadership and their lack of telling a clear story that sets the record straight. They have left the door wide open to everyone with a vested interest in the status quo. I was unaware of the antitrust exemption – and why would the insurance industry have (need) an exception?

If I understand what is being proposed, anyone on Medicare is already there. We would just be expanding the coverage to people who don’t have it and solving the “emergency room” problem. And I haven’t heard anyone suggest that they would give up their Medicare coverage which is far from perfect but it works.

By the way, while I am ranting, the fact that Pricewaterhouse Coopers would prostitute themselves for a fee is a disgrace and disservice to any and every other consultant. It is how our industry has gotten a bad name. As Kevin said, sometimes we need to “rescope, rescale, and rethink” not bend over say “thank you sir, do it again.” Advising a client on what is right and factually correct should be more important than the size of the fee.

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