Utah, not D.C., points the way for Georgia on health reform

When a judge last month declared ObamaCare unconstitutional, many people in Georgia and the other states suing to overturn the law wondered if they had been freed from its onerous taxes and regulations.

Georgia could stand pat, gambling that the ruling will hold up on appeal. A more prudent tack is to copy a reform model that predates the federal law — and might satisfy it.

Utah created a health-insurance exchange in March 2009, around the time President Barack Obama began his health-reform push. A pilot version was in place later that year, and last fall the exchange went statewide. More companies in Utah offer health insurance to workers now. And they didn’t get subsidies to do it.

Utah’s exchange gives consumers information about plans and helps them enroll in one. Crucially, it allows them to pool health dollars, whether from their employer(s) or their own money, as never before.

“It’s the easiest idea in the world,” says Cheryl Smith, who helped launch Utah’s exchange and now works with other states that want to do the same. (Georgia is not a client, though state leaders are interested in starting an exchange.)

The ability to pool money is key. Smith says most of Utah’s uninsured were employed, but many of them worked multiple part-time jobs and didn’t qualify for health benefits.

For those individuals, Smith says, “if Employer A gave $300 and Employer B gave $200 … we could combine those contributions and help them get a plan.” Both employer and employee can do this with pre-tax money.

Pre-existing conditions aren’t a factor because the exchange helps insurers mimic the size, stability and randomness of large risk pools. In turn, the exchange adjusts the premiums insurers receive for the risk they take on with consumers who have, say, diabetes.

“This is really what most states need,” says Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, a think tank that promotes free-market solutions for health care. “It allows insurance to be portable because the insurance is owned by the individual.”

State exchanges are also a feature of ObamaCare. But while its requirements for those exchanges are still in the works, they’ll likely be more burdensome than what many states would design. Turner predicts low-premium, high-deductible plans — popular on Utah’s exchange — will be scarce.

The Obama administration’s concept of an exchange is closer to what Massachusetts has done, including the insurance mandate for individuals and subsidies, than Utah’s model.

The Massachusetts plan has attracted more participants than Utah’s — “When you’re giving it away free, it’s not hard to get people to join,” Smith says — but at a far greater cost. The budget for the Massachusetts Connector in Year 1 was $25 million, growing to $30 million. In Utah, the respective figures are $600,000 and $675,000.

But back to the lawsuits moving through the courts. If ObamaCare survives the legal challenges, a state that hasn’t planned its own exchange may not have time to catch up. The consequence: The feds would set up and run an exchange in that state as they see fit.

But if a state already has an exchange that “is getting good results, and they can see that people who are formerly uninsured are becoming insured,” Smith says, “I would hope [the federal government] would have the wisdom to let a state continue to do that.”

Wisdom from Washington? Sounds like a stretch, but it’s worth a try.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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137 comments Add your comment

MrLiberty

February 25th, 2011
7:10 pm

While there may be some success, the concept of anything the government has its hands on with respect to healthcare being a good thing is completely un-conservative.

There is plenty that government can do with respect to health care. They can begin by ending all professional licensure requirements and by eliminating the medical monopoly that the AMA has on delivery of care. Second, they can shut down the FDA, DEA, and every other agency that limits the access of individuals to substances that might serve medical uses. Third, they could use the “commerce clause” as it was intended to make regular the commerce between the states – in other words, eliminate the interstate sales barriers on insurance. Fourth, at a state level they could end all mandates on insurance coverage. Every policy should be able to be exactly what the customer wants, and not burdened with mandates for pregnancy coverage, alcohol rehab, drug rehab, fertility therapy, etc. coverage. If I can buy minimal liability coverage on my car, I should be able to buy high deductable coverage that is tailored to my individual needs, including accupuncture, homeopathy, health club membership, medical marijuana, or whatever the insurance company and I decide, not some jerk bureaucrat decides. And Fifth, all tax employer tax benefits for insurance coverage should be ended. Nobody should be tied to their employer because of their health insurance policy. We should own our own. Period. Until WE become the customer, there will never be positive change.

To that end, insurance MUST take on a different look. When our insurance company pays the doctor, THEY are the customer, not us. We should all be paying for our checkups, minor injuries, and the like. Every doctor must charge a lot more money to employ people in his/her office just to handle insurance paperwork. If we all paid cash, and if the market was opened up to real competition (and not the current protected monopoly), we might actually be able to benefit from a free market in medicine like we used to have back in the late 1800s. Yes, its been that long, but since the free market is making everything better and cheaper wherever the government ISN’T involved, it will surely do the same for medicine.

An even better approach would also be to end the income tax and end all tax benefits for medical expenses. Currently there are tax credits for expenses, but only those that the government approves. We should all decide for ourselves what is right for us, incur the costs accordingly, and finally be responsible for our own health. I shouldn’t be discouraged from going to the health club because I cannot deduct it. I shouldn’t be discouraged from taking vitamin supplements because they are not government “approved” but encouraged to take some crap pill from BigPharma because it is “approved”. That is exactly how we have gotten to the high costs and failed approach that western medicine now takes to promote sickness and perpetuate our problems.

Mr_B

February 25th, 2011
7:13 pm

Kyle, How about a comparison between the population of Utah with Mass? Also Utah is heavily Mormon, non-smokers, non_drinkers those folks, and probably more healthy. And why the assumption that a federally designed health exchange model would be any more burdensome than what an individual state would devise; other than the ever-repeated “the government can’t do anything right.”

lynnie gal

February 25th, 2011
7:15 pm

We have a real problem in this country when (mostly) elderly tea party folks who are obviously on Medicare, crash into public meetings to demonize health care reform for younger people. Health insurance needs to be reformed, and I don’t care what you call it–exchanges, obamacare, whatever. Something must be done to curb the greed of insurance companies so that people can receive affordable healthcare. And, after witnessing those old people who only care about themselves, I’d be in favor of making them go out and purchase their own health care on the open market. See how it feels.

killerj

February 25th, 2011
7:23 pm

Blah,Blah,Blah…….Hell No.

James West

February 25th, 2011
7:33 pm

Let’s be clear. Low premium, high deductible plans are for rich people. Rich people have no trouble meeting such deductibles when they get sick. But it’s a different story for the poor and middle class.

When the median income for a family of four is around $50,000 and falling in real dollars, then such plans aren’t practical for catastrophic illnesses, injuries or even relatively minor injuries that require an emergency room visit such a child falling off a bicycle. Under these plans, most families would have to go into debt to pay such medical bills.

Opinions obviously differ, but any system that forces most families to go into debt to cover it’s medical bills, even medical bills under a high deductible plan, should not be acceptable to any of us.

James West

February 25th, 2011
7:37 pm

I’m kicking myself for referring to those high-deductible plans as “low premium”, as Kyle did above. They might be less expensive under certain circumstances than other plans, but my most peoples’ standards, premiums for these plans are anything but low.

Mr_B

February 25th, 2011
7:37 pm

MrLiberty: I’ve seen thousands of posts claiming that there is no cross border insurance sales, but my carrier (UHC) does advertises and does business in multiple states. Blue Cross, Kaiser, Prudential are all multistate operations.
I’ll agree that the individual need to be personally responsible for most health care costs, but that can’t happen until those costs are drastically reduced, and the “free market” can’t do it because the consumer cannot realistically choose not to buy many medical proceedures. Other than that, what you’re proposing would take us back to the days of the patent medicine show, and the associated 45 year live expectancy.

Mr_B

February 25th, 2011
7:39 pm

James West; Amen. We already known how to do this right. Great Britain., France Germany, Japan already invented that wheel for us.

[...] Utah, not DC, points the way for Georgia on health reformAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)A more prudent tack is to copy a reform model that predates the federal law — and might satisfy it. Utah created a health-insurance exchange in March 2009, around the time President Barack Obama began his health-reform push. … [...]

Michael H. Smith

February 25th, 2011
8:14 pm

At least when the States’ take healthcare or health care insurance plans upon themselves Kyle it is Constitutional where it is not germane to the Federal Government. Personally I favor sticking to the Constitution and having the States come up with their own programs and needless to say once an insurance company sells insurance across a state line it then falls under Federal jurisdiction via the Commerce clause to regulate the sell of these policies. Which shoots down the socialist liberal straw-man argument of shoddy coverage, all the Federal government has to do is say (through regulation) no you can’t sell that type of healthcare insurance policy across another state’s line.

Whereas Utah does not subsidies and because we know the socialist liberals are going to cry about the poor who just can’t afford even the most affordable healthcare, I’d be supportive of expanding gaming here in Georgia (beyond and separate from the Lottery) to subsidize a healthcare savings account for every insured Georgia resident on a regressive scale to assure that the bare essential could be bought with little need of additional income to pay the premiums.

By the way, there are sure to be objections to this but do look at the State of Nevada and what gaming money provides to the budget of that State. The rest of the objections will come from socialist liberal that will fight to the very end before giving up on centralized Federal Power and the devil with the Constitution reserving to the States all powers not enumerated in Article 1 Section 8 as they see it. So I don’t give them any credibility.

BW

February 25th, 2011
9:48 pm

Kyle when were these people during the Bush years when we had the same damn health care problem? Let these people show themselves so we can have an honest assessment of the situation without the hysterics. Politics is an enterprise….someone makes money off inflaming like minded people but at days end we live in a country of 300 million and some sort of compromise is necessary. If conservatism or liberalism or libertarianism were a magic pill then it would have been done long around.

MrLiberty

February 25th, 2011
9:50 pm

The only reason some health care plans are sold in multiple states is because the companies have complied with the regulations and jumped through the hoops in multiple states. The reality is that the health care plan they are FORCED to sell in NJ is NOT the same plan they are FORCED to sell in GA. Every state demands different things from EVERY plan. Here in GA there are 46 different mandates.

I am sorry that you cannot think beyond today’s reality. I guess that is the result of such poor government education. What we have today is a market that has been so horribly influenced by government, industry, and medical monopoly manipulation that prices are through the roof. Yes, it does cost WAY too much just for a minor injury. In many cases that might be today’s high deductible. So let’s start by ending the monopoly on medical services. Why should the government decide who can and who cannot deliver a baby? Why should a super costly doctor be required for the 3rd kid when a midwife would be just fine? Well, state government do get to decide. Why should I have to see a doctor, pay his bill, waste my time, all just to get a prescription for a drug the pharmacist could easily suggest and give me for a whole lot less cost overall? You are missing the bigger reality of just WHY medicine costs so damn much money.

And please stop with the juvenile crap about patent medicine shows and the rest. If you knew all the great medicines the FDA prevents you from having, if you knew all the natural products that prevent and cure thousands of diseases (but which cannot be writting about by merchants or producers because the FDA bans such documentation or even linking to peer-reviewed scientific studies), if you knew all of the things the big pharmaceutical companies do behind everyone’s backs to perpetuate their stranglehold on the american system of medicine then you would know why, despite billions and billions in spending each year the quality of medicine is going down while the incidence of serious disease is increasing. I understand that all you know is western traditional “the doctor is god” medicine, but that doesn’t mean that there is not another alternative that everyone should have the free choice to investigate and use for their own care.

Before you criticise the free market, try actually understanding it first. We have not had a free market in medicine since the AMA took over medicine, did everything it could to destroy the wonderful system of homeopathic medicine that existed in this country around the turn of the 20th century, and assured its domination over both the delivery of medical services and the laws that prevented any competition from interfering with their control. It is their control that limits the numbers of doctors (keeping prices high), limits who can provide services (keeping prices high), and limits what information is available to individuals on alternatives to their methods of care (keeping prices high).

You are not the consumer of your doctor’s services – your insurance company is. You are not the consumer of your insurance companies services – your employer is (except if you purchase your own insurance). If you don’t understand how those relationships – with you completely out of the picture – are at the heart of why costs continue to rise and services continue to decline, then you will forever be unable to see any real solutions to the problem beyond just more of the same failed relationships and system that we have today.

MrLiberty

February 25th, 2011
10:04 pm

BW – Before you just shoot off your mouth with the same “where were these people during the Bush administration?” crap that so many liberals always seem to say, please realize that free market proposals have been around for well over a hundred years, and certainly since Johnson began socialized medicine with Medicare, and most certainly since HillaryCare was proposed under Clinton. The fact that you never bothered to find out any alternatives doesn’t mean that thousands of folks were not writing books about them and screaming these ideas at the top of their lungs hoping someone would hear. Your ignorance doesn’t mean that folks are only now bothering to do something just because our president is black. Get over the Obama thing already. Medicine has sucked for a long time. This has come to a head now in the way that HillaryCare brought it to a head back then. Only this time the horrible beast got passed despite overwhelming public opposition.

And as for ideas like libertarianism and others being clearly not workable since they haven’t been embraced, I think you are using failed logic.

Libertarianism will only catch on when people actually want their freedom and liberty back. Just look at these comments. People don’t want to “risk” liberty and freedom. They would rather believe the lies about history that the self-interested government text books have taught them then give the market an opportunity, without the protection of the govenrment manipulators and criminals. Liberty and freedom are scary things for people that have been coddled, brainwashed, and “protected” their entire lives. Almost nobody alive today knows of a country that functioned perfectly well without the horror of the income tax. Few are old enough to know of a country in which the value of money actually went up (before the Federal Reserve). Few know of a country in which money was taken from your paycheck by the government, spent to pay off special interst groups, and worthless credits were put into an account for you (Social Security). Few people are old enough to remember a time when going to the doctor was affordable, they made house calls, you could by pharmaceuticals without a prescription and its associated costs, and even having a baby cost only a couple hundred dollars. Few can remember a time in this country when both spouses didn’t have to work to afford the cost of living of the high taxation rates. These things were all possible because government was not involved in the market or the economy to the extent it is today.

vuduchld

February 25th, 2011
11:58 pm

Frankly, Jawjians don’t need health care insurance. I say let these dimwits continue to kill themselves by suicide, gun play, drink, ciggies and drugs. What all Teabeggers crave is chaos, death and destruction. Why should my hard earned tax dollars go towards saving a bunch of maggots who don’t want to be saved. Jawja and the South as a whole is one big cesspool of sub-humans who don’t want to be told what to do. I say fine, just don’t expect people like me to pick up the tab. I could caree less whether you idiots want Obamacare, go off and die so our nation can save some cash!!

BW

February 26th, 2011
12:15 am

MrLiberty

You think people have enough self control to be libertarians? Please…spare me. People want to be taken care of….they love their quid pro quos all day long….Marta is one of many examples…people who don’t pay for it in their counties use it just the same. Free market solutions….the result is the same….those with money are ok and those without it aren’t. Rationing exists right now through either high premiums or being disqualified due to preexisting conditions. The only way to fix Medicare and Medicaid is to further ration some type of care. The reason I brought up the Bush years was simply to say that all these people that now seem to think something is wrong and now have all the answers were eerily silent but out of partisanship…it’s funny you mentioned Obama being black….you definitely tickled me on that. Sorry buddy…America isn’t going back to 50’s….the sooner you deal with it the more at peace you will be. I think the free market is working quite well…he with the most dollars gets the most business…it’s all about profit not compassion or empathy….that’s why health care costs so much…the free market at work.

Voice of Reason

February 26th, 2011
5:56 am

Kyle:
Demographics and socioeconomic differences likely make the Utah model unworkable in a lot of other states. But anything that forestalls the full implementation of Obamacare is a good thing.

As for the medical “conspiracy theorists” on this comment board, I suggest they absolutely be allowed to take whatever homeopathic remedy they prefer to take, as long as they stay out of the ER when it doesn’t work or worsens their condition. And allow them to use whomever they want to deliver their babies–after they agree to waive their right to sue the unlicensed healthcare provider they use. Those who suggest it was better in the 1800’s surely weren’t alive back then. There’s a reason life expectancy is as high as It is in the US, and it is not because we are still using leeches.

Finally, you should make the point that one reason there is so much healthcare cost is that there is so much healthcare, period. Decades ago, many forms of cancer were incurable; now, increasing forms are curable and manageable. Chronic diseases like diabetes today can be tightly controlled by willing patients, but only with accurate readings and insulin calibrations. And medical conditions like ED or hormone deficiency were hardly registered years ago. Healthcare cost is so high is because we demand healthcare–we want it, we use it and we expect it. We want to lead longer, better lives and we consume healthcare to do so. That points to an easy fix to the healthcare cost dilemma–live shorter, less enjoyable lives with more discomfort, pain and disease. One could even say that is the underlying goal of Obamacare.

Bobbyb5257

February 26th, 2011
7:20 am

MrLiberty, could not have said it better!!!!!

jt

February 26th, 2011
7:37 am

Yes, Mr. Liberty is correct.

It is shameful the way people refuse or cannot think outside the box.
Taking away medical lincenses “requirements” doesn’t mean taking away lincenses.
It would just mean that the consumer has a choice to go to an un-certified doctor or not. It should be the consumer’s choice.

The same way with the FDA.
The FDA is responsible for more deaths each year than any other federal agency but your typical dumbed-down American would scream with fear IF he was only given a choice between FDA-approved or not.

Regardless of what silly plans are hatched, if the government is involved, the quality of medical care will diminish and the prices will constantly increase.

Ron Paul/Judge Napolitano 2012.

Cutty

February 26th, 2011
8:07 am

So Kyle already knows that any exchange the feds comes up with will be more burdensome than a state Exchange, when though states are allowed to be creative in tailoring their own. With all this talk about the Constitution, I seem to forget when a Declaration of War was issued by Congress for the wars we’re fighting today. I seem to remember repubs sayin back in 2001 and 2003 how outdated the Constitution was and how it hindered us from fighting ‘the new age war’. Seems what’s constitutional only matters when it suits repubs narrow free market interests.

Dave

February 26th, 2011
8:07 am

A lot of “ifs” in this plan. ” If the employer gives…” What if the employer of part timers refuses to contribute, like most I have worked for. Or, If the insurer has a pre-existing condition, premiums would be adjusted. What happens when the insurer can’t afford the adustment? And most of Utah’s participants were employed. How would that play out in GA with its 10 % plus unemployed? Again it’s health care for only those who can afford it and most critics of health care are just that. Always remember, everyone is just a day and pink slip away from no job and health insurance – There go I but for the grace of God.

Donna P.

February 26th, 2011
8:10 am

The problem with any insurance plan (ObamaCare or state care) is that most people want it to be FREE. They don’t want to pay premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. Under ObamaCare, some people won’t have to pay for anything while others will pay for themselves AND everyone else. That is the reason ObamaCare will fail.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
8:32 am

Voice of Reason

February 26th, 2011
5:56 am

I must disagree with a few points of your reasoning or arguments. At the heart of Obamacare is centralized federal government control, that is its’ objective. Otherwise the federal government or as the federal government was before the Obama, Reid and Pelosi regeime’, could have simply drawn up federal guidelines on healthcare and healthcare insurance reforms for the States to implement. However they didn’t because that would mean losing federal government power and authority in giving back to the States and the people power and authority in keeping with the Constitution.

Many reasons or causes drive the cost of healthcare: Government and the private sector have both contributed to driving medical costs higher, patients too, have contributed to driving these costs higher. Examples are legion in respects to the various parties as we know them.

Presently it is predicted that America can expect to see an explosion of sorts in the numbers of people developing Type 2 Diabetes, which for the most part is avoidable provided people make the necessary life changes to prevent it. Which they should do and government should not try to do for them through regulation and taxation of the fatty, salty, sugary, starchy foods Et al MamaBamaCare. However, facts remain that around 40% of our population will develop Type 2 Diabetes in the near future simply by reason of personal diets – bad diets. Not only is Type 2 Diabetes avoidable for the most part, many other human conditions are just as avoidable or very near to it but we the individual must be willing to rely on our own self-disciplines to manage our health and well being instead of, as has become the all to common practice, demand that some magic pill and medical miracle save us from ourselves or undo the damage we have done to our bodies.

The adage of an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure remains invaluably true with respects to disease and increasing the longevity of days. Unfortunately, our mouths are betrayed by our unhealthy behaviors and our bodies rightly have condemn us for this hypocrisy.

jconservative

February 26th, 2011
8:36 am

Enjoy the vacation Kyle.

Interesting discussion. There are a lot of “solutions” to the “problem”.

Lets look at the “problem” first. What problem? Everyone 65 & over is on Medicare. All people who meet an income test can be on Medicaid. All kids whose parents meet an income test can be on CHIP. Anyone who has an illness can go to an emergency room and get free health care (per State and Federal law). If there is a “problem” it is those people and businesses who are paying highway robbery costs for employer based health insurance. We basically have “universal health care” in the USA now.

Now lets look at “solutions”. The problem with solutions is that government will get involved. As many have pointed out there are 50 different “solutions” in the 50 states. That drives up costs.

“Solutions” number 2 – if government is involved there is always someone who wants to change the program. In 1965 President Johnson and Congress brought us Medicare. OK fine, nice simple little plan. But then the “fixes” started. In 1972 Nixon did a major overhaul and expansion of Medicare/Medicaid. In 1983, 1984 & 1986 Reagan did a major expansion of Medicare/Medicaid. Now everyone but the family pet is covered.

Then in 2003 Bush 43 decided we needed to “fix” it again. So he asked for, congress passed and he signed the “Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act”. $750 billion the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion the next 10 years and $2.0 trillion the following 10 years. That is about $4 trillion over the first 30 years of the programs. (But it is Republican program and no one wants to eliminate it but yours truly. The Republicans like it because it is a Republican plan & the Democrats like it because it is pure socialism.)

You see the trend here? Pass a bill and every few years it gets expanded.

The problem with Obamacare is not what it is, but what it will be in 10 years after it is “fixed”.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
8:39 am

Donna P.

February 26th, 2011
8:10 am

Free health care is a fatal flaw to any program or plan. People must have some skin in the game so to speak are it can never work, no the program or plan.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
8:48 am

jconservative

February 26th, 2011
8:36 am

Which is one of the reasons I’ve advocated for individual health savings accounts that can only be used to pay for health care. Coupled with the ability to create Healthcare Co-OP. This will take the money and onus out from under government control, leaving government, federal and state, with their rightful roles of oversight to fulfill and nothing else.

So healthcare it can be affordable, portable and best of all the individual has ownership and control.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
8:58 am

For Judge Napolitano, I hold a great deal of respect. However, Libertarians have only a few parts of the solution and laissez-faire is not one of them. Corporate manipulations in the marketplace are as evil as any Government interventions. There is a balance between these two titans that must be present in our Constitutionally prescribed “Regulated Capitalist Market”.

Sean Smith

February 26th, 2011
9:06 am

To all you people whining about not wanting to pay other peoples health insurance how christian of you. As a gay man with no children I really don’t want to pay to educate your sniveling obnoxious children but have no choice through property taxes (One of those government mandates). However we as a society have decided to better our country, we will collectively pay for Police protection, Fire Protection and Education. So why not collectively pay for health care. The real problem is that we are not requiring the aristocracy in this country to pay their fare share. Its more important for the Paris Hilton crowd to have more millions than it is for the rest of us to have health care.

retired early

February 26th, 2011
9:20 am

Mr liberty

What you propose reminds me of my son’s birth in 1973. Since we had no insurance, like most young people back then ; We had a pre pay plan with our Doctor, paying $1100 prior to his birth…this included the hospital expense, which our Dr separately contracted with them.
Now, we seldom look at a hospital bill since it is being paid by a “third party”…the insurance company. Medical cost have exceeded the rate of inflation for that one reason, more than any other…nobody challenges their medical bills…and the Dr’s know this. We are not paying the bill…the insurance company is….A recipe for abuse.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
9:22 am

The word “collective” has different meanings when it is applied to a government or a corporation or to a group of individuals. For the record we as a society already pay for other people’s healthcare in various forms and by means. You can forget the socialized medicine of Socialism no matter how this thing eventually ends, you’ll not get it.

Everybody will have to personally pay something to have healthcare and hopefully without the state using its police powers to provide mandated taxpayer assistance.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
9:35 am

retired early

February 26th, 2011
9:20 am

What if you were the insurance company or a owner/member of a mutual healthcare insurance Co Op company that paid the bills, would it then make a difference in how doctors and hospitals received payment and how much they could reasonably charge?

I seriously doubt that you or I would “rubber stamp” questionable charges or any costs that appear unreasonably out of line.

Personal ownership tends to make us get involved even when we don’t want to be responsible.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
9:44 am

Heads up Georgia Legislators: Where are you?

Montana could join health care compact as Obamacare alternative
Posted on February 25, 2011

By MICHAEL NOYES

HELENA – The state House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would authorize a health care compact seen as an alternative to Obamacare in that it would take health care out of the hands of the federal government and give it to the states.

House Bill 526, sponsored by Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, pictured at left, now heads to the Senate for action after a 62-36 vote in the House.

An official with the Health Care Compact Alliance said the action is an important step.

“The Health Care Compact gives the health care decision-making power back to the people instead of the bureaucrats in Washington. It allows greater citizen influence, more competition, and more options for health care for millions of Americans,” Eric O’Keefe, chairman of the Health Care Compact Alliance, said in a media release on Thursday. “This important legislation will provide the citizens of Montana with greater control over their government and, ultimately, over their health care.”

A spokesman for the Democratic Party in Montana referred a request for comment to Jackie Boyle, a policy adviser for the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.

Boyle said she doesn’t disagree with the concept of introducing more competition into the market, but said she thinks the national exchange outlined in the recently passed national health care legislation is the way to accomplish that.

“We’re really focusing all of our efforts on the health insurance exchange,” Boyle said. “That’s going to do exactly what (they) are trying to do on this interstate compact. It’s going to make it where consumers can shop for policies and compare policies.”

Edmunds could not be reached for immediate comment.

http://watchdog.org/8387/montana-could-join-health-care-compact-as-obamacare-alternative/

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
9:55 am

What do the Wisconsin Democrats and George Jones have in common?

Both fail to show up when it is time to preform.

Will Georgia’s Republicans be “No Shows” on the healthcare issue, Kyle?

Did they too, all get out of town?

Where is our State Representation?

David

February 26th, 2011
9:56 am

Obamacare is not a word people.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
9:58 am

David

February 26th, 2011
9:56 am

It is if people choose to make it one.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
10:08 am

Vermont, Obamacare and the single-payer health care plan

Vermont has a history of going rogue, to use the popular parlance of the day. When it comes to health care, the Green Mountain State is also heading off the beaten path. As states like Florida, Virginia, Texas and 24 others, according to a list compiled by The Foundry, a conservative blog put out by The Heritage Foundation, are suing to challenge Obamacare on constitutional grounds, Vermont may be gearing up to ask for an exemption as well. Vermont, however, wants an exemption based on the fact that their own proposed single-payer health care system does everything that Obamacare does, and then some.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ac/20110223/tr_ac/7925366_vermont_obamacare_and_the_singlepayer_health_care_plan

While I don’t want single-payer healthcare, I do want independence from the Nationalized Healthcare imposed by the Federal Government. I love it when the States resume their rightful Constitutional roles of governance.

LET’S GO ROGUE GEORGIA !

Bushcare

February 26th, 2011
10:13 am

Yeah, “Bushcare” worked so well for America. The truth is, President Obama could find a cure for Cancer and Republicans and Tea Partyers would claim it would raise the deficit and kill jobs.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
10:20 am

GOP Governors Seem Too Eager To Set Up ObamaCare Exchanges

By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON

The governors also don’t demand that Obama-Care’s individual mandate be scrapped. This is all the more striking because 18 of the 21 are from states that signed onto the lawsuit — recently victorious at the federal district court level — claiming that the individual mandate runs afoul of the Constitution. Why would these governors be willing to implement legislation they think is unconstitutional?

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/562613/201102091827/GOP-Governors-Seem-Too-Eager-To-Set-Up-ObamaCare-Exchanges.aspx

Perhaps these Governor’s have read the Constitution and just happen to know that State governments have powers reserved exclusively to them that the Federal Government does not have and was never meant to have under the Constitution?

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
10:28 am

Bushcare

February 26th, 2011
10:13 am

That liberal Bush never did anything for health care. He only made matters worse by enacting a BIG GUB’MENT drug plan that does more for BIG PHARMA than people in need of drugs at lower costs. Thanks to the Democrats defeating the Dorgan amendment offered by a Democrat in the Senate that would have gutted BushCare this atrocity remains intact.

Down with ObamaCare, down with the Bush drug plan. Up with the re-importation of drugs and bulk purchasing of pharmaceuticals re-sold to the public for much lower prices than BIG PHARMA would like.

Michael H. Smith

February 26th, 2011
10:44 am

Perhaps these Governor’s have read the Constitution and just happen to know that State governments have powers reserved exclusively to them that the Federal Government does not have and was never meant to have under the Constitution?

To carry this line of thinking to the very level that James Madison used in the Federalist Papers 41 and 45. If everything of governance is or can be Federalized, Nationalized, then what need would exist to have any States or State governments?

Obvious answer: Absolutely none!

J Reb

February 26th, 2011
10:44 am

More government take over is going to bring dire consequenses. Doesn’t
Hussein Obama realize that – or is that what he wants? VOTE HIM OUT. ANOTHER ONE TERM LOSER LIKE CARTER.

J Reb

February 26th, 2011
10:49 am

David. “Obamacare is not a word people.”

_____________________

Obamacare is very much a word. Not in your liberal Democratic Party dictionary perhaps but it is a word. This isn’t France (yet) and words do not have to go through Congress to be used.

Cutty

February 26th, 2011
11:18 am

J Reb- It’s not in Merriam-Webster’s so I don’t believe its a word. But of course you repugnants don’t like facts much.

Sam

February 26th, 2011
11:29 am

Sean Smith advocates forcefully taking that celebrity blonde’s money from her possession. Would it feel the same about Marylin’s loot? Or even Liza’s or Judie’s?

I knew homosexuals like a-holes, didn’t realize they were a-holes.

Edward

February 26th, 2011
11:30 am

As soon as you utter words like “obamacare” and make disparaging names for people you don’t like (such as liberals or Democrats or the POTUS), your opinion becomes worthless, no more reasoned than that of an elementary school playground bully, of which you’re emulating. If you speak like and adult and offer adult-like opinions, perhaps you could be taken more seriously.

Edward

February 26th, 2011
11:32 am

Thank you, Sam, for confirming yourself as one to be ignored. Your opinion is worthless. Let the adults continue this conversation without being interrupted by your childish rants.

DLink

February 26th, 2011
12:24 pm

Let’s just QUIT calling this thing Obamacare, and start calling it “taking care of one another.” If you’re in a burning car and I can pull you out to prevent your death, I’ll do that. If your house is on fire, I won’t sit on the curb holding my hand out for some money to turn the water on.

American Healthcare. I’ll pay for that. Hows about we take care of our own before donating billions overseas, hmmm? Capitalism shouldn’t get people killed. When it does, it’s broken.

Schrodinger's cat

February 26th, 2011
12:24 pm

Ed are you going to add meaningful thought to the conversation or just disparage those you disagree with?…very adult btw

Insurance agent

February 26th, 2011
12:53 pm

MrLiberty is right on several points. One thing that amazes me is how detached people are from what health insurance is really supposed to be about. It should be about protecting people in the event of unforeseen, catastrophic illnesses and accidents.

Yet people expect insur companies to pay for things such as routine doc visits. Why do people expect insurance to pay for routine, expected care?

You don’t expect your car insurance to pay for new tires, oil changes, etc. If the insurance co. is paying for routine stuff is there really any incentive for the consumer to shop for medical svcs to keep costs down. As an example if you get an MRI at a hospital it’ll cost $2000-$2500. If you shop and call around you can get the same procedure for $300-$500. But if the insurance is paying does a consumer really care?

Mr. Liberty is correct in stating that the insur co then becomes the custr since they are paying and not the patient who thinks “no need to look at the bill- the insurance is paying it”. He has no stake in it.

If we went back to the way insurance used to be where the consumer pays a doc outta pocket and the insurance covers the more expensive procedures such as surgeries and catastrophic events such as cancer treatment we would all be far better off.

And if people would shop for services the same way they shop for who has the best deals on flat screen tvs they would find they could save a substantial amount of money.

Insurance agent

February 26th, 2011
1:14 pm

“Something must be done to curb the greed of insurance companies so that people can receive affordable healthcare.”- lynnie gal @ 7:15

Lynnie gal,

On Medicare business the health insurance companies net profit margins are 2-3%. The average company’s profit margins tend to be 20-25%. As an example Coke’s profit margin last year I think was 28%. If you think 2-3% net profit margin is “greedy” then I just don’t know what to say.

United healthcare is the largest health insurer in the country insuring 77 million people or nearly 1 in 4 Americans. If you divide their net profits last year by the number of people they insure you will see that they averaged a net profit per insured of only $54 per year or basically $1.04 per week. So when someone writes a check for their health insurance premium per month of $4-$5 the net profit that United was making off that customer was equivalent to or less than a moccha at Starbucks or a big mac combo at McDonalds.

A lot of people have this mistaken notion that the insurance companies are making outrageous profits. The facts are otherwise.

The Original Get Real

February 26th, 2011
1:25 pm

Obamacare is a word, it became a word as soon as the totally partisan democratic bill was slammed through both houese of Congress and then signed by our community organizer in chief