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Democrats Try To Sell “Improvements” To Senate Bill

by Daryl Marquardt (flickr)

by Daryl Marquardt (flickr)

The Senate Democrats had a conference call with reporters to extol all the great “improvements” they have made to the bill. They listed three improvements they wanted to talk about:

The manager’s amendment to the bill, introduced yesterday, strengthens key reforms that benefit consumers like the medical loss ratio, patient’s bill of rights protections, and non-profit insurance options overseen by the Office of Personnel Management.

The first improvement is good idea, but very weak. It also leaves a loophole you can drive a truck through on the issue of medical loss ratio. In the second “improvement,” I believe they were referring to the closing the ban on annual limit loophole that Harry Reid put in the merged bill. This provision was a top Obama promise all year, so fixing their mess (which they clearly lied about) is not something they should pat themselves on the back for. Finally, the non-profit insurance option overseen by the Office of Personnel Management is not likely to work. That is not my determination, it is the determination of the CBO:

The proposal would call on OPM to contract for two national or multi-state health insurance plans—one of which would have to be nonprofit—that would be offered through the insurance exchanges. Whether insurers would be interested in offering such plans is unclear, and establishing a nationwide plan comprising only nonprofit insurers might be particularly difficult. Even if such plans were arranged, the insurers offering them would probably have participated in the insurance exchanges anyway, so the inclusion of this provision did not have a significant effect on the estimates of federal costs or enrollment in the exchanges.

One good but weak idea with a serious loophole; one broken promise fixed only after Reid was caught selling out the Americans most in need; and one poorly thought out idea which is unlikely to work. If these are the three best “improvements” in the whole 383 page manager’s amendment that the Democratic leadership wants to promote, that should tell you something very important.

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Democrats Try To Sell “Improvements” To Senate Bill

The Senate Democrats had a conference call with reporters to extol all the great “improvements” they have made to the bill. They listed three improvements they wanted to talk about:

The manager’s amendment to the bill, introduced yesterday, strengthens key reforms that benefit consumers like the medical loss ratio, patient’s bill of rights protections, and non-profit insurance options overseen by the Office of Personnel Management.

The first improvement is good idea, but very weak. It also leaves a loophole you can drive a truck through on the issue of medical loss ratio. In the second “improvement,” I believe they were referring to the closing the ban on annual limit loophole that Harry Reid put in the merged bill. This provision was a top Obama promise all year, so fixing their mess (which they clearly lied about) is not something they should pat themselves on the back for. Finally, the non-profit insurance option overseen by the Office of Personnel Management is not likely to work. That is not my determination, it is the determination of the CBO.

The proposal would call on OPM to contract for two national or multi-state health insurance plans—one of which would have to be nonprofit—that would be offered through the insurance exchanges. Whether insurers would be interested in offering such plans is unclear, and establishing a nationwide plan comprising only nonprofit insurers might be particularly difficult. Even if such plans were arranged, the insurers offering them would probably have participated in the insurance exchanges anyway, so the inclusion of this provision did not have a significant effect on the estimates of federal costs or enrollment in the exchanges.

One good but weak idea with a serious loophole; one broken promise fixed only after Reid was caught selling out the Americans most in need; and one poorly thought out idea which is unlikely to work. If these are the three best “improvements” in the whole 383 page manager’s amendment that the Democratic leadership wants to promote, that should tell you something very important.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com