Consumer Protection Whac-A-Mole With the Private Insurance Companies
While the Affordable Care Act banned some of worst practices of the private insurance companies, it didn’t stop these companies from finding new ways to screw you over.
Jeffery Young at the Huffington Post has a nice article looking at some of the new tactics they are now employing. For example instead of refusing to take patients with certain medical conditions, they can just design their drug plans and provider networks to make it prohibitive for these patients to use their plans.
This highlights another fundamental flaw with the health insurance law. Faced with an industry that has a history of horrible behavior the law didn’t use a blunt hammer to force them to behave. It didn’t completely replace them with single payer. It didn’t force them all to only sell the exact same policy completely designed by the government, like some systems. It didn’t even create a public option so regular people could at least actively avoid them.
Instead the law is just playing a game of consumer protection Whac-A-Mole. It banned some practices but left space for the insurance companies to come up with new schemes to screw people over. While the article points out the government is looking at ways to try to whack some these new moles, unfortunately, the industry has a big upper hand in this game.
With many state governments hostile to the law, Congress in a state of crippling gridlock, and a revolving door for regulators it is very unlikely the government will ever be particularly quick to respond to each new insurance gimmick that pops up.
Photo by TPapi under Creative Commons license