One Reason The Affordable Care Act Is Here To Stay

Apparently 205,000+ Wisconsinites signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the recent open enrollment period…about 70,000 more enrollees than last year. The article about the increase in enrollment HERE!

But what leads me to believe the ACA is here to stay? Well, because the insurance companies like it:

Several insurers also were pleased with the growth in the market.

“We hit our enrollment targets — exactly where we wanted to be — so it’s looking good,” said Melissa Duffy, chief strategy officer of Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, one of the companies selling health plans on the marketplace in Wisconsin.

Common Ground hoped that 30,000 to 40,000 people would get coverage through its two health plans on the marketplace, and enrollment is in that range, Duffy said.

About 24,000 to 25,000 people were enrolled in its plans last year.

“We retained quite a bit of our membership, so we were quite pleased with that,” Duffy said.

Common Ground — a nonprofit health insurer started with federal loans available through the Affordable Care Act — still is working on improving its back-office operations.

“We have a ways to go before we feel good about it,” Duffy said.

Statewide enrollment was in line with Security Health Plan’s projections, said Marty Anderson, director of consumer marketing for the health insurance company.

About 85% of the people covered by the company’s health plans sold to individuals and families bought their plans through the marketplace, Anderson said. Most of those people qualified for the federal subsidies available to people who are not offered affordable health benefits through an employer and who have household incomes below a certain threshold.

Security Health, an affiliate of Marshfield Clinic, has seen the market for health plans sold to individuals and families increase by about 20% since the launch of the federal marketplaces, Anderson said.

The GOP can rant and rave in the halls of Congress and under the dome in Madison…they can safely vote to repeal it knowing the vote will result in no change. But if it actually looked like they were moving in that direction…I think the big health insurers would threaten to snap their coin purses shut in a hurry…and the resounding echo would bring the GOP to their senses. The insurers aren’t going to willingly give up the millions of new customers that were dropped on their doorstep. And the hospitals and clinics will very likely line up right behind them.


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6 thoughts on “One Reason The Affordable Care Act Is Here To Stay

  1. It’s not the halls of Congress or the dome in Madison anymore, it’s the chambers of the Supreme Court, and it’s frighteningly close to being destroyed.
    And the Republicans don’t have an alternative, and they don’t want one.

  2. Ed, thanks.

    Here’s what I’d like to see the ACA evolve into.

    Everyone gets a ‘medical/dental debit card’ with perhaps $5000 in it to be used for qualifying medical expenses for the year.
    Expenses beyond that are covered by catastrophic insurance.
    At the end of the year, the debit card holder gets a check for the unused balance on the card, up to $4,000, with the $1,000 to be spent on preventative measures not refundable.
    The next year, the cards are renewed for an additional $5,000.
    Doctor/patient time doubled as doctor/insurance company time is eliminated.
    The doctor must discuss the diagnosis and options regarding drugs, treatments, and costs with the patient rather than an insurance company.
    Individuals have a strong incentive to keep costs down.
    Doubling the time doctors have available for patients increases capacity and service without increasing real costs.
    Total nominal cost of approx. $1.5 trillion ($5,000×300 million people) is about 10% of GDP which is less than being spent today, so even when catastrophic costs are added the numbers are not financially disruptive and can easily be modified.
    Eliminates medical costs from businesses, removing price distortions and medical legacy costs.
    May obviate the need for Medicare and other current programs.
    Eliminates issues regarding receivables and bad debt for hospitals and doctors.
    Eliminates the majority of administrative costs for the nation as a whole for the current system.
    Patients can ‘shop’ for medical services and prices as desired.
    Disadvantages: Those more in need of the rebate at the end of the year may elect to forgo treatment beyond the $1,500 not subject to the rebate.
    Doctors may be able to more easily convince patients of unneeded treatments and expensive drugs vs insurance companies.

  3. “…..the insurance companies like it.”

    Exactly! But then Ed, as you say, why do they continue to fund and thereby encourage the conservative crazies? The answer is simple; it is greed, not humanity they serve. To use an old adage, “they are playing both sides against the middle.” Remember this is the same commercial crowd that could find that a chronic ingrown toenail, not disclosed, was a precondition for cancer elsewhere and thereby cause for denial of a claim.

    Single payer would have been better, but that may not have been able to pass Congress at the time.

    No, the insurance companies have not changed their stripes. As long as they can make a buck, they will play by the ACA rules.

  4. Good article on how DINO Senator Joe Lieberman (CT) torpedoed the “public option,” that was supposed to be in the ACA. “Elimination of ‘public option’ threw consumers to the insurance wolves
    Commentary: big firms and their campaign cash found a friend in Joe Lieberman”

    The “public option,” would have allowed any U.S. citizen to buy Medicare coverage. That would have provided real competition of the for-profit health insurance oligopoly, which is what they really feared. It would have meant they would have had to offer decent coverage in return for fleecing their customers.

  5. Tha ACA is better than Universal Health Care because there is affordability and cost savings, but also because profit hasn’t been eliminated. Real competition has been created and that will lead to sustaining American preeminence in medicine as well as controlling cost.

    While Insurers are able to sign up many new customers now, competition for customers will soon get difficult. Insurers who are able to lower healthcare costs by watching how healthcare providers provide will be able to succeed by insisting on best practices. In Universal Health Insurance, the government must oversee and we have witnessed how well that works in the financial and food industries.

    1. Cat,

      Follow the money. Take a look at the stock prices of the five for-profit health insurance companies.

      They’re in nose bleed territory they’re rising so quickly. Their profits are locked in and they can lay off sales people. The IRS is now their sales force.

      Where’s the competition? If there’s competition there’s supposed to be “winners,” and “losers.” All five are “winning.”

      Health care providers are physicians, hospitals, nurses, allied health professionals, Big Pharma, and medical device makers. They actually provide service to patients. The money should be going to them, because they really do compete. That’s the advantage of Mosler’s single-payer plan. They’ll innovate and that will drive DOWN the cost of health care at the same time it encourages more preventative medicine.

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