Tuesday, November 30, 2010
OBAMACARE IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL
Once again, Senator Jay Rockefeller is keeping the world safe for Marxism and government control of the free market. Even though consumers seem to want them, a congressional committee led by Rockefeller is widening its investigation of "mini-med" health-insurance policies to encompass potentially hundreds of plans offered by low-wage employers.
What started as a probe into McDonald's Corp.'s insurance plan for store workers is expanding into broad scrutiny of policies that could ensnare large mini-med carriers including Aetna and CIGNA.
Congressional investigators are taking a close look at the two carriers and culling insurance policy data on a range of large and small employers, a Senate aide said.
In a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, Senate Democrats plan to detail how restaurants, pet-store outlets and hair salons are offering workers health-insurance policies with low caps on annual benefit payouts that leave workers footing the bill for care, according to the Senate aide. Lawmakers also plan to press McDonald's top human-resources executive on the chain's mini-med plan that covers nearly 30,000 restaurant workers.
An estimated 1.4 million Americans are covered by mini-med plans.
New restrictions in the Marxist health overhaul passed in March are expected to effectively eliminate mini-med plans as of 2014, when low-wage workers will qualify for tax credits to help them buy insurance. But whether to really intrude into another area of the private sector and impose tougher regulations on such plans to raise annual benefit payouts, or force them to spend more money on medical care in the meantime, has become a thorny issue for the Socialist-leaning Obama administration.
In recent weeks, federal regulators have granted dozens of waivers to mini-med providers so they can keep the caps on annual payouts.
Also, the Obama administration said last week that mini-med plans could spend half as much as traditional carriers on medical care under health-law rules that take effect next year.
Democrats on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation are looking at whether mini-med plans should face tougher regulations.
Committee investigators are building a case that such coverage misleads consumers into thinking they have health insurance when such policies pay out as little as $1,000 a year for hospital visits and contain loopholes.
The insurance industry argues that tighter restrictions on such plans, such as raising the limit on annual benefit payouts, could force employers to drop them altogether.
"For many part-time, seasonal and temporary workers, these types of plans are their only source of affordable health-care coverage," said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's trade group.
The insurance industry does not hide the benefit limits on these plans, and has agreed to provide more information on the plan limits. Why then is Rockefeller so intent on his agenda?
Considering that most intelligent people perceive the real agenda behind health care "reform" to be the government takeover of the system in a bipartisan power grab, it makes sense that the administration would make moves to place more employees on the uninsured rolls, which would lead to more enrollees in the government plan.
And considering the number of Jay's relatives that infest the Council On Foreign Relations (see my post from last week), it is hard to belive that there is no ulterior motive with Rockefeller's agenda.
For the record, I work in the insurance industry and agree with some tweaks to the current process. One big one, coverage of preexisting conditions, should have been a done deal with the Clintons-not sure how that slipped through. Maybe Billy used that bill to clean himself off...oh never mind.