Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Well, Duh

[Note: I not only overslept this morning, which is a rarity, my dial-up is borked and will remain borked until AT&T gets the phone lines in our area cleaned up. In all likelihood, posting will be later in the morning the rest of the week.]

The House of Representatives is about to open a challenge to Obamacare. Republican leaders will introduce a bill to repeal the bill in its entirety, as they promised. A full repeal, of course, hasn't a chance. The Democrats still hold the Senate and the President still has a veto pen, but the Republicans didn't want to pass up a chance at a little theater for the benefit of folks back home.

Not to be outdone, the Administration offered its own entry into the games.

As many as 129 million Americans under age 65 have medical problems that are red flags for health insurers, according to an analysis that marks the government's first attempt to quantify the number of people at risk of being rejected by insurance companies or paying more for coverage. ...

The study found that one-fifth to one-half of non-elderly people in the United States have ailments that trigger rejection or higher prices in the individual insurance market. They range from cancer to chronic illnesses such as heart disease, asthma and high blood pressure.

Well, duh.

The study, which was issued shortly before the debate in the House, certainly didn't provide anything new. Most people are aware that people from 55 to 64 to have health problems of one sort another. That awareness becomes most acute when individuals with any chronic condition try to get an individual policy and are either rejected by an insurance company or face huge monthly premiums. The new healthcare law tried to remedy both by requiring that insurance companies not deny coverage for preexisting conditions and not charge individuals more for such a policy. Unfortunately, that provision doesn't take effect until 2014 for all but children.

Republicans and insurance companies immediately cried foul at the release of the study, claiming that the timing of the release was a clear political ploy to offset the move to repeal the underlying bill. Both parties accused the president of playing politics.

Republicans immediately disparaged the analysis as "public relations." An insurance industry spokesman acknowledged that sick people can have trouble buying insurance on their own but said the analysis overstates the problem.

Well, duh.

So, after the House passes the bill to repeal Obamacare, and the Senate throws it out, the House will move on to the next step: dismantling the bill, piece by piece, starting with the individual mandate requiring every American to buy health insurance. That will make the Republican's Tea Party backers happy. Of course, it will not make insurance companies happy as they lose a huge chunk of guaranteed business, much of it from younger people without chronic health problems who won't cost the insurer much, if anything.

In any event, this little tempest in a teapot will take up a lot of time, energy, oxygen, and electrons.

Meanwhile, the really important issues, like joblessness, won't get addressed.

Well, duh.

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