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posted: 11/21/2013 10:20 AM
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Health care law reins in the insurers

The Affordable Care Act solved three huge problems that people of all economic levels encountered. It does away with "pre-existing conditions." It does away with "lifetime policy limits." It gives all individuals access to "mental health coverage."

Prior to the ACA, the insurance industry came up with these three ingenious exclusions to allow them to make more money. They wrote policies for healthy people and then would raise their rates at renewal causing the healthy people to look for new coverage at a lower price. They would fill out a new application and get a better rate because they were healthy.

This caused only the sick people to stay with their old company, and each year their premiums would go up and up until they couldn't afford to keep their insurance. Those people then would not go to their doctor or get their medicine because they didn't have insurance. They would became sicker and sicker until they would get so sick that they had to go to emergency room (the most expensive point of care).

The individual states are charged with regulating the insurance industry. If they had done their job and prevented all of these exclusions, we wouldn't be arguing about a "website response time." Insurance was originally meant to be about the "law of large numbers" where you covered a lot of people and the policy was there to cover you when you needed it. The goal was never to make the CEO wealthier than they needed to be.

Jack Halpin

Arlington Heights

Obama has never worked with GOP

President Obama is the master of playing politics. At the end of your Nov. 17 editorial article you state that politicians should work across the aisle.

Obama has never worked with Republicans, and my observation is that he never will. The health care problem could have had some fixes without the government trying to run health care.

Media, Daily Herald included, keep saying the Republicans had no ideas. This was not true but truth did not fit liberals' agenda.

Bob Grens


Health care changes driven by politics?

The presidential favoritism merry-go-round keeps on turning Obamacare waiver favors for "friends of the President." This time it is the $63 fee per head.

About 20 million union members and their families with self-administered Taft-Hartley plans may not have to pay the per participant head tax. For union members with a family of four, they could save $252 in health costs in 2014.

The Affordable Care Act requires that a reinsurance fund be developed to protect insurance companies if their actual costs to provide insurance turn out to be more than expected. The legislation specified that $12 billion be set aside in 2014 along with $8 billion and $5 billion in the next couple years.

Earlier this year Health and Human Services issued regulations saying the cost will be charged on a per head basis. For 2014 HHS determined the per-head fee would be $63 for every American with a private health plan.

While this tax by statute is supposed to be universal, Administration officials previewed a regulation this month in the Federal Register indicating the fee would be waived for self-insured (Taft-Hartley) plans. The AFL-CIO along with the Teamsters helped lobby for ACA.

As a quid pro quo following months of lobbying from those same union organizations the administration has arranged for a carve-out as a favor for their support. By the way, everyone else will have to pay more the following year to cover the nut of the reinsurance pool going forward.

What new executive order or administration regulation will rewrite the provisions of the Affordable Care Act next month and into the future? Will the changes be driven by political favor or sound health care and insurance industry practices?

Somebody stop the Obamacare merry-go-round, I'm getting dizzy and noxious.

Mike Tennis

Sleepy Hollow

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