Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Insurance Rate Hikes

WellPoint CEO defends rate hikes as pressure grows

Just chose a recent headline for the above -- but when I saw this sort of stuff occurring just around the time Obama is making his second push for health reform I started wondering.

This is exactly what health reformers should be blazing all over their ads -- along with anecdotal stories about the middle class getting squeezed out of health care.  Don't insurers know that?

And of course they do.  Now, there's no shortage of stupidity running the world, so that's the mostly likely answer.

But a sharp, long-sighted insurance Overlord might realize that health care reform either occurs now -- or it occurs later after the problems have become catastrophic -- since premium increases drive more people out of the insurance pool, pushing them to rely more on the ER, making hospitals shift more of the overage burden to paying customers, driving premiums up further, and thus pushing yet more people out of the insurance pool.

Along the line suddenly some European system polls extremely high and poof -- health insurance industry vanishes.

Obama's system retains the private insurance industry and dumps a lot more payers into it.  How it was in the 90s might be the best alternative -- but that's not possible.  So "helping" the Obama reforms go through rather than watch their business disappear in ten years might be an incentive to do media-attention-grabbing things now.

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