December 31st, 2010

Maine wants an exemption from provision of health care law

The state of Maine has requested that it be exempted from that portion of Obamacare, about to go into effect soon, which dictates that “insurers must devote at least 80 percent of the premiums they collect to medical claims or other activities that improve customers’ health – leaving no more than 20 percent for the insurer’s administrative costs or profits.”

Maine (and a host of other states who haven’t yet made the same formal request) is afraid that the provision would make it so difficult for insurers in the risky individual market to keep going financially that the companies will abandon that market. Thus, the request for the waiver.

Isn’t it odd how so many things that those mean old avaricious old greedy old insurance companies were doing were just good monetary policy, necessary for them to stay afloat? That individual insurance has become the last refuge of those who are more ill and use more health care resources than others, and that’s why it’s more expensive? That government high risk pools can only work out if everyone, especially the young and healthy, is forced to buy insurance to help the others?

In other words, that there is no free lunch. Fancy that.

Much better to ignore that fact, though, and pretend that mathematics has been suspended for the purpose of feeling a warm glow about how kind we are to the poor and sick, whether or not we’ve actually taken the trouble to think about the inherent problems involved in so doing. If we faced reality for a change, we might even be able to devise a better system, although it might end up involving less government involvement rather than more.

17 Responses to “Maine wants an exemption from provision of health care law”

  1. dustoffmom Says:

    I can’t help but smirk when reading this. Did not both of Maine’s ‘Republican’ Senators side with Obama and vote FOR this bill……assuring their greatly disgruntled constiuents that it was a good workable bill, and “improvement” for everyone? Oh, this news is rich indeed.

  2. neo-neocon Says:

    dustoffmom: no, they did not. They both voted against it, as did all Republicans. Unanimous Republican opposition in both chambers.

    I don’t have time to look it up right now, but my best recollection is that Snowe and Collins may not have voted for cloture, though, at the beginning, when it might have been stopped that way. It probably wouldn’t have been, however, because it was before the Scott Brown election, and they probably wouldn’t have had 40 votes even with Snowe and Collins. As I said, though, I’m doing this from memory right now.

  3. Baklava Says:

    I believe you are right Neo. That’s what I remember.

  4. Deeka Says:

    Snowe and Collins voted for the bill to go to the floor out of committee. Without their support, Obamacare never sees the light of day. They are guilty.

  5. neo-neocon Says:

    Deeka: but were their votes necessary to get it out of committee? Apparently not.

    And although I wrote “their,” it was only Snowe, as far as I can see. Collins was not on the committee.

  6. dustoffmom Says:

    Well then my memory is indeed failing…….and I stand corrected. LOL

  7. Gringo Says:

    As Maine goes, so goes the country….

    [Ignoring of course the crack after the 1936 election : As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.]

    It did not escape my notice that a lot of unions got exceptions.

  8. Occam's Beard Says:

    I hope to live long enough to see the day when liberals finally grasp that The Law of Unintended Consequences counsels caution in making sweeping changes.

    Yet no matter how many times that law raps them across the knuckles, they seem never to learn, and exercise prudence. Remarkable, really.

  9. LAG Says:

    You hit it, neo. TANSTAAFL.

    Happy New Year!

  10. Kurt Says:

    Excellent observation, Occam’s Beard. Happy New Year everyone!

  11. blert Says:

    Maine is pointing to the wrong problem with the 80% rule.

    Now that Obama has ADDED additional complexity it is impossible for private industry to trim their overhead to just 20% of the revenue stream.

    Similar folly occurs WRT trimming the doctors paychecks.

    Obamacare simply INSISTS that the free market requote to make the politicians happy.

    Like a Blue Light Special, the medical/insurance sector is expected to simply roll back prices out to suit a Centrally Planning Congress/Executive.

    To give you an idea as to how far away 20% is… most insurance burns 33% of premiums with servicing overhead — and normal claims paperwork is not chocked with Federal complications.

    Obamacare demands of private industry performance ratios that the Federal Government never meets, itself.

  12. waltj Says:

    Obamacare demands of private industry performance ratios that the Federal Government never meets, itself.

    Of course. Do as I say, not as I do. Any surprise here? Not to me.

    Occam’s observation about unintended consequences could be taken to apply to Congress generally, and not only the liberal wing. Although libs are the most likely to try to solve problems through legislation, they’re not alone. Unfortunately, the complex problems of modern society may not be amenable to solution through legislation that is simplistic, poorly crafted or worded, inappropriate to the problem, or tries to do too much, or, in the case of ObamaCare, most of the above (maybe not simplistic). Cries of “there oughta be a law!” don’t always merit a legislative response, and sometimes the best course of action for Congress is to do nothing. But that can be a tough sell.

  13. IgotBupkis Says:

    > pretend that mathematics has been suspended for the purpose of feeling a warm glow about how kind we are to the poor and sick, whether or not we’ve actually taken the trouble to think about the inherent problems involved in so doing.

    The problem with this notion, as it is with all socialism, lies in a concept called The Tragedy of the Commons

    When everyone owns everything, no one has a vested interest in using it properly and effectively, just in getting the most use out of it compared to their peers.

  14. Tom Says:

    The WAPO story is not about the law so much as it is about the rule by bureaucracy. And that’s what’s gonna kill us, the death of a thousand cuts. Not the hateful, repellant Sibelius (governed Kansas; go figure) but the thousands of faceless tenured who oppress us all with their implacable durability and no channel for appeal.

  15. helvetica Says:

    Yeah WTF is up with Sebelius being from Kansas? Wasn’t that state the subject of “What’s the matter with Kansas” etc ad nauseum? And WTF is up with Janet Napolitano being from Arizona?

    Quit dumping all your crazy governors on us!!!! Although I can’t say I blame them.

  16. Elizabeth Crain Says:

    Kansans consider Sebelius a carpetbagger. She’s not from there; some relative of hers was.

  17. Aurora Erratic Says:

    No, MAINE does not. Maine’s GOVERNOR does; however 61% of us voted for much more liberal candidates than Lepage. Sadly, there were 2 of them who split the vote, so he’s who we’ve got. But in a very real sense, his opinions do not represent the majority of Maine people.

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