The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) will probably create a lot of dumb, annoying rules and programs, and some of them will be horrible for you personally.
If you hate PPACA, or parts of PPACA, then you should use whatever legal means are at your disposal — campaigning for candidates for elective office, donating to political action committees, sending comment letters to lawmakers and regulators, filing lawsuits, posting on message boards, etc. etc. — to fight PPACA.
But I really think that one part of PPACA that agents, brokers and others in the industry should support is the Navigator program, even though the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is going out of its way to make the Navigator program as annoying as possible, and even if the program stays annoying.
Sure, producers, regulators and others should fight to protect the idea that Navigators ought to show that they have the expertise to help people understand and shop for health insurance — but they ought to fight equally hard for the principle that someone ought to help poor people and sick people understand and use whatever health insurance programs, free care programs or related programs are out there
Some of LifeHealthPro’s dearest readers believe that government should have no role in paying for peacetime health care provided outside of disaster zones and zones affected by epidemics. I would love to give those folks a chance to test their ideas on a group of U.S. residents structured in a way that would avoid antiselection. If, say, we could put all U.S. residents and providers born on the first of a month in a “pure free-market health finance zone,” and somehow put 3% of all medical facilities in the zone, I think that would be a great experiment.
Turning a state into a free-market zone is more difficult, because of antiselection problems, but it looks as if some states will be doing what they can to turn themselves into free-market zones.
But, even in those zones: It seems as if making a neighborly effort to connect suffering families with providers who are willing to help them would be a nice thing to do.
In the Rube Goldberg health care maze that we actually have: It seems really mean to send people among us who are least equipped to cope with bureaucracy and paperwork out alone to do what they can to get to the top of Mount Health Care Assistance.
CNN, for example, just ran a story about a Florida woman, Leslie Elder, who recently died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She originally had private coverage but lost it when she began to get conditions such as cancer. CNN has been covering the woman’s efforts to qualify for Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for 4 years.
Elder and her husband reportedly had no idea that PPACA had created the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) program to provide standard-price coverage for uninsurable people just like her.