Ever notice that whenever Kathleen Sebelius heads to Capitol Hill, everything else we should be paying attention to gets lost in the noise? Or maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, other stuff happened last week.
There were a couple of more PPACA delays (or extensions) that didn’t get nearly as much press as all the others, adding further weight to my theory that if it’s too complicated or takes more than a line or two to explain, the media won’t give you the time of day. Case in point: the administration quietly announced a month-long extension of PPACA’s high-risk insurance pool, originally slated to shut down at the end of the year. No word on how much more that’ll cost, but no one cares, because leading with a high-risk insurance pool is like shouting “Underwriter” at a cocktail party. Crickets.
And the other? Carriers have to give new enrollees until Dec. 31 to actually pay for their new coverage. Hell, this story didn’t even get much love in our own industry. I’m not sure whether it's delay fatigue or if brokers are simply moving on.
Did you hear the latest on DNA testing? Well, up-and-comer 23andMe earned themselves a “cease and desist” from the FDA. Apparently people aren’t ready to look at their own DNA results. On one hand we should probably be grateful employers and carriers won’t have access to our DNA, either. But on the other, we’ll never get anywhere on the consumer-driven health care front if we continue to block every effort at transparency that comes along. And, frankly, I kinda resent the feds telling me what I can and can’t know about my own damn body.
Obviously, there’s a lot more to the story. Stay tuned.
And, finally, there’s Michigan. This week the legislature there passed a law making it the ninth state in the union mandating public and private insurance plans to segregate abortion coverage. If you’re a woman in any of these states, now you have to buy separate abortion coverage, whether as a standalone policy or a rider – and of course, said coverage has be bought before you get pregnant, even if said pregnancy stems from rape or incest.
Democrats jumped all over this, denouncing this so-called “rape insurance.” In fact, Michigan Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Wittmer took to the Senate floor to argue the law “tells women who are raped … that they should have thought ahead and bought special insurance for it.”
On the other side of the aisle, Republican State Rep. Nancy Jenkins defended the measure, saying “I don’t think elective abortion should be part of insurance.”
Either way, it’s odd in a state where 47 percent of the voters are against this kind of legislation (vs. 41 percent who favor it), that this would be able to become law. But, wait, it’s because of a citizen’s petition, which only had to secure 4 percent of the electorate’s support. And laws introduced in Michigan by petition aren’t subject to a governor’s veto (because that’s exactly what Republican Gov. Rick Snyder did the year before).
And rightfully so. It’s this kind of government overreach – even at the state level – that should send shudders down the spine of any honest Republican. It’s also disgustingly undemocratic in that it clearly defies the will of the people.