Republicans are in the pockets of big business. Whether it’s banks, oil, or insurance companies, Republicans put business interests before their human constituents time and time again.
Idaho’s Republican governor, Butch Otter, just proved that beyond a doubt. In a move that will be a huge boon to insurance companies should it succeed, Otter signed an executive order that’s intended to sabotage ObamaCare directly. The order will make it so that insurance companies no longer have to offer important benefits as part of basic healthcare plans. The Affordable Care Act forces insurance companies to follow certain rules that are great for the American public, but cut into profits.
Should the executive order succeed, plans will no longer have to cover things like preexisting conditions, mental healthcare, maternity care, or preventative care. It would return the local insurance market to the pre-ObamaCare mess that it was, with constantly rising premiums for health insurance plans that cover very little. Meanwhile, insurance companies will reap the profits and wealthy executives will make more money than ever.
The good news is that the order is likely illegal, despite insurance companies saying they’re on board with it. Butch Otter justifies it through faulty logic, saying that since Congress repealed the individual mandate, which penalized consumers who do not have insurance, consumers no longer have to pay for plans with essential benefits. However, the market itself, and the insurance companies, are still bound by federal law. The repeal of the individual mandate changes nothing about the requirements of healthcare plans under the law.
Proponents say the order will “broaden options” for Idahoans, but in reality the “broader options” are not worth a cent. Healthcare plans without essential benefits are just insurance companies preying on the public. It’s a scam. Republicans are allowing insurance companies to scam Idahoans for profit and calling it “choice.” The only entities truly being offered “more choice” are the insurance companies.
Consumers will have the ability to remain on ACA plans, but let’s be real here – offered a cheaper alternative, most people will take it. They’re not as familiar with the extremely complex healthcare industry as the insurance companies out to scam them are, and by the time they realized they’ve been scammed, it will be too late. Republicans, as usual, are against their own interests.
‘Idaho is the first state in the nation to take this approach to health care. Sources say the new plans could be available within months.
‘”We simply see our proposal as adding options and choice to simulate cost competitiveness,” Otter said.
‘State-regulated plans would include similar essential health benefits as ACA plans with some exceptions. State plans can include maternity services but will make maternity care a separate rider.
‘”A top-down, one-size-fits-all approach never works,” Little said. “Health care is much different in New Plymouth than it is in New York, and is true even closer to home with differences from Kuna to Kamiah. Allowing Idahoans greater and more affordable options for themselves and their families is the right thing to do.”‘
The need for basic rules about coverage is, in fact, the same everywhere. The need for essential health benefits is the same in New Plymouth as it is in New York. “Simulate” is indeed the operative word in the above quote – the cost will not be truly competitive, as core benefits will be cast to the wayside in the name of profit. In case you didn’t click the above video, here are the 10 benefits Idaho Republicans don’t think are basic enough to require as a part of every plan:
Featured image via Alex Wong/Getty Images