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August 05, 2010

Missouri, Obamacare and the Unknowable Impact of "Fill in the Blank"

Gee you'd think with thousands of pages of legislation, the Congress might have actually gotten around to defining "health care services".

You'd be dead wrong about that (see what I did there?)

No wonder Missourians rebelled, as with voters in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Virginia last year. There will be more such what-have-they-done ObamaCare moments. Wait until the public discovers the government is now literally determining what qualifies as "health care" in America.

That isn't a typo. ObamaCare mandates that insurers spend a certain percentage of premium dollars on benefits, but Democrats never got around to writing the fine print of what counts as a benefit. So a handful of regulators are now choosing among the tens of thousands of services that doctors, hospitals and insurers offer. Few other government decisions will do more to shape tomorrow's health market, or what's left of it.

There are two parts to this. One is the MLR, the "medical loss ratio", the ratio of the amount of money paid out in claims (losses) over the amount of money taken in for premiums. This has been wisely established at 85% for large employers and 80% for small businesses. That target had to come from the Post Office, or maybe USDA. No one knows how to improve "benefits of services" against "cost to perform" like the federal bureacracy. If there's a nickel's worth of work you can get out of a dollar, they will by God get around to it. Eventually.

The other part, and this will kill you (haha I did it again!), is what services actually are defined as "medical treatment".

Currently: none. We've got top men on it. Top. Men.

Yesterday almost one million Americans in Missouri voted on whether their legislature should amend state law to nullify the individual mandate and push back against the federal health care cartel. And over 70 percent of them said "hell yes".

Granny Rictus had it half right, sometimes you have to pass a bill just so you know what's not in it too.


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posted by Dave In Texas at 10:08 PM

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