Friday, August 21, 2009

Do You Want a Test Case for ObamaCare? Maine Has Already Done It and it Sucks

I think the failure in Maine is ObamaCare's destiny in a few short years. The Maine version of ObamaCare or the so-called "public option" is called DirigoChoice (sounds like a hot-air balloon retail outlet or something.)

The program flew off track fast. At its peak in 2006, only about 15,000 people had enrolled in the DirigoChoice program. That number has dropped to below 10,000, according to the state's own reporting. About two-thirds of those who enrolled already had insurance, which they dropped in favor of the public option and its subsidies. Instead of 128,000 uninsured in the program today, the actual number is just 3,400. Despite the giant expansions in Maine's Medicaid program and the new, subsidized public choice option, the number of uninsured in the state today is only slightly lower that in 2004 when the program began.

So in other words this thing was supposed to cover the 128,000 uninsured and ended up covering just 3400? Hopefully that same thing happens to ObamaCare. They want to cover 47 million people and end up covering 10% of that. That would actually keep costs down. Here is why the Maine plan failed though:

Why did this happen? Among the biggest reasons is a severe adverse selection problem: The sickest, most expensive patients crowded into DirigoChoice, unbalancing its insurance pool and raising costs. That made it unattractive for healthier and lower-risk enrollees. And as a result, few low-income Mainers have been able to afford the premiums, even at subsidized rates.

This problem was exacerbated because since the early 1990s Maine has required insurers to adhere to community rating and guaranteed issue, which requires that insurers cover anyone who applies, regardless of their health condition and at a uniform premium. These rules—which are in the Obama plan—have relentlessly driven up insurance costs in Maine, especially for healthy people.

Yup but Maine doesn't have the equivalent to deficit spending like the US Government so the State legislature was forced to jack up premiums to cover the shortfall. So in other words ObamaCare will need to blast the deficit in order to keep these premiums in check.

So in other words this Maine program hardly covers anyone and has high sky premiums that have to be paid for out of the pocket of healthy people. That sounds like ObamaCare in a nutshell. But unlike people from Maine who have a choice to get out of this boondoggle (by moving or taking out private insurance) US citizens might not have a choice.

1 comment:

mcornelio said...

I like your thinking. I'm also "from" Hawaii. My best friend lives in Maine. How ironic.