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Miles J. Zaremski Headshot

"Obamacare" to Include Multi-State Plans

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In an article written by New York Times' Robert Pear, the nationwide, across state-lines health plans that Romney and his backers want will already be part of the president's Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare"). While these plans will not constitute a purely government-run insurance program, they will be a substitute for those who supported a public option as part of any federal health bill to compete with the private market of insurance health policies. These plans will become part of the state exchanges set up to begin business in 2014. Even with all the benefits that Obamacare has and will provide, including the millions of Americans who will be able to access and afford health care over what they are unable to do so now, where there will be increased competition with such government-approved plans in place that, in turn, will reduce premiums overall, and with their being multi-state, if Romney keeps his promise of repealing Obamacare if he becomes president, the only ones to lose out will be... all Americans!

And if Obamacare is not enough to convince voters to keep Obama in office come next week -- it does help out the economy because all folks will be able to access and afford health coverage, rather than freeloading on the health care system, which costs all of us who are insured more money -- consider, as well, that the insurance industry is quaking in its boots if Obamacare is repealed, too. (AP story as reported in the Washington Post, "Health insurance industry dislikes 'Obamacare,' but finds the prospect of its repeal unnerving.") With Obamacare's individual mandate (ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court this past June) requiring all of us to purchase insurance, insurers stand to reap millions (billions?) more in profits over what they collect now.

There will be at least two multistate plans that will compete directly with private insurers, one of which must be offered by a nonprofit entity and one that also does not provide coverage for abortions. Reports Pear, the United States Office of Personnel Management, the agency that arranges health benefits for federal employees, will negotiate premiums and benefits. It has been extraordinarily successful in managing such programs. The non-profit entity could well be the Government Employees Health Association that covers more than 900,000 federal employees after Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

While there are reported concerns over such government-approved, multi-state plans, the benefits certainly appear to outweigh them. However, stay tuned, as rules for the new program are still under review by the administration and will be issued soon.