From a Denver Post blog:
Rep. Jared Polis said Wednesday he will seek a waiver from the Obama administration so mountain-dwellers in his district will not be required to participate in the Affordable Care Act this year because health insurance rates in the high country are more costly than other parts of Colorado.
Polis, a Democrat from Boulder, said he was dismayed that residents in insurance resort region 11 — which includes parts of Garfield and Summit counties — have dramatically higher premiums than residents in nearby Clear Creek County or the suburban counties in Denver.
“I think it would be an appropriate use of the waiver process … to wait to have a requirement in Summit County when the rates are more affordable,” Polis said “It’s by far the most expensive region in the state … We think it’s an excellent candidate for the waiver process.”
In some cases, rates are 50 percent higher in the resort region than other parts of the state.
Funny; I thought the Affordable Care Act was supposed to end the “unfairness” in the health care industry. Looks like it just spread the unfairness around.
Polis is being extremely optimistic, perhaps even delusional, to think that this is some kind of temporary glitch in the pricing. Anyone who thinks health insurance prices are going to go down anywhere in the country after 2014 is dreaming.
His strategy will be to join his area with another one:
Neither Polis nor Salazar thinks there is any way to bring rates down for resort residents in 2014. But Polis wants to see Summit County moved to a different region that includes Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties in 2015…
“That could result in up to 50 percent in savings,” Polis said.
Aside from getting people waivers to bar financial penalties next year, he doesn’t see any immediate solutions.
First of all, I doubt the people in Jefferson and Clear Creek want to see their rates go up significantly. But basic math says that is what must happen when an expensive area merges with a less expensive area. I assume that those people now enjoying their lower rates are going to write to their representatives and try to prevent this “invasion.” Obamacare has put these too regions in a win-lose conflict.
Secondly, contra Polis, there is an immediate solution. It is the one being implemented by the resort residents themselves. It is described by Tamara Drangstveit, Obamacare sales person executive director of the Family and Intercultural Resource Center:
Health coverage guides have worked with some clients for up to 90 minutes and walked them through the entire enrollment process only to have them suffer sticker shock and bail when it came time to pick a plan.
“They literally are walking out the door,” Drangstveit said.
Asked how many have purchased plans so far, she said: “Nobody. Zero.”
I don’t wish being caught in a medical emergency without insurance coverage on anyone, but a boycott may be the only way to defeat not only Obamacare, but also the inflation-driven medical industry bubble that keeps pushing health care costs out of reach. Prices need to collapse and, like the housing market, they might do so quickly.
I’m not calling for a boycott. But if that is the spontaneous behavior we see in the people, he might as well pray for a positive outcome. It certainly seems more hopeful than a Polis begging for a waiver from Obama.
Plus, I admit, I prefer refusing to begging.