Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The New York Times once again carries water for the Republican party

It never ceases to amaze me that the public option would be sliced and diced to death, but Republican proposals are taken seriously and at face value. The New York Times article today covers the Republican "healthcare" proposal.

Left unsaid:

  • No restrictions on health insurance denying you coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • No restrictions on a health insurance company dropping your coverage if you come down with an expensive illness. (Note how carefully the New York Times skirts around this issue when parroting the Republican talking points --- the references to intentionally concealing "material" information about your state of health could easily refer to an infection you got as a kid)
  • No standards on what constitutes health insurance.

And the supposed reduction in cost from allowing insurers to "compete" across state-lines? What that would do is to encourage a race to the bottom. Recall that adverse selection is the biggest problem in healthcare. Many states, such as New York, enforce a community rating system --- if you want to operate as a health insurance company in those states, you have to take all comers, no picking off only healthy folks.

The Republican proposal would allow out-of-state health insurance companies to pick off only healthy folks from community-rating states, therefore forcing in-state health insurance companies in New York into a death spiral.

Does the New York Times provide the proper context and analysis? No. That's because the world's too complicated for English majors to understand. As far as I'm concerned, traditional mass media outlets can't die quickly enough.
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