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Your Opinion: Minimal effect of mini-med waivers

Your Opinion: Minimal effect of mini-med waivers

February 12th, 2011 by Tony Smith, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

If we do not have the facts, how can we decide?

A recent letter here said America's unions are hypocrites. They backed President Obama's health care legislation and now they are applying for waivers. Was this reported by major news organizations? The writer noted an unfamiliar source. Wikipedia says the Washington Examiner is a free daily published by conservative Denver billionaire Phillip Anshuz. Anshuz makes no pretense of news balance. Our privileged billionaires use every means to influence us to their thinking.

Was there any merit to the union story? It turns out not much. There is a one-year waiver available to only deal with what the insurance industry calls mini-med policies. These policies are for part-time and hourly employees. They provide limited benefits which are capped. Catastrophic events are not covered. Limits are not allowed under the current health care plan and all mini-meds will be phased out by 2014 when the state-based-exchanges are in place.

To phase out mini-meds capped at $25,000 or less, the insurance company will be raising costs for these plans. Companies and unions with employees using these limited plans can waiver from the no-capped plans limitation until the good stuff arrives in 2014. This will affect less than three percent of the work force in the next three years.

Republicans appreciated waivers in the bill to protect businesses that use these limited policies. However once the bill was passed, Republican congressmen rushed the House floor to denounce waivers as a blanket indictment of the Health Care Plan. Repealing the recent health care legislation could put a million citizens who are currently covered by these waivers at risk of losing their insurance.

Politicians say we have the best health care in the world. Does that mean if you can get it? The recent legislation did expand coverage to millions. The World Health Organization in 1997 ranked the U.S 37th out of 193 countries in health care delivery. The was the last ranking. We did make number one in cost! Brits pay 40 percent of what you pay.

Politicians should work on costs! Instead some are busy on a political agenda and not the people's business.