Thursday, February 6, 2014

ACA Exchanges - Why?

Some of the problems with ObamaCare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), are the requirement to register for insurance coverage through healthcare websites labelled "Exchanges".  Those exchanges have several problems that would immediately put a private owned business out of business.  These problems include:

Availability.  When the exchange website went online it was inaccessible. People trying to sign up were stopped by the system itself.  While perusing the Huffington Post, commentators were chastising others who complained of a 4 hour wait to maybe get signed up ("4 hours is nothing if you get insurance' they would say).  Mostly the website was unavailable.

Poor information security.  Independent investigators conclude that the exchanges are the most insure websites they have encountered.  After the Obama Administration announced the problems were fixed, the experts testifying before congress said that security is worse than it was before it was "fixed".  If you want to be a victim of identity theft, here is the place to accomplish your dream.

No "back end". The people hired to design the ecommerce website did not include a way to catalog the information plugged in by anxious users to distribute to the various agencies required to verify the information or to send the information to insurance companies in order to get an actual quote.

Insurance policy may not be in effect. Once you complete the forms and are lucky enough to get a quote from an insurance company, and then pick a policy, there is no guarantee and no way to verify that you are actually covered.

OK, so what is my purpose in listing all of this bad news?

My reason for this is to point out that there is no known need to have ACA exchanges.  None whatsoever.

I can say that because of a few things everyone, and including politicians, should know:

1. Insurance companies have been running secure, reliable and available websites for, what? One, two decades?  They know how to do this.  Insurance companies would need only one thing from the federal government to sell insurance in compliance with ACA standards to anyone and everyone who wants coverage: Remove the barriers to interstate sales of insurance policies.

2. Many states have a public services commission that regulates which insurance companies can provide coverage, and what coverage are required, to persons within their borders.  These commissions also employ price fixing that requires insurance companies to submit requests to raise rates and play up to the commissions in order to stay profitable.  These commissions need to disappear or be refocused to other services.  Since the federal government has superseded any requirements state commissions could come up with and are doing the price fixing at the federal level, the commissions are irrelevant.

3.  The federal government has used the Commerce Clause to the US Constitution to regulate and create laws reaching into the states for enforcement.  In this case, the Commerce Clause could more appropriately used to force states to accept insurance policies from any insurance company that the federal government approves.  This, btw the way, is the express purpose of the Commerce clause: the prevent states from imposing unfair trade practices with their fellow states in this union.

To summarize, the exchanges, designed and built by the incompetent friends of the Obama Administration, are completely unnecessary.  Allowing insurance companies, who already have online and brick and mortar stores, to manage the transition from unqualified insurance policies to ACA approved polices.

Lets face facts, insurance companies are not in the business of throwing away money.  If they were tasked to arrange and implement ACA back in 2010, you can be pretty much guaranteed to have a functioning, available, secure, and easy to use website and navigators that would make moving to CA seamless and pleasant, well except for the part about the cost and disgust over paying for services you will never use.

Ahh, politicians.  Can't live with them, can't deport them.

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