Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Blackstone-, And Goldman-Controlled "Junk" Health Insurer Seeks Maine "Welfare": Bloomberg

While I do understand Maine's desire to keep some level of coverage, and at least some jobs in the state, the notion that the state would seek a three year exemption from the Reform Act -- to effectively save Goldman Sachs and Blackstone hundreds of millions in required coverages -- is particularly pungent.

Here is a bit of the Bloomberg item -- do go read it all:

. . . .Mila Kofman, Maine’s insurance superintendent, asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for a three-year waiver from the law’s requirement that insurers spend 80 percent of premium revenues on medical care.

Without the waiver, Kofman said in a July 1 letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, HealthMarkets Inc. will probably drop its Maine policyholders, who represent a third of the state’s individual market. HealthMarkets, based in North Richland Hills, Texas, is 77 percent-owned by funds run by Blackstone Group LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. . . .

“If you grant a waiver to a junk health-insurance provider that is among the worst in America, then you might as well not have a health reform at all because you’re never going to say no to anyone,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, a California non-profit that has asked the Obama administration to deny waivers to a unit of HealthMarkets. “This is ridiculous. . . .”

Pretty brassy, no? After all the years that this company was able to collect premiums (and reap profits) for providing little or no actual coverage, in Maine -- now it wants a "federal bailout", to keep writing largely illusory coverage, there? I'd say the right answer would be to "double-down" -- on the regulation of such marginal "insurers". Afterall, we the taxpayers will end up paying for these (nearly) uninsured health claims, either way -- it is simply a question of when, not whether, in my estimation.

No comments: