Friday, May 24, 2013
Letter to the Editor
The column, "Maine health insurance law is working" published on Feb. 21, written by Sen. Rod Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, begs the question: For whom is it working?
If 17.5 percent of businesses have a reduction in premiums and, at the same time, overall health care costs are going up by as much as 10 percent, the only explanation is that the costs of medical care have been shifted to someone else.
Public Law 90 is not working for the majority of Mainers who see out-of-pocket expenses skyrocketing. This comes from higher deductibles, higher drug costs, less coverage or coverage that is denied.
The cause of this is multifaceted, but some of it has to do with the cost shifting that began even before the law passed.
The law is working for private insurance companies who get to pick at a profit the low-risk, low-cost citizens, leaving all of us to pick up the tab indirectly for the high-cost citizens: The elderly or those in rural areas.
They also try to make a profit by delaying or refusing to cover what they should, requiring that consumers and providers spend more time and therefore money into trying to figure out what is covered and recouping what they are owed.
The statistics on who is paying and who is profiting from the law's "savings" are harder to follow and explain to the public, but it is imperative that the news and public officials take time and column space to analyze this. If we don't, then we in Maine will be prey to those companies and shareholders who are looking to profit not invest in our health.
Lastly, public officials need to gather and analyze data looking at the whole picture through unbiased, nonpartisan eyes.