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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Insurance agents market solutions to artificial complexity, join "elite group"

Apparently, whoever is handling the public relations for The National Association of Health Underwriters has a template they use for a press release whenever an agent takes one of their courses. (one example; a second example). Here it is, reverse engineered out of the examples; I've marked the fields to be filled in by software {THUSLY} (optional fields are followed by a "?"):

{BYLINE?} {FULL NAME} became certified through The National Association of Health Underwriters' (NAHU) new professional development course on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). This continuing education course for agents has been approved in all 50 states, and Howell will receive 11 continuing education credits from the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance.

{LAST NAME} completed this 10-hour course to receive the most up-to-date information on the key technical components of PPACA and is prepared to counsel his/her clients on upcoming required healthcare changes and new options for health plans.

"By taking this course, {FIRST NAME} has joined an elite group who is uniquely qualified to assist clients in complying with the new law," said NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein. "He understands how the market is likely to change over the next few years, and is in the perfect position to advise employers and individuals in planning for the future."

Topics of study include:

  • Implementing healthcare reform—overview and politics
  • Grandfathered plans and the small-business tax credit
  • Medicare Part D and non-discrimination rules
  • Patient protection and changes to consumer-directed health plans
  • Medical loss ratio requirements and tax implications
  • W-2 reporting, summary of benefits, waiting periods, essential benefits and community rating
  • Individual mandate, pre-existing conditions and rating reform
  • Health insurance exchanges for individuals and small employers
  • Employer pay or play
  • Self-insured plans

{QUOTE FROM AGENT}

The course is delivered through NAHU's Online Learning Institute. More information is available at www.nahu.org/education/certifications/ppaca.cfm.

The National Association of Health Underwriters represents 100,000 professional health insurance agents and brokers who provide insurance for millions of Americans.

{BLURB ON AGENT'S BUSINESS}

Of course, I don't really blame NAHU for this; it's all part of the service.

However, what I am appalled by -- and what makes and will make ObamaCare so hard to fight -- is that once the ObamaCare rental stream is established, everybody that's drinking from it now will want to keep on doing that, even if total program benefit nets out to the public as zero or even negative.

Consider: The entire "continuing education" course covers topics that wouldn't even exist with a single payer system (which, I might add, is a proven solution, and not a medical experiment performed on the American people without their informed consent). Imagine if the Democrats had abolished the filibuster in 2009 and passed Medicare for All. Given them a year to implement it. After (2013 - 2010) three years of working with a proven system that covers everybody, here's what that "continuing education" course would look like:

  • Implementing healthcare reform—overview and politics
  • Grandfathered plans and the small-business tax credit
  • Medicare Part D and non-discrimination rules
  • Patient protection and changes to consumer-directed health plans
  • Medical loss ratio requirements and tax implications
  • W-2 reporting, summary of benefits, waiting periods, essential benefits and community rating
  • Individual mandate, pre-existing conditions and rating reform
  • Health insurance exchanges for individuals and small employers
  • Employer pay or play
  • Self-insured plans

From that perspective, the NAHU "continuing education" course looks a lot more like propaganda. More importantly, the fees the course generates -- $495 a pop for PPACA certification -- represent in little the opportunity cost of the political class's choice of ObamaCare over single payer, the road not taken; with single payer, the NAHU doesn't -- kaching! -- collect the $495, and the agent doesn't pay it. Which is good, since the transaction, like health insurance itself, brings to value to health care transactions. Even more importantly, courses like this (and the fees the generate) show how vacuous the claims of "progressives" were, that they "really loved" single payer and saw ObamaCare as a step in that direction. Never in a million years. Here's the key quote from the press release that shows why:

"By taking this course, {FIRST NAME} has joined an elite group* who is uniquely qualified to assist clients in complying with the new law," said NAHU CEO Janet Trautwein. "He understands how the market is likely to change over the next few years, and is in the perfect position to advise employers and individuals in planning for the future."

Does anybody really believe that agent {FULL NAME} is going to surrender their membership in an "elite group" just for a system like single payer Medicare for All that would save the country $400 billion a year, at least, and relieve an immense amount of human suffering? Not in a million years. OK, then, how about the "creative class" that's building the websites and doing the training and the marketing? How about the non-profits who are getting funding for turning themselves into insurance salesmen?

The real -- and only -- problem with single payer Medicare for All is that everybody benefits. Rentiers hate that shit, because there's nothing in it for them.

NOTE * A fine example of credentialism and meritocracy.

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Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

You've nailed it, Lambert.

The Democratic Party has completely sold out to the insurance industry!

And the PPACA was just the beginning.

Don't remember if I've posted (here) about Tom Harkin's soon to be "sell out," when he directs untold millions of dollars to the annuity industry (and Wall Street--they have chosen a "variable" instrument, which means that the monies will stay invested for the life of the annuity).

The type of financial instrument that they've chosen would not likely be recommended to low and/or moderate income clients in the private sector.

Again--another "giveaway." But this time to both Wall Street and the insurance industry.

Alexa

“If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

[Avatar Photo Credit: Conflagrate, jurvetson's photostream, flickr]

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Oh, great catch. The insurance industry has all kinds of professional "designations" and continuing ed courses. Some of them are required by state insurance laws (some are optional).

I can't imagine that the PPACA will be overturned anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure that it is "possible." I believe that this was part of the reason that the Dem Party was "obsessed with" getting SOMETHING through. Obviously, they would never acknowledge this.

But for the reasons that you've mentioned in this post (and others), I believe that March 23, 2010 marked the "death knell" for MFA.

I hope I'm wrong . . .

Alexa

“If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson

[Avatar Photo Credit: Conflagrate, jurvetson's photostream, flickr]