• Will cherry-picking continue?

    Back during the primaries, I met with a health care legislative staffer for a candidate for President.  Her candidate favored reform much as we see it now.  I asked her how we could force insurance companies to take people regardless of prior conditions.  She assured me that health care reform would take care of it.

    I admit I was skeptical.  Recently, however, I was feeling a little more reassured about it.  That is, until today, and an excellent piece from the Washington Post:

    If insurers are prohibited from openly rejecting people with preexisting conditions, they could try to cherry-pick through more subtle means. For example, offering free health club memberships tends to attract people who can use the equipment, says Paul Precht, director of policy at the Medicare Rights Center.

    Being uncooperative on insurance claims can chase away the chronically ill. For people who have few medical bills, it is less of a factor, said Karen Pollitz, research professor at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute.

    As I’ve said before, I don’t want to demonize private insurance companies.  But there is a simple economic incentive to try and preferentially choose healthy patients.  Those who make these laws better know what they are doing.

    Read the whole piece.

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