A grand experiment unfolds
Sep 26, 2013 | 3637 views | 0 0 comments | 307 307 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The airheads of Congress will keep their own plush health care plan - it’s the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves. Feminist author and social critic Camille Paglia Well, perhaps Ms. Paglia is being a little harsh in her assessment, or perhaps not. What there can be no doubt about is that a grand experiment is about to unfold in the next few months and years, and few, if any, know exactly how it will play out. Next week will mark the next step in a massive overhaul of the health care system. Especially here in Vermont, where an online health care exchange will become the place where many Vermonters will now have to purchase their health insurance. While many are saying the Affordable Care Act is a watershed in health care reform, in many ways what most of us will experience is a major change in the way we buy health insurance. What is different are some of the nuts and bolts under the hood of the shiny new health care plans. In Vermont there are no longer insurance options that offer 100% payment of all health care expenses. That is obviously by design, to force those who buy the plans to become more informed consumers of health care, by having to pay some out-of-pocket expenses. It might be simplistic to say that health care insurance policies under the Affordable Care Act are not your father’s insurance plans. In some ways, the exchange will be a new place for the same old, or similar, products. There are still deductibles and co-pays. There is still room for health savings accounts and the like. But, as anyone who has spent any time reviewing the plan options at the Vermont Health Connect website most likely can attest, the complexity of the plans is mindboggling. That, in part, is because health care plans have become more diverse and complex during the past decade, in part to offer higher co-pay options to help stem the tide of rising costs. While the goals of the Affordable Care Act are well stated, the nuts and bolts of how it will all work are still being defined even as the plans roll out to the public. There are numerous concerns, from which plan is right to how quickly will they pay, to what will happen down the road. We have no doubt that there will be numerous starts and stops on the road to universal coverage. Of course there are also the unintended consequences. Even though there are good, hardworking people who have put years into making sure this change to the Affordable Care Act is a smooth one, the one certainty is that there will be a period of uncertainty as the changes are implemented. In that respect, maybe Paglia isn’t so far off.
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