My Turn: What health law still needs is a public option
Grant Bosse’s column in the Sept. 8 Sunday Monitor Forum (“Obamacare continues to crumble”) and Sarah Palermo’s front-page article the next day (“Narrow networks a new trend”) should be read together.
Bosse’s column starts with two quotes, one from the president and one from the 1978 movie Animal House. The implication from the quotes and article is that Obamacare lied to patients about their access to their caregivers. I have one quote from deceased Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynahan that sums up Bosse’s analysis of the current Anthem problem: “You can have your own opinion, but not your own facts.”
Ten years ago I was involved in trying to negotiate a contract with Anthem and had to deal with the same patient-access restrictions then as Anthem is imposing now in New Hampshire, Maine and throughout the country. Then, like now, Anthem has no quality data on the providers. The whole point is to increase its net profit at the expense of patient choice and care.
Anthem and a few other for-profit health insurance companies have been doing this in New Hampshire every year since with medical groups and hospitals; the only difference now is that they, Bosse and the Republican Party are blaming it all on the president’s plan.
Bosse implies from the Animal House quote that we the public “f----d up” because we trusted the president’s plan. The mistake was the president’s in trusting the Anthems of the world when the public plan was dropped because of concessions from Republicans and the insurance companies that they would participate and compete in good faith in the exchanges. They have not done that. If New Hampshire citizens had a public plan, they would be choosing it now to keep their care provider. It would work, and private insurance companies would have to compete with the public government-backed plan. It is Anthem that is not to be trusted.
By the way, in the movie quoted by Bosse, the rush chairman’s comments were directed to the pledges. His hazing partner was Bluto, who 30 years later became U.S. Sen. Blutarsky. Don’t know which party.
(Nick Perencevich lives in Concord.)