The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Good News! ObamaCare Helping Insurance Companies Make Record Profit! (And Rick Ungar Rides Again)

Posted on | May 23, 2011 | 2 Comments

Because stuffing profits into the pockets of Corporate America is what the progressive movement is all about, right?

When last we heard from Rick Ungar, the death of a Census worker in Kentucky prompted him to declare: “Send the Body to Glenn Beck.” Two months later it was revealed that Beck had nothing to do with it, and the supposed victim of a right-wing lynching had in fact committed suicide.

However, progressives (who apparently include the editors of Forbes magazine) are quite flexible in their standards of journalistic credibility, so that the otherwise discredited Ungar is permitted to inform us that ObamaCare is working just fine and dandy.

Ungar’s “reporting” is for the most part a rehash of a May 3 story — which Ungar doesn’t bother to link, much less credit — by Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News:

Hundreds of thousands of young adults are taking advantage of the health care law provision that allows people under 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans, some of the nation’s largest insurers are reporting. That pace appears to be faster than the government expected.
WellPoint, the nation’s largest publicly traded health insurer with 34 million customers, said the dependent provision was responsible for adding 280,000 new members. That was about one third its total enrollment growth in the first three months of 2011.
Other large insurers said they have added tens of thousands of young adults. Aetna, for example, added fewer than 100,000; Kaiser Permanente, about 90,000; Highmark Inc., about 72,000, and Health Care Service Corp., about 82,000.
The Health and Human Services Department has estimated that about 1.2 million young adults would sign up for coverage in 2011. The early numbers from insurers show it could be much higher . . .

Ungar’s plagiarism of a three-week old story is nevertheless treated as sufficiently newsworthy to merit its own Memeorandum thread, and no one seems to notice that the “good news” is not really so good at all.

These 20-somethings, whose coverage under their parent’s insurance plans is now mandated by federal law, obviously don’t have employment sufficiently lucrative to include health benefits of their own. Many of them are no doubt unemployed — as are nearly 17% of Americans under age 30 — and living back home with their parents, as do most recent college graduates, saddled with an average of more than $20,000 debt.

So ObamaCare has compelled insurance companies to subtract a few hundred thousand young people from the ranks of the uninsured, although it is impossible to say how much actual healthcare will be delivered as a result. This is exactly the problem with mandated coverage: Most young people are healthy and don’t need insurance, except for catastrophic coverage policies (i.e., with a $5,000 deductible) in case of a car wreck or something.

Never mind. Their parents are now paying to have their grown kids covered up until age 26. The insurers are no doubt happy to have the new clients, although the additional coverage doesn’t really solve any health-care problems — unless the profitability of insurance companies was a problem you were worried about.


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