Thursday, July 19, 2018

Trump's "Cheaper, Better" Business Association Health Plans Businesses.

The overall idea is simple; an all-payer national health care system, where every doctor is your doctor, every hospital is your hospital, no bills, no co-pays, and no deductibles. Uncomplicated.  

Yet sorry Republicans, who never cared anything about health care, set up the free market "theory" of business association health plans. 

Businesses have wanted them for decades. Now they don't.

I've been writing about these ridiculously convoluted Rube Goldberg Trump Party's "group health care associations" forever. Will they get a group rate? Kinda, but to get there, they have to start the association, create a booking keeping system, billing system, negotiate group policies, require a building or office space, pay hundreds of employees, etc...well, that was a damn awfully expensive idea. And yet...
Money: The Trump administration is making it easier for small firms to band together … so-called association health plans … Companies in the same industry could join regardless of their location ... small employers in different industries could establish an association as long as they are in the same state or metro area ... exempt from certain Obamacare provisions with fewer benefits.
What a deal huh? Businesses have been waiting for two decades?

Unworkable and Not Worth the Effort: It's not happening:

Trump touted the expansion of so-called association health plans as a key plank in his strategy at the 75th anniversary party of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) last month, claiming the group’s members will save “massive amounts of money” and have better care if they join forces to offer coverage to workers.

The NFIB, which vigorously promoted association health plans for two decades, now says it won’t set one up, describing the new Trump rules as unworkable. And the NFIB isn’t the only one: Several of the nationwide trade groups that cheered Trump’s new insurance rules told POLITICO they’re still trying to figure out how to take advantage of them and whether the effort is even worth it.
Oh my god there's more...pretty much saying what I said:

NFIB concluded that establishing an association health plan would be too complex and not worth the effort. The NFIB, which offered only a vague endorsement of the Trump effort last month, now says it’s abandoned any idea of setting up a national plan for its hundreds of thousands of members.“They’ve essentially abandoned a core health care initiative that was a cornerstone lobbying effort for two decades,” said one person familiar with the NFIB’s inner workings.

Other trade groups, like the National Retail Federation, have raised similar concerns, saying it‘s unlikely to form a national plan ... The National Association of Realtors, which had long lobbied for expanding association health plans, downplayed the idea of starting one anytime soon.“The development of an AHP will be a long process, and at this time we do not have a definitive timeline.”

State regulators in even some red states have voiced skepticism and taken steps to limit association health plans, pointing to their history of lax regulation and fraud before Obamacare set more stringent insurance standards. 

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