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1st November
2011
written by Taylor Davidson

By: Taylor Davidson

As many know, effective October 1st AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program) made dramatic changes to benefits eligibility (we can argue the necessity of these measures but that’s not my purpose with this column).  As a result of these changes a friend and client of mine recently received a notification that her two minor children would be losing their coverage and came to me several weeks ago as her agent to discuss options for replacing this insurance.

As recently as a few months ago I would have been able to help her with a policy for her kids that would have cost no more than tens of dollars every month ($40-$50); very reasonable and within reach of a working student and mother as she is.

But no longer.

As a result of provisions in the recent federal healthcare reform none of the insurance companies will offer those Child-Only policies anymore, you now must pay for family coverage including at least one adult. This dramatically changes the pricing, taking it out of reach of exactly those individuals who would benefit most from these coverage options.

I was discouraged when the healthcare act was passed because I knew it was putting politician’s choices between patients and their doctors as well as the companies that work to finance our healthcare needs.  But that discouragement has now come home for me at my agency.  By the stroke of a pen in Washington DC a client of mine, a hardworking, intelligent, young woman has been denied coverage for her children that she previously could have EASILY obtained and thus has been left on less secure financial footing.

As opposed to what Washington would have you believe, insurance companies are not evil, carriers do not seek out ways to deny claims, agents are not out to steal money from clients.  Mistakes are made and health claims are mishandled.  Yes.  The system is imperfect and needs improvement  Yes.  But fundamentally people making their own choices about the care they need and companies working to meet those needs is the best system ever devised in history for properly providing medical care.

We must begin to recognize the unintended consequences of our politicians’ mandates and we must see them now while they are clear and not hidden by the fog of time that makes us forget how things worked before they were run by government dictate, arbitrary rules and labyrinthine bureaucracies.  If government at all levels had just stayed out of her decisions, not tried to “help”, my friend would have coverage for her two children today.

Federal and state politicians were false with my friend when they imposed AHCCS, a program that they knew was financial unsustainable, and then promised it would be there to care for her kids.  At least though, there could have been something for her to fall back on from any one of Arizona’s private health insurers and their policies for children… except that the Rulemakers in Washington said they knew better and killed that option too.

When will our citizenry finally realize that we must keep the things that are most important to us OUT of the hands of politicians instead of willingly laying at their feet our most vital and fundamental needs?  Laying them down to the whims, fancies and false promises of those who have no further outlook than, “When’s the next election?”

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