The Truth About Utah’s Health Insurance Exchange

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You’ve been misled again. No surprises here, I’m sure.

Yesterday, the Deseret News published this headline:

Utah gets OK from feds to run own health insurance exchange

For that, I was surprised. I never thought Janet Sebelius would approve the Utah model.

However, true to form, the title was misleading. This is no exception. Here’s the story.

It’s no secret that I’m no fan of Utah’s version of socialized medicine. It was a central focus of my campaign for US Senate and Congress.

As much as the governor would like me to believe that it’s a “market-consumer driven” model, I can’t help but notice that it is still a GOVERNMENT-run health care clearing house listing the choices on a website.

Eventually, it won’t matter because, Utah has now been told it must comply with the federal version. No surprise there either.

In practice, the exchange will mimic the history of public education in America. First it’s “voluntary” – then compulsory.

Wait. It’s already compulsory. The Supreme Court told us it’s a tax.

So just how will the private choices that will be featured on this website Avenue H be able to compete with the government-subsidized plan?

That’s about as likely as private, independent schools have been able to compete with publicly-subsidized schools. In fact, that model destroyed the private system.

And the health insurance exchange will do precisely the same thing.

If anyone thinks that Utah is bravely taking any position to opt out of national health care, as the legislature promised it would do with its noted legislation sponsored by Carl Wimmer a few sessions back, think again.

Note that Utah’s republican governor told the Department of Health and Human Services that he was confident Utah’s plan would meet the broad goals of socialized medicine.

What on earth?

Utah appears to be rolling over and playing dead.

The best our leadership seems to be able to do is to say “Utah won’t fund it.  Let the federal government do it.”

Meanwhile, I’ll be compelled to pay for someone else’s aborifacients and services, contrary to my deeply-held religious beliefs.

Furthermore, I recently learned that the Affordable Care Act stipulates that I can’t even set up a pre-tax health savings account that exceeds $2,500. You have got to be kidding.

Now here’s the rest of the Utah story, thanks to Sarah Kliff on the Washington Post blog site:

White House Calls Utah’s ObamaCare Bluff

Gary Herbert’s a good man.  He’s a friend.  I just have much less confidence or faith in the direction this is leading our state.

Here’s my report from my initial discussion with his office.  As anticipated, it was not productive.  The governor’s office is completely committed to the exchange, and the energetic young men assigned to promote it for the governor truly believe that a government-run program is a “free market” approach.

With all my experience over the years, it’s simply another Trojan Horse.

 


  1. Don Ruzicka - January 4, 2013

    Cherilyn, I just read the front page article in the Deseret News this morning. I’m afraid I couldn’t control my reaction which I’m confident would be interpreted as extreme. You are absolutely right in that the headline “Utah’s Exchange is Accepted By the Feds” was misleading, if not disengenuous. The federal acceptance of Utah’s health exchange is “conditional” as is pointed out later in the article and we all know what that means, well maybe not “all” of us. It seems the governor, the incoming state senate president and others in state leadership are still clueless as to what happens in these so-called state/federal “partnerships” even after years of experience. Becky Lockhart’s comments were encouraging but the governor and his minions have basically capitulated thinking they really know what they are doing. The rest of the article is somewhat instructive on what we can really expect.

    I personally met with the governor and lieutenant governor a few weeks ago on this very issue and discovered as you did that they are strong supporters of the exchange concept truly believing that it is a free market based approach to health care/insurance reform. They are also signing on to, as was also pointed out in the article and you didn’t even have to read between the lines, the destruction of the broker/agent community because they will be replaced with “navigators”. I’m still having great difficulty deciding whether all these “exchange promoters” are just painfully naive or ciminally stupid. I guess they will have a great revelation about what a bad idea it was after we all find ourselves on subsidized and fully nationalized health care because that is the inevitable result. Thanks to all of them for the great leadership!!

    • Cherilyn - January 4, 2013

      Don, thank you for your expertise in this area. We look forward to hearing your remarks on January 12th at the Radisson in downtown Salt Lake City. Go here to register!

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