Monday, May 26, 2014

"Americans have to break the 'choice habit'"
In a line that says a lot about where health care is heading under Obamacare, an insurance executive offering plans through the law was quoted in the New York Times on Tuesday as saying, "We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has."
Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, made the remark in an article describing the trend toward narrow networks in health care plans. The article notes, "In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network -- or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want."
Before the health insurance exchanges opened last October, I had written about a looming issue for Obamacare that I called "access shock." As many liberal commentators boasted that offerings on the insurance exchanges were going to be priced lower than expected, I pointed out, to the extent that this was true, the reason was that insurers were stripping down their plans so they covered fewer providers.

I need to do more homework - it's not obvious why having a smaller circle of providers is cheaper.  On the other hand, giving people the change to choose from more providers should be a political winner and a real winner.

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