Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Obamacare can't divorce insurance from risk [Letter]

Columnist Susan Reimer sees no problem with some groups paying more for health care insurance than their actuarial risk while others pay less under Obamacare ("Splitting the health care tab with the guys," Nov. 11).

She says "isn't that what insurance is for, to spread the risk?"

However, spreading the risk is only one half the insurance equation. The other half is to provide each consumer with feedback on the amount of risk being transferred. That information is provided by linking the premium to behavior.

The link tells consumers what behavior will increase or decrease the premium. As individuals modify their behaviors in their own economic self-interest, less risk is absorbed by the system as a whole and everyone wins.

But if everyone paid the same premium, why would anyone modify their behavior? Certainly there are many illnesses that are unavoidable. However, health care costs related to smoking, drinking, obesity, inactivity, drug abuse and other behaviors cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars every year.

What Ms. Reimer describes, when people pay premiums according to their income and not their actuarial risk, is a tax, not insurance. Hence, she makes the incorrect analogy that taxes are to public schools, highways and bridges what premiums are to insurance.

Steve Williams, Towson

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • An incomplete report on payments to doctors from drug companies [Letter]

    It actually doesn't do much good to head up an article about payments to doctors by telling readers that a doctor invented a great new device and the company sent him a check for royalties ("Payments to doctors from drug companies, device makers revealed," Oct. 4).

  • Health exchange still a hassle

    Health exchange still a hassle

    I found The Sun's editorial, "Beyond the website" (Nov. 23), about how well the new-and-improved Maryland Health Connection had launched to be ironic and not in a good way. Perhaps you should have looked beyond the health insurance website itself to see if the system really had been improved from...

  • Gruber and his liberal lies

    Gruber and his liberal lies

    Nice coverage of the Jonathan Gruber hearing which amounted to, I think, about 60 words ("Obamacare adviser sorry for comments," Dec. 10). He appeared to spend most of the time denying, lying and obfuscating — true traits of liberals these days.

  • Md. lawmakers can help those with chronic conditions

    Md. lawmakers can help those with chronic conditions

    On behalf of Marylanders with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI), the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF) applauds the MedChi CEO Gene Ransom for standing up to insurance companies looking to take advantage of our state's Health Benefits Exchange patients ("The high cost of health care reform,"...

  • Why has The Sun neglected the Jonathan Gruber scandal?

    Why has The Sun neglected the Jonathan Gruber scandal?

    Your systematic neglect of the horrendous Jonathan Gruber/Obamacare scandal is undoubtedly attributable to your partisan bias ("Gruber flap reopens not-so-old wounds," Dec. 1).

  • Unaffordable care in Bel Air

    Unaffordable care in Bel Air

    I am 59 years old, have been a practicing family physician for 30 years and I can't wait to pay my new health care premium for 2015. This past year, I paid $680 a month for my wife and me with a $5,400 deductible. With the Affordable Care Act, in 2015, I will be paying $700 a month with a $12,000...

  • CareFirst's surprise birthday gift

    CareFirst's surprise birthday gift

    I got an unexpected present after turning 70 in December — a 35 percent premium increase on my Medigap insurance from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.

  • Obamacare's big day

    Obamacare's big day

    It received surprisingly little fanfare, but last week three states demonstrated how to "fix" the Affordable Care Act, should the Supreme Court rule adversely against a key provision within it. Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Delaware all received permission to set up state health insurance exchanges...

Comments
Loading

82°