Utah's health exchange tests flexibility of Affordable Care Act

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  • Mark from Montana Aurora, CO
    Nov. 29, 2012 10:12 a.m.

    @ Linus

    I am sure there are many stories like yours, but I also know that the current situation cannot continue either. I personally do not have any real answers, but I know what we have now isn't the right way either.

    Let me offer another story that further illustrates my problem with insurance companies. My wife needed treatment for a serious problem. She was ordered to in-patient treatment yet the insurance company refused to pay. They simply said "No". I took it as high as I could, yet the answer was no. Fortunately for me, I was one of the owners of the business that bought and paid for the group insurance (smaller group of about 100 insured) so I got our legal firm involved. The next day I received a call from the CEO of the insurance company who said that of course they would cover the claim. I said great, but also knew that when their contract came due for us, they would take a larger than normal increase. Yes that was petty on my part, but it still felt very good.

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 26, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    Dear Mark from Montana,
    You are so wrong about Canada's socialized healthcare. We are a senior couple on our second mission to Ontario Canada. Sick people in Canada are bounced around from one distant hospital to another until a diagnosis is finally established, and then treatment begins three to six months later. Many cancer patients die of before reaching a confirmed diagnosis. Many others die before treatment begins. One of our brothers in our branch went into a chemotherapy program where he remained hospitalized in critical condition an hour west of his home and was carted by ambulance to and from a different hospital an hour southwest of his home. His was a curable form of cancer; nonHodgekins lymphoma. But he died, a man in his forties.
    Family and branch members visited him often, but had to pay an exorbitant price to park their cars every time they came.
    My wife contracted an infection in her eyelid, and visited a doctor. No charge. The medication prescribed was $53 out of our pocket. So much for free healthcare.
    Canadians who require trustworthy healthcare cross the border to the United States, and gladly pay for it to save their lives.

  • Small Bus Owner SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Nov. 25, 2012 4:39 p.m.

    Could someone please tell me where I could get details about Utah's Health Exchange? The program seems to be a well kept secret.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 8:14 p.m.

    Red, it doesn't make you a "bad person." Gullible, perhaps, but not bad.

    Gullible in that you've allowed yourself to be taken to the cleaners by the insurance companies. Gullible because you've paid much more for your medical care because you have been paying for the care of people who simply could not afford or obtain insurance because of previous health history.

    And please don't jump on that tired old mantra of "lazy, entitled" people who don't deserve adequate health care. Some do exist, but the majority of those are people like you and me who, for whatever reason, have not been able to find affordable care.

  • Hubbert Sandy, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 8:14 p.m.

    Red State Pride --- You don't know me. I take personal responsibility, I have for 30+ years. You completely missed the point ... Insurance Companies are a cartel, Our current system benefits Insurance companies not the insured. You also missed the point that I would be earning more and paying significantly higher taxex if I were still independently employed.
    You are not a bad person (that I know), but what works for you doesn't work for the majority of the modern world.
    p.s. no one said anything about "free healthcare" that's something you imagined.
    this can be fixed, just take a breath and let the experts handle it. trust me we will all be fine

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    @one old man- the point is that until the ACA came along you were free to not carry health insurance. You were still an allegedly free man. Now you are not. I am so tired of people who act like not having health insurance is a death sentence. I've only had a major medical policy for 15 years and I'm still alive and kicking. Why does that make me a bad person?- I can't help it if he wasted good money paying high premiums for insurance he didn't need. You pay health insurance to get their discount from the provider and then you pay the provider for the service (btw- you may get a better deal from the provider if you don't have insurance and they have to treat you so I don't understand what you are complaining about except that apparently you think you have a right to free healthcare)

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 4:54 p.m.

    Red States comment to Hubbert is simply disgusting.

    But it does provide excellent illustration of the kind of cruel selfishness that is gradually destroying the Republican Party.

    Hubbert's predicament is all to common. It's like being forced to pay exorbitant premiums for auto insurance that covered us only if we were mashed by a semi-truck while driving on the sidewalk on a Tuesday between 3 and 4 in the morning.

    Yet somehow, health insurance companies seem to find a way to do that to us. And they do it with the full blessing of the legislators they have managed to purchase.

    What really needs to happen is to somehow strip all lawmakers of their taxpayer supported health insurance and make them go it alone for two years. Wanna bet there'd be some very fast reforms forthcoming?

  • David Centerville, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 4:21 p.m.

    Insurance companies are exempted from monopoly and price-fixing laws. They hold sway among federal and state politicians. When was the last time you heard of an insurance company going broke?

    They are always profitable, they change the rules of the game to make sure they minimize and perhaps eliminate their risk.

    I can't think of many other businesses in the US that are allowed to operate the way insurance companies do.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 3:38 p.m.

    @truthseeker- you must not know the old joke about the success of FoxNews- Rupert Murdoch found a niche market with Fox news- half the country

    @Hubbert- so if you spent 12000.00 in a year on insurance premiums then did your healthcare costs exceed that? Because if you didn't have any significant medical expenses you could have banked that 12 large and saved it for when you did need it. Like most Americans it appears to me that you don't feel any personal responsibility to pay for health care. I'm sure you do have an acceptable cable/internet package though- gotta prioritize

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Nov. 24, 2012 2:44 p.m.


    DN is focused on appealing to a narrow niche, much like Fox News. It does not attempt to provide balance in its coverage of issues, despite its owners, the LDS church, stated policy of political neutrality. It might make economic sense, but ethically it seems questionable to me, an LDS member.

  • Hubbert Sandy, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 1:02 p.m.

    I used this plan in Utah. It's unacceptableB
    Because the insurance companies control who gets coverage, they control pricing for premiums and they control pay out for treatment. Insurance companies continue to discriminate for pre-existing conditions (Affordable health care does not).
    Our experience with the Utah Health insurance pool - I was self-employed and pursued coverage for myself and my family. My wife is a breast cancer survivor, clear for ten years. And we were able to get coverage. it was more than $1000 per month with extremely high deductibles, meaning we paid all normal medical bills and the insurance only covered big catastrophic stuff. I ended my self-employment and went back to work for a large company. Now I earn less and I now contribute significantly lower gross taxes.
    As long as insurance companies control who gets coverage, set pricing for premiums and set pricing for treatment; we will never have affordable (acceptable) healthcare. our current system is not capitalism or competition, it's a cartel.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 12:11 p.m.

    I guess the points Conservatives made about the ACA before unwilling Americans had it forced upon them by Democrats are basically irrelevant now but let's not forget them because as this monstrosity unfolds people should be reminded of these arguments.
    1) ACA was never about improving our healthcare system, lowering costs or insuring the uninsured- it was basically about expanding the dependency class well into the middle class to increase dependence on government and therefore increase Government control over people's lives (if you disagree then why does it authorize funding for 6,000 new IRS agents and not one Doctor or Nurse?)
    2) The ACA was set up to fail so that a single payer system would be the only alternative
    3) Healthcare and health insurance costs would both rise and people would lose employer provided health insurance- that's already happened/ happening

    My advice to Governor Herbert would be to refuse to expand Medicaid and tell Kommissar Sebelius that if she doesn't like the exchange Utah has set up then come run for Governor in Utah and attempt to change it.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 11:16 a.m.

    The local Ch 13 has the letter with the 10 questions. It was published 4 days ago. DN should get better get better investigators.

  • progressivator Salt Lake, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    I agree with Ultra Bob: Desnews please have a matching article that details the two plans. Absent of that this is just another right-wing voice in favor of a nebulous state plan over a nebulous federal plan. And on what basis then does the Desnews base this opinion? This is debate 101 stuff, not rocket science.

    And if you go to sourcewatch.com you too can read all about the "Manhattan Institute for Policy Research" and see for yourself that this is a right wing thinktank that is supported by big business, and has no support from publicly-funded organizations. It's closely tied with ALEC: The Manhattan Institute's Senior Fellow and Director of the its Center for Medical Progress, Paul Howard, spoke at the 2011 American Legislative Exchange Council Annual Conference in a Workshop titled "Rationing By Any Other Name: Medicare's Independent Payment Advisory Board."

    In my opinion, the Desnews should focus on telling the story, then they can have an opinion piece on it, otherwise this is idle banter that is backed-up by right-wing propaganda.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 9:14 a.m.

    It’s nice that the Deseret News tells us about the Governor writing a letter to Washington with questions about health care.

    It would be nicer still if Deseret News would tell us what the questions were.

    It would be even more nicer if Deseret News would publish a summary of the state plan compared side-by-side with the federal plan.

    So many people tell us to be informed about issues before we vote. It would be so very nice if some of the media would actually help us do that. Like in giving us actual facts rather than just opinions. Not that I don’t value the opinions of others, it’s just that I like to make up my own mind.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 9:13 a.m.

    I nominate the comment by Mark From Montana as the comment of the year!

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Nov. 24, 2012 8:54 a.m.

    You can be sure that any health insuranace exchange that gives the insurance companies "flexibility" will be used by them to increase profits. Insurance Companies do not really compete much because they all use the same actuarial tables and then decide how much overhead and profit they need in order to keep their CEO's, boards of directors, and investor's happy. They need effective regulation, or they will all take advantage.

  • deseret pete robertson, Wy
    Nov. 24, 2012 8:20 a.m.

    He may not get an answer for a while because the feds really don't know how Obama care works yet because they are still writing the rules --- It will be 10,000 pages soon.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Nov. 24, 2012 8:14 a.m.

    I remain cautiously hopeful that our Utah legislature can actually do something good for all Utahns.

    Miracles do happen occasionally.

  • Mark from Montana Aurora, CO
    Nov. 24, 2012 8:07 a.m.

    I have been a conservative my entire life. My brother is a doctor and we have discussed how to reform healthcare many times. I was always in favor of leaving it as is, a market driven model, that is right up until I lost my health insurance and saw what it is like to live without insurance. My experience with insurance companies has been disagreeable at best. Even before COBRA, we had to battle with an insurance company bent of refusing to pay for many reasonable claims. My wife suffers from migraines, 12 - 18 per month. Virtually all insurances pay for 9 zomig tablets per month. Not ours, as they only cover 4 per month. No reason other than it saves them money.

    It is time for Congress to live without health insurance for one year. Then they should be given six months to come up with a reasonable health insurance plan. They should be barred from taking any campaign money from insurance companies during the time.

    I do not want to see a British system as I am familiar with it, but Canada's is better than what we have in the US. Our system is broken.