Julie Ferguson hosted the Health Wonk Review this week, and it’s a great edition. One of my favorite articles this time around is from Patrick Pine, writing at Healthcare Talent Transformation. Patrick digs into the question of why there were so many exchange website troubles last fall – some of which are ongoing nine months later. And he’s written a follow-up post detailing the reasons why shopping for health insurance on an exchange website is not just an “online shopping” experience; you simply cannot compare it with shopping on Amazon.
Everything Patrick says makes a whole lot of sense. As long as we’re going to utilize private health insurance carriers as the product, it would make sense to have more people who understand private insurance involved in overseeing the exchanges. Patrick’s point about “latent hostility” rings very true. It’s understandable that some people who were heavily involved in the ACA from the beginning (especially those who were pushing for single payer instead of the mostly private system we’ve got now) might not be especially fond of private insurance carriers. But private insurance carriers is what we have on the exchange website for the foreseeable future. As such, it seems imperative that the exchange website be designed and maintained by people who were already making websites for carriers, brokers, and companies like Norvax and Quotit (where online platforms comparing multiple health insurance options have been in place for many years). And it would also make sense for the exchanges to hire more people who came from a health insurance background (Connect for Health Colorado has Jim Sugden as its broker and agent director, and he has years of experience as a broker in Colorado – kudos to Connect for hiring Jim, and hopefully they’ve tried to gather as many people with healthcare and health insurance experience as possible).
I also really liked Brad Wright’s article about how Medicaid expansion decisions (and the fact that SCOTUS made it optional for states to expand Medicaid) have formalized health disparities in our deeply politically divided nation. I am a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion, and I believe the SCOTUS ruling was a tragedy. I think that over the next decade, we’ll see the rest of the states expand Medicaid, but it will be a battle. And unfortunately, the biggest losers in this case are the people living in or near poverty in the non-expansion states, desperately needing healthcare but unable to afford it (they don’t qualify for Medicaid and they also don’t qualify for exchange subsidies – and they certainly can’t afford to pay full price for private health insurance). Thousands of them will die waiting for healthcare over the next several years, as states dig in their heels in a display that pits politics against people.
And I particularly liked Maggie Mahar’s Father’s Day post about eggs and health. Our family of four goes through three dozen eggs a week. We buy them from a local family that has 25 chickens and ducks running around in a field all day, so they’re fabulous eggs (and much less expensive than store-bought pastured eggs… if you’re looking for great eggs, support a local farmer – everybody wins). I’ve long been convinced that eggs are good for us, and I love seeing studies that agree.
Those are just a few of the great posts in this edition of the HWR. So head over and check it out – there’s something for everyone!