Critical Thinker Award

Andrew Hienze wins my most recent Critical Thinker Award for writing, What Health Reform Will Do to My Insurance, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on November 13.

In the article, Hienze, “a registered Democrat living in New York City,” explores what will happen to his health insurance if the current House bill is signed into law. 

I award Hienze the Critical Thinker Award for taking an honest look of the real consequences of the good intentions of the health care reform.  I contrast that with others who write only about the good intentions of the bill.  Good intentions are fine, but intentions often do not match results.

Hienze uses real world experience.  He lives in New York, which already prohibits insurers from denying coverage due to a pre-existing medical condition.  He writes,

The result is that HMO plans in the state are now very expensive. The price of Empire’s basic, least expensive HMO plan is more than $13,000 a year for an individual, more than $26,000 a year for a married couple, and more than $39,000 a year for a family with children.

The result is that Hienze cannot afford full health coverage in New York.  He buys a hospitalization plan that covers hospital expenses in the event of injury or illness.  It does not cover the cost of physicians that are not hospital employees.  Under the currently proposed health care reform bill, his hospitalization plan would not be considered a qualified plan, so he would have to pay a fine that is about the same amount that he currently pays for his hospitalization plan – $2,000 per year.


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