Residents of Washington, D.C., are about to get an early taste of Obamacare and its command-and-control approach to health coverage.
A local board met Wednesday night and decided that all individuals and businesses with fewer than 50 employees who want to purchase health insurance in the District must get it through the new Obamacare exchange. Liz Farmer of the Washington Examiner reports:
“If you have a business license here in the District of Columbia, then you participate through the exchange,” said Dr. Mohammad Akhter, chairman of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange board. . . .
“The board, which oversees the city’s health exchange mandated by federal health care reform, voted unanimously late Wednesday to approve regulations making the exchange the District’s sole health insurance marketplace for individuals and businesses with 50 employees or less. Akhter estimated that would give the exchange at least 100,000 consumers, which is a pool large enough so that the exchange can negotiate competitive rates with insurers.”
People who work for small businesses or have individual coverage and like the coverage they have now have to hope that their carriers will opt in to the new exchanges.
But even then, the board will regulate what the health-insurance policies must cover and many other aspects of the coverage leaving these residents with fewer choices. Their costs are likely to increase as more health benefits are required than covered by their current plans.
The District government strongly supports implementation of Obamacare and has already accepted $73 million dollars in federal funding to help set up its exchange.
It’s only fitting that the residents of the Districts of Columbia would be among the first to see that their choices will be limited, their costs are likely to go up, and they will have less control over their health care and health coverage under Obamacare.