Critical Condition

Opposed in Colorado

From the Denver Post

Colorado insurance executives, cautious supporters of health care reform throughout the past year, are now warning that current proposals could cause a “system collapse.”

At issue are what insurance companies consider absurdly low penalties for people who choose not to buy health insurance.

Their concern: People will buy insurance only when they desperately need it, such as after they’re diagnosed with cancer or heart disease.

Healthy people might choose to pay the penalty, now proposed at a few hundred dollars per year, because it is far less expensive than buying insurance.

Insurance companies, under that scenario, would end up spending more to treat patients than they would receive in premiums. Rates would rise even faster than they do now.

“People would come in, pay premiums for a few months while they were getting their cancer treatments,” said John Martie, president and general manager of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado. “If enough people did that, the whole system would collapse.

“I would hope it wouldn’t get that far. Ultimately, it would lead to rationing of care.”

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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