Thursday, January 28, 2010

The president said “let me know.” OK.

Here’s President Obama in last night’s SOTU:

But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.

OK. Let’s start by fixing ERISA.

1. Bring down premiums. Well, because the insurers are so ethical, and currently set their premiums based on legitimate and valid actuarial risk, fixing ERISA so that they can be held accountable for fraud and wrongful death shouldn’t increase premiums at all. Certainly when setting premiums they don’t take into account the fact they can currently commit fraud and kill people with impunity. I mean, that can’t be part of their business plan, right?


2. Bring down the deficit. Let’s see. Insurers are held accountable for fraud and wrongful death. Therefore they will not have the same incentive to breach their contracts. Therefore people who are contractually entitled to medical care and disability benefits will actually receive same. Therefore they will be less likely to become public charges through Medicaid and public welfare assistance. Therefore the deficit goes down. And by the way, all this comes at absolutely no cost to the federal government; in fact it will reduce costs because if ERISA is fixed these cases can be litigated in state court where they belong and will no longer be a burden on the federal judiciary.

3. Cover the insured. Well, if we fix ERISA all those uninsured people who only think they have insurance will actually have “insurance.”

4. Strengthen Medicare for seniors. Again, fixing ERISA will certainly not weaken Medicare, and if we effectuate the provision of contractually-required medical care and benefits in a timely manner, people will tend to enter their senior years in better health, instead of burdened by residual medical problems caused by ERISA insurer malfeasance during their working years. So, less strain on Medicare!

5. Stop insurance company abuses. Yup.

So there you go, Mr. President. Let’s fix ERISA so that ERISA insurers have to play by the same rules as everyone else. At a minimum we’ll achieve several of your goals and we’ll incur no governmental cost to do so.

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