The average adult reads 180 words per minute on a monitor. Published every Friday, the Two Minute Drill is an initiative from OPaM in which Vox, OPAMs Founder, explains complex issues in politics in 250 words or less. This week: Explaining the Obamacare cancellation notices.
President Obama has repeatedly pledged that people who like their health care coverage can keep it. But under Obamacare, nearly 7 to 12 million people (between half and three-quarters of those who currently buy their own policies) will not be able to keep their plans. What gives?
The Explanation (250 or Bust):
Obama’s pledge was both an oversimplification and a falsehood. First, its important to specify what these notices actually are. HIPAA requires that insurance companies offer subscribers the opportunity to renew their policy so long as they continue to pay monthly premiums. If an insurance company wants to discontinue a subscriber’s policy, the insurance company must provide 90 days notice and “the option to purchase any other individual health insurance coverage currently being offered by the issuer for individuals in that market.” These are the notices that insurance plans are sending out right now, to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.
The important point, however, is why they are being sent out. Obamacare was designed to address the plight of Americans lacking health security – either because they lacked any health insurance or because the insurance they did have was so bare bones that it probably shouldn’t even be called insurance coverage. For example, HHS estimates that 62 percent of individual market plans don’t offer maternity care, 80 percent do not cover mental health benefits, and 9 percent do not pay for prescription drugs.
Obamacare requires insurance plans to cover 10 essential benefits, meaning that insurance companies cannot keep selling the plans they used to sell. The whole idea of insurance expansion was not to get Americans to purchase anything called “insurance,” but a specific kind of insurance, one that is relatively comprehensive and protects against financial ruin.
Word Count: 235.
The Five Most Interesting Things We Read This Week
Here are the five most interesting articles (both political and non-political) we’ve read this week:
- The constant capturing and sharing of life’s moments is the new normal. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 54% of adult internet users post original photos or videos online. From Wired‘s Mat Honan: Can’t get away from it all? The problem isn’t technology — it’s you.
- From the NYT: Fewer and fewer Americans are turning to soda as the beverage of choice. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Americans seem to be replacing that drinking habit with the ever-increasing consumption of bottled water.
- Spain and Germany are the latest two countries to learn of the extent to which its phone calls, texts and emails were collected by the NSA. That the United States spies on its allies should come as no surprise. What is somewhat surprising, however, is the revelation that, in many of these cases, the White House was unaware of the NSA spying until well after it started. The reason why: plausible deniability, of course.
- A recent study posted in the online edition of Psychological Science found that those at the extremes of the political spectrum on particular issues felt most superior about their belief. Dogmatism – defined as an arrogant assertion of opinions as truths – was also greater among those who said their views were superior.
- 2:16 P.M. According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, that is “the precise optimal time to drink coffee.”
And in case you missed it, check out The Weekly Column. This past week covered the science (and politics) behind genetically modified organisms. Read the Column – Food Politics: GMOs and the Liberal War on Science.