Hellish Insurance

‘Tis the season not just for shopping and overeating but for committing to a health insurance policy. The Obama administration just announced a one-day extension of the registration deadline, tacitly advising Americans to spend Christmas Eve selecting a policy that's the least of deductible and provider-choice evils. Ho ho ho.

I’ve spent hours this month on Covered California as well as numerous insurance company sites. I was trying to find a policy that includes Cedars-Sinai Hospital as a provider. Not so easy. Apparently Cedars, the best hospital in town, is also the most expensive, and no insurer wants to subsidize the highest quality. Only the second-rate, the mediocre, merit funding.  

When Clinton announced “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” as a military policy, it was groundbreaking. Imperfect, but a step forward, a step leading to the current gay-friendly policy. The Affordable Care Act, too, is a step forward. Unfortunately, that fact is being obscured by a poorly handled roll-out and the fact that insurance companies still hold almost all the power. But without this agonizing, infuriating, hellish step, 20 years from now there will still be families losing their homes over hospital bills. The first step is the hardest, but don't take it and you'll never reach the finish line.

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