January 22, 2013

Reality #1: Not A Marketplace

Words can deceive, as proponents of federal health reform know well.  Calling the proposed Minnesota health insurance exchange a “marketplace” is nothing but a veiled attempt to use free-market terms to describe a system that is anything but free-market.  A real marketplace is an open, competitive place to purchase a broad range of goods and services. 

The “Minnesota Insurance Marketplace” in Senate File 1/House File 5 is not competitive, limits citizens’ choice of health insurance options, expands government dependency (premium subsidies for middle class/Medicaid expansion), is managed by unelected state workers, is under federal control (law/regulations), and operates through the online transfer of vast quantities of personal data on individuals from state and federal government.  How many stores or websites that you shop at operate like this?

The left-leaning Herndon Alliance reported on research done on the words to use to best sell the Exchange to the American public. The research found “marketplace” was the best option. Here are a few comments from their two-page overview:

An informed public is supportive of the marketplace concept…The public ‘gets’ a marketplace; they remain confused by an ‘exchange.’ … Anti-government/anti-health law participants were very positive about the marketplace … If the public knows about the marketplace, those legislators who aren’t seen as working to implement it in their state will be seen as taking away something they want. --“The Exchange (The Competitive Health Marketplace),” herndonalliance.org)  

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services changed their Exchange terminology. They shifted from “Health Insurance Exchanges” to the “Health Insurance Marketplace.” (http://www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/index.html)


Coming Thursday: Reality #2