Opponents of private health insurance have made a fetish of MLRs – a statistic that insurers developed to show investors the share of premiums they spend on claims. (“See? They call it a ‘loss’ when they pay for medical care – that proves they’re evil!”) So the opponents of private health insurance who crafted ObamaCare included a rule requiring carriers to spend at least 80 percent of premium revenue (large employers must spend 85 percent) on “your health care.” What could possibly go wrong?
The folly and false compassion of ObamaCare are on full display in the MLR regs, where government bureaucrats have evidently determined that unnecessary and harmful medical services, and even insurance fraud, are in fact good for patients. Okay, HHS bureaucrats don’t actually think that. But ObamaCare’s MLR regs include fraud prevention and utilization review among the administrative expenses on which carriers may spend no more than 20 percent of revenue (15 percent for large employers). That will effectively discourage insurers from policing fraud and conducting utilization reviews that protect patients from the expense and risks of unnecessary medical tests and procedures.
ObamaCare’s fatal conceit is that government bureaucrats can determine and deliver what is good for patients. Consumers will continue to feel the pain – costs will continue to rise and more insurers will flee the marketplace – until Congress gives up that conceit and repeals this law.