August 28, 2012 - Freedom Benefits reports that The District of Columbia Exchange Board is leaning towards adopting recommendations from the Health Reform Implementation Subcommittee on market structure that would consolidate the individual and small group health insurance market and eliminate all other market coverage choices for individuals and small businesses. Insurance experts agree the idea simply will not work, but that does not seem to deter the Board members who are not directly accountable to the residents of the District.
Experts presented overwhelming testimony from the position of numerous stakeholders during an August 21, 2012 Board meeting of the dangers posed by such a strategy. The strategy under consolidation appears to be publicly opposed by the majority of the District's insurance providers and stakeholders. In fact we were unable to find any public support of the proposal by a public or commercial stakeholder in the preparation of this article.
We do not understand the logic behind the Board's opinions and fear that the action may be politically driven by special interests and not in the best interests of District of Columbia residents. While we have no basis to imply corruption or incompetence, we have to wonder about this possibility in the absence of other logical or economic justifications for the proposal.
If the proposal is passed, we doubt that commercial insurance companies would want to participate in the D.C. exchange until after the market had restabilized - a process that could take years. Meanwhile, DC residents would clearly have a more difficult time finding choices of affordable coverage than they do today.