Mickey D and health care – an exception to the rule?
Note the operative word – "may". It doesn’t say it will, it doesn’t say it might, it says it "may" drop it because of the type of health insurance it offers and the impact of new regulations governing what amount of money must be spent by insurance companies for care. Specifically:
The requirement concerns the percentage of premiums that must be spent on benefits.
Last week, a senior McDonald’s official informed the Department of Health and Human Services that the restaurant chain’s insurer won’t meet a 2011 requirement to spend at least 80% to 85% of its premium revenue on medical care.
It is called the "medical loss ratio", but in reality it is government telling a business how it must spend its money. What the business is telling the government is, given the type of insurance offered by the business, driven primarily by the type of business it does, it won’t be able to comply with the regulation and will have to drop it’s present coverage altogether.
Of course this is bad news for the administration which is still out there pushing the lie that if you like your insurance nothing changes and you get to keep it. Naturally this flies right in the face of the lie and it’s such a high profile company that, well, something has to be done.
Like, make them an exception to the rule maybe? You know, special interest government. If you’re big enough and you can cause us enough embarrassment, we’ll “except” you from that which we require all the other drones to comply.
And that appears to be exactly what’s in the works if Jonathan Cohn is to be believed:
By this morning, both McDonalds and the administration were saying the story is overblown. McDonalds says it has no plans to drop the coverage and that it’s been in discussions with the administration over how to make sure it can keep offering the policies. The administration is saying much the same thing–that it’s aware of the issue, has been talking to industry representatives, and has already made clear these plans will be exempt from some of the early regulations on insurance.
Of course those plans obviously aren’t yet exempt since one assumes the legal team at Mickey D’s was able to successfully interpret how the new law would apply to them. So what Cohn is really saying is “nothing to see here citizen, move along, nothing to see” – a fairly routine attempt at spinning a situation in which the administration got caught with its pants around its ankles on the road in front of a school into one that’s “no big deal”.
But it is a big deal. And, if “these plans” are exempt, why? And which plans aren’t exempt. Is Burger King off the hook too? How about Taco Bell?
More importantly, where does the government get off telling a business how to spend its money? Cohn tells us it is because the want to make sure executive salaries and perks aren’t excessive and overhead is kept to a minimum. I say it is plain and simple unwarranted government intrusion that is becoming all too familiar since this administration has been in charge:
More important, the administration has yet to finalize the rule about how insurance companies spend their money (or what is known as the "Medical Loss Ratio".) It’s entirely possible the administration will phase in the requirement slowly. Most likely, then, McDonald’s employees who like these plans will get to keep buying them, at least for the immediate future.
Good thing we can read the bill now to find out what’s really in it, isn’t it?