It is amazing to watch the Governor take credit for slapping price controls on insurance companies. Didn’t work for Nixon 40 years ago – and it is no smarter than a homeowner, when faced with a giant leak in the roof, who insists that a contractor keep slapping wallpaper up to hide the water damage.
The Commonwealth Connector was supposed to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time — that is provide near-free products to the indigent and also to act as a marketplace where small business owners and employees could shop for lots of insurance options.
The near-free products were marketed, with great success on the uptake but mixed results on improving access, improving quality and increasing preventive care, among other things. We’ve been there with the data.
But on the small business side, the Governor really has little to boast about. The Connector launched a small employer pilot program that allowed small businesses to subsidize employee health insurance purchases only in December 2008, more than two years after the Connector was established. In more than a year it attracted just 65 businesses and has now been replaced by a new program that offers just seven plans. Fewer than 1,500 small business employees are receiving coverage through the Connector.
In Utah, which has a far smaller population and only two (2 – yup, you read that right) people working in their exchange/connector, they have about 55,000 small business employees which have purchased health insurance through the Exchange. It offers 66 plans from a number of carriers, included the largest ones in the state.
Hardly anything to brag about. Au contraire, mes amis.