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More meddling: Shaheen example should be lesson

September 21. 2013 10:58PM

New Hampshire politicians should neither grandstand nor, worse, attempt to force health insurance provider Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield into altering the new health plans it will offer under the Obamacare circus in January. If Obamacare's market-meddling gyrations aren't lesson enough, surely Granite State officials must remember the outcome when then-State Sen. Jeanne Shaheen stuck her nose into health care management.

That heavy-handed government interference led to the situation in which our state's businesses and individuals still find themselves today: with very few insurance companies willing to do business here and New Hampshire individuals and businesses paying the second-highest premiums in the nation.

Shaheen's crusade for community rating drove out many insurance companies. Anthem is one of the few that remain and the only one to put forth a plan for individual coverage that meets the standards mandated under Obamacare.

No wonder that the Anthem plan, in order to be feasible at all, limits the number of hospitals (to just 16 of 26) and related medical practices in its new network. That's the fault of Obamacare, not Anthem.

As the head of one of the excluded hospitals noted, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) promised competition in the marketplace and that everyone could keep their own doctor. Neither is true, said Frisbie Memorial Hospital President Alan Felgar.

We didn't like the sounds coming from some state politicians last week, indicating that they may try to force Anthem to change its plans. State Sen. Bette Lasky of Nashua and fellow Democrat Sylvia Larsen of Concord even tried to turn this into a pro-abortion rights issue, complaining that a Nashua hospital that performs abortions wasn't on Anthem's list.

Nationally, Obamacare is a disaster about to befall on all of us. Republicans here, at least some of them, are trying to minimize that by not expanding an expensive Medicaid program that we can't afford. We certainly can't afford politicians messing even more with Anthem or any other insurer.

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