Just Stop It!
Why do our legislators have such difficulty seeing the problem with bills like this:
Already successful in securing enactment of legislation to increase the level of hearing aid coverage in health insurance policies, Rep. Robert B. Jacquard (D-Dist. 17, Cranston) has introduced a bill aimed at assisting more hearing-impaired citizens.
Under Representative Jacquard’s bill, health insurance providers in Rhode Island would be required to provide coverage for cochlear implant surgery. A cochlear implant is a small electronic device that is used by individuals who are severely hard-of-hearing. Rather than amplifying sounds as a hearing aid does, cochlear implants bypass damaged portions of the ear and stimulate the auditory nerve, which sends a signal to the brain, enabling deaf people to hear speech more clearly. More than 35,000 children and adults in the United States have received a cochlear implant, and the number of surgeries performed grows each year by about 30 percent. …
Costs for the implantation procedure have a price tag of between $45,000 and $55,000. If there are complications with the surgery or the patient requires extensive rehabilitation, the total costs can amount to over $80,000. Although many health insurance companies cover the surgery in their policies, some are reluctant to pay for the procedure due to the high up-front cost.
From where does Jacquard think the reluctant insurance companies will get the money to pay for these expensive procedures? They’ll tack it on to everybody’s premiums, and if they can’t get away with that, they’ll stop providing health insurance in Rhode Island.
Perhaps the point isn’t simple enough for members of the General Assembly to comprehend: what we need in healthcare more than anything is competition. We need more providers, and to manage that, we may need to allow for a non-cochlear-inclusive program or two.