Wednesday, January 21, 2004
All-of-a Premium Twist

How do you define “household?” Two adults with 3.5 kids? One adult with four children? How about a 78-year old grandmother and a 24-year old unemployed PlayStation wizard?

All good choices. Unless you’re Team Reform.

To Willard Mitt and his minions, a household includes … one child, and not much more.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Last year, the Legislature and the Fraud Governor increased the Children’s Medical Security Plan (CMSP) premium. CMSP is a managed care program that provides insurance to uninsured dependent and adopted youths from birth to age eighteen. (source: workworld.org) The new premium was to equal $45.32 on households earning between 200 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. (source: MGL, C 118E, S 10F(a))

Which meant that applicable households would pay $45.32, right?

Wrong. But thanks for asking.

On November 1, your Department of Public Health announced that families enrolled in Plan would be required to pay a monthly premium of $45.32 … per child. (source: Daily News Tribune, 1/9/2004)

Pesky advocates complained, saying that Team Reform was breaking the law, that the premium was supposed to be per household, not per child, and that the increased dunning could cause families to drop coverage.

But DPH spokespersons demurred, saying, "something had to be done to be sure that we could continue to deliver this important service to children" and "we don't have any evidence that anyone will drop out." (source: Daily News Tribune, 12/17/2003)

Then, four weeks later, flip-flopped and capitulated. And yes, when we say 'capitulated' we mean 'admitted they lied.'

DPH announced that the CMSP premium was being "reduced," and charged per household, rather than per child. And proving once again that they have no shame, Team Reform took every ounce of credit for the change, saying "this decision was made on behalf of working families who were struggling to keep up with the premiums and would have had to drop out of the program." (source: Daily News Tribune, 1/9/2004)

Uh, wait a minute, didn’t you just tell us that the premium was necessary to preserve the very program from which no one would be dropping out?

Who's in charge at DPH these days, Mr. Bumble?

Hey Fraudo, rather than focusing your energies on Washington DC, try spending a little more time on Washington Street.

Because when it comes to competency in public health, please sir, we want some more.


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