Remember Naomi Klein and her book The Shock Doctrine, which details the way the corporatocracy uses big upheavals to usher in unrelated, often brutal “reforms” that benefit the statist-corporatist alliance? I’ve just read how our own corporatist GOP Senator Roy Blunt is trying to pull a similar fast one on a smaller scale – a little bit of unrelated destruction in the wake of a baby quake – although capable of very nasty, large-scale consequences.
Specifically, Blunt is trying to take advantage of the Bishops’ temper tantrums about contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and their whining about “freedom of religion” to do his pals in the Insurance Industry a solid. According to Think Progress‘ Igor Volsky, Blunt is proposing an amendment to the ACA that would allow insurers, employers, and every other Tom, Dick and Harry to gut coverage for just about anything that strikes their wandering fancy:
Under the measure, an insurer or an employer would be able to claim a moral or religious objection to covering HIV/AIDS screenings, Type 2 Diabetes treatments, cancer tests or anything else they deem inappropriate or the result of an “unhealthy” or “immoral” lifestyle. Similarly, a health plan could refuse to cover mental health care on the grounds that the plan believes that psychiatric problems should be treated with prayer.
Individuals too can opt out of coverage if it is contrary to their religious or moral beliefs, radically undermining “the basic principle of insurance, which involves pooling the risks for all possible medical needs of all enrollees.” As the National Women’s Law Center explains, Blunt’s language is vague enough that “insurers may be able to sell plans that do not cover services required by the new health care law to an entire market because one individual objects, so all consumers in a market lose their right to coverage of the full range of critical health services.” As a result, a man “purchasing an insurance plan offered to women and men could object to maternity coverage, so the plan would not have to cover it, even though such coverage is required as part of the essential health benefits.
Do any of you remember when Blunt was the House’s (totally inept) point person in the fight against the ACA? If so, you remember his four-page, short-on-details alternative plan and how the industry just loved it. You also probably remember how he wallowed in insurance industry dollars. Nor, I suspect, will you be surprised to learn that he’s still at it, wallowing in insurance industry dough, I mean. Trashing the ACA too, of course.
(See also DailyKos‘ coverage.)