Delicious Irony

Today while reading the WSJ I came across an article on the impact of some changes to the medical insurance laws.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild recently read in their health plan’s newsletter that, beginning in January, almost 12,000 of its participants will lose access to treatment for mental-health and substance-abuse issues. The guild’s health plan represents one of a small number of unions, employers and insurers that are scrapping such benefits for their enrollees because of a 2008 law that requires that mental-health and substance-abuse benefits, if offered, be as robust as medical or surgical benefits. By dropping such coverage, providers can circumvent the requirements.

Changing laws to mandate higher SERVICE requirements on employers (and in this case, guilds or unions) obviously causes COSTS to rise, as well. Since not all costs are borne by the government and thus invisible to the average non-governmental employee, businesses have to take steps to cope with these laws and reduce costs somewhere.

The irony of all this is that probably no group in the popular imagination is as associated with mental illness and treatment for substance abuse as actors; from reading the popular press you would get the picture that many of them spend some time in “rehab” at some point in their career.

And even more you can just picture in your minds eye some aging, pompous actor or actress chaining themselves to the fence in favor of this type of mandate with some sort of sign over their head saying “Justice for All” and stating that doesn’t everyone deserve the best coverage?

But the net result of this sort of mandate is no coverage for anyone, since the plan can’t afford to move from a normal plan to a “gold plated” plan, so they are dropping it entirely.

And no one needs mental health assistance & rebab more than the deluded actor base on the left coast that funds and agitates for just this sort of mandate in the first place.

Now that’s irony.

Cross posted at LITGM

4 thoughts on “Delicious Irony”

  1. They must have failed to get an exemption. Now that is strange.

    Back in the days when health care costs were in control, child birth and mental health were not covered by most insurance. Mental health in particular is extremely easy to game. At one point some years ago, I was on a board for Champus health care. That’s the uniformed military dependents if anybody doesn’t know. The mental health coverage was a horrible problem. It was mostly teenagers and some of them were being flown back from Guam to have in-patient treatment. It seemed that every rebellious kid was being sent to inpatient mental health and some of them for months. I guess it was nice for the parents but the Champus provider was tearing its hair out.

  2. It is misleading to talk about “what the employer pays” toward healthcare or anything else. Employers organize work and production, they don’t pay anything on their own account other than taxes on profits. Their customers and employees pay.

    See the Journal of the American Medical Association: Who Really Pays for Health Care?

    The “employer contribution” is a political diversion. The overall compensation offered to employees includes their benefits, salary, state unemployement taxes, and the “employer contribution” toward social security and medicare (SSC-Med). The employer considers the entire amount to be the compensation offered. The employer buys the benefits for the employee, pays the required txes, deducts required withholding, and pays the remainder in cash. In other words, health benefits are purchased with part of what could be offered as cash.

    ObamaCare increases health insurance premiums and requires the employer to pay that increase. But, the employer pays this cost of employment out of the production of the employee. So, the employer must get around that requirement, offer a lower cash wage, or fire the employee. The employee will likely blame the employer, not ObamaCare.

    –> The Employee Pays Higher ObamaCare Costs

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