I was invited to attend today’s October 19 OAHP Health Insurance “Lunch and Learn” luncheon by my state representative, Rep. Fedor. It is a luncheon and presentation for all state legislative aids and guests. This is the business card I designed for it. At 4:00 yesterday afternoon, they emailed me to tell me that the luncheon had been cancelled.
I didn’t realize before I accepted the invitation, but it was being presented by the big health insurance lobbying group, the Ohio Association of Health Plans. I looked at their website, and the trustees include five insurance companies that I contacted with my September 9 letter in which I asked them to fix their inaccurate provider network directories before Open Enrollment starts on November 1. In fact, three of the names were the same company officials to whom I addressed my letters, and they have yet to reply. It makes me sick that the insurance companies that won’t correct their provider network directories are so cozy with our lawmakers in Ohio, and nothing at all puts consumers on equal footing with the health insurance lobbying industry.
What a vivid example of modern democracy in action. Our legislative department gets wined and dined and legislators are given campaign contributions. Insurance companies dictate the laws in Ohio – look here at all of their “advice” to the Ohio Department of Insurance about the new provider network directory law Ohio made for 2016, that is totally one-sided and totally inadequate for the citizens of Ohio – you can see that it was written by the health insurance industry. How convenient that in Ohio, insurance companies are allowed to make the regulations that govern their business – regulations that are supposed to be made to protect consumers! Why don’t WE have a voice?
Insurance companies have the power to influence, and in Columbus, the insurance companies hobnob daily with the legislative departments of our state. What can the ordinary citizen do? Make a website? Send letters until our fingers are numb? Our letters are rarely even read, let alone considered. There is no fairness here. We are at the mercy of the healthcare industry. We will forever have completely bogus provider network directories.
And would you look at all those pharmaceutical companies lobbying our state legislators too!