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New Health Connector Plan Blasted

By Chris Cassidy, Boston Herald
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

May 07--The Patrick administration's latest plan to salvage Obamacare in Massachusetts demonstrates a "complete disregard for public money" and places an "unnecessary financial burden" on insurers, another health care group said yesterday in a sign the industry is revolting against the idea.

"In my opinion, they are electing to solve for a political solution rather than for the best one," said David Shore of the Massachusetts Association of Health Underwriters. "The consistent lack of accountability and transparency throughout the Patrick administration's initial disastrous attempt to implement an ACA compliant marketplace in Massachusetts is only overshadowed by the hubris on display in their latest proclamation of their intent to run a parallel marketplace track."

Shore added: "Once again this highlights for all of us the unfortunate reality that bureaucrats are encouraged to conceal their failures, inflate their outcomes, and rarely, if ever, suffer any consequences for them."

State Obamacare web czar Sarah Iselin admitted the plan isn't perfect but insisted it is in the best interest of Bay State residents.

"Being in the position we're in has created a burden across all those stakeholder groups," said Iselin. "Unfortunately, there's not an easy and simple way out of this. Some of the concerns they're raising .... we're taking seriously, listening to, and will respond to as best we can."

The plan will cost approximately $100 million, and the state will likely ask the federal government to cover much of it. If that doesn't happen, "we'd have to have some hard conversations" about where to get the money, she said.

Shore's comments come a day after the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans warned that the latest Obamacare fix could drive insurers -- who have already shelled out $25 million to comply with the failed site -- out of the Health Connector completely.

"Our concern is any new cost to build out new systems -- including those that may not get used -- is going to ultimately translate into higher premiums for employers and customers," said Linzer.

"What the plans are raising are legitimate concerns," said state Rep. Jeff Sanchez (D-Jamaica Plain), the chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Health. "They need to address this right now at the outset. The Connector is asking them to do twice as much work in a tight timeframe and there remains a lot more uncertainty about the project timetable."

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(c)2014 the Boston Herald

Visit the Boston Herald at www.bostonherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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