Assurant

Note: Here is my latest column for Kaiser Health News. When Assurant Health, a Milwaukee-based health insurance company, announced this month it was laying off 130 employees in Milwaukee and Minneapolis, it blamed the health care overhaul for its struggles -- and at least one prominent critic of reform quickly chimed in. "There are more and more Obamacare job-killing stories piling up like this one," conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote in an item with the headline, "The White House War on Jobs." I know a lot of smart, thoughtful health reform critics. Malkin is not one of them.

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Imagine this: Not long after getting word that you are HIV positive, you receive a letter from your insurance carrier. They're revoking your coverage because, upon examining your medical records, they've decided you knew about your condition and hid it from them. You have no idea what they are talking about; you bought this policy before the diagnosis. But when you inform them of this, and even provide some evidence that their investigation is in error, they ignore you.

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Via the Boulder Daily Camera:  Jennifer Latham is a Colorado preschool teacher with four children, who suffered multiple, debilitating injuries when she was hit by a car in 2005. She spent two months in the hospital recovering, running up $185,000 in medical expenses. She was lucky to have health insurance. Or so Latham thought. Shortly after coming home, the insurer, Time Insurance Co., told her that it was refusing to pay the bill and that it would be canceling her coverage outright. The reason?

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Scott Brown is running on a promise to block the health care bill in Washington. But, as you may have heard, he is not running on a promise to roll back the reforms that Massachusetts implemented three years ago. In fact, he says he supports those reforms. I had been planning to something about how this proves Brown is an empty suit, as far as substance goes. Remember, the basic architecture of the coverage scheme in Massachusetts is virtually identical to what we'd do nationally if the bills before Congress pass.

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