Insurer of Last Resort

“No problem Joe, I’ll make a call for you”

Insurance Fraud & Political Empowerment

By Bill Rusteberg

Texas school districts are mandated to provide health insurance for employees and their families. State taxpayers underwrite a portion of the cost while employees and local taxpayers fund the rest. In many cases the employees bear most of the financial burden.

Health insurance is expensive. A family may pay $1,000 or more per month for less than stellar benefits. Many forgo coverage, hoping they won’t need it. It is endemic in communities throughout Texas, impacting working families everywhere. The uninsured rate at 24% is among the highest in Texas.

The truth of the matter is less than dismal as many community members are at peace knowing they have a safe harbor waiting for them in times of dire medical need. They have come to understand that elected school board members hold the key to immediate health care coverage for loyal constituents, or soon to be loyal constituents. Friends and neighbors can attest. The know their local school district is the insurer of last resort. Life is not complicated.

Under the ACA, all pre-existing conditions are covered immediately. No waiting periods. School board trustees have come to realize this provides tremendous opportunities to solidify their base and increase their markers for future favors around election time. For some, it even provides a means of enhancing political contributions year round. Leveraging political power outweighs ethics. The Duke of Duval, George Parr, was an early Texas adopter of similar strategies as Landslide Lyndon can attest.

Take the case of Joe Smith. Joe is a self-employed mechanic in town. He has no health insurance. He is diagnosed with cancer. He can’t afford treatment and the ObamaCare public exchange open enrollment period just expired. So Joe goes to John, local school board member and cries for help. “No problem Joe, I’ll make a call for you” says John.

John calls the school superintendent and says “Henry, my good friend Joe Smith, a mechanic here in town, is looking for work. He’s an excellent mechanic. Can you see if we can get him a position at the bus barn. He can start tomorrow! I really appreciate your support. I will return the favor one day.”

The superintendent, knowing John represents a majority on the board, knows which side his bread is buttered on. “Tell Joe to visit HR this afternoon. I’ll tell them to expect him!” says the superintendent.

By the end of the week, Joe is working full time at the bus barn. Health insurance coverage begins the first day of full time employment. Pre-existing conditions are covered immediately. Life is not complicated.

After receiving $100,000 in health benefits, Joe’s in remission. He quits his job at the district and goes back to his little shade tree mechanic business on the west side of town. John visits him to see how he’s doing, asking about his family, his health, and wishing him well.

The marker is set.