John Oliver on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” took a long and unflatteirng look at health care sharing ministries.
The plans are pitched as low-cost alternatives to insurance though they are not insurance plans. Oliver explained how people with catastrophic costs can discover their needs aren’t covered. He also detailed how loosely regulated the plans are in some states. Oliver set up one of his own in Florida to illustrate.
In theory, members of the plans agree to contribute to meet needs of others in the plan. The plans enjoy a tax loophole for members created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010. In practice, well, bad things can happen to well-intentioned people. Contracted guarantees of coverage are non-existent. You must depend on faith.
It’s an interesting piece. I was drawn to it because I remembered back in April 2020 when Arkansas Insurance Commissioner Allen Kerr departed his state job to take an executive position with Oneshare Health, a health care sharing ministry. It, incidentally, was in a spot of controversy at the time with regulators in the state of Washington. Mike Huckabee is also a board member of Oneshare Health. The organization also identifies state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe as a director.
Does it make you feel more comfortable to know that legislation allowing such ministries in Arkansas had as its lead sponsors then-Sen. Jon Woods, now serving time in federal prison, and then-Rep. Kim Hammer, a Baptist preacher whose public ministry includes declaring war on Democrats and invoking the Bible while doing so.