The Supreme Court has spoken and ObamaCare is the law of the land. It might be legal, but that does not mean it is a good law or program. Let me first say that I do not completely understand ObamaCare. But, neither did most of the people who voted on it. That did not stop them from screwing with the financial lives of everyone in America. With that said here is ObamaCare in a nutshell, followed by something Congress needs to do to fix the health care situation in America.
ObamaCare basically says that everyone in America will purchase healthcare insurance. It also says that employers who have over 50 employees must provide health insurance and that it must be affordable, as defined by the Federal government. If you do not buy health insurance then you will be taxed $95 per adult in household or 1% of your family income, whichever is greater. That tax rises each year until 2016, when it maxes out at 2.5% or $695 per uninsured adult, per year.
If the company with over 50 employees does not provide affordable health insurance, it will be fined $2000 per worker. Affordable is defined as the employee’s share of the premium can not exceed 9.5% of their household income.
If you are low income (100% to 400% of the Federal Poverty Line) you qualify for a premium tax credit. The credit is on a sliding scale, which caps the amount of money you have to pay for your health insurance, based on how much you make and how big your family is. So a family of 4 making $50,000 a year would pay the first $335 per month in their health insurance premiums. Then the taxpayers (you and me) pay the rest. If you make below 133% of the Federal Poverty Line then you qualify for Medicaid and the state you live in gets the bill.
Here is my analysis of the above. The majority of Americans are going to qualify for some form of subsidy for the health care insurance from the federal government. The more you make the less your subsidy will be. I won’t get any. BooHoo for me, but it also means that I now get to pay even more to subsidize even more people (I’m already subsidizing Medicaid) for their health insurance.
Next my company is going to have to ask me what my household income is, so they can make sure my premium is under the 9.5% threshold. (I am so looking forward to that meeting) If it’s above that 9.5% level then they have to eat the rest. OR they could just say “Bleep You” and stop providing healthcare insurance, and pay the $2000 per employee penalty. It costs them a lot more than that to provide the insurance. My premiums already went up 40% when ObamaCare’s mandate of requiring my insurance company to cover “children” up to age 26.
So I, and maybe you, have a better than even money chance of having to find my own health insurance. But, as I won’t qualify for any government subsidy, I will have to pay full price for health insurance. Good-bye at least 10% of my income for some bare bones policy. But, the Family of Four I mentioned about has their premiums capped, so they can
ObamaCare says that if you don’t have health insurance and you get cancer or hit by a bus; you can then go and apply for health insurance then and the health insurance company will have to pick up the tab from the point forward.
There are no winners with this. It’s not like you know when are going to get ironed out by RTD. There will be a lot life saving expensive treatments, operations, and Band-Aids until you can meet with your insurance agent. You will probably be luckier if you get cancer. There will likely only be 3 to 6 visits to the doctor and several tests that lead to other tests and a referral to a specialist before they figure it out. At some point in there you will probably schedule a visit with your insurance agent before they start cutting and the big bills roll in. So much for “No one should have to declare bankruptcy because they get sick.”
But after you get insurance, your premiums are capped, with the taxpayers picking up that bill. Your insurance company now has their own problems. ObamaCare removes the cap from their coverage. You could run up 10 million in medical bills and they are on the hook for it. I wonder how many people are going to wait until they are or their spouse is pregnant, before they apply for health insurance?
Continuing with your bus accident; The insurance company is collecting a premium from you, but not 100%. Depending on your income and family size, Uncle Sam is stealing money from the rest of the population (Oh, I meant taxing the rest of the population) to give to the insurance company in your name. All the while the taxpayer is trying to figure out how to pay for his own health insurance.
They already tried this nonsense in Washington State. They made the insurance companies cover everyone, but did not require them to buy the insurance. Well, actually they did require them to buy it for two years, and then reversed that part of the law. The individual health insurance companies ran away screaming. There were none left in the state, in just a couple of years.
This is a stupid law that pretends to address the issue of the COST of health care. The problem has never been insurance. Even without insurance no one in America goes untreated. The problem is the bills afterwards. Changing from having insurance companies pay the bills to having Uncle Sam do it, is like moving the furniture of a burning house to the garage.
What needs to happen is to bring choice and competition to the health care arena. Start with making it legal for a resident of one state to buy his insurance from a company in another state. Each state has mandatory things that the state say an insurance company has to cover to sell their insurance in their state. You are prohibited from buying insurance that does not cover those mandates. Let’s throw that nonsense out the window. Let the people decide what insurance coverage is best for them.
Second, there are plenty of antiquated laws on the books called Certificate of Need. That means that if a company wants to open up a hospital in a given area that company had to demonstrate there is a need for that hospital. No Need. No hospital. That is asinine. If a company wants to risk their capital and build a new hospital; let them. The competition is what is good for the area. Better services, at lower prices.
Third, let’s have some price lists at hospitals. If you need an X-ray, you should be able to know how much that is going to cost at each facility. Then you go to the one providing the cheapest X-ray. When hospital A is paying a technician to watch her equipment, instead of use it, the price will come down to attract customers.
Fourth, and this one will hurt; the people need to be writing the check for their services. Insurance is supposed to cover unplanned things. I realize when the blood is flowing, you are going to the closest facility to stabilize the situation, but until people begin to feel the pain of writing the check, and then vote with their feet by going to a cheaper facility, there is no reason for the hospitals to do anything about their price structure.
Fifth, the hospitals need to get paid. They are not charities. There needs to be a combination of things to make this happen. First most states have high risk pools for people with serious pre-existing conditions. But, these people make up a small segment of the society. There is no need for ObamaCare’s mandate; where these exist. All 50 states need to get with the program (Colorado already does). Second, here; I happen to agree with Mitt Romney and Barrack Obama here; everyone should be required to carry health insurance. The Federal government can not mandate that; but the states can. States have made auto insurance mandatory; health insurance should be, too. Insurance rates will come down when you can spread the cost out over many people. And everyone, the poor included, need to have skin in the game. Health care insurance is not a right. Compassionate people may help the poor out, but they need to pay something.
Sixth, Health insurance premiums should be tax deductible, no matter how you purchase them. If you are self employed or get your health insurance from your company, your premiums are already deductable. But, if you want to buy health insurance privately, you pay for them with after-tax dollars. We need to level the playing field here, and start down the road of separating health insurance from employment.
Finally, none of this can happen until ObamaCare is repealed. There is only one way that will happen. Obama and every Democrat Senator up for election needs to be sent home. If you don’t want 1/6th of our economy to be run like the Department of Motor Vehicles you had better choose wisely this November.