Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mr. Obama: we expect our paychecks by the 15th of every month

Right off the bat, let's call the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, what it really is: a tax designed to fund yet another social program while providing a crutch to the faltering Medicare and Medicaid programs.

What makes Obamacare different from any other social program? 

The tax comes in the form of mandating one to purchase a product (health insurance) whether one believes it is a good product or not.  A twenty-seven-year-old, for example, does not need the same sort of comprehensive health coverage as a fifty-seven-year-old and, most likely, would find the mandated minimum health plan a waste of his hard earned money.  By the same token, a fifty-seven-year-old is likely to find the minimum health plan inadequate, but would find the higher plan he needs too expensive to afford.

What does this mean in simple terms? 

Most younger people will be over-insured (paying a higher tax) and most older people will be under-insured (paying a lower tax). 

Who benefits from this new form of tax? 

The uninsured who couldn't afford their own healthcare insurance, either because of pre-existing conditions, low income, or both.

Who is disadvantaged from this new form of tax? 

The average, hard working, middle-class American, but who now finds their monthly premiums up to 200% higher under Obamacare with higher deductibles and higher out-of-pocket costs; the average, hard working, middle-class American who finds their hours cut to less than 30 hours per week so that their employer can avoid the mandated coverage small businesses of more than 50 employees would be required to cover; the average, hard working, middle-class American who must provide separate health plans to cover their spouse and children as employers switch to employee-only plans (like UPS and others already announced); every employee still paying Medicare and Medicaid taxes on top of being required to pay for the new required health care plan; the younger (under 35) who are required to pay for more than what they need; the older (over 45) who need more, but can't afford the new premiums to receive the same coverage they had prior to Obamacare taking affect.

What do the politicians not understand? 

The average, hard working, middle-class American places the security and future of his own family over the security of anyone else. 

Why is it important the politicians understand the importance of family before anyone else? 

Prior to Obamacare, most middle class Americans already felt they were overtaxed to fund failing social programs.  In our capitalist, free-market ideology, most Americans don't object to social programs that offer temporary assistance to struggling families who have hit hard times as long as that temporary assistance doesn't become permanent assistance at a cost that inhibits the average American from achieving the "American Dream" for his family.  Obamacare violates every principle of a capitalist, free-market ideology by offering a permanent solution to struggling families at the expense of middle class and richer families in an effort to make everyone equal in the healthcare field.  The redistribution of wealth to make everyone equal is the very definition of socialism.

What should have been "healthcare reform" if not Obamacare? 

Would you go to a grocery store, see there are no prices on anything in the store, yet still buy a dozen of eggs without knowing the price, first?  If you did, and found out at the register that what you thought was around $2.88 was really costing you $28.80, but since you already carried the eggs from the refrigerator to the register, you have to buy them, no refunds accepted, would you pay?  When you question the price, you are told that $28.80 is the price negotiated between the farmer, distributor, and store and that's why if you went across the street, you could have gotten the same dozen of eggs for $2.88 because they negotiated a better deal?  That is exactly how healthcare works.  Healthcare reform should have started at the top by answering the questions, and finding solutions for, the high cost of healthcare compared to just about every other country in the world.  Let's take an example.  The recommended preventive measure for colon cancer is to have a colonoscopy every five years after age fifty.  The price of the procedures varies from as little as $1,908 in Baltimore, MD to as much as $8,577 in New York City.  Even within the same city, the price of the procedure can vary by a couple of thousand dollars.  (By comparison, Switzerland offers the same procedure for $655.  In fact, in the 21 categories for all aspects of healthcare, as rated by the International Federation of Health Plans, a global network of health insurers, the US rated the lowest by margins as much as four times that of other countries in all 21 categories.)  We haven't even mentioned the price of the anesthesiologist, whose fees often cost more than the colonoscopy procedure itself.  There are many reasons for our convoluted healthcare system, but healthcare reform should have started with regulating healthcare pricing much like we regulate utility prices.  Procedural changes should have been mandated and not driven by lobbyists seeking to increase profits, such as requiring an anesthesiologist for a colonoscopy instead of allowing a gastroenterologist and trained nurse to administer Propofol, a sedative approved by the FDA, at a fraction of the cost of an anesthesiologist, but blocked for use by American Society of Anesthesiologists because substituting Propofol for an anesthesiologist would cut into an anesthesiologist's profits.  Mandating strict guidelines of which procedures and how often a procedure should be done and requiring patients to be informed of their choices and pricing before opting for a procedure.  In our colonoscopy example, there are other tests that could be done at a much cheaper rate and are equally effective (and mounting evidence suggests even more effective) at detecting colon cancer than a colonoscopy and any of the tests, including a colonoscopy, doesn't need to be done every five years.  Every ten years is sufficient and as effective at preventing colon cancer as a test administered every five years.

What can you do? 

If you are uninsured, are paying more for your employer sponsored plan than you were pre-Obamacare, being switched to an employee-only employer sponsored plan and you have family you need to get covered, or facing a cut in hours to take you off your employer sponsored healthcare plan, use Kaiser Family Foundation's calculator to get an idea of what you will pay under Obamacare.  Use the sample chart below showing your costs pre-Obamacare and post-Obamacare.  In the sample below, based on a real case scenario, coverage for the employee and his spouse through his employer increased by 200% and the deductible increased by 60% since Obamacare.  In effect, the employer opted for a plan comparable to the Silver Plan offered by Obamacare.  The employer saved a lot of money by passing most of the premium cost to the employee knowing that with or without the employer's contribution, the employee would still need to pay in the neighborhood of the "new" health plan offered by the employer.  (Let's face it.  Where is the incentive for an employer to offer cheaper and more comprehensive plans to its employees?)  Once you figured out how much more your "new, and more stable" (to use Obama's words) plan will cost you, print out your chart and send it to Obama, and, if you're ambitious, your Congressman and Senators (find your Congressional members) with this note: "This is how much your Affordable Healthcare Act will cost me and I simply can't afford it.  I expect a check by the 15th of every month so I can afford what you have mandated I buy."  If enough people take the time to make the point, maybe, just maybe, our politicians will stop the salesman pitch, realize their newest social program is destined for eventual failure (much like the present Medicare/Medicaid system), scrap Obamacare, and start real healthcare reform at the top.

Pre-ObamaCare Per Month Per Year
Monthly Premium: $194.00 $2,328.00
Deductible: $250.00 $3,000.00
Percent covered (after deductible): NA 100.00%
Premium: $582.00 $6,984.00
Deductible: $5,000.00 $5,000.00
Percent covered (after deductible) NA 80%
Additional policies to cover discontinued family members:
Additional Deductible:
Cut work hours to keep employer under ACA requirements (in dollars/week):
Balance Sheet
Cost Difference: -$388.00 -$4,656.00
Deductible Difference: -$395.83 -$2,000.00
Total differential cost: -$783.83 -$6,656.00

Posted by Five Drunk Rednecks

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