Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Here are the facts on Obamacare.

Wait! If you don’t need medical coverage, don't ignore this message, I’m serious.
Even if you don't need it today, you will tomorrow, or someone in your family will.

The GOP (the tea party in particular) has succeeded in scaring the crap out of average citizens when it comes to Obamacare.
We need a frank and fact based discussion that people can follow and learn from.

The truth is- most Americans don’t understand how pathetic and expensive the current state of health care and health insurance is in this country.
It isn’t until one gets sick, or someone tries to decode the convoluted web that is health insurance that you begin to decipher a system that is byzantine in its bureaucracy and indefensible in its costs that are unaffordable for most. Healthcare is a basic human right, without it, we suffer needless loss of life and dignity.

I need to preface this discussion with a few facts:
The young and the lucky just go for regular checkups and pay a nominal co pay, they think all is well, until the unfortunate happens.
I am relatively young and healthy, it is only recently that my family and I have begun to use healthcare in earnest.
Many with insurance need to file for bankruptcy if they are diagnosed with cancer because of the exorbitant costs that are tied with treatments.
I am no expert in Obamacare, I can only provide what I think are bipartisan facts.
Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

1- Most of Obamacare doesn’t go into full effect until 2014
2- Obamacare allows young adults to remain on parents' policies until they turn 26.
3- Insurance For Pre-Existing Conditions must be given
4- Insurance For Pre-Existing Conditions is expensive
5- Under Obamacare all Americans will be forced to purchase insurance or they will be fined.
6- For those that think forced insurance is unconstitutional or impractical- think car insurance.
7- Obamacare will force employers to provide insurance or pay a fine of 2000 per employee.

1-employer-paid insurance, reported an increase of 9 percent, up from 3 percent last year.
2-annual premiums for a family of four climbed to $15,000 this year.

Annual employee contributions now total more $4,100 on average. That's more than 130 percent higher than back in 2000. The survey also found that, to cut costs, more employers are enrolling in high-deductible policies that cut annual premiums, but require employees to pay more out of pocket for medical care.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Questions and solutions:

The theory goes: if everyone is insured, premiums collected will increase and the price of health coverage should go down.
This would be the ideal solution but, if it happens to lower premiums is a very large unknown at this point.

For many employers, a 2000 fine is less than they currently pay for insurance per employee. Will some unscrupulous employers drop costly insurance and choose to pay the fine in lieu of providing coverage?

Will fines for a lack of insurance become an unbearable burden on American citizens?

Will expensive insurance policies coupled with huge deductibles impoverish an already weakened middle class?

Why is a for profit healthcare system so damned expensive? It isn’t just the costs of record keeping and unneeded tests that jack the prices up. The tests cost too damn much, but so does everything else.
To suggest that digitizing records will be a panacea is a joke, and it should be treated as such to anyone who brings it up as a solution to medical costs. That isn’t to suggest that it shouldn’t be done, and it certainly will bring costs down, but it is akin to treating a gaping hole in a patients chest with a Band-Aid.

There is an underlying rot to healthcare costs in this country, and it is the most pressing issue imaginable.

Part of that ROT belongs to people like Herman Cain; he willingly obfuscates what Obamacare does or does not do for personal gain. He is a rich man, and as a rich man he can afford the best possible insurance imaginable. Obamacare wouldn't affect the treatments he is able to pay for or the outcome of that expensive care in any way.

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