When Affordable Health Care Died

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


On Tuesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was forced to concede that some people who will be buying health insurance for themselves next fall will face higher premium costs due to provisions in the healthcare bill. A new study released the same day reveals that insurance companies themselves will be paying out an average of 32 percent more for medical claims. Both stories join the growing list of indicators that point toward a grim reality: when it is fully implemented, the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 will be anything but.

Sebelius tried to put a happy face on the ongoing debacle better known as Obamacare, claiming that people who have minimal plans they can afford will be better served by the more expensive, but more generous, plans. “These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market,” she said. “But we feel pretty strongly that with subsidies available to a lot of that population that they are really going to see much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.”

In other words, not only will premiums be going up, but taxpayer-underwritten subsidies will be as well — meaning many Americans will be soaked twice.

Furthermore, Barack Obama’s oft-stated contention that Americans who already have health insurance can keep the policy they have now joins a rather large list of lies this president has promoted to advance his agenda.

Yet Sebelius insisted that when the new online marketplaces for buying insurance become operational, competition will drive down the price. “As a former insurance commissioner I have watched what transparency does to a market,” Sebelius said. “This is the first time ever in the history of the United States that insurance companies have to file their rates, it has to be very transparent, they have to offer the same kind of coverage without 5,000 tiny little lines and internal caps, and they have to compete for customers,” she contended. “And I am a believer in the market strategies that in and of itself will minimize the rate impact.”

Sebelius’s faith in market strategies is belied by a more daunting reality. While competition may mitigate price increases,  in 2014 insurance companies will be forced to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Thus, as the aforementioned study by the Society of Actuaries explains, sicker people will be joining the pool of those insured, driving up costs. “Claims cost is the most important driver of health care premiums,” said Kristi Bohn, an actuary who worked on the study.

The Obama administration attempted to counter that argument with the claim that the study focused on “only one piece of the puzzle” and ignored “cost relief strategies,” including tax credits aimed at helping people afford insurance, as well as “special payments” that will be granted to insurers who cover a larger number of sick people. At the White House briefing Tuesday, Sebelius also claimed that comparing the marginal plans people currently have, to more comprehensive plans available under the new law, isn’t fair. “Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus,” she said. “They’re really mortgage protection, not health insurance.”

The report does indeed focus on one piece of the puzzle, namely on those people who buy insurance directly from insurance companies. And while it notes that the cost of medical claims per person in some states will decline, “the overwhelming majority will see double-digit increases in their individual health insurance markets.” The report further notes that due to differing population and insurance rules, some states will be slammed far harder than others. By 2017, the estimated increases would range from a low end of more than 20 percent for Florida, moving up to 62 percent in California, 67 percent for Maryland, and reaching a whopping 80 percent in Ohio and Wisconsin.

On the bright side, the report estimates that states such as New York and Massachusetts will see double digit declines in costs for claims in the individual market, and that 32 million more Americans will have healthcare insurance.

The report did not do estimates for employer plans, because Obamacare is focused on helping people who don’t have coverage through their workplace.

Unfortunately, the CBO’s latest estimate of people who will be pushed out of employer provided insurance coverage has more than doubled to seven million Americans. Those seven million Americans formerly covered by their employer will also make a mockery of the president’s promise about keeping the insurance one already has.

Some of those employers are crying foul as well. The US Chamber of Commerce is appealing to the Obama administration to give special relief to businesses in states that have refused to expand Medicaid. Obamacare had mandated that states expand the federally funded health insurance plan for the poor and disabled, but the Supreme Court ruled that aspect of the bill unconstitutional. Fourteen states have opted out, meaning employers will either have to underwrite insurance for low-wage workers, or face a $3000 fine for each employee who enrolls in a state exchange program.

The Chamber of Commerce points out that the administration is exempting poor people in those same states from the individual mandate that requires them to buy insurance or face a fine. “If an employer penalty is only triggered by a would-be Medicaid eligible employee, that trigger should be exempted or excused,” the Chamber of Commerce said.

study by Jackson Hewitt Tax Service reveals why. “The associated costs to employers could total $876 million to $1.3 billion each year in the 22 states that have opposed, are leaning against, or remain undecided about expanding Medicaid,” it states. If the administration grants this exemption, the taxpayers will once again pick up the tab–which is likely cheaper than the tab taxpayers will be saddled with if more states opt in on expanding Medicaid enrollees.

As for insurance companies themselves, they estimate that premiums will “increase sharply” beginning next year with the nation’s largest carrier, UnitedHealth Group Inc., predicting that rates for consumers buying their own plans could increase by as much as 116 percent. Small business rates could go up as much as 25-50 percent as well. Insurers are “not being shy that premiums are going to increase in 2014,” and are urging brokers to “brace our clients,” said John Lacy, vice president of group benefits at Bouchard Insurance, a brokerage in Clearwater, FL.

Furthermore, the CBO has another headache for the Obama administration. The latest revision of the ten year cost estimate for Obamacare is now $1.6 trillion, nearly double the $898 billion the CBO estimated those costs to be in 2010. Thus, yet another promise made by the president, that the healthcare bill would be “deficit neutral,” is revealed as fraudulent.

Actually, even the initial CBO estimate was fraudulent. It was made for the years 2010-2019, but the bill isn’t fully implemented until 2014. In other words ten years of taxes were raised to pay for only six years of expenditures. As bad as that is, the most daunting prediction made by the CBO is this: despite the huge costs of this new entitlement, the number of “uninsured non elderly people” will still total 30 million in 2023.

And then there’s the tax component. The Joint Committee on Taxation issued a report noting that the 21 tax increases associated with the bill are now nearly twice the original estimate made in 2010, rising from $569 billion to $1.058 trillion by the summer of 2012.

Former New York lieutenant governor Betsy McCaughey, one of a handful of Americans who, unlike congressional Democrats, actually read all 2,572 pages of healthcare act, reveals a number of additional costs contained in the bill. The reason more than 7 million employees are likely to lose employer coverage is because the bill “is so expensive, it adds $1.79 per hour to the cost of a full-time employee,” she writes. This will push employers in retail and fast-food industries who currently pay half that amount into putting many of their workers on part-time hours. (One is left to wonder whether the lost wages of hardworking Americans are ever added to CBO cost estimates.)

She further notes that the law includes “half a trillion dollars in tax hikes, including a new 3.8 percent tax on gains from selling any asset, including your home, small business, stocks or bonds,” and that administrative costs to implement the bill “will soar from $29 billion when President Obama was first elected to $71 billion by 2020, some $40 billion dollars a year more in bureaucracy.” That amount of money McCaughey reveals is enough “to buy private health plans for fully half of all Americans who are now uninsured because they can’t afford it.”

Which bring us to one final cost–and another broken promise–namely that Obamacare will cut the cost of premiums by $2,500 a year. According to the IRS the least expensive government-sanctioned health care plan for the typical family of two adults and two or three children will be $20,000.

From now until November 2014, it behooves Republicans to remind Americans, who will have had firsthand experience with the full effects of the bill for several months leading up to the mid-term election, exactly what was promised–and exactly what was delivered. It may be the electorate’s last chance to save themselves from this debacle, even if it means saving the Republican Party in the process. Republicans don’t deserve such salvation, but if the public can be made to truly understand what the real costs of Obamacare are, they may save Republicans–in order to save themselves.

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  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    Terming it "Affordable" Care is the left's penchant for doublespeak, in order to hide their real intentions – the implosion of America's hyper successful capitalist economy. To have ever termed ObamaCare affordable, was to flee from reality, and on purpose!
    Aside from all the fungible numbers (I co-owned a US based corp tax practice with my husband, and we termed fuzzy financial papers, "garbage in, garbage out"), the fact of the matter is that Obama & gang devised his sale of "remedial" health care, straight through Rules for Radicals. It mirrors his 2008 campaign, from start to finish. Throughout, "hope and change" was used to reel in clueless masses.
    In any case, to be more than accurate – aside from all the fungible math they use – ObamaCare was all about the deconstruction of the economy, as well as the disarming of Americans – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/07/barack-hussei
    http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/18/obamas-march-

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • pierce

    Plain and simple, affordable healthcare died when the government got involved. Only a very few of the 535 elected representatives in Washington know what and why they are there any way. How they ever came up idea of Obamacare is beyond me, and probably way beyond them too.
    If the truth be known, most of what Washington has concocted is useless. Don't get me wrong, there are some good things, but they are few and far between. Life is complicated, but our pols have made it more complicated than it should be, and Obama has contributed the most, by listening to his advisors too much.
    We don't need half of what he has done, and most of that because of lies told to him, and he believed them.

    • tagalog

      God bless gridlock among our federal lawmakers! May we have more of it!

    • Mike

      America should be wary of any law which Congress passes for US — but not for THEMSELVES.

      In fact, we should seriously reconsider ALL of the perks which Congress has voted for its' members. If eevery law they passed applied to themselves — no exceptions — as well as to the rest of us, we'd see a whole new demeanor in DC — and a vastly DIFFERENT set of laws.

  • cxt

    I'd say "we told you so" to the Left–but they didn't listen then and they won't listen now—just like nearly every time we have a political disagreement.

    The Left lines up and votes lockstep even when you have a "you have to pass the bill to find out what is in it" situation

    And the public pays the price.

  • poetcomic1

    I'm so excited about Obamacare. It is the Waterloo of liberal progressive insanity. A slow motion, jaw-dropping disaster that will impact every single American in the worst way. And then what?

    • tagalog

      If we're lucky, the health insurance companies won't have gone out of business, and people will still be going to medical school, and we'll be able to go back to private health insurance (hopefully with our employers paying part of the premium).

      • EarlyBird

        Completely wrong: Private health insurance companies were the HUGE winners under Obamacare. It doesn't replace private insurance companies, it mandates that all people HAVE private insurance, and pays for those who can't afford it. It legally mandates MORE, not less, customers for private insurers.

        It most certainly is not the mythologized "government takeover of the healthcare system," or European-style "nationalized healthcare" (if only!). It is tepid and way too expensive way to get the uninsured covered, and to eliminate the pre-existing conditions problem which could have been done so much simpler and cheaper.

        Here is a quote from a pro-single payer system guy who I heard lecture on it, who is very anti-Obamacare:

        "…the health care bill just signed into law entrenches the centrality of private health insurance companies and contain no serious proposals to limit costs. More people will get hit with deductions, co-pays, annual limits (for several more years), exclusions, out of pocket expenses."

        • Chris

          Nonsense. Obamacare is designed to eliminate the private insurance industry. Then dr. Barry rides in and saves the day with single payer just like the NHS in Britain.
          Socialism and power are all that matter to our little dictator.
          Obamacare has absolutely nothing to do with healthcare.

        • tagalog

          Wrong about what? I didn't make any claims.

          But here are a couple:

          I have some trouble seeing private insurance companies, who, under Obamacare, will have to cover pre-existing conditions at supposedly lower premiums (presumably to be enhanced by those great government subsidies similar to what providers under Medicaid and Medicare get), making HUGE profits. In fact, as the CBO points out, the cost of claims will become substantially higher.

          In fact, given that I have some experience with PacifiCare, and knowing that health insurance companies are very cost-conscious because their profit margin is thin, I suspect that mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions without raising premiums will drive private health insurers out of business.

          • trickyblain

            'I suspect that mandatory coverage for pre-existing conditions without raising premiums will drive private health insurers out of business."

            That's the reason for the "mandate." The theory goes that the increased costs of insuring pre-existing conditions will be more than made up by forcing those with no insurance — primarily healthy young adults in their 20's and 30's — to buy it or pay a penalty.

            Will it work? I have no idea. But that's their theory.

          • EarlyBird

            You seemed to be implying that Obamacare was going to kill off private health insurance companies.

            You're right that the profit margins of these companies is not huge, and I for one don't consider them greedy villains. Their profits are low because of the ridiculous costs of healthcare are so high.

            One of the ideas behind O-care is to ensure everyone is paying in, and offsetting the higher costs of insurance. Depending on what you read, either costs are still going up, or the rate at which costs are going up is stalling.

    • Rifleman

      Then the democrat party blames capitalism, big business, greedy health care providers, and Republicans for the mess, the msm backs their narrative, and we get a 3rd rate single payer system. 'Progressives' are fine with disasters, their policies create them, and it's their excuse to assume more power.

      • EarlyBird

        Rifleman,

        Obamacare isn't even CLOSE to a single payer system, which is where the government is the one and only payer of healthcare costs, i.e., "nationalized healthcare." Obamacare isn't anything like the mythic "radical takeover of healthcare" as it's been described, and nothing that single payer nations like Canada, England or Cuba would recognize.

        It has only accomplished two goals – at a ridiculous cost – however laudable: 1.) getting the uninsured insured, and 2.) fixing the pre-existing conditions exclusions. But #1 could have just been an expansion of Medicare, and #2 could have been done with a single, straightforward bill.

        It's by no means a solution to healthcare costs. But it's also not this radical takeover of the healthcare industry, either.

        • Loyal Achates

          There are a number of cost-saving measures built into the ACA (all of which the GOP has tried to get rid of) but I do agree the job could have been done much better with a simple national insurance scheme – expanding Medicare to everyone.

          • ChrisNichols

            What are those cost saving measures? Name one things the government has reduced the cost of once they get involved with it. Government expands costs because they distort market signals, they produce nothing hence they don't know what things cost.

        • ChrisNichols

          Insurance is pooling against risk, if you have a pre-existing condition, the risk of you getting that ailment is gone. How will that reduce costs? Why would we expand Medicare, it's already has 45trillion in unfunded liabilities.

          • EarlyBird

            Chris, I'm sure you recognize that there are real human needs that need to be met, like care for those with pre-existing conditions. Surely you're not ready to discontinue coverage for any hard working, decent person who has the audacity to get sick.

            Healthcare is a very complex market, and it is nothing like a genuinely free market with intense competition, like say, consumer electronics, where prices come down while quality goes up. The US has the highest cost of healthcare with the worst outcomes of all industrialized nations. Those that can afford it get world class healthcare, those that don't have poor outcomes, but the mass of us in the middle get middling healthcare that is way, way too expensive for us and our employers.

          • ChrisNichols

            And why isn't it a genuinely free market with intense competition? The federal government mandates the kind of care you have to purchase with certain plans already, and they don't allow for portability, or competition across state lines, which would lower costs. I have human needs and pre-existing conditions and this hard-working person with the audacity to get sick, meets them himself. The reason we have the highest cost of healthcare is because the federal government, Medicare, is already the biggest insurer in the country, they deny the most claims and well as pay most of the bills. We also produce most of the drugs and procedures in the country which requires money for research and development. A consequence of this is that we are the largest consumer, which would probably have something to do with cost now, wouldn't it? None of these modern procedures or drugs we have come out of these single-payer crapholes. We don't have the worst outcomes either, the Europeans don't adjust for levels of education, ethnic composition, and income. Tell you what, next time you need an important procedure, go to the U.K. Canada or Germany. Maybe you can tell me why Europeans come here?

            "…but the mass of us in the middle get middling healthcare that is way, way too expensive for us and our employers. "
            Did you read the article, healthcare is going to get more expensive because of this bill. Now I ask you again, how can an entity that produces nothing reduce costs?

          • EarlyBird

            "The federal government mandates…and they don't allow for portability, or competition across state lines, which would lower costs."

            Totally agree.

            "The reason we have the highest cost of healthcare is because the federal government… is already the biggest insurer in the country…"

            Then single payer systems abroad would be far more expensive than the US.

            Our cutting edge private R&D doesn't account for our higher costs. There have been technology advances in all industries, and as technology ages, and patents expire, it gets cheaper.

            "Maybe you can tell me why Europeans come here?"

            Because of our great technology. So what? The question is access for Americans.

            Among the many, many costs are:

            Perverse incentives for doctors – they don't make money for keeping you healthy
            Lack of direct billing and transparency.
            The cost of billing services -average 30% of a practice's costs!
            Unnecessary procedures and drugs.
            Having MDs do the work that RNs could easily do.
            Malpractice insurance rates (and specious lawsuits).

          • ChrisNichols

            Again, billing services, having to fill out government paperwork and complying with mandates is where most of that 30% comes from. As I said before, government mandates you buy certain coverage you don't need as well. That lack of direct billing, yeah like Medicare and Medicaid. If you have a procedure that is less than your deductible you don't need to go through a 3rd party, just pay it yourself. Doctors will come down on price if you don't go through insurance, I did it with my back surgery. Patens may expire, but researchers want to get paid for new ones, as well as their work. If you think a Doctor is gouging you, go to a different doctor, they have bills to pay too, or do you think we should have the old Soviet style system where the surgeon makes as much as the guy mopping the floor.
            "Malpractice insurance rates (and specious lawsuits).
            So you agree we need tort reform, those specious lawsuits by scum like John Edwards are why they have to carry malpractice insurance in the first place. That also causes a rise in more expensive procedures because you have lawyers forcing doctors to perform more tests and procedures they wouldn't normally do to avoid litigation.

          • EarlyBird

            The inefficiencies of Medicare are the same for private insurance. The perverse incentives are the same. The cost of billing is the same. Hospitals overcharge whether Medicare or private insurance. It's a terribly inefficent market.

            "Researchers" don't get paid for their inventions, the company does- as they should. And much of the innovations are first found in basic, federally funded bench research for which there is no profit model. I happen to have worked in clinical trials/drug development for the past 20 years.

            Yes, we agree on the need for tort reform, and a lot of other things.

          • ChrisNichols

            Really, the inefficiencies are the same? Then why does Medicare have a 45 trillion unfunded liability. If you remove federal impediments and let them compete just like any other market prices go down. And your solution is the European single payer system that you love. The NHS in Britain is the third largest employer in the world and it only has 60million people, how many bureacrats will we need? Researchers work for free? Do you do your research for free? What breakthroughs have you made? The company doesn't pay them. Are you saying there is no private funding. As for the profit model, it works, what happens when federally funded i.e. taxpayer funded research fails? They just take more.

          • EarlyBird

            Relax, Chris. Not every discussion has to be war.

            Basic science researchers get a salary from grants and universities, and discover basic things about human biology for which there is often no profit, but which are enormously important. Often the knowledge doesn't lead to practical applications at this stage.

            Drug manufacturers take that basic biology knowledge and hopefully transform them into practical new drugs and devices, and of course do and should make a profit from it. It takes about $300 million dollars for the average compound to go from the bench to the pharmacy.

            This is probably the best example of public and private cooperation there is. Private industry could not possibly stay in business for very long figuring out the human genome, for instance, because it is so very costly and no way to monetize it. But it will probably be private industry, using government-gained knowedge, that will create practical usages of it.

            That's how it works.

          • EarlyBird

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          • EarlyBird

            Chris,

            My other message got deleted/delayed some how.

            I was writing that federal researchers, who make critical discoveries about human biology but which can not be (and often should not be) monetized, create the basic knowledge for private researchers to hopefully create new drugs and devices which are practical, and profitable.

            Private companies would go bankrupt discovering, for instance, how a disease works, if there is no way to make up the enormous investment.

            Private researchers would not have the information they need to create new products without the feds, and the federal researchers' knowlege would be meaningless without private industry coming up with innovative technologies. Both work hand in hand.

          • EarlyBird

            Oh, I had also mentioned that it takes on average $300 million dollars for a compound to go to the bench to the pharmacy. One of the reasons drugs cost so much is that pharma has put so much money behind just the ones that actually get to market, let alone the many compounds that never get out of Phase I.

        • Rifleman

          Read my stand alone post below, EarlyBird. Obamacare is designed to bring about a single payer system, and barney frank admitted it on video to some fellow moonbats who were upset that obamacare wasn't one, and were hounding him for it. Obama, his heath care advisors, and appointees have talked of this "intermediary," or "transitional" phase, and obamacare is obviously it. It's certainly 'working' like it is.

          • EarlyBird

            There's no doubt that many want a single payer system. Ironically, the Obamacare half measure may be the worse of all worlds – not "nationalized" enough, and just interventionist enough to screw things up.

            I have read, however, that the RATE at which healthcare costs are going up is slowing. We'll see.

    • mlcblog

      The trouble is that the blame will be put on the insurance companies, the doctors, the HMOs, anybody but O.

  • chris gleason

    We know what is going to happen, we know when and how and we know who is responsible for this horror. My question is, when do we rise up and show our outrage at what is being done to us and to our children. Where is the backbone? Why aren't our elected representatives doing their jobs for us? WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

    • ltcdmward

      While listening to one of the Conservative talk shows a couple of days ago, the subject came up of "Low Information Voters" (LIVs), a term which I believe was originated by Rush Limbaugh. But the caller expanded on the idea by introducing the concept of "High Disinformation Voters" (HDVs), or voters that by American standards are highly schooled (as opposed to really educated) and seem to know a lot of stuff that is not true (a phenomena that Ronald Reagan commented on so glibly in the 1980s).

      There are many elected representatives that are expressing outrage at what's going on, but the LIVs and the HDVs are not getting the truth in sufficient numbers to vote an effective change. Until the LIVs and the HDFs have a Significant Emotional Event (what I'll call a SEE) that is unadulterated by the spin meisters, they will not SEE. So splat! We are already over the cliff.

  • Spider

    Pierce – Sorry it wasn't 535 representatives that foisted this monstrosity on us since not a single Repub voted for it. They need to bring up the fact before the mid-terms that the Dems shoved this through in the dark of night – literally – and they need to be held responsible for the damage it will do..

  • tagalog

    The Affordable Care Act is so inconsistent in its application of benefits and penalties that it should have been held to be unconstitutional on that basis alone.

    It appears that the justices of the Supreme Court are among the people who didn't read the law. Justice Scalia admitted that in open court. It's the job of the Supreme Court to interpret the law; how can they interpret what they haven't read?

    Recently, New York legislators also passed a gun control law that they didn't read. We need to get rid of legislators who vote for a proposed law without having read it. While they're still sitting in office, we need to refuse them their compensation on the ground that they're not doing their jobs. Why are we still allowing these damn fools to be paid for doing nothing?

  • Rifleman

    Obamacare was designed to be the "intermediate step" in the transition to a single payer system, as many democrat proponents, like barney frank, admitted before it was even "deemed" to have passed. It's designed to run up the price of private care, kicking as many out of the private insurance market as possible and into the government exchanges. It's 'working' and when they have somewhere between 50% and 70% of the people in exchanges they will formalize their single payer system. Then we'll have tort reform so fast it makes the trial lawyers' heads spin, and they'll suddenly be a lot less generous with care, especially with the elderly, whose social security and medicare they don't have the money to pay.

    • Steeloak

      You got it exactly right. Obamacare is designed to devastate the private healthcare industry in America and create chaos that will all be blamed on greedy insurance companies, hospitals, and doctors. Single payer will be touted as the "solution" to the problem and trumpeted everywhere by the Democrats and their media shills.
      Obama knew he could never get the single payer system he wants until he destroyed the current system that most people like.

      Obama said as much in this video back in 2003. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpAyan1fXCE

  • James

    Sebelius said, “Some of these folks have very high catastrophic plans that don’t pay for anything unless you get hit by a bus…" She frames it as a bad thing, when it is not. Most care can be afforded by most people paying cash out of pocket like they would any other service (pay cash or charge it and pay it off over time). A catastrophic plan makes sense, because it provides an affordable safety net.

    What most people really need isn't expensive insurance; they need to be able to pay the same prices that the insurance company pays hospitals and doctors. Insurance companies pay only 10-40% of these bills. If uninsured patients were allowed to pay hospitals and doctors the same amounts, then there would be no need for "Health Care Reform".

    BTW, everyone should stop using the term, "Obamacare" and start calling it what it is: "Socialized Medicine." I'm sure Obama loves that the switch of the synonyms is almost universal (and it's all about him).

    • EarlyBird

      My last (small) employer could only afford "…catastrophic plans…" for its employees (I happened to work for an oncologist). I was paying nearly $600/mo for me and my wife, and the deductible was $2,500, and with that I was allowed to go to the doctor once a year for a check up. Woo hoo! No coverage for drugs.

      "Most care can be afforded by most people paying cash out of pocket like they would any other service …"

      Just getting a mole taken off cost me nearly $800 on that plan. It was an MD who spent literally 5 minutes removing a mole, and then sending it to a pathology lab for screening. $800 is ridiculous. What about the average guy with a family making $50K? How does he afford these "out of pocket" expenses? He doesn't, and so he waits for his kids' fever to turn into whooping cough and bring them to the ER, which costs everybody.

      "What most people really need isn't expensive insurance; they need to be able to pay the same prices that the insurance company pays hospitals and doctors."

      So how to doctors and hospitals stay in business?

      • EarlyBird

        Oh, correction: it was almost $800/mo for my wife and me.

      • James

        Doctors & hospitals stay in business by getting paid 10-40% of their charges paid by insurance companies. If they would only allow the uninsured to pay the same, they would have even more business. You would have been better off not buying the insurance… ($600 x 12) + $2400 deductible = $9600… you could buy a lot of medical care for that much money. And, if you didn't use all of it, you could use it for other things you needed to buy.

        However, you recognize the problem of high fees by stating your $800 example. That same doctor would have accepted somewhere between $80-$320 from an insurance company in order to pay the bill in full (depending on the insurer).

        Some doctors recognize this craziness and do offer much lower rates to the uninsured, because they recognize that these people need affordable care. What's it to the doctor if he gets paid by the insurer or the patient (his administrative costs would be lower with the uninsured patient).

        The person who goes to the ER will pay significantly more than the person who goes to their family doctor or an urgent care clinic. An ER visit will set you back $700-$2000, while an urgent care visit will cost only $100-$300. Waiting on a disease to turn into whooping cough is illogical, both from a parental responsibility to the child and also financially (a terrible decision).

        This is a problem that the hospitals and physicians could literally solve overnight, if enough of them would decide to do so.

        • EarlyBird

          "…you could buy a lot of medical care for that much money. And, if you didn't use all of it, you could use it for other things you needed to buy."

          That is sort of the basis for the medical savings accounts, by the way, something I think is innovative.

          You are illustrating how crazy the whole costs of healthcare are. The question is why does it have to be that way?

          I'd love to pay $100 a year cash for my annual physical, $20 if I need a flu shot, and go on my merry way, all while paying say, $1,000 a year spread over 12 months to cover any big accidents, surgeries, chemo, etc. I might need, but it doesn't work that way.

  • gee59

    Two scariest words in the English language from a politician "Trust Me"

    • tagalog

      Right up there with Reagan's Nine Most Frightening Words in the English Language: "I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

  • G. Van

    There are no surprises here . The sad thing is, this was all predicted ,but it was rammed down the collective throats of the American people anyhow. The majority of media outlets chose to help sell the plan rather than investigating the substance of the law.

  • surfcitysocal

    "…meaning many Americans will be soaked twice." There is another way we the people will be soaked twice: the mandate. If an employer chooses to pay the "penalty" for not providing the employee health insurance, then it falls to the individual, who will get taxed if they choose not to buy. This is essentially a double tax on one person. I don't know why no one has fought this.

  • James

    The Obama administration says, "the study focused on “only one piece of the puzzle” and ignored “cost relief strategies,” including tax credits aimed at helping people afford insurance…" They are ignoring the fact that these "strategies" or subsidies (that's what the Act calls them) only mask the overall cost of the ACA.

    Health care policy costs that may have become affordable to a family, if they got a subsidy from the government, have now increased so much that the resulting discounted costs are higher now than the policies were before the Act was passed. People are now in the same position as they were before: They cannot afford to buy insurance. ACA has greatly increased the costs of healthcare and given the people who was intended to help nothing in return. It's simply created more and more bureaucracy and lifelong employment for healthcare lawyers and CPAs.

  • Horace

    Rifleman has it right. The actual Obama/Democrat plan is to force in a Single Payer National Health System. The libs said so a long time ago. There will be a massive government and lib media propaganda blitz as soon as the prices start to rise for private health care. The price rises will be characterized as gouging by the Private Health Insurance industry and as being caused by those evil Republicans trying to wreck the system by refusing to make the necessary adjustments. The Repubs will quake in their booties as usual and whine while the Dems "fix" it with Single Payer. KYAG. (kiss your __s goodbye.

    • James

      The real question is why they want a single payer system. Clearly, that is what the ACA is designed to do; all the interim fussing is necessary as transition steps along the road to hell.

      I think they want it because the government can then unionize all the workers and create a vast army of loyal Democrat voters. What do you think?

  • Gordon

    Please explain to me, if Obamacare is the wonderful answer to medical insurance, then shouldn't the first people to sigh up, and lead by example be the President, VP, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the rest of congress? Why are some powerful Unions allowed to be exempted? From the begining it sounded and smelled fishy, shouldn't all Americans be required to participate?
    Also using President Obama and his administration's numbers, 30 million americans are without affordable Health Insurance. Even realizing the 30 million figure included some very generous accounting, the latest tally of Americans exceeds 300 million. So for less than 10% of the population, the Democrats have ruined the best health care system in the world.

  • Midwest Grandma

    Maybe some of the good doctors and staff will have medical ships outside the territorial waters, for we people who want to pay for our health care. When I read somewhere China does not have socialized health care, I wondered why. Then was told it is TOO EXPENSIVE AND PEOPLE DO NOT GET GOOD CARE.
    Go figure!
    Best advice I have is hide your money, close your businesses, stock up on supplies, and let Obummer and his troops flop around in their waste and fraud pool and get ready for some really scary times in this country.

  • Mary Sue

    Why do people use Insurance just to go see a doctor? You don't use car insurance to pay for oil changes!

    • James

      If they did, oil changes would cost $1,459 if you didn't have the car insurance coverage. Your insurance company would settle the bill for $49, but the insurance would cost you $500 per month to buy.

    • EarlyBird

      Mary Sue, you're Canadian so don't know how it works down here.

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