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Is Obamacare Wonderful for America?

US FlagBy DefendUSA …

On Monday, July 15th, I had a “Holy Hell, Batman!! Sham-WOW! Ka-BOOM!!” moment when I read Harry Reid’s statement that “Obamacare has been wonderful for America.” Surely he isn’t claiming that all those CBO reports are fraudulent, is he?

I actually took the time to read through Obamacare. HR 3200 took me three days to read and that included me skipping some stuff. HR 3200 then became HR 3590. So as I reviewed the law to see whether Obamacare is as wonderful for America as Harry Reid thinks it is, I looked at sections from HR 3590 and at parts of the reconciliation bill as displayed by the Rules Committee. By the way, this is the bill that Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass in order to “find out what is in it.”

Here are some of the highlights that drive me crazy.

Let’s say you are young and healthy and don’t want health insurance. Maybe you are starting up a small business and need to minimize expenses. One way to cut costs is obviously to drop health insurance coverage. If you’re healthy, chances are that you won’t need it anyway. Section 1501 of Obamacare says that you have to pay $750 annually for that “privilege.” I run a small business and I have already been priced out of the market. My family’s health care premiums increased more than 100% since Obamacare passed. From June of 2006 to September 2010, I paid $484/month for 6 family members. Then, our premiums increased to $636 and then to $897. I dropped coverage after the initial increase because I couldn’t afford to rob from my mortgage to keep our health insurance. Money has been tight and keeps getting tighter. That extra $400 could represent a second mortgage payment for some!

On the other side of the income spectrum, suppose that you are a high earner. Section 9014 imposes an additional 0.5% payroll tax on any income over $250,000 for those filing a joint return and on any income over $200,000 for those filing an individual return. That amount will rise to a 3.8% tax if reconciliation passes and will also apply to investment income, estates, and trusts. (Section 1402).

You are young and healthy and want to pay for insurance that reflects that status? Not quite that easy. Your premiums are also going to subsidize the guy who smokes three packs a day, drinks a gallon of whiskey a week and eats chicken fat off the floor. Section 2701 of Obamacare prohibits insurance companies from underwriting on the basis of a person’s health status. Auto insurers provide policyholders with rates based on their performance, and “good driver” rates have had at least some effect in modifying the behavior of drivers.  Under our new health care system, one can get a kidney transplant due to disease, become an alcoholic, get free dialysis and “medical holidays” and still be eligible for another transplant with insurance coverage to spare!

Perhaps you are an employer and you would like to offer coverage to your employees and their minor children. No can do. Section 2714 of Obamacare requires that you purchase a policy covering ambulatory patient services, emergency services, hospitalization, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; prescription drugs; rehabilitative services and devices; laboratory services; preventive/wellness services; chronic disease management; pediatric oral and vision care for employees and all dependents age 26 and younger. Yes, you even have to provide coverage to the 25 and a half year old able-bodied son living in the basement and playing Xbox all day.

Employers in the small-group insurance market won’t be able to offer policies with deductibles higher than $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families. See Section 1302 (c)(2)(A). Large employers (defined as at least 101 employees) will pay a $750 fine per employee if they don’t offer health insurance. Those fines could go as high as $3,000 under the reconciliation changes. You could always ask for a waiver, though. You’d be in good company if you got one. Destitute corporations such as McDonalds and labor unions like the SEIU have already received their waivers. Small businesses … eh … not so much. Don’t look for common sense anywhere near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. when making these determinations.

Section 3003 (i) allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services to use physician claims data to issue reports that measure the resources physicians use, provide information on the quality of care physicians provide, and compare the resources used between one physician and another. Of course this will all be just for “informational purposes”. It’s not like the government will ever use it to intervene in a physician’s practice, patient care, or private lives. Our government would never spy on you or mine your data. Did I mention that they’ll also get access to your financial data and 10 years of tax returns – regardless of the ethics or tax code rules in existence for accounting?

Health insurers want to raise premiums to meet costs? Section 1003 states that if that increase is deemed “unreasonable” by the Secretary of Health and Human Services it will be subject to review and can be denied.

Section 1404 of the Act allows the government to extract a fee of $2.3 billion annually from the pharmaceutical industry. If you are a pharmaceutical company, what you pay depends on the ratio of the number of brand-name drugs you sell to the total number of brand-name drugs sold in the U.S. So, if you sell 10% of the brand-name drugs in the U.S., what you pay will be 10% multiplied by $2.3 billion, or $230,000,000. Under reconciliation, the “fee” starts at $2.55 billion, jumps to $3 billion in 2012, then to $3.5 billion in 2017 and $4.2 billion in 2018, before settling at $2.8 billion in 2019 – and there is joint and several liability for paying the fee. Under Sections 9008 and 9009 of the Act, Big Pharma can now prepare to face the “Pharma Press-Ganey” dummies who will determine their fate. Satire sucks when it’s so close to being true.

Under Section 1406, the government will extract a fee of $6.7 billion annually from insurance companies. If you are an insurer, what you will pay depends on your share of net premiums plus 200% of your administrative costs. So, if your net premiums and administrative costs are equal to 10% of the total, you will pay 10% of $6.7 billion, or $670,000,000. In the reconciliation bill, the fee will start at $8 billion in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, $1.9 billion in 2017, and $14.3 billion in 2018.

Even if we think that Obamacare doesn’t affect us, it does. I used to have a health insurance policy with a lifetime limit. Insurance companies are now forbidden to offer such policies, which will only add to the expenses in the program.
I will end up being forced to buy what the government says I need or I will pay $2400.00 in taxes while someone else gets subsidized insurance and I do without. For every meme ever thrown out about how the poor or the indigent NEED health care, that health care can’t be at the expense of the working people whose taxes fund the system and who ironically don’t earn enough to afford the insurance coverage that they are paying to give to someone else. The redistribution of our hard-earned money to pay for benefits of those who CAN work, but choose not to work – in some cases because of laws like this – will kill this country. Our founding fathers recognized that once a nation forgoes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness in favor of more power to the government, we all lose.

President Obama misled the American public multiple times. He said that we would get to keep our own doctors. I didn’t. I couldn’t afford to. He said that health care premiums would decrease. My health care premiums increased. He originally said that the plan could cost less than a billion dollars to implement. Now the cost estimate is nearly $2.6 trillion. And the plan is soooo good that Congress is now seeking exemptions from its requirements. Should that happen, there will be a movie titled “DefendUSA goes to Washington.”

There is no way that an average family of five can afford an extra $20,000 required for the bare minimum coverage required under Obamacare – especially not on an average $60,000 salary. Obamacare will destroy families who are already living on the edge. Full-time jobs will be a thing of the past. Wages will stay lower over a longer period of time. Food stamp use will explode. Government jobs will increase – but just remember that an increase in government employment equals more consumption, not more production. Where do you think that the government gets the money used to pay government employees?

As we move toward a socialized system of medical care, we need to learn from other countries. Canada has a national health system that is unable to provide access and quality care. The person who designed it now says it is a terrible model.

Our system needs change, and I don’t have all the answers, but the changes implemented in Obamacare will significantly undermine the system that we do have.

Not quite the hope and change I was looking for.

15 comments

  1. So, Obamacare is going to cost me more than 10 times my annual income?

    • There are three “tiers” of plans. If you choose to go without one, then the tax you pay for non-participation is a percentage of your income. This could change, but based on all I have read, looks like mine is 20% of income. On top of federal and state unemployment we pay for being a small business, it’s a lot of money.

      • My income is much less than three thousand dollars per YEAR.
        I do not pay income tax, zero of zero is still zero.

        I am a veteran. I do not have any health insurance. I get all of my health care through the VA, without owing any co-pay.

        • And there you have it. I do not mind paying for our veterans, as I too, am one. I do mind paying out the nose in taxes to provide something for others who can work, and choose not to. I reiterate that nothing is free, it comes at a cost to someone. I call it wealth redistribution, using Other People’s Money. (OPM).
          I just wonder, though. As taxpayers, we do pay for Congressional benefits and for veterans who are retired or medially eligible for disability. How do you feel about them all getting special treatment over the people they were elected to represent? Because as far as I am concerned, if it ain’t good for the goose, why should be be forced to endure this complete POS bill?

        • I appreciate your service. I am also a veteran. Our medical center served the overflow that the regional VA Medical center could not handle. Now, the VA is not even processing claims from veterans who are forced to cover their own service related complaints. You can get health care in the VA if you can get in. Just be sure you are there at 830 in the morning; dont mind that they close 1 and a half hours for lunch and pretty much desert the place by 330.

  2. As if all that’s not enough, the amount that your employer spends on your health insurance will now become taxable income. Just one more way that those lucky enough to have company arranged insurance will be paying for those who do not.

    Want a reality check? Here’s how the Health Care Act has already affect where I work:

    I work for a small, family-owned business (<25 employees) and for nearly nearly 50 years we've offered a respectable health insurance plan & taken care of our employees. Unfortunately, we've just about given up on offering health insurance after 2013. The Health Care Act has already put a strain on our current ability to do so and has made all future prospects abysmal. In 2012 we had to switch to an HSA plan (still good, but no longer traditional), this year we weathered the increase by changing to a higher deductible plan. Next year? Hell, we'll probably get a compensatory raise and a 'good luck' – which, sadly, is more than most will get from their employers.

    Basically, we've been priced out of the market. This isn't a question of greed or poor business skills, we're a healthy, decent company who would have continued to offer insurance had the Heath Care Act not passed or had the effects of the Act not been so egregiously harmful to our ability to stay in business. How does that make *any* sense if the intention of the bill was for more people to have access to health care?

    Heinlein was right folks, TANSTAAFL. Somewhere, someone has to pay the bill.

  3. And here’s a great link about the goose, gander and the some pigs being more equal than others…

    http://www.redstate.com/2013/08/02/the-categorical-imperative-should-be-applied-to-obamacare/

  4. I live with a job creator who manages to provide excellent health benefits for all of his employees. Your “sky is falling” rhetoric is a little nauseating.

    Either you make a commitment to provide for your employees or you don’t. There are ways to do it if you care. Or there are ways to whine about it if you choose to be dramatic, and play victim and partisan politics.

    My democratic hubby provides better insurance for his employees in a smaller business at a lower cost than MY republican physician partners do. There is nothing related to Obamacare in this scenario. One just cares more than the other and has a better business sense. It may be a matter of opinion who cares more and who is a better business man, but I know which one I choose.

    • Loo-cy!!! I got some ‘splainin’ to do!!
      It’s those who don’t believe the sky is falling who are surprised the most when it actually happens. For you, it appears that it is a black and white issue. Provide and you “care” about the employees, otherwise you suck–er, you’re not a better business person.

      It’s all well and good when an employer can provide “great benefits.” The problem is that a company who provides a percentage of benefits must now be responsible for “all” with a full-time worker. And there is no provision in the bill mind you to stop the “double coverage” say, if a spouse is already covered under another plan as it was before…
      I am too small to be forced to provide. But I have clients who have great businesses that were growing until Obamacare passed. It will cost one client nearly 1 million dollars to keep all of his full-time people to comply. What does this do to the employees? They are going to take pay cuts or lose their jobs to the part-time worker so that those wages don’t drop. Go figure. Do spare me the victim and partisan bs because partisan does not apply when profits and wages drop and nor does it matter if you are employed be a dem or a rep. Money talks.
      The truth cannot be changed. This is what the law is doing to companies everywhere, unless of course you got a waiver.

      Apparently, you also still believe that costs are not going up for insurance.

      I believe 18 states have already acknowledged that their premiums are increasing. Simple economics and sound business practices do indicate that the price has to increase, especially when the young(heavily relied upon to fund this fiasco of a bill) are simply going to pay the tax and forgo those high premiums. There are still going to be 30 million without health insurance as it was in the beginning. Have you even considered that?

  5. How about those mean insurers and the way economics works…(snark)

    http://rare.us/story/aetna-drops-out-of-obamacare-in-connecticut/

    And how about those premiums in OH, FL going up…and that is just the tip of the iceberg. They say 58%, but…
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/06/news/economy/obamacare-premiums/index.html

  6. Guess what guys? It doesn’t matter what any of you think. Obamacare ain’t goin’ anywhere. Its here to stay. Personally, I think it will change medicine in a positive way. It will force change. It will force liability reform. Hopefully it will eliminate ridiculous testing. Why keep complaining about something that is going to happen? Why don’t you figure out how to adjust to it? Medicine is changing. You either change with or you are left behind.

    • Wow, GIRLVET. It will not force change the way you think. How has it worked out for Canada, The UK and Germany? Well, in Canada, the original architect for NHS has said the plan was a bad model. Throwing good money after bad and not increasing quality or access. Same for the UK and Germany. Those populations are smaller than the US and surprise, they have not fared well. Canada serves 34 million, the UK 60 million, and Germany, 80 Million. I don’t know why you believe we should all sit back and enjoy the ride, it will affect you, too whether I accept it or not.

    • Guess what guys? It doesn’t matter what any of you think. Obamacare ain’t goin’ anywhere. Its here to stay.

      It’s just a law, passed by a democratically-elected legislature. A bad law, according to the majority of Americans, passed by a legislature which currently has a whopping 14% approval rating, by the way.

      It’s not a Royal decree, writ in stone. And it’s not lèse majesté to question or even criticise it.

      Remember when it was still cool to carry “Question Authority!” placards and put “DISSENT IS PATRIOTIC” bumper-stickers on our cars? Good times, good times. Now I guess it’s just “SHUT UP AND OBEY”, huh?

  7. Girlvet,

    Please cite where liability reform is mentioned in any meaninful way in Obamacare. A couple million throw at doing a study doesn’t count in a a $2.7 trillion law.

  8. It’ll force change all right.
    It’ll force families into poverty when one or both breadwinners is fired outright, or has full-time hours cut to part tiome hours, and then gets the double whammy of paying more to get less.

    Punching a hole in the side of the Titanic forced changes too.
    There was no more first/second/third class accomodation, and everyone was treated equally.
    Shame about all the bodies.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    But when you let people with the economic understanding and discipline of four year olds (or RainMan) make the rules, surprise at the outcome isn’t really justifiable.

    Screaming and gunfire, somewhat more so.

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