Archive for February 12th, 2013
The central parts of ObamaCare don’t roll out until 2014, but the wheels are already falling off this clunker. The latest news from four federal agencies is that 1) insurance will be a lot less affordable than Americans were led to expect, 2) fewer people than promised will get insurance and 3) millions of people who have coverage through a job now will lose it, thanks to the president’s “reforms.” Oh, and children are the biggest victims.
Start with the IRS’s new estimate for what the cheapest family plan will cost by 2016: $20,000 a year to cover two adults and three kids. And that will only cover 60 percent of medical bills, so add hefty out-of-pocket costs, too.
The next surprise is for parents who thought their kids would be covered by an employer. Sloppy wording in the law left that unclear until last week, when the IRS ruled that kids won’t be covered.
Starting in 2014, the law will require employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer coverage or pay a penalty. “Affordable” coverage, that is — meaning the employee can’t be told to contribute more than 9.5 percent of his salary. For example, a worker earning $40,000 a year cannot be required to pay more than $3.800.
But the law doesn’t specifically mandate family coverage — and now the administration says that won’t be required.
You can see why: If the lowest-cost family plan (again, two adults and three kids) is to run a whopping $20,000, and if the employee’s contribution is limited to $3,800, the employer’s tab would be $16,200 — adding about $7.40 an hour to the cost of that employee. Wisely, the IRS announced on Jan. 30 that employers won’t have to pay for dependents.
Look folks, you want to know why we have the health cost problems we have? I’ll lay it out for you – in a way you can’t refute or argue with:
- There are no published prices. In no other line of work is it legal to do this. Nowhere. You can’t sell someone a hot dog and tell them after they eat it what it just cost them. You can’t hire a lawyer and have him tell you “I’ll tell you what this will cost when we’re done.” You can’t hire an electrician and have him tell you “I’ll make up a bill when I’m done.” In every line of work except health care, this is illegal. There are even laws for “major” consumer work (e.g. contracting, auto repair, etc) where they must give you a binding written estimate before beginning work!
- Robinson-Patman makes it illegal to discriminate against like kind purchasers of goods in pricing decisions when the effect of doing so is to lessen competition. While it does not apply to services, it darn well should. Whether you are paying privately, you have private insurance or you’re a Medicare patient if you need to have a breast reconstructed due to cancer the complexity of the procedure does not change. Yet it is a fact that the privately-billed amounts for uninsured (“rack rate”) patients are often ten times or more that billed to insurers or Medicare. Try charging a cash purchaser 10x more for a TV than someone who finances that TV on your in-house credit facility and you would be shut down and thrown in jail.
If you watched CSPAN yesterday you heard the speeches. All those who rose in favor of the bill talked not about The Constitution and how this bill was a solution to the problems facing America’s Health Care System – a system that consumes some 17% of our GDP – but rather it appealed to how individuals with specific circumstances would be helped.
And what you got was a screwing instead, as usual. And as usual the American People sat still and took it. Now you’re going to be bankrupted by it.
I made a prediction at the time (Wayback machine #3) that turned out to be wrong in the Roberts Court — but the rest appears to be spot-on and playing out now:
Since neither party is willing to have an honest debate and discussion with Americans relating to the amount of care we can afford to provide people, including but not limited to care as we age, for those who are unable to pay for it on their own, and since both parties have been co-opted by the medical device and pharmaceutical industry who have clamored for “more and more” of GDP (while delivering relatively small incremental “benefits” in the form of extending life, albeit at a questionable level of quality), this is what we’re going to get.
But we haven’t had a capitalist, free-market health system in this country since the 1960s and early 70s. The day when you last wrote a check directly to your doctor for care as a routine part of your visit was when it died.
The day when you have a “prescription drug card” and paid $5, $10 or $20 for your drug, no matter whether it cost $25 or $250 if bought in cash, was the day it died.
The day when you got charged through cost-shifting of Granny’s care to you, her drug cost to you, and the illegal alien who shot himself in the foot with a nail gun – is the day our capitalist health system died.
We cannot recover our capitalist health system without addressing these points. The four-point plan, along with federal legal strictures against anyone trying to bar someone’s “first sale” rights, will restore our capitalist health system.
If we can’t do that, and I suspect we cannot because we refuse to hold politicians to account for being bribed wholesale while we all demand something for nothing, then the only rational alternative remaining available to us is to ditch the current financial rape room party run by the “medical establishment” and expose the entire mess as a line item on the federal budget, so at least we know exactly how badly we’re all being bent over the table each and every year.
And three years later, rather than do something about it, you’re now starting to see how bad it’s going to get.
“Reports of premium increases up to 39% are deeply troubling,” Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), who chairs the energy committee, said in a statement. “At a time when millions of Americans are struggling to keep their health insurance, we need to know what possible justification there could be for increases of this magnitude.”
That was in 2010. On top of those 39% increases are new reports of 100% increases – clean doubles — coming in the next year for huge numbers of health “insurance” plans that you are forced to buy or get penalized by the IRS.
Isn’t it wonderful when you allow the government to force you to buy something — and then allow a so-called “private company” to choose what to charge for it?
How much would a dozen eggs or a gallon of milk cost if you had to buy at least one per week under penalty of law, but the so-called “free market” was both able to conspire to fix prices and charge whatever they wanted?
The answer is simple: Not one penny less than you have.