The Case for Health Care

The recent delay of the employer mandate is a just another indication that the legislative behemoth that is Obamacare, is overly cumbersome, not well thought out, and simply the wrong approach to what ails our health care system. A recent Examiner editorial properly pointed out the archaic approach that Obamacare really is – a heavily bureaucratic system in a digital age that will be, and already is, slow on implementation and ineffective in delivery. Even Obama’s biggest supporters, the unions, are finding this out and they are not happy. Unions are worried that the law will push employers to reduce many workers hours to part time, which is happening, and simply drop coverage for others who will then be subsidized by the new exchanges. And speaking of exchanges, the announcement of the delay of the employer mandate will now potentially expand the enrollment of the exchanges, which will explode expected costs, and of course all of this will be done on the honor system, since no verification will be required, which is a potential for enormous fraud. Add to this, the possible immigration reform which will exempt the newly minted citizens from the mandate, and add millions of low skilled workers to an already over supplied market and you have a recipe for huge unemployment in a category of wage earners who are in desperate need of relief.

I think we can also agree that health care insurance is not actually health care. For that you need a doctor, and a recent report paints a grim picture on the future of that practice. Why on earth would we turn a very highly skilled practice into essentially a minimum wage job? Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement rates are low, and with the lack of any tort reform in the bill, malpractice insurance continues to put the squeeze on doctors resulting in many of them leaving, or planning on retiring early. And remember death panels? Well, we’ve already seen that, haven’t we? Amazingly, this little girl had to go to court to receive her transplant. Let’s add to this rising premiums – my premium rose by 20% in June and included in the letter informing me of this was the possibility of “future rate adjustments”. I guarantee you those adjustments wont be reductions. Obamacare is a train wreck, but the good news is, we can stop it before it kills all of us, and we should.

What’s the answer? In my opinion, a blend of private and public healthcare, with the public option being administered at the state level. Start by block granting Medicaid to the states and allowing them to administer care and payment disbursements, so the program is administered to a smaller number of people resulting in more effective and humane treatment, and doctors realize their pay in a shorter period of time. Secondly, set up a program for “pre existing” conditions and “catastrophic care” plans. People in these two categories represent a minority of patients, and with state programs funded by additional taxes to private plans and possibly other fee based programs, these programs can be funded. Additionally, we need to means test, reduce some benefits and raise the eligibility age. Higher income people (the evil rich) should either not be eligible, or receive limited benefits, and this goes for Social Security in my opinion as well, which will make more funds available for those who truly need it. On the private side, allow insurance companies to compete for everyone’s business in every state, and drop the coverage requirements. Why am I paying for psychiatric care when I don’t need it, or want it? (Of course some would argue that). Free enterprise and competition is an amazing mechanism and has an uncanny ability to find a need in the marketplace and fill it, which will happen and at lower costs.

13 thoughts on “The Case for Health Care

  1. dougq July 16, 2013 / 3:34 pm

    Well, well, another vote for HillaryCare I see.

    As for social security, those are taxes I pay, and I pay a fortune in Social Security/medicare taxes. In fact, on an annual basis, I pay about $15,000 a year for myself, and thousands more for others —– all while paying a fraction of that amount in income taxes and only having disposable income of even less than that $15,000. I am hoping, that someday when I finally qualify to get back that massive amount of money I’ve been paying into my social security fund, that the government doesn’t ‘mean’s test’ me like they constantly do.

    Yeah, you know the mean’s testing they do, my mother gets a fixed income of $1200 a month, has a $700 mortgage, car payment, insurance payments, to the tune that she can’t afford to buy groceries or her medicines (fortunately we live by her and help out) and the government says she gets ZERO in food stamps because she is rich (after all she owns her house rather than rents it).

    I know their means testing, I see it all the time…..78% free and reduced lunch at our school…they serve 400 meals a day to those lucky enough to receive that, the other 200+? Let me tell you, only 15 of them a day on average can afford to buy their lunches at full price, about 30 some bring cold lunch and the other 135 go hungry because they were ‘means tested’ out of the program.

    Cluster, ‘means testing’ is a political tool in taxes, government programs, etc. used to fix the fine rolex watches by using a sledge hammer. No, there are numerous solutions to social security, the liberal solution is to means test, and it makes sense for a Hillarycare supporter to look to that way, a conservative solution would be to start privatizing it and allow for greater returns that in turn could be themselves taxed to help support it.

    Where was it that the research was that showed you earn less than 1% a year on your social security taxes? I think it was more like 0.5%. Heck, if you were able to put your taxes in TBonds then the government taxed your earnings from them at 50%, you’d still get a better return.

    It’s simple, they need to start semi-privatizing the employee portion of the social security tax. Allow licensed funds to run that portion, if one’s social security fund earns more than 5% in a given year, tax the earnings above that at 50% and those earnings would be used to guarantee social security payments for others who didn’t get the investment.

    • ricorun July 16, 2013 / 9:35 pm

      dougq: I pay about $15,000 a year for myself, and thousands more for others —– all while paying a fraction of that amount in income taxes and only having disposable income of even less than that $15,000.

      Hmmm… those numbers suggest some very creative accounting practices! If what you said is true, and has been true for more than about three years, then I suspect you may be looking at a very serious problem with the IRS in your near future. I’m just sayin’.

      • dougq July 16, 2013 / 11:26 pm

        It’s just a standard problem for small business owners. It has much to do with depreciation tables and cash flow. Most things government are set up for people who earn wages, union employees, govt. employees, etc. but when it comes to the self-employed, the paperwork (whether it’s taxes, or benefits like FHA loans, student lunch programs, other govt. subsidies, it just isn’t set up for it and the self-employed end up getting the shaft because of it.

      • dougq July 16, 2013 / 11:37 pm

        I think I can give a type of example for you….say a self employed person has about $110K in profit (or whatever it takes to max out the self-employment tax). Also, let’s say that self-employed person has domestic production credit based on employees that can reduce the profit for income tax purposes but not for self-employment taxes….let’s say half of it. Also, that domestic production credit is based on the amount being paid to employees (add in the employer share of ss/wi taxes to that), and further, let’s say there isn’t much in the way of depreciation left for that business owner but they aren’t making much that year.

        The end result could in theory mean they are maxing out on SS/Medicare taxes, not paying a dime in income tax and also paying $8000+ in social security taxes for their employees, while at the same time having to make payments on their businesses – now if their domestic production is non-existant, then income taxes increase.

        There isn’t any creative accounting at all, it’s just that many self-employed people have to clear $200K or more in a year just to afford the taxes and basic bills and have enough to put food on the table for their kids.

        These so called ‘millionaires’ end up being poorer than the folks who earn just $35K a year in wages – at least many end up having less disposable income in a given year, but are paying $15-30K more in taxes than the wage earner.

  2. tiredoflibbs July 16, 2013 / 7:08 pm

    Mandates become effective Jan 1 2014…..
    Hmmmm….. Election 2014….. Democrats want the House back and keep control of the Senate….. Hmmmmmmm……
    ObamaCare already having negative affects even before the mandates kick in…. Hmmmmm….
    Democrats don’t want to be blamed for ObamaCare problems….. Hmmmmmm…..
    Delay the mandates till after the election…… Hmmmmm……

    Oh yeah… just a coincidence.

  3. Amazona July 17, 2013 / 7:42 pm

    The Affordable Health Care Act is not affordable, and not about health care. It is just another example of waving something shiny with one hand to distract the gullible while doing something completely different with the other.

    We, as a company, are already discussing what to do when this all kicks in. We now pay 80% of the insurance premiums for our employees, and sadly we know that will have to change. We just don’t know how much. We are small enough to not have to provide insurance but we feel strongly about helping our employees, and it will be a painful decision.

  4. J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) July 17, 2013 / 8:15 pm

    Unions are worried that the law will push employers to reduce many workers hours to part time, which is happening, and simply drop coverage for others who will then be subsidized by the new exchanges.

    AND — there will be no reason for them to belong to the union anymore. That’s what the unions are REALLY worried about. I gotta say — it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people.

  5. Amazona July 18, 2013 / 9:29 am

    Certainly the health care situation in the United States was not perfect. But we could have addressed the individual problems instead of coming up with this vast, cumbersome plan that basically scraps everything that does work to try to solve the few things that don’t.

    And what doesn’t work goes back to politics, not to health care.

    A few common sense solutions would have made insurance cheaper. That is, letting companies sell across the nation. This is a touchy area for me, as I am so strongly a supporter of state sovereignty, but having each insurance company have to be licensed in each state, and not allowed to operate across state lines, has created a situation in which there is not enough competition to allow for some companies to offer coverage for certain conditions. For example, if you live in North Dakota, with a population of less than a million people, there may not be enough people with a certain condition to spread the risk around enough to make a company willing to insure for it. But if that company can operate in all 50 states, it can have a base large enough to spread the risk more, and can offer coverage at a lower rate.

    Another thing that adds to the cost of insurance is the political decision to force us to pay for things we don’t need, to keep costs down for those who do need them. I should not have to pay insurance premiums based on the costs of pregnancy, childbirth, sex change treatment,etc. My biggest risk factors are cancer, heart conditions, and accidents, because of my overall good health and my age. I should be allowed to buy insurance specific to my group of healthy active people with no risky behavior (such as smoking or heavy drinking) in my age range.

    And health care costs are not isolated—-they are entwined with other societal issues. For example, if we did not have a huge population of people who speak little or no English, with few job skills, who are not in the country legally, we would have less pressure on our emergency rooms and hospitals and fewer people unable to pay for their own health care. If we had a vibrant healthy economy in which most people could find jobs, we would have fewer uninsured.

    • Amazona July 18, 2013 / 11:18 am

      Had to get to a meeting so I hurried and didn’t remember to mention that although I “… so strongly a supporter of state sovereignty,…..” I think this would not be a Constitutional conflict as the federal government is charged with dealing with interstate commerce.

  6. J. R. Babcock (@JRBabcock) July 19, 2013 / 12:59 pm

    OT, but one of the greatest quotes in recent memory making its way around Twitter:

    “If Barack had a city, it would look like Detroit.”

  7. tiredoflibbs July 19, 2013 / 7:12 pm

    “If you like your doctor and you like your current health care plan, you can keep them both.”

    Nope……Another lie from the 0bAMATEUR…

    Another example of the looters not being honest or paying attention to what they pass…..

    “We have to pass the healthcare bill to see what’s in it….”

    The PREDICTABLE “surprises” and “I told you so’s” keep coming.

  8. dbschmidt July 20, 2013 / 4:33 pm

    A recent “Investor’s Business Daily” article provided very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.

    Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
    U.S. 65%
    England 46%
    Canada 42%

    Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:
    U.S. 93%
    England 15%
    Canada 43%

    Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:
    U.S. 90%
    England 15%
    Canada 43%

    Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
    U.S. 77%
    England 40%
    Canada 43%

    Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:
    U.S. 71
    England 14
    Canada 18

    Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in “excellent health”:
    U.S. 12%
    England 2%
    Canada 6%

    And now for the last statistic: National Health Insurance?
    U.S. NO
    England YES
    Canada YES

    One has to look no further than the newspapers of England / Great Britain to see how crappy socialized medicine really is; however, I guess we will not learn from others mistakes but must fail miserably ourselves before we really understand.

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