Monday, October 19, 2009

A Donkey Wrench in Health Care Reform

Two unrelated articles that flickered across my screen today have got me wondering if we're being had.

Let's review the recent history of the health care reform debate: After watching Washington spend billions screwing up the bank bailout and the stimulus, large numbers of the public told their Congressmen they didn't want any kind of publicly managed health care. The House thumbed their nose at this, but the Senate (whose members are not gerrymandered into office) responded by dropping any kind of public option from consideration.

This is in spite of the fact that the public option has been clearly documented as the preferred road to get us to that holy grail of American liberalism, single-payer health care.

But what if they gave us something so bad that we begged for a public option -- or even a single-payer system?

Now let's look at those two articles.

The Wall Street Journal points out that, as expected, the Bauchus bill has income based subidies on health care insurance in the "exhanges." So someone who makes $50,000 per year will pay more for a given health insurance policy than someone who makes $30,000. It sounds logical, but it can bite you in the butt:
"Think about a family of four earning $42,000 in 2016... CBO says a mid-level "silver" plan will cost about $14,700 in premiums, of which the family will pay $2,600—since the government would pay the other $12,100. If the family breadwinner ... then gets a raise or works overtime and wages rise to $54,000, the subsidy drops to $9,900. That amounts to an implicit 34% tax on each additional dollar of income."
That's quite a reward for your hard work!

The second piece, in the Denver Post, repeats something I've heard a few times in recent weeks: The proposed penalties for not having insurance are actually cheaper than buying insurance. So those who want to save some money will be better off paying the fines until they're sick and then buying insurance -- which they can't be denied under the new law.

So the feds get the fine money until you get sick. Then the insurance company, which hasn't been getting your premiums, gets the burden of paying your bill. Which makes premiums go up for everyone playing nice and buying insurance before hand, and some insurance companies will probably go bankrupt. Who wins? The government.

And as the cost of health insurance sky rockets, people will demand action, and government will decide that the problem in this situation is the insurance company -- that it would be much more efficient to take the middle man out of this system.

This summer, America all but blew a collective gasket at Congress and told them to back down on the public option. Liberals don't like it when the masses don't follow their all-wise lead. Would they try to get their revenge -- and their way -- by making us ask for what we loudly rejected?

Yeah. What do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

/* -------------- -----analytics code */