The March 31st deadline has finally come and gone. The Obama administration’s hallmark legislation, one that is supposed to democratize access to healthcare for all, has been made official. There has been some very good progress that brings me back to the spirit of JFK’s Consumer Bill of Rights from the 1960’s, legislation that really protects the consumer. Who doesn’t like the fact that young people up to the age of 26 years may still access their parents’ health care plans while they establish themselves and find jobs that will provide their own coverage? I see young people having a harder and harder time securing employment with companies upon graduation from college; why wouldn’t we advocate for them? Who doesn’t like the notion that people can no longer be discriminated against based on their preexisting conditions, a loophole that insurance companies didn’t even have to disclose or substantiate, nor could the individual even confirm record of. I had a preexisting condition that, to this day, I still have no idea what it could possibly be. I haven’t ever had any significant health condition in my life! And the idea of eliminating lifetime caps means that if you have a catastrophic illness, like cancer, you wont “run out” of coverage. Seeing my mother succumb to cancer is a sobering enough experience without the idea that an illness could mean bankruptcy, even for someone who is insured. I can’t imagine having to pick up those pieces.
However, with that said, I think the Affordable Care Act, with good intentions of advocating for the poor, will truly devastate the middle class. Here’s how.
- Health insurance premiums will double instead of premiums going down by $2500, as the president promised. More money spent on health insurance premiums means less disposable income for America’s middle class.
- There are 20 new tax hikes associated with this new law – the largest tax increase in the US history. This is a socialist tax. Take from you to give to others.
- The law gives the IRS even more power – they were given $500million to enforce Obamacare rules. Government keeps getting bigger. This ruling takes away our individual liberty and economic freedom. How is it that our government is forcing us to purchase something. What’s next?
- The 30 hour-minimum required per week isn’t far off from the 40 hour a week rule we previously had – so employers will obviously cut hours and reduce the number of full-time positions in this country. Close to 2/3 of small businesses will layoff employees in order to avoid the increase in cost. And 1/3 of all American employees will loose insurance at some point, as employers “ditch” plans to allow employees to provide for themselves via state or federal exchanges.
- Speaking of exchanges, these insurances policies – gold, silver, platinum- are all the same except for the deductible. Don’t be disillusioned by the appearance of choice.
- Doctors will go bankrupt from the changes in legislation and/or retire early. This law will discourage future generations of quality med students. To complement a shrinking supply of medical professionals, we will see an increase in the need for administrative professionals to keep up with the bureaucratic paperwork burdens this new law demands. Are these really the kind of jobs we want to grow? How is this advocating for quality patient care? It isn’t the paper pusher healing our ills.
- Wait times for doctors has already increased. Quality of care will decrease and, as I mentioned above, a new generation of less talented and passionate doctors and nurses will be attracted to the field.
- There are religious “offenses” that this law presents – several religions conveniently do not believe in insurance. It is considered harem! And how about prisoners who are exempt from Obamacare as are senators and house representatives? Too many loopholes to evade the law!
- The government wants to penalize those who truly provide for themselves through a Cadillac plan tax which will tax healthcare recipients at 40%. Why would we ever discourage individuals from having the best plans? Aren’t these individuals the smallest burden on (and usually biggest contributors to) their government?
- Meanwhile, it now takes your medical expenses to equate to 10% of your income in order to be eligible to deduct medical expenses. This is only encouraging sick people to remain poorer, penalizing them for making more money. This sort of reminds me of the time when I offered some additional work to a part-time employee who told me “oh, no, I can’t make more money. It would effect my government benefits.”
- Why do the masses have to chip in to pay for substance abuse counseling, birth control, breast feeding devices and other ancillary services when these should be elective choices for individuals to provide for themselves? The government’s vision of what minimum coverage should be is not reasonable, and this is exactly why people were unable to keep the plans that they liked (and could afford)!
My solution: tax payers should all pay into a system at a small % of total income, affordable to all, for catastrophic coverage and wellness exams, only. This coverage would take care of life threatening illness or accident and a yearly wellness exam. The rest would be (remember this concept?) the responsibility of the individual.