Archive for Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Repeal hype

July 17, 2012


To the editor:

As a small business owner, I worry about the cost of insurance. Recently, much to my surprise, a letter arrived from my health insurance company with a refund for 2011. Why? The Affordable Care Act requires that the company (United Healthcare) refund me a percentage of my cost if it does not spend at least 80 percent of the premiums on health care services. (They spent 74.8 percent)  Now, without the Affordable Care Act, I would stupidly pay the premiums and never receive this benefit.

Before everyone judges the Act, let’s understand all the benefits to the small business owner struggling to make it in this world. I would never have had this refund and imagine millions of others like myself are receiving checks that must be refunded by Aug. 1. I imagine there are many other aspects we do not understand, and the hype to repeal — without understanding the benefits and changes — is, in my mind, irresponsible.

Make decisions on objective fact and stop the hype. I, for one, am very turned off by the so-called repealers who say repeal but offer no alternative. I will vote my stance on this issue. In the mean time, I have an extra $500 to put toward the extra taxes the city will charge me for being a homeowner (sigh) so it can to fund some wreck center or some such.

Can’t win for losing.

I urge others to understand the facts before judging — not the hype. And enjoy your refund.


Carol Bowen 1 year, 8 months ago

As Bozo and Verity said, payouts from lawsuits are minor compared to other healthcare expenses, but if we really want tort reform, why don't we cap the 40% attorney fees at 20%? That would bring down the award amounts considerably.


verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Since malpractice accounts for about 1/2 of one percent of health care costs, tort reform will bring down total costs considerably. Oh, wait . . .


tbaker 1 year, 9 months ago

  1. Because Agno said "what now."
  2. I meant to say tax "exempt" not deduction.
  3. Competition makes everything better.
  4. You're either confused or didn't read what I wrote.
  5. Malpractive insurance costs are a huge component of healthcare costs.
  6. Class warfare aurguments don't make this a bad idea. Cheaper, more accessible care.
  7. Single Payer = More government, not less. More government is why Healthcare is screwed up.
  8. It is why malpractice premiums are high. See #5.

tbaker 1 year, 9 months ago

What now? How about these ideas:

  1. Make the first dollar of healthcare spending tax deductible. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  2. Make every dollar put into a health savings account tax deductible. No limit on contributions. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  3. Permit the sale of health insurance nationwide. Exercise the Commerce Clause properly by knocking down all the state-level mandates and restrictions on cross-state insurance purchases. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  4. Reform state insurance commissions to remove “mandated” coverage so people can pick and choose what they want coverage for. Cafeteria plans, just like congress gets. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  5. Reform state and federal insurance laws so doctors can opt out of malpractice insurance. If a patient is willing to sign a hold-harmless waiver, the doctor should be able to treat him without the huge burden of malpractice premiums. Leave it up to the people / customers to decide if they want to be treated by someone without malpractice insurance. Let the healthcare provider compete in the marketplace and people make their own decisions. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  6. Reform medical licensing laws so nurse practitioners and physician assistants can deliver primary care. I don’t need 12 years of higher education to prescribe pink stuff antibiotics for a 5 year old with an ear infection. This will increase the number of walk-in primary care clinics which are way cheaper to operate than ERs are. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  7. End tax breaks for business. De-couple healthcare from employment. Employee-sponsored health insurance is a dumb relic from WWII price controls. By incentivizing employee-sponsored insurance, we've choked off the individual market, making it much harder for freelancers, and other people who don't want to work for a big company. Under the current system, the true cost of health care is hidden by tax incentives provided to businesses. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

  8. End casino lawsuits / tort reform. Lawyers add costs to the health system in all kinds of ways. First, there's the obvious way, in that they frequently try suing the pants off professionals, forcing doctors to get very expensive insurance. But what's more, is that they contribute to the over testing culture, as doctors order up extra tests and exams, just so they can't get sued. Cost to taxpayers? Zero.

Make healthcare choices a decision that occurs between people and healthcare providers, not the unholy alliance of big government and massive campaign-contributing insurance companies. Individuals who are free to make their own choices, who control their own healthcare dollars, are best suited to make decisions for their particular desires in a free marketplace. This works. Government stranglehold on markets doesn't work and is why healthcare costs so much. Less government and more free people making their own choices is the answer.


Agnostick 1 year, 9 months ago

Okay... I admit I was using old, outdated information in my earlier post. Just because someone was born in 1945... doesn't mean they're going to actually reach age 70, right? Accidents of all kinds, disease, crime, natural disasters. And let's not forget the biggie: Vietnam.

So, really, it's not that big a deal, right?

"Between 2000 and 2010, the population under the age of 18 grew at a rate of 2.6 percent. The growth rate was even slower for those aged 18 to 44 (0.6 percent). This contrasts with the substantially faster growth rates seen at older ages. The population aged 45 to 64 grew at a rate of 31.5 percent. The large growth in this age group is primarily due to the aging of the Baby Boom population.2 Finally, the population aged 65 and over also grew at a faster rate (15.1 percent) than the population under age 45."

Check out the illustration on page 3.

Our aging population

Our aging population by Agnostick


Agnostick 1 year, 9 months ago

rockchalk1977 writes:

"In addition, HSA's combined with high-deductible health insurance would provide the biggest financial benefit for everyone including small business."

I agree! HSA's are a great option... for 20-somethings to start working on as they begin their careers and families.

But the image in this post clearly illustrates the problem that most people, including you, seem to be missing.

Look at the Boomers!  The first wave, born 1945, will turn 70 in three years.  What is their life expectancy, and the life expectancy of the millions that will follow?  The last wave, born in 1964, will turn 70 in 2034.  How many of them will need health care into their 80s, or 90s?

Look at the Boomers! The first wave, born 1945, will turn 70 in three years. What is their life expectancy, and the life expectancy of the millions that will follow? The last wave, born in 1964, will turn 70 in 2034. How many of them will need health care into their 80s, or 90s? by Agnostick

Assuming that the first Baby Boomers were born in 1945... those folks will all be turning 67 this year. Those born in 1947 are turning 65... which means...

Here are some simple guidelines. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:

-- You already get retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.

-- You are eligible to get Social Security or Railroad benefits but haven't yet filed for them.

-- You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.|Home|GeneralEnrollment&version=default&browser=Firefox|14|MacOSX&language=English

As I said in my post above... we knew this was coming. There have been numerous opportunities to prepare for this, going back to the 1980s. And I hate to say it, but the obstructionists for any kind of preparations or adjustments to our health care system seem to come from The Right.

So... now that the flames are licking at the door, and our water buckets are drained... what now?


Enlightenment 1 year, 9 months ago

To all who believe the frivolous lawsuits are greatly impacting the overall health care cost, you're wrong. Malpractice and other medical suits represent less than one half of one percent of the overall cost of health care.


Lynn731 1 year, 9 months ago

Read the other 1799 pages of it before you are so quick to decide.


Enlightenment 1 year, 9 months ago

To all the opponents of the ACA, what do you propose we do, sit on our hands and continue to pay for health care expenses that prevent people from becoming entrepreneurs because they can't afford insurance for themselves or employees, cause some to file for bankruptcy because of lack of medical insurance, continue to have the insured pay for the cost incurred by the uninsured? What's your solution to the health care problem? We obviously need health care reform so instead of shooting down an attempt to improve the situation, come up with a viable alternative and/or convince your representatives to participate in a bipartisan collaboration to improve the ACA.


rockchalk1977 1 year, 9 months ago

Obamacare, the government run healthcare plan we are forced to purchase or fined (or taxed) if we don't. The plan purportedly covers 10+ million people without adding a single new doctor or nurse but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents. The plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it and passed by a congress that didn't read it. The government takeover of 1/6 of the US economy and signed into law by a President who inhaled frequently and funded by a treasury chief who cheated on taxes. Productive hard working Americans will be taxed in advance, before any benefits take effect, by a government which has bankrupted social security, medicare, medicaid and the postal service. All overseen by a obese Surgeon General and a pro-abortion Catholic HHS Secretary who exempted over 1,200 organizations including unions and insurance companies, the very same organizations that lobbied for it. And the icing on the cake, it's financed by the working poor and a country that's going broke!

A year from now none of this will matter because we will have a new business friendly President, Obamacare will be tossed into the trash heap of very bad ideas, the Roberts decision will be forgotten, and Obama will sit next to Jimmy Carter as the worst former POTUS ever!


Agnostick 1 year, 9 months ago

The main problem many extremists have--as pointed out at least twice in this thread, including the original letter--is that they whine and moan about anything offered up by anyone they don't like... and never offer up anything substantial as an alternative. Everything is destructive; rarely, if ever, is there anything constructive.

"I, for one, am very turned off by the so-called repealers who say repeal but offer no alternative."

I think a lot of Americans are turned off by the empty hate-screed coming from the same voices, over and over and over again.


weiser 1 year, 9 months ago

Sure...I'll just sit right down and read 2,700 pages and let you know what it says.


Liberty_One 1 year, 9 months ago

It doesn't matter. Obamacare is just another nail in the coffin of Federal overspending. The economy will repeal it in time as the weight of the debt created will simply destroy the government. Of course the government will destroy the economy on its way down, so thanks a lot to all of you who support this junk.


Flap Doodle 1 year, 9 months ago

Well, we can hope they'll leave us some change.


weiser 1 year, 9 months ago

They passed it, so now we can "know what is in it." that is, if you have the time to read the albatross!


Liberty275 1 year, 9 months ago

"my cost if it does not spend at least 80 percent of the premiums on health care services"

Doesn't the act then infringe on my freedom to purchase a policy that places high priority on customer service by having well-staffed call centers, enough auditors to pay each claim quickly and keep more complete records of my history?

On the surface, your 80% is attractive, but what is that going to cost us in the end? More call centers in India? More time before your doctor is paid?

The number seems arbitrary. I think the act itself is a ruse to run American Corporations out of the health insurance business so we'll be virtually forced into single payer. That's what the left wants. What happens down the road when the country swings right under a charismatic republican and the act is repealed? We will be left with the very few health insurance companies to stick it out and then we'll be paying double the current rate.

It seems to me that putting any American company out of business so the government can muscle in is just wrong.


Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 9 months ago

No matter how you cut it, the producers will pay and the non producers will benefit. Frankly, I am tired of moochers and the government deciding what is good for me not only in health care, but my trash, and all the other things they legislate that they think will make my life better.


Enlightenment 1 year, 9 months ago

I'd like to see the Republicans and their minions get on board with the ACA, but even more, I'd like the Republicans to collaborate with the Democrats and improve the ACA. Legislators need to tackle the high cost of health care providers.

Interestingly, the US has the highest healthcare cost of all developed countries (per capita of $8,233 per person), which is appr. twice of all developed countries. Sadly, the high health care cost in the US does not equate better service or longer life.


verity 1 year, 9 months ago

Can we try to be realistic about this subject?

The House often passes bills which it knows the Senate will reject. They know they're safe from the actual consequences.

Since parts of the AFA (ObamaCare) have already taken effect and for the most part people seem to actually be happy with the results, it's going to be pretty hard to repeal the entire act.

Instead of falling for this election year propaganda, can we spend our time working on fixing it?


tbaker 1 year, 9 months ago

ObamaCare will result in the largest tax increase in the history of the country and will definately hit people making less than the evil rich (>$250K) which breaks Mr. Obama's promise of not raising taxes on the middle class. That isn't hype, it's a fact.

As I've said many times, there are a lot of ways to improve access to healthcare, reduce cost, and maintain quality - which were the stated goals of the democratic congress and the president. Many of these ways don't cost a dime. We should try them instead of ObamaCare.


tuschkahaha 1 year, 9 months ago

The Affordable Care Act, aka The Obama Tax and $30 Trillion Dollar Deficit Act.


jafs 1 year, 9 months ago

The law is extremely long and complicated, with most of the provisions not even taking effect until after 2014, and some changing after that, assuming it's not repealed.

So, we won't really be able to evaluate the whole thing for several more years.

I'm sure there are some things in there that people like, but that doesn't mean the Act is a good thing in it's entirety.


grammaddy 1 year, 9 months ago

I have a friend who owns her own dog-grooming shop. She has 6 other employees, whom up to this point, mostly paid for their own medical insurance through this job. After the rebate, she was able to pay for it herself, hence giving them a "raise" on their pay checks. Don't kill Obamacare before offering up something better. And don't believe all the negative hype. It's working for those it was meant to work for.


Abdu Omar 1 year, 9 months ago

There are many aspects of this law that need to be examined. As the letter writer said, let's not jump ship until we know where we are jumping. The GOP has not offered an alternative that I have seen or heard about, so where is the alternative? Be careful of what you wish for because you may wish to end something that you need without knowing it.


Benjamin Roberts 1 year, 9 months ago

"And enjoy your refund."

Your example does not match my experience. My portion (50%) of medical insurance went up about $20/month. You got a $500 refund; my premium increased $480 - as did the other 80 employees in our group.

The question is: Which example is only anecdotal; and, which is typical?


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