Obamacare and the Coming (Not Again?) Wealth TransferPermalink +
Wed, Mar 06, 2013, 10:05 am // Dick Conoboy
It is called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (short form: “Obamacare”). As with most laws nowadays, you can be sure that the effect of the law will be the polar opposite of the language in the legislation’s title. In this case Obamacare will be neither protective nor affordable.
Predictably, the cruel joke is on the American public who, for the most part, has swallowed the hype and thinks Obamacare will work. As long as our current medical industry is dishing out the care, medical insurance of the type required by the law will be next to useless against the obscene costs. But by then, medical insurers will be raking in billions in insurance premiums from the nearly 50 million now uninsured, many of whom are poor or nearly poor. It won’t matter whether the money is wrenched from their pockets or the coffers of the U.S. Treasury in the form of subsidies. The ultimate effect will be an enormous Obama-initiated transfer of wealth from these citizens [and from the government in the way of subsidies] to the grotesquely bloated medical care industry. It will amount to unarmed robbery of the public, but nobody in the health care industry will go to jail.
The salt in the wound is that insurance premiums will continue to skyrocket to pay for ballooning medical costs that have no justification in reality. These costs are yet another factor over which Obamacare will have no effect. An extensive article that appeared recently in Time Magazine tells the horrific story of medical charges. The piece, written by Steven Brill is entitled “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us”. In the article, Brill takes apart actual hospital bills with the fury of a wild dog on a carcass, and exposes the insanity behind the often incomprehensible charges.
Brill’s partial assessment: “Unless you are protected by Medicare, the health care market is not a market at all. It’s a crapshoot. People fare differently according to circumstances they can neither control nor predict. They may have no insurance. They may have insurance, but their employer chooses their insurance plan and it may have a payout limit or not cover a drug or treatment they need. They may or may not be old enough to be on Medicare or, given the different standards of the 50 states, be poor enough to be on Medicaid. If they’re not protected by Medicare or they’re protected only partly by private insurance with high co-pays, they have little visibility into pricing, let alone control of it. They have little choice of hospitals or the services they are billed for, even if they somehow know the prices before they get billed for the services. They have no idea what their bills mean, and those who maintain the chargemasters [every hospital has its own internal price list called a “chargemaster”] couldn’t explain them if they wanted to.”
He goes on. “How much of the bills they end up paying may depend on the generosity of the hospital or on whether they happen to get the help of a billing advocate. They have no choice of the drugs that they have to buy or the lab tests or CT scans that they have to get, and they would not know what to do if they did have a choice. They are powerless buyers in a seller’s market where the only sure thing is the profit of the sellers.”
Obamacare will not cure this. There will be no single payer system to stand up to this pricing farce. Obama already negotiated with himself in his head and turned his “health” bill over to the insurance companies. It is corporate welfare at its finest. This, then, is the double whammy: unaffordable mandatory insurance coupled with unspeakably high medical costs.
According to another article, (Obmacare: Devils in the Details) on the website of Paul Craig Roberts of the Institute for Political Economy, “… [T]he cost of using the mandated policies will be prohibitive because of the large deductibles and co-pays. Many Americans will find themselves not only with a policy they can’t afford, but also with one they cannot afford to use. Those who cannot afford the insurance, even with a subsidy, will be faced with a costly penalty, and in many cases, this, too, will be difficult, if not impossible, to pay. As each year’s subsidy is based on last year’s income, there will be a substantial year-end tax liability for those who must repay the subsidy in whole or part because their income increased during the year. The stress alone from such a regressive scheme is, without a doubt, not conducive to good health and well-being.”
Roberts predicts, “Obama will rue the day that his name was put on this special interest legislation, and most Americans, once they realize what has been done to them, will be angry that special interests again prevailed over the health of the nation.”
I urge you to read both articles at the links above. Send copies to members of your family and, especially, provide them to your children or grandchildren, upon whom the burden of this travesty will fall. This horrendous legislation will affect every one of us in some way, shape or form. Mostly, it will bring terrible costs and confusion to those who can least afford it. It is a rip-off destined to fatten the health insurance companies, a fact most of the legislators knew the moment it was passed. But they held their noses lest the stench overwhelm them.
Wed, Mar 06, 2013, 10:05 am // Dick ConoboyYou are not likely to escape the coming transfer of $billions from your pocket to the health insurance industry. You will get little, if anything, in return.
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