Edit: After a conversation with someone in the health insurance industry, I’ve adjusted a few comments made in this post. I think much of it is still true, but we have to dig deep — we can’t take a politician’s statement or a radio host’s rant at face value. Do the hard work, and research for yourself. Edits noted with strike or italics.
President Obama spoke yesterday on the enrollment issues at Healthcare.gov. I have tried for weeks to no avail. I wanted to know how much it would cost. More? Less? A lot more?
But cost is only a small part of the puzzle, and time will tell how the system functions for the long haul. The website has only been online for 3 weeks, which leaves more than 5 months left to enroll. I think 5 months should be plenty of time, even for a government program! Unfortunately, our local Congressional representative thinks he needs to get up on his partisan soapbox:
When you are unable to even access the ObamaCare website, waiving the penalty for signing up should not be controversial.
— Eric Cantor (@EricCantor) October 21, 2013
But let’s not get distracted by political nonsense:
The President said 85% of Americans are already insured by company policies or Medicare/Medicaid. (The Times-Dispatch says it’s 80%). That means 80-85% of Americans are not the primary benefactors of the Affordable Care Act.
Let’s break down who is in the 80-85%:
- individuals and families with at least one person employed and receiving employer health benefits for the family
- individuals and families age 65+ through Medicare
- individuals and families living at 133% of the poverty level through Medicaid
I would describe this as middle-to-upper class upper/middle-to-upper class, retirees, and the working/lower class and impoverished.
Who’s left in the 15-20%?
- the some self-employed
- those who work for a company with few workers (at least under ten); usually companies/businesses/etc like this cannot get a low-cost group rate [EDIT: thanks to Michaelle’s Facebook comment for adding this; not applicable in all states]
- people with some pre-existing conditions who used to be turned down for insurance
- people who live above the poverty level but whose employers do not offer insurance (hourly office and retail workers, etc.), or who only work part-time
In other words, a sizeable chunk of the middle class.
This doesn’t look like entitlement to me.
Too many stories tell of individuals who had one surgical procedure and were labeled as having a “pre-existing condition.” These are normal, everyday Americans who were denied healthcare because they had surgery one time. Might as well have put a scarlet letter on these outcasts.
How about parents who work multiple hourly jobs (the only ones they can get) and are not offered coverage for their families through their employment? Should they not have the ability to obtain reasonably priced healthcare coverage for their families?
Isn’t the provision of healthcare coverage to take care of these instances? Why would a company, charged with caring for the medical protection and care of an individual, deny someone reasonable access to that care?
These companies have gone to extreme measures to deny care to anyone they please while making a few extra dollars.Edit: Data from 4-5 years ago shows profits aren’t that high (about $4/person per month).
The new rules in place are good for these 15%. Many of the new rules will be good for all of us, too. For some (most?), this might require paying a little more. But just because we were paying less before doesn’t make it right.
Let’s work hard to help each other. And let’s not allow healthcare coverage companies runaway
with profits without providing good healthcare coverage.
All these sick people are going to pay the same amount as me? Let’s talk about that tomorrow sometime.