Are you paying attention? The Healthcare Reform Proposal.

December 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm 5 comments

Wow–from stepping lightly into communicating with the world to marching right into a political opinion.  I’m probably moving about as far along the continuum of a controversial pendulum in a 24 hour period of time as is humanely possible. However, the Healthcare Reform is high on my radar these days. I fear most Americans haven’t really tried to understand the bill, even though they understand this is  truly a key event  in the history of our country and certainly worthy of our attention.

It’s no secret.   I think the hotly debated Healthcare Reform has the same potential as “No Child Left Behind” to actually make things better.  Nonetheless I have to admit, at the surface level, it is easy to embrace the intent behind both pieces of legislation.  After all, who could argue with desirability of the idea that all Americans enjoy access to high quality health care or that all students perform at high levels?  But make no mistake, this is another example of trying to treat the symptoms rather than address root cause(s).

While I realize the proposed bill still has a long road to final approval, and it will likely undergo many iterations, here are  five surprising issues  you might want to know:

1.  The proposed bill would prohibit insurers from denying coverage to persons with pre-existing conditions.  WHAT????  Do you understand the business model upon which insurance companies maintain profitability and thereby can stay in business?  Should we be concerned about persons who can’t qualify for private insurance?  Absolutely, but government intrusion into private sector, free-market business operations will make things worse not better, in the long-run. (If you think your premiums are high now, what do you think will happen to your premiums when your insurance provider is FORCED to provide coverage for all?)

2.  The highly publicized 46 million uninsured number is misleading.  It implies that 46 million Americans are unable to obtain coverage and furthermore, it suggests this is a chronic state for them.  The reality is that when you focus only on those American Citizens  who truly lack coverage for reasons beyond their control, it is probably closer to 8.5 million.  For further discussion on this matter visit, http://spectator.org/archives/2009/03/20/the-myth-of-the-46-million

3.  While proposed taxes to fund the initiative (the cost of which has yet to be quantified) and reduced Medicare benefits would take effect almost immediately, the coverage to the uninsured population for which this is seemingly designed won’t happen before 2013.

4.  Americans would be REQUIRED to carry insurance coverage or pay a fine, the maximum of which is currently about $750.  (Let’s see now.  I can pay thousands of dollars every year for coverage or I can pay a fine of $750 until which time I find I really need coverage.  Then I’ll play the “You have to insure me card.”   see #1.   Oh, now I’m beginning to see how this can save me money.  LOL)

5. The US Government will have direct,  real-time access to individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer and there will be fines for failure to provide this information.  (Pg. 59 of the 1,000 + page of the original proposal)

I have many concerns with this far reaching bill which some critics have even suggested is unconstitutional.  However, I think I’ll close with a challenge to this esteemed group of readers to name the last government run program that saved money and provided better service, both of which are being touted as reasons for supporting the current healthcare reform.  In fact, if you take a step back in time, similar promises were made in the 60’s when Medicare was first introduced.  If you adjust for inflation, the cost of Medicare has already exceeded original estimates by more than 10x.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kevin Honeycutt  |  December 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I do not like the way we’ve hurried the conversation and I’m dubious about the quality of legislation this important that isn’t carefully considered. My problem is that I’m not sure this country can maintain focus long enough to do things right. in this shovel-ready, have it built and open by next week society. Maybe we’ll get a little right-ish outta all of this investment.

    Reply
  • 2. Pam Misunas  |  December 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    I wish everyone who thought they knew about this plan would be able to read this blog to start thinking about the points mentioned. Way to go for turning on the light bulb for some.

    Reply
  • 3. Jack Gilstrap  |  December 29, 2009 at 12:15 am

    I read this with interest. You make some good points (though I have my doubts about some, especially your ). As a technically self-employed person, I am one of those whose insurance will very likely go up a lot, and quickly, because of this–for the simple reason that nothing was done to address health care at the cost side. That means political cowardice in failing to tell hospitals and insurance companies “You are still going to make money, but are not going to make nearly as much, and this is how…” Nowhere in the world is there so very, very much money to be made off of people’s suffering as in the U.S. Addressing that, of course, would require much, much more political will than anyone in Washington now possesses.

    Nonetheless, I am glad it is happening. Why? Because it is the right thing to do, and it must be done now or it will be put off for perhaps decades, and this is the best they could come up with in the current situation. It is a beginning. Could it be done better? Yes, much, much better. But, Kevin, the whole “we’ve hurried too much” on this argument–which is entirely true–is unfortunately not applicable, because hurry was necessary. The entire Republican legislature’s only intent throughout was to obstruct, not to offer assistance or participate in a compromise for the good of the country, because it would be a political victory for them if no health reform bill were passed. So it had to be done soon, before midterm elections, and it became an entirely in-house argument for Democrats. In the end, the one idea that would have offered the most power for actually bringing costs under control–the public option–was scrapped. So it may, in the end, be a gift horse to insurance companies. That’s a shame. But having made it the law, it CAN be improved later–maybe by an Republican led congress? We’ll see…

    Reply
  • 4. Jack Gilstrap  |  December 29, 2009 at 12:37 am

    Oops, left a sentence incomplete. It was supposed to be about the reduction of uninsured from 45 million to 8.

    Reply
  • 5. debsdebits  |  December 29, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I certainly agree with Jack’s assessment that politics, not the merits of the proposed healthcare bill, may have been at the forefront of this debate for some elected officials. This is all too often the case, but what ails our political system is beyond the scope of this discussion.

    I also can’t argue with Jack’s observation that nothing is being done to address the rising costs of health care. However, I seriously doubt that reducing the profit margin for hospitals and insurance companies is the biggest piece of a real solution. It is much more complicated than “fat boys making lots of money.”

    When I think about the government running our health care system, I envision our VA Medical system. If you’ve not talked with a Veteran who is using the system, I encourage you to do so. Given the choice between services from the VA or from the private sector, I suspect they would choose the private sector every time. (I know the Vets with whom I’ve visited would) There is a reason for this.

    On the other hand, I suppose an underlying benefit of legislative changes might be the pop-up of new prosperous companies such as “Timely Medical Alternatives”, a Canadian company the helps Canadians, “leave the queue” and seek treatment in the US.

    Reply

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