Monday, March 22, 2010

Why Health Care Reform Was Neccessary

OK, I'm not entirely happy with the recently passed health care reform bill.

Not because it did too much, went too far, costs too much or represents a socialistic intrusion of "big government" into to the personal lives of American citizens.

I'm disappointed because it doesn't go far enough. I'm disappointed because it doesn't provide a single payer, single provider solution that covers 100% of Americans for everything just because they are lucky enough to be Americans.

As for the intrusion of "big government" argument, the conservative talking points make me sick.

Conservatives have ALWAYS favored Big Government when it comes to controlling who can do what with who in the privacy of their own bedrooms, who can marry who, what individuals can read or watch in their homes, how much control they have over their own bodies and biological processes, what naturally occurring substances they can ingest, or whether they should be free of the intrusion of religion into their lives.

In all of these instances, conservatives cannot get enough Big Government to satisfy them.

It's only when it comes to how much money business people can take out of your wallet that they want to waive off "Big Government". They don't want any government regulation over rampant greed.

Let's look at the basic business model of private insurance.

I'm Xavier's Insurance Company.

Here is how I make money.

You give me a large amount of money every month in exchange for the promise that if you ever need any of that money back to cover health care expenses, I'll cover your costs.

This business model only works for me if I never have to deliver on my promise!

So if you have a pre-existing condition that sets off a red flag that I MIGHT have to actually deliver on my promise, I'm not going to cover you. It's not worth the risk to my bottom line.

If you start making claims that force me to deliver on my promise, at the very least I'm going to have to raise your rates to maintain my profit margin. Because me increasing my wealth trumps your expectation that I will keep my promises.

If the claims continue unabated, I will just drop you from coverage because you are costing me too much money. Better you should get sick and die than I should see a dip in my quarterly returns.

That's fucked up. That's what needed to change. This health care reform bill changes some of that. But not enough.

You cannot convince me that we can lay claim to the "Greatest Country In The World" banner when we have no problem magically conjuring over $700 billion dollars to kill Iraqis and over $250 billion dollars to kill Afghans, but turn around and claim can't come up with enough money to cover every American citizen's basic health care costs.

Conservatives have their panties in a twist that their tax dollars may be spent to pay for abortions.

Well, guess what? I have a REAL FUCKING PROBLEM that MY tax dollars are paying for what I consider to be unjustified wars of choice and aggression half a world away!

I say we provide a detailed federal budget checklist with every tax return and census form. Let's all put a check mark in the box next to the shit we are willing to pay for. No check mark, no money.

Now that's democracy.


Keith Sader said...

Socialiasm Socialism Socialism
Fascism Fascism Fascism
Communism Communism Communism

lalalalalalalalalala I can't hear you lalalalalalalalalala

And now that we've heard from the right-wing intellectuals...

Hyperblogal said...

AIG needs a billion or so to stay in business... politicians of both stripes fall all over themselves to vote the money. A kid needs a lung.. and the reaction: "you want HOW much!!! " Hypocrites all.

Muddy Mo said...

I loved it when HCR opponents in the house got up and ranted about their constituents being forced to see their tax dollars used to fund things thing they find immoral.

Well, welcome to the freakiin' party, dickheads!

emawkc said...

Healthcare reform IS necessary. Unfortunately, what we saw come out of the latest legislative hot mess would more accurately be called Health Insurance Reform.

And from what I can see, the reforms benefit the insurance companies more than anyone. They get about 40 million new customers, some of whom the government will pay for.

With your simplistic but essentially accurate characterization of the Insurance Industry, I'm puzzled why you see this legislation as a reform.

Rather, we should be focused on reigning in the crazy cost of health care so that people don't need Cadillac insurance plans in the first place.

I Travel for JOOLS said...

If you work for an employer, not much is expected to change premium wise from what you pay now except everyone agrees the costs will go up as the years go by.

If your employer drops you or you buy on your own from the government exchange, the estimate of the cost of insurance is estimated to be:

According to the analysis, under current law some 14 million people are expected to buy health policies on their own by 2016. Average premiums would be roughly $5,800 for single policies and $15,200 for family policies under the legislation, compared with the average costs of $5,500 for single policies and $13,100 for family policies available now. The legislation is expected to more than double the number of people who would buy health policies on their own.

Now, you will get a subsidy if you make less than $44K per year as a single person or $88K per year for a family of 4. An example I read was for a family of 4 with an income of $42K per year, the premium cost would be about 13% of income or $5,460/year. The government would pay the rest.

Anything above the $44k income limit for single or $88K for family of 4, there will be no subsidy.

I have read the ahove figures are for policies that pay 70% of costs except there will be free preventive care, and not sure about copays or limits on out-of-pocket but I'm sure there will be some. If you can afford those premiums for that level of care, hurrah for you.

About half of the people who will be newly insured will be eligible for medicaid so they will pay no premiums.

Affordable health care? I guess the government thinks so.

Keith Sader said...

Emaw - dead on. There are two parts to HCR: payment and delivery. We've just started on the payment part.

@Jools w/o HCR the payment for a family is estimated to be $28,530 under employer insurance. source

I Travel for JOOLS said...

Keith - They are saying the employer cost will more than double over what the costs are now. They are not saying what the premium costs under government plans will be 10 years from now. Obviously, they will go up too.

Xavier Onassis said...

emawkc - "...I'm puzzled why you see this legislation as a reform."

One of the most important parts of this reform is that insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. You know, the people who really need health insurance.

Before this, insurance companies could cherry pick the healthiest people so they could reduce the risk that they would actually have to do anything in return for collecting premiums.

Another huge step forward is the removal of caps on coverage. In the past, it was "Oh, we're so sorry your cancer came back. But we've already spent all we are going to spend on you so you need to just go away and die now. Buh buy."

And then there is being able to keep my daughter covered under my plan until she is 26. If I could cover her for the rest of her life, I would.

It all still leaves us sucking hind tit behind every other industrialized country in the world, but it's a start.

Anonymous said...

Yep, Health Reform was necessary.

Too bad we didn't actually get it.

Raytown Legal Eagle.

emawkc said...

@XO --

Of course insurance companies are happy to add those people to their rolls -- they are new customers. They didn't want them as customers before because they wouldn't be able to pay the higher deductibles and premiums it will take to maintain the profit margins. But with the government making up the difference, it's nothing but win for the insurance cos.

So more people will be getting more health care (increasing demand) which will result in higher health care costs, which will require higher premiums/deductibles, lather rinse repeat.

We won't see any real progress unless/until lawmakers decide to do something about the health care prices. I hold little hope that will happen.

Xavier Onassis said...

emawkc - I already said that I agree this bill doesn't go far enough.

I would have preferred a much more socialistic, single payer, single provider system that would maybe bump us up above Costa Rica, or Dominica, or Chile. Then we'd be in 33rd place instead of 37th place.

But you may be a closet socialist yourself. You said "We won't see any real progress unless/until lawmakers decide to do something about the health care prices."

So you think that the government should step in and regulate what health care providers can charge?

Welcome to the Dark Side buddy!

But seriously, there will be a whole lot of people who can get the health care they need who couldn't get it before.

Try to put aside who is making money under the new bill and focus on who is staying alive under the new bill.

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