Responses to Obama’s Affordable Healthcare: Issues and Proposed Solutions

Comments by Three Thinkers identified as D, C, and B

March 23, 22014

1. By “D”

I am someone who doesn’t mind paying taxes as long as it’s done fairly and equitably. Which is one reason why I strongly oppose ObamaCare. Individuals who make less than about $15,000/year get totally free health insurance, i.e. Medicaid, at the expense of the taxpayer, and individuals who make less than about $45,000/year get heavily subsidized health insurance through the ObamaCare exchanges. These subsidies are paid for by those of us who pay full price for health insurance.

The very rich and everyone down to, say, the very upper end of the middle class aren’t burdened by ObamaCare all that much because a very small fraction of their income actually goes towards paying for health insurance. But that’s not true for those of us who are smack dab in the middle in the middle class. $500 to $600/month health insurance premiums is a huge financial burden on those of us making between, say, $46,000 and $120,000/year. That doesn’t include a $6,000/year deductible that must be reached before insurance coverage kicks in.

Keep in mind, people on traditional Medicaid don’t pay a dime in deductibles, nor do they have any co-pays to pay. Unlike the rest of us, their healthcare is totally free. And as long as their Medicaid plan isn’t being managed by a private “managed care” company, their healthcare coverage isn’t narrowed down to an overly narrow network of providers. That means that if Medicaid recipients, who live in Mississippi or any other state whose Medicaid program isn’t being run by a private “managed care” company, seek cutting-edge healthcare in a state like Massachusetts or North Carolina, their healthcare bill is fully covered, no questions ask. But if most of us with private insurance were to do the same, we would be denied insurance coverage.

If more on the Left would see ObamaCare for what it is — a regressive tax on the middle class, there would be a lot. I make less than $15k per year. My state did not expand Medicaid, so I am not eligible for it. The cheapest policy I could find on the website has $200/mo. premiums and $6000 deductible. Even worse than the crappy policies I’ve been offered through (both union and non-union) jobs.

I understand your frustration, but your phrasing of the issue comes perilously close, in my mind, to a “the poor are getting too much” complaint. The real problem is that the ACA doesn’t even address health care, much less the making of it “affordable.” It requires every citizen to purchase a private product, like it or not. The ACA’s problem is that it was never about health care, it was always about justifying shoveling a bunch of gov’t money into the pockets of insurance companies (and specifically, their executives).

See reply here.

2. By “C”

Your feelings as to what bothers me about our health care system are way off the mark, Diptherio! What bothers me about our healthcare system is that it is overly motivated by profits. We could all have healthcare, not just at any price, but at an affordable price, and regardless of income, if we were to just simply take the profit motive out of our healthcare system. That includes non-profit providers, and that’s what bothers me the most.

How in the world can hospitals get away with calling themselves non-profit providers when their top administrators are making over a million a year? Why in the world are healthcare companies in general allowed to pay their CEOs multimillion dollar salaries when a very large portion of their company earnings come from the taxpayer?

People would be up in arms if their taxes were being used to hand out multimillion dollar salaries to school administrators; so using the same logic, they should also be up in arm just knowing that their taxes are being used to hand out multimillion dollar salaries to hospital administrators, but for some strange reason they’re not. People don’t seem to be the least bit troubled by this. Maybe if they thought of hospital administrators as government employees, which in a truly significant sense they are, they would be up in arms over this.

I’m not suggesting that we nationalize our hospitals, or our healthcare system as a whole. Nor am I suggesting that we remove all healthcare companies from the stock exchanges. But if our goal is to have quality healthcare at an affordable price, then I suggest that we first reclassify all healthcare companies as slow growth utility companies. They should be profitable enough to pay expenses and provide their CEOs with upper-middle class salaries, but not profitable enough to make them filthy rich. Marilyn B. Tavenner, the head of CMS, and Kathleen Sebelius, the head of HHS, both make about $200,000 a year, so that’s about what all healthcare CEOs should make a year.

Healthcare costs are destroying our competitiveness in the world and are bankrupting us as a nation. Taking the profit motive out of healthcare is the best and perhaps only way to reverse these two ominous trends.

See reply here.

3. By “B”

Dear C, the ACA is far more than a tax on the middle class–it is a tax that goes directly to the worst elements do our society who have made the U.S. health-care industry the most wasteful in the world and one of the worst, in general, in the developed world.

I agree with you about Medicaid. It is a system designed to upset those who make too much to qualify and therefore keep the poor hating those who are a bit poorer–this intentional and works perfectly to keep the right permanently in power. It also provides perverse and cruel incentives to stay on Medicaid particularly with a sick child or family member because the alternative is to be forced to deal with the slick. Insurance companies who are incentivized to give you the worst care possible.

The obvious solution would emerge if Americans understood that a healthy and less-stressed population benefits everyone–but Americans are still obsessed with the culture of narcissism.

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