Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Obama Care

Posted by Mandy at 7:01 AM
I keep reading and rereading different articles to try to understand what this new Obama Care means for my family, and I end up just as clueless after sorting through a vast sea of numbers and estimates as I was before I dove in. 

I found this article from the AP that spelled some things out in a pretty direct way if anyone would like to take a look.

From what I gathered here - the richest people in America, as always, will be paying for everyone else's care. Thankfully this doesn't include me... but if I was one of those "richest people" I think I'd be pretty ticked that even more of my paycheck was being taxed. Isn't nearly half of it enough already?

I also think I discovered that my family doesn't really qualify for any real assistance... surprise surprise.

Medicaid is being expanded to cover more people, senior citizens will have cuts in costs of their medications (which seems like a really good idea!!) and there apparently will be incentives for small business owners that have fewer than 25 employees that decide to offer health insurance.

My only concerns are:

- Do I get to keep my insurance plan? Will MY insurance rates increase to cover all of this other stuff? Since my family is middle class, will we still not qualify for any help with medical bills or medications yet eventually have to pay more to get care and meds? Someone HAS to pay for this stuff.... and it's hard for me to believe that only those making $200,000 a year or more will single-handedly cover the cost of this "free" health care.

- Will my taxes increase? I've heard some talk on the news that eventually they will have to install a new Federal tax on everyone to cover the cost... of course this is just speculation, but when you look at the high taxes Canada pays (from what I could dig up they pay about 10% or more in taxes than we do) then one has to wonder. Will my tax rate skyrocket and I still not qualify for this new awesome insurance plan because "we make too much."?

I've heard many of my friends joke that they'll soon be quitting their jobs because they'd make more a month if the government simply took care of them. Sad.. but it seems to be becoming a reality. What's the incentive to make it in the world if there are hand-outs to EVERYONE. I'm so torn on this issue.

On one hand, I really do want everyone to have quality health care. I want everyone to be able to afford to go to the doctor and buy their medications. I want that for MY family. Can I tell you the times we've stressed because everyone in the house was sick, and everyone needed medications, but first the doctor has to test you to make sure, which means a co-pay for each person seen? We've dropped well over a hundred dollars in one day's time just because we needed a simple antibiotic. The times that we needed more than your regular Amox... my goodness. That's with our GOOD insurance.. I don't know how others, that make the same as we do, are making it with their plans. I really don't. Will there be help for THEM?

This post is really more a list of questions I have - not my bashing of this plan. I can't truly bash it because I STILL don't understand it. If you do, give the rest of us an idea, please! Are you for this or against it and why?

9 comments:

Roxanne Dodson said...

I have a question.... Is it too late to go back to horse and buggy days??? I think sometimes its better to stop... and start over. Im just as confused as you are doll, only more confused because of the questions that you raised that I didnt already have! *sigh*

Reagan on Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 said...

I have several thoughts on this.

1. My mom was from Canada (she became a citizen last August) and I watched the *beauty* of Canada's system (sarcasm intended). My granddad built his house after the war (800 sqft) and had to sell it in 1997 because the 30% property tax was more than he could afford. And when he finally had to go into a nursing home, the government froze all his assets (and roughly $400,000 in his bank account). He continued to receive his pension checks in his nursing home (as did gramma) to the tune of about 2,500/month EACH. When my gramma was diagnosed with cancer, they (the government) decided she was too old for treatment. She suffered and died from ovarian cancer. When my grandfather died my mom, the sole heir, received a check for about $98,000. Where did the rest of the money go? The Canadian government told my mom (then still a citizen) that they were under no obligation to divulge that information (even though she was legally their guardian and in charge of their finances. Apparently Canada's free health care isn't free at all.

2. Prior to Obamacare, we still had a policy that ANYONE could go to the Emergency room regardless of ability to pay. That's pretty universal healthcare (not quality, but universal and in stark contrast to most countries with private healthcare).

3. I'd expect your taxes to increase.

4. Major publicly traded companies have already announced that in response to Obamacare, they will be: 1. Laying off workers to cover cost 2. Limiting what benefits they offer to pay for the new insurance 3. Not filling places as people quit/retire. I remember when minimum wage went up .15 in the 90s. I worked at a Subway. My pay went up .15 but the prices of sandwiches went up .45 so I was actually getting less for my money (even though I had more of it).

I agree that we need to advocate for quality and affordable health care for all. However, I'm not sure this is the best step (on the other had, I don't think it is the end of the world either--most of Obamacare doesn't go into effect until 2014--we could have a totally different President by then!).

Thought-provoking post today.

Clint on Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 said...

First off, this bill WILL affect you. In positive ways. None of your children can be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition starting now. This will eventually extend to you as well. Should one of you get truly sick, the insurance company will not be able to cap the amount they spend on your care. Nor will they be able to cancel your policy because you're too expensive for them. They'll also have to spend the majority of what they take in from you on actual care, not salaries, marketing and profit.

Will rates go up? No more than they've already been going up. Before this bill, insurance companies have been increasing rates annually by huge amounts. 40% annual increases have been pretty normal. In addition to the increases, the amount of coverage has been decreasing.

In theory, rates should go down. Especially if you believe in Republican theories of economics. The insurance companies now will have several million more people paying premiums. Plus, you'll be able to buy insurance across state lines. So increased competition right? I don't think this will make a difference personally because I've worked in insurance before and I know they're not interested in lowering rates, just making more money.

I've got a pretty good grasp on this so if you have specific questions feel free to ask. =)

Doug Hibbard on Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 said...

Pre-existing conditions are still excluded until 2014. At that point, insurance companies will have to cover everyone at the same premium without considering risk factors.

Your costs will go up. Just like they would if your car insurance company had to cover people with 15 speeding tickets, 4 wrecks, and 2 DUIs at the same cost as everyone else. Everyone would pay more.

So, a 3-pack-a-day smoker will pay the same as you. Someone with a 4 cheeseburger a day obesity habit will pay the same as you, with all of your running and exercise and healthy eating.

Guess which one is going to pay more for health care?

The other issue is this: if it's going to be illegal not to have health insurance, do I get a trial before I pay the fine? Or do I have to pay a fine, a criminal punishment, without a trial? How's that work?

Doug

Mandy on Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 said...

I've heard other pose the same question, Doug.. about "do I get at trial for breaking this law?"

So far I've got Doug and Reagan pretty against this, and Clint for it.. and Roxanne and I are probably still just as confused.

Clint on Wednesday, 31 March, 2010 said...

The way I see the whole "fine" thing working out is to look at the whole thing as a tax/tax credit. If you have insurance, you get a tax credit in the amount of the fine. If you don't have insurance, you pay the tax. If you don't pay the tax, you'd get a trial for tax evasion. Make sense?

Contrary to Doug's comments, the ban on exclusion for pre-existing conditions goes into effect immediately for children. It is then phased in for different groups over the next few years. By 2014, everyone will be covered under that rule.

As for covering all the unhealthy people... that's true, but you'll also be covering all the healthy people as well. It's not just unhealthy people that are uninsured. Aside from that though, you're already covering them when they go to the ER whether you realize it or not. You just pay a higher bill (or your insurance company does) to cover that cost. ER treatment is insanely expensive. Getting those same people into a doctor before it's an emergency should save everyone money. So again, in theory, it should decrease rates though knowing insurance companies, I doubt it will.

Quiskaeya on Wednesday, 31 March, 2010 said...

I don't think it's possible to full understand the HCR because it's such an incredibly extensive plan. No citizen has the time or energy to go through with a fine tooth comb. I lean with those against it.

I'm very leery of a plan that has a clause that senators, state reps, etc can choose out of. If it's good enough for us, then why should senators have an option not to take it? I, personally, do not feel that I should have to pay for someone's abortion. Some irresponsible 17 yo can get pregnant, get an adoption without her parent's permission and I have to pay for it?? Ummmm... Now I'm not saying all 17yo that get pregnant are irresponsible, that was simply a scenario that will be covered by the plan.

I'm very concerned with the enormous deficit this plan will cause the US. We are looking at putting ourselves another trillion dollars in dept for a plan that hasn't worked for MA. MA tried a similar plan that wasn't nearly as extensive and they have had to get a bail out from the FEDS. Who will bail out the FEDS if this plan fails?? Please don't say me or better yet, China, Japan or any of the other country we already owe billions upon billions too. Soon the US won't be owned by the US. I cringe to think what our economy will be like when my children grow up. I would like to know I've done everything in my power to leave them this country and not a debt they owe to another.

Ooops....so sorry for the rambling political thoughts...hehe

Maury on Wednesday, 31 March, 2010 said...

I have no input...I've just gotta ask about the Competitive Cyclist ad at the beginning of this post? Did I tell you that is where Clay works now?? Thanks for supporting us....haha

Mandy on Thursday, 01 April, 2010 said...

lol Maury.. it's gone now. I don't pick the ads, they just appear! That is so crazy! lol

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