Ranting Over Insurance

Every time the government attempts to handle our affairs, it costs more and the results are worse than if we had handled them ourselves. — Benjamin Constant (1767-1830)

Once again, it’s time for the fiasco we call the Affordable Care Act to accept sign-ups and parcel out medical insurance to the American public.

Now, I realize my liberal friends will rise up in collective protest — and I fully support their right to do so — but this is my blog, and I have a right to my opinion as well.

So either hear me out or come back another time!

The Affordable Care Act — AKA Obamacare — was passed so all residents of this fine land would have access to medical care.

No longer would folks be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. Young adults could stay on their parents’ policy longer. Insurers no longer can arbitrarily drop people, and they must charge men and women the same rates for the same services. Sounds good, right?

But as this program enters its fifth year, some are  saying it’s not working, and another overhaul is in order.

Here are some of the problems:

  1. Obamacare was supposed to be affordable. “Affordable” to whom? Certainly not to an acquaintance of mine — a self-employed businesswoman — paying $1,000 a month, with a $5,000 deductible. That’s more than the monthly payment for a luxury car, which I bet she’d rather have! And my insurance agent told me rates for 2016 are going up 30 percent for at least one company. Maybe more.
  2. Obamacare mandates a series of 10 areas for coverage, but why should a person who doesn’t need coverage in one of those areas pay for it? For example, I don’t have a substance abuse problem, nor do I need pregnancy or baby care. Isn’t it reasonable I should balk at paying for these things? Wouldn’t it make more sense to set up a “cafeteria” plan, where I could pick and choose the coverage I want?
  3. Obamacare mandates that everyone buy into the system. Excuse me, but isn’t this still the United States? How can I as a free American be forced to buy anything, regardless of how “good” it might be for me? Everybody knows education is good for you, but nobody can force you to attain a PhD.
  4. Obamacare was predicated upon a pool of young, healthy workers paying for older, sicker folks. But haven’t we all known older people who take extremely good care of themselves and don’t want or need care as often as a younger person? Why, then, should that older person pay more for coverage, just because of his age??
  5. Obamacare was supposed to “improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare.” It was supposed to provide healthcare to rural areas. Okay, then why are folks still showing up at our hospital’s emergency room during after hours for woes that can — and should — be handled by a 24/7 urgent care clinic of some sort?
  6. “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” Right. But when the policy you have doesn’t comply with the criteria of Obamacare, you’ll still pay a penalty.
  7. Have you ever wanted to see rich folks pay their fair share? Now they will.” Hmm, this sounds like class warfare. No way can we all be equal. Even siblings don’t have the same health issues. And if a “rich” person like Oprah wants to buy more healthcare, or chooses to save her money, shouldn’t that be her right?
  8. Obamacare subsidies, or tax credits, are supposed to lower the cost of health insurance, making premiums more affordable. My agent said most folks are simply going on Medicaid, rather than paying exorbitant premiums. But shouldn’t Medicaid be reserved for the truly needy, rather than, say, a person whose wages just aren’t consistent?

Did medical insurance need reforming? Absolutely, but not like this.

Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer. — Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker and writer


23 thoughts on “Ranting Over Insurance

  1. I can understand your frustration. I think Ben had it right. Who will fix the problem? Certainly not those who are better off now that the rich pay their fair share, The definition of rich is laughable. (Most of the middle class)

  2. Debbie, your post couldn’t have come at a more perfect time because I am without health insurance presently, so I was doing a bit of investigation on Obamacare a few weeks ago and didn’t really like what I was reading on the website (way too many penalties). Also, I’ve heard from MANY people that it’s as not fabulous as it paints itself to be. So I’m glad you shared this post and highlighted some of its drawbacks. Oh, and by the way, I love what you said in #3. And I TOTALLY agree!

    Thanks so much for sharing your opinion, feelings and voice on this topic. Thank you! And have a faaabulous week, my friend!

    • Ron, I sympathize with your plight. Those of us without the umbrella of a big company to cover our health insurance are indeed in a tricky place. Now, if we could buy insurance that covered just what we think we’ll need for the next year, we could probably handle that. But being penalized for not covering things we don’t need doesn’t sound logical to me. It’s an “either-or” situation, and I’d have preferred some wiggle room!

      Good luck sorting it all out. I understand that, if you can afford to pay-as-you-go, you might check into an exemption. Thanks for reading, as always, and have a wonderful rest of your week!

  3. “So either hear me out or come back another time!”

    Ouch. Those are fighting words. Hit me like a one-two punch. Perhaps a gentler tone might’ve been more appreciated, as I’m sure it wasn’t your attention to offend any of your readers? I do realize that pundits on opposing sides tend to shout at each other and often, over each other, not listening at all to what the other has to say. Goodness knows it’s easy to act like them because such behavior becomes ingrained. But the problem I find is that putting your opponent on the offensive makes it more difficult to reason and rationalize with them. That’s my two cents.

    As for the content of your message: As always, you raise good points. There’s no perfect solution that’s going to please everybody, though, that’s for sure. But if you think about it, it’s not the only thing we all have to pay into. There’s social security, Medicare, taxes, etc. I suppose I should complain to someone that I’m paying taxes to support the public schools in my town yet I no longer have kids enrolled! What’s up with that? I also have to pay HOA dues to maintain the tennis court and swimming pool in my community, neither of which I use. Grrr. Think of all the money I could save if I didn’t have to pay for these things! Sigh.

    • What Debbie writes is her decision. Whether a reader is offended or not is most assuredly not her problem. I have no more patience for being told I must tippy-toe around for fear of offending someone, or being politically incorrect. Political correctness is nothing more than an attempt at censorship by other means.

      See: University of Missouri. Or, if you prefer, Yale or Columbia, or any HR department in the country.

      • Golly, Linda, thank YOU for coming to my defense! It’s most appreciated, you know. And you’re so right about Mizzou. What a nightmare, to force a president out like that (and what a miserable precedent it might set for other institutions or companies!). We’ve become far too namby-pamby.

        • i wasn’t really coming to your defense. You defend yourself pretty well. But I’ve been thinking about all of these things pretty seriously for the past month, and it truly has come to the point where the people leading some of our institutions are going to have grow up, themselves. Well, enough of that. The irony of Missouri, with an esteemed journalism school, giving the business to a young journalist trying to do his job is just more than I can fathom.

    • NO! NO! NO! Monica, we’ve been online friends for too long for you not to know that it’s not my intention to come out swinging with fighting words! I’m sorry if you understood that to be the case. I was merely granting everyone a pass — if they didn’t want to hear me out, they were welcome to leave without comment, but that I’d like not to lose them as online buddies. That’s all!

      You make a good point about the schools. As a Catholic, I sent my son to parochial schools, but also had to pay for the local public schools. Same thing with university. I think we’ve all grown accustomed to that, as well as to supporting things like city parks, recreation trails, lakes, etc.

      My point is that yes, health insurance *did* need a reform. Just not like this. Rather than rushing to pass a law that, by the admission of many legislators hadn’t been read or understood, we should have set aside ample time to study it. Rather than put more money into the pockets of insurance companies, doctors, and drug companies, we needed to find out how many folks really needed those 10 areas of coverage. Rather than arbitrarily demanding that *everyone* buy into coverage, we needed to give them better options than the welfare train if they couldn’t afford hefty premiums.

  4. Medicare patients are going to be suffering more, too. Premiums will be going up, but, even worse, the possibility of finding a doctor is becoming ever more difficult. When my doctor stopped taking Medicare patients two years ago, I tried many, many doctors before I would find one who would accept me.

    Not only that, what Medicare covers for an annual physical is pathetic. A list of questions, and being hooked up to a machine that spit out various bits of information was it. I asked for such basics as a fasting blood sugar, lipids, and blood counts, and didn’t know Medicare doesn’t cover such frivolity until the $1,000 bill for lab fees showed up in my mailbox. Since Medicare paid nothing, my Blue Cross/Shield supplemental paid nothing either.

    I didn’t have an annual physical last year, and I’ll not do so this year, either. I can’t afford it. If I think something’s wrong, I’ll go the doctor.

    Here’s the bottom line: Health Insurance Does Not Equate to Health Care.

    • I love your bottom line, Linda, and it’s spot on! My mom’s on Medicare, and she’s noticed changes from just last year (they’re considerably higher). And, getting to see a doctor, as opposed to a physician’s assistant or a nurse, is getting less and less likely.

      I have a friend who swears it’s going to get to the point where, when you reach a certain age (70 or thereabouts), they’re going to hand you a raft and a pill, then float you out to sea!

      I’m sorry to hear of your $1,000 bill for labwork. Where’s the “affordable” in that?? If they’re truly interested in preventative care, shouldn’t an annual physical with routine blood work be part of the package? Sadly, it’s not necessarily age that defines a “drain on the system”; rather, it’s those who refuse to take care of themselves, indulge in unhealthy lifestyles, then trot off to the ER expecting immediate care as a way to pass the time on a Friday night.

  5. I have to confess that I don’t know the ins and outs of the reform because I have always used my employers plan. I can understand why you’d be frustrated with purchasing coverage you don’t need.

  6. I benefit from the Affordable Health Care Act. It works for me. But I have no idea if it is a good thing for the country or for everyone. I didn’t even support it. I’m not sure if I do support it. There are good and bad points on both sides of the table. My positive experience aside from the sign-up process and the web site are all I can judge it by. I do agree that nobody should be forced into signing up for something they don’t want. Choice is so important. On the other hand being opened mind to change is something both sides of our political system need to work on – it is a whole new world out there and while we fiddle people are dying and passing on meds because they can’t afford them. And not just Welfare Moms (you know, the one who sits at home having more babies…) but hardworking people who just can’t get ahead. And while I am fine with a business or Oprah exercising their spending power as they see fit – after all it is there money, I can’t really understand why profitable companies wouldn’t choose to step up and help their employees stay healthy opposed to making their shareholders happier (not just happy but happy, happier and happiest). Some companies do care…Whole Food, Trader Joes, Cosco, Potbellies, Chipotle, Nordstroms (naming only a few). I support these companies because I like companies that care about the people who work for them.
    Strong post. Good topic for discussion.

    • Thanks for sharing your impressions and experience, Kb. I think you might be the first person I’ve heard of, though, who actually has benefited from ACA. I’ve heard of far too many who still can’t afford their meds or doctor visits. I’ve heard of too many others — proud, Midwestern folk — who’ve opted to go on the public dole because they can’t afford the high premiums. Nobody should have to choose between making their house payment or buying an expensive medicine.

      Perhaps what we should have done is demand the drug companies, hospitals, doctors, and insurance companies work together to put in place a system that was more reasonable (or “affordable”). As it is, they seem to be the beneficiaries of all this federal largess!

  7. It is interesting that although we are on the same side of the political table (I am 99.9% sure of this…. 😀 ) that you don’t know many people who have benefited while I know a number who have. . .this leads me to the question no one seems to have answered (beyond our personal perceptions) are people benefiting or not. Where is the accountability for this program? Not Fox news accountability or the CNN accountability but what about an outside audit? Working or Not based on numbers. Is it too early to tell…maybe but shouldn’t we have some idea? I think this information would be so helpful sooner rather than later.

    • Great point, and I’m with you on it. Accountability based on whether it’s working or not sounds like an excellent thing for somebody to measure. Hmm, problem is, of course, would all of us trust whoever’s doing the measurement??!

  8. Debbie, I cannot believe this is what the Obamacare is composed of! Living abroad has left me rather ignorant to the ins and outs of politics and other related subjects. I think some of those clauses are downright ridiculous. Really. Although I’m no better off in Europe. We spend over 500 euros a month on medical insurance and trying to get a referral to a specialist is like getting the devil to kiss the cross!

    • As I remind others, dear Bella — it’s their game. They’re just letting us “play”!! Sad to hear it’s not any better in Europe. You’d think somebody would’ve come up with something better, that WORKS!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.