Thursday, April 1, 2010

Health Care Cost Reduction? NOT!

It's not a matter of NEEDING health care. We all need health care. The problem with health care is its cost!  With the Obamacare Bill, Congress has not done a single thing to lower the cost of health care.... which is the public's number 1 "health care" concern. As a matter of fact, they have just raised that cost!

Think about it for a minute, without emotion, but with common sense. The Administration claimed that this new law will cover 31 million Americans, heretofore uninsured. The US Census Bureau estimated that in 2006 there were 116 million households in the US. Each household has approximately 2.6 members. That means the uninsured represents about 12 million households. Subtracting those 12 million uninsured from the total of 116 million leaves 104 million insured households to pay for all those uninsured. Simply speaking, if 104 million households picks up the tab for 12 million uninsured ones, the 104 million will have to pay at least 11.5% more in insurance costs every year!

Now some will say, "No, business will pay!" Or, "No, the government will pay!" Or, "No, insurance companies will have to pay!" Of course, but getting back to the emotion free state of logic, we all know that in the first instance businesses will simply raise the price of their goods or services to cover those new taxes/expenses, which means that the end user will pay... that's us. In the second instance, we know that the government has no money, other than that collected in taxes from... us. In the third instance, the insurance companies, if not permitted to raise premiums will simply go out of business.... they can't run on air! That leaves... us! In other words a single-payer system funded by.... us!

So no matter how one slices and dices it, raw insurance premiums will have to go up by at least 11.5%. As they say on TV commercials, "But wait, there's more!" There's more here too because now the government will have to hire tens of thousands of folks to administer the program. The Bill calls for 16,000 new IRS "inforcer/collectors" immediately. That's right now, while the private insurance companies are still in business. As they fold their tents and vanish, more and more government workers, like those at the DMV or the Post Office, will be required to do the underwriting/administrating those insurance companies had been doing, competitively I might add.

All that may not sound so bad until you figure that, hey, those private insurance companies used to make money and pay taxes and their newly out of work employees will be in the unemployment lines.... pulling even more money out of the system! What will all these unintended consequences cost... us? Another 10%? Or more? One last note about expenses.... you can just forget about the "fraud and abuse savings." Those savings will never be found... as a matter of fact they will only increase. Costing another 10%!

There are solutions to many of the problems that have increased the cost of care and the cost of insurance, but none of these have even been considered by the elected officials currently running the show. Here's a few:
  • Insurance should be 100% portable. When we moved from CA to HA we could not take our California Blue Cross policy with us. The same thing happened again when we moved abroad, yet again when we moved to Washington. Moving abroad we discovered that outside the US there are Insurance Companies that sell policies good anywhere in the world!
  • State mandates put upon insurance companies should be eliminated. Why should one have to buy an insurance policy that provides for sex-change operations? Or plastic surgery? Or, or, or? My family wanted and needed only major medical insurance. We were middle aged, had no intention of having children or a sex change!
  • State lines for the purchase of Health Insurance should be erased. Some States allow a variety of policies to be issued; some at far cheaper premiums than others, but neither you nor I can shop across State lines to buy them - this should be changed.
  • Employees should own their own policies. If it's a job-perk, fine... the employer could simply give the employee a cash credit to purchase their own policy, fully portable. If the job is lost, or the individual changes career, or whatever the reason for change... the policy travels with the "owner."
  • Tort reform for everything!.... would bring down  - way down - the costs of everything. From food to fuel to especially medical care, drugs, and expensive items like Auto Insurance! We've lived where it's happened, in both New Zealand and Australia. But Congress, where too many are lawyers, won't do it. Billions of dollars are wasted on high insurance premiums and cover-your-ass expenses in every industry, all of which are passed on to the final consumer..... us!
  • Mandatory Physical Education and mandatory nutrition courses, K thru College 4 - with mandatory weigh-ins! When we were kids we rode a bike or walked to school. Once in school we were required to exercise - in Physical Education class - every school day! My high school graduation class had nearly 800 seniors in it; I can't remember a single fatso let alone a third of the class being "two-ton-tubbies!" 
These are the issues that have driven-up health care, none - NONE - of which have been addressed by Obamacare. Your family's health care costs will continue to rise, as will all American's until these problems are fixed. By then private medical insurance companies will be out of business, we will have "single payer," your doctor may well be foreign born, you will go to a "clinic" for services, you will wait all day to see.... not a doctor but a Physician Assistant. There will be no other choice. Payment for the government plan will be mandatory. If you want private services you'll have to pay extra for them yourself. Better health services may well be found in Costa Rica. This, by the way, will further us down the road to the two-class system. The privileged and the rest of..... us.  

Body parts: knees, shoulders, hips, etc., will be denied unless you are young enough to "pay-back" the cost through future taxes. Your option? Go get them on your own in Brazil or Switzerland, or wherever. That's a fact. In New Zealand and Australia they have a simple age cut-off, re-determined each year, that sets eligibility based upon cash in the system. Oldsters either come here to the US for those parts, or go to Asia, or stay home... use a cane, a walker or sit in a wheelchair. 

My argument does not oppose health care for all.... all already get it. For example, a couple (unrelated) friends of ours were stricken with breast cancer.... neither had insurance. They had money for the latest and greatest Apple computers, cell phones, tattoos, one even enjoyed Cuban Cigars (really! - $10 each!) and to drive new cars but nary a dime to spare for insurance!  Although never a dime was paid, they both were guided to a California community "program" that paid for all their needs. Not only paid for everything including surgery, all meds and follow-up therapy but also for "reconstructive" surgery; new breasts to match and lipo to go with them! Another acquaintance, a middle aged gentleman, not a citizen but living in Washington, suffered from a massive heart attack. Likewise, not insured. His bypass surgery, all follow-up and post surgery meds (some of which will be needed the rest of his life) were/are all paid for by...... us!

We've all seen off-ramp-beggar's with signs saying they needed money for food (although I've never seen one that looked starved), but I've never seen a sign that said.... Need Money for Surgery (or even medicine).

With Obamacare, everyone (that has two cents to rub together) will have to pay more for health insurance. An ARMY of public employees will be hired to administer the soon to be National Health Care Agency (or some such) in a - I guarantee you! - half-ass manner. If you don't think that costs will skyrocket beyond our atmosphere and into the stratosphere then you're living on the Moon. It has to go way up. Health care will become the biggest expense this country has ever seen. To cover the costs the US will have to change the Pentagon from a defense military organization into an international police force. A Standing Army, Air Force, and Navy will not be affordable.... without sucking every dollar out of the atmosphere. And speaking of atmostphere.... no more NASA exploration either, every farthing will be sucked-into the giant government maw, just to accommodate "health care" expenses.

Welcome to the Fundamentally Changed America!

Cheers, Mel