My View: Being pragmatic when it comes to ObamaCare
December 2, 2013
The shouting match between left and right on health care reform roars with the hyperventilating right calling anyone who supports Obamacare ideologically insulting names. Just call me a pragmatist.
Earth to ideologues: we have a problem here and whatever you call the solution, you want to unsolve it by replacing Obamacare with nothing that protects consumers from bad insurer practices or makes insurance affordable for the uninsured.
Leave it up to the free market system, you say. That is returning to the same that has refused coverage of so many for pre-existing conditions and screwed its customers lucky enough to even get coverage. There is a good reason medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy. Insurance had small print clauses capping dollar amounts of coverage or with impossible to pay high deductible while raking off more than 20 percent for overhead.
Legalized monopolies extended across state lines that make true cross state free market competition a farce, permitting price and benefit collusion. The only free market place, ironically, is in the ObamaCare exchanges where multiple carriers compete for your business with coverage and premiums compared side by side, and all meeting at least minimum standards. See http://www.connectforhealthco.com
Heads up: your neighbors know we have a problem and need, want, and appreciate a solution as polls running in this newspaper this month have revealed. More support Obamacare than want to repeal it; only 41 percent responding had employer provided insurance. Surveys taken by Colorado Health Institute 2013 confirm the similar numbers: nearly 20 percent of your Grand County neighbors do not have health insurance, 82 percent because of cost, and an additional 13 percent are underinsured.
Why? In order to make a living in this county many must have one day job and two part time table waiting, drywall, ski instructor , maintenance, hamburger flipping jobs. Few employers of such have ever provided insurance.
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The newest fear hyping prediction from the right is that no young people will sign up so that only the sick and infirm with pre-existing conditions will be left in the insurance pool, causing Obama to self destruct. That did not happen in Massachusetts, the only testing grounds for a plan similar to Obamacare. The young and healthy had more sense than what the old folks comfy with insurance credit them with. It is not just the fines that got them into the system: though losing 1 percent or $95 of your income this year and much more in future years with no insurance to show for it, too, is no joke. What gets them into the system is the ability to afford insurance thanks to subsidies or qualify for the expanded free Medicaid or for those under 30 to get cheap catastrophic insurance.
Bike crashes and ski wipeouts happen. The cheapest knee replacement, per recent Aspen Times and Vail Daily surveys , costs $55 thousand in Denver. Either you have cash, good credit, or bankruptcy.
Young people are able to stay on their parents' insurance policy until they are 26, thanks to Obamacare. An unemployed 19 year old I know well tore his acl/ ncl and chipped a bone and his parents said that since Obamacare let him stay on his parents insurance, the coverage saved $40 thousand out of pocket. For that they give thanks.