A Health Care Primer
You know by now the House repealed the Health Care Bill. If you know that, you should also know that chances are slim and none for the Senate to repeal it (and for your information, slim is halfway to Fort Worth by now).
A friend asked me about an e-mail she received regarding the bill. It stated that a 3.8 percent tax would be levied against those who sold their houses. I said yes, which I later remembered was incorrect (I’m the world’s worst at remembering). Her message didn’t reveal the tax applied only to those singles who make over $200,00 and couples over $250,000. Heck, those poor suckers are going to pay 3.8 on ALL of their unearned income, house sales, investments, rental.
And believe it or not, there are a heck of a lot more folks than you would think who exceed that amount, especially small businessmen and women.
Since most of us have pushed the bill aside, I figured maybe a little refreshing of our memories wouldn’t hurt. I’ll try to enumerate some of the administration’s claims and provide legitimate answers. Notice, I said legitimate, not political.
I relied on a watchdog group called Firedoglake, a perceptive assemblage of sharp women and men who seem to be pretty much in the center of the political spectrum. According to their spokesman, “Real health care reform is the thing we’ve fought for from the start. It is desperately needed. But this bill falls short on many levels, and hurts many people more than it helps.”
First, we were told this was a universal health care bill.
Truth: The bill is neither universal health care nor universal health insurance.
According to the CBO, total uninsured in 2019 with no bill: 54 million. Total uninsured in 2019 with Senate bill: 24 million (44 percent).
Second, insurance companies hate this bill.
Truth: This bill is almost identical to the plan written by AHIP, the insurance company trade association, in 2009. The original Senate Finance Committee bill was authored by a former Wellpoint VP. You might be interested to know that Wellpoint is a health benefits company serving the needs of members nationwide. Includes investor information, company news, and career center.
And you might be further interested to know that since Congress released the first of its health care bills on Oct. 30, 2009, health care stocks have risen 28.3 percent.
Third, the bill will significantly bring down insurance premiums for most Americans.
Truth: The bill will not bring down premiums significantly, and certainly not to the $2,500 yearly the President promised. Annual premiums in 2016: Small group market; single: $7,800: family: $19,300: Large Group market: single: $7,400; family:$21,300.
Fourth, the bill will make health care affordable for middle class Americans.
Truth: The bill will impose a financial hardship on middle class Americans who will be forced to buy a product that they can’t afford to use. A family of four making $66,370 will be forced to pay $5,243 per year for insurance plus out-of-pocket expenses.
Fifth, this plan is similar to the Massachusetts plan, which makes health care affordable.
Truth: Many Massachusetts residents opt out of health care because they can’t afford it. A 2009 study by the state of Massachusetts found that: 21 percent of residents forgo medical treatment because it is too expensive, including 12 percent of children.
Sixth, this bill will provide health care to 31 million people who are currently uninsured.
Truth: This bill will mandate that millions of people who are currently uninsured must purchase insurance from private companies, or the IRS will collect up to 2% of their annual income in penalties. Some will be assisted with government subsidies.
Seventh, you can keep the insurance you have if you like it.
Truth: The “excise tax” will result in employers switching to plans with higher co-pays and fewer covered services. Older, less healthy employees with employer-based health care will be forced to pay much more in out-of-pocket expenses than they do now.
Eighth, the “excise tax” will encourage employers to reduce the scope of health care benefits, and they will pass the savings on to employees in the form of higher wages.
Truth: There is insufficient evidence that employers pass savings from reduced benefits on to employees. (If they did, how would they receive those outrageous bonuses?)
But there’s more, much more.
Same time, same place, next week.