A number of people have noted that I am outspoken against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Some have even asked why, why when this is such a good program that will provide health care to all, am I against it?
So here are my key reasons. Many are from personal experience. Many are from discussions with health care providers and some are just from anecdotal information. I’ll back up statistics with links and my opinions with common sense.
Coverage for Pre-existing Conditions
This is a subject near and dear to me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer 2 years ago. Now, under Obamacare I am eligible for pre-existing coverage. Or am I? Coverage through government will not begin until I am without health care for six months. Coverage comes at a cost. The first thing I looked at was the cost of this new plan. In my age group it will cost $240 per month, plus a $2000 deductible and up to $5700 as my portion of the coverage for one year. The website tells me if I can’t afford the premiums I should look into Medicaid for assistance. Arizona’s Medicaid plan at best covers me if I make less than $24000 per year.
|PCIP||$2880 premium + $2000 deductible + 20% of fees to $5700 per year|
|Arizona Medicaid Eligibility||Make less than $12000/year or if disabled less than $24000/year and have less than $2000 in resources.|
This week the president was seen consoling a woman whose sister died from colon cancer. He says she would be covered today. Would she? The sister did not qualify for Medicaid. Let’s say she made a reasonable $40,000 per year (or $30,000). Would she have the nearly $5000 per year to pay for premiums plus her co-pays? Or would she, like many still be unable to afford the health care?
The result of Obamacare and the current law is that many still will fall through the cracks. Everyone will have opportunity for coverage but too many will not be able to afford it.
Doctors. . . Or. . .If You Like Your Doctor You Can Keep Your Doctor
Baby boomers continue to reach retirement age and with age comes the need for more medical care. The number of Medicare patients will rise while the reimbursement per patient visit is scheduled to drop. Doctors who can’t afford to take the lower reimbursement rates are either dropping their patients or not taking any new ones. The situation will be even more dire for Medicaid patients as physician reimbursement averages only 60% of the Medicare rate. I have a disabled young adult son. He qualifies for Medicaid. I go through hoops to keep him on our family coverage each year so that we can find a doctor with whom we have confidence in our area.
Some people think doctors are already paid too much. One physician friend asked me, “Should you pay your auto mechanic more than you pay your doctor?” Doctors today are among our smartest and most dedicated professionals. They sacrifice many additional years studying, training and paying tuition. As they make life and death decisions in our behalf should they not be at the top of our list instead of the bottom?
The result of Obamacare will reduce Medicare reimbursements and by fiat Medicaid payments. Physicians will stop accepting these patients. More people will be on the roles with fewer doctors to choose from. Wait times will increase. Finding a doctor in rural areas may be especially challenging.
If You Like Your Insurance You Can Keep Your Insurance
Who but the most gullible believe this? Some companies (many supporters of Obama) received waivers and don’t have to follow the new insurance rules until years in the future. Most others have to look at the cost of health insurance versus the cost of the penalty (tax). In a difficult economy such as we seem stuck, the bottom line will make the choice for businesses. If the penalty is less than the current cost of health insurance companies will drop their policies forcing employees onto the government plan. This should not be a surprise to those who pay attention. The only way for the government health plan to work is by increasing the pool. For their budget numbers to work a large percentage of the population have to go on to the government plan.
The result of Obamacare will be that more people sign on to the government health plan. Compare to Canada where people say they have a great health plan…until they need to use it.
Obamacare Will Lower Your Insurance Cost
The president repeatedly promised that his new health insurance program would lower insurance costs $2500 for middle class families. Forbes reports that college health care will increase by over 1000%! The Kaiser Family Foundation survey found insurance premiums jumped over 9% in 2011. As more states opt out of the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid (due to the Supreme Court ruling allowing for such) economists expect costs to continue to rise.
The result of Obamacare and the Supreme Court ruling is that not all states will participate in the expanded Medicaid program. Fewer in the pool means higher costs for those who pay.
Who decides My Healthcare? Me? My doctor? Or Joe Bean-Counter?
Remember the Sarah Palin ‘Death Panels’? The media sure had fun with them. But it turns out that there will be no name, non-health care bureaucrats who will be making key decisions about my health care. It’s already begun. Have you seen the recommendation from a government task force that screening mammograms should not begin until age 50? (I was diagnosed before age 50—does that mean other women will not have the luxury of early treatment?) Did you see the recommendation from another government panel that discourages PSA screening blood work?
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking no way will these important screening tools be cut. But you’d be wrong. Look at the UK, look at Canada. Additionally, you may remember President Obama telling one concerned voter that maybe old grandma should not have the pacemaker surgery; maybe she should just take a pill. Who should make this decision? The government or the family?
The result of Obamacare is that by necessity tests and screenings will be evaluated strongly on a dollars and cents basis. If you want these early detection screenings you may soon be paying out of pocket. Decisions on life enabling versus life maintaining procedures may be decided, not by the patient or family and doctor but by a bureaucrat.
These are the top reasons. We haven’t touched on prescription costs that have jumped in correlation to government programs. Nor the abuse and fraud that can’t seem to be controlled and has the potential to get far worse with increasing enrollment. And we did not talk about the increase in taxes which will be felt by the middle class beginning next year. I did not even look at the idea of ‘free services’ (who over age six really believes free stuff just appears magically?) and the entire religious rights situation…
No one argues that health care needs reform. But it seems to many that this current law, as it stands is not the answer.
I welcome your thoughts.