Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Healthcare or Insurance Windfall?

With the government shut down and the president throwing public temper-tantrums, people are supposed to be applying now for health insurance unless they’re already covered, either privately or through employer plans. They’re being introduced to the insurance-angle of Obamacare, actually what the whole program is about.

Obamacare is less about health (the U.S. has the best healthcare worldwide) than about the insurance business, provider of bottomless pockets of cash for its lobbyists. Obama speaks now not about health but about health-insurance for everyone, though the homeless, the working-poor and the families on welfare will continue to go to the emergency-room or other treatment-centers just as they always have, with payments for their care made by the insured, also known as taxpayers.

There are four insurance levels—bronze, silver, gold and platinum. HHS seems to consider the second-tier silver plan as the one most likely to be used (Forbes). Though costs vary state-to-state (unfair but true), the average monthly-premium for this plan is $328, with the deductible at $2,550 for a combined yearly outlay of $6,486 before any benefit occurs.

Actually, all bets are off because no one seems to know exactly what’s in Obamacare, just as House Minority-Leader Pelosi said would be the case until the law was passed. It’s been passed and the president probably knows less about it than anyone else…except Pelosi, of course. Both know, however, that Congress-people and their staffers are largely exempt, with taxpayers ponying up for their goodies.

The prez and his party—elitists, all—figure the great unwashed lack sense enough to understand the insurance gig so $67 million has been spread nationwide to hire “navigators” to help them understand premiums, deductibles, etc. The worst problem is that those making too much to afford Medicaid-driven subsidies probably will not be able to afford insurance, thus back to the old ER. The navigators – with little training – are not supposed to push any plan, so laughs are in order. So far, the application process is a total mess.

Remember the well-publicized lady in Detroit (now being given $300 million borrowed from China by Obama) screaming about the free healthcare in 2010, with money furnished by Obama. She’s finding out now that there’s no free lunch. Kaiser Family of California furnishes some details. The policy mentioned above for a family of four and income of $50,000 carries a premium of $5070 per year ($422.50 monthly) with a possible (not guaranteed) government subsidy of $1705. But no benefits are available until the $2,550-deductible is satisfied.

People will likely not know what’s covered until they see a doctor and might receive a rude awakening. The labor unions, having negotiated beautiful healthcare plans with employers (especially the auto workers) discovered that their members are among the losers, made a trip to the White House to get the expected exemption, and left in a huff. They carried the water for the prez in 2012 after he earlier had saved jobs at GM and Chrysler, leading both to bankruptcy, with shareholders holding the bag. He’s not running again so…guess what!

The housing-bubble-bust-up occurred when people were told to buy houses whether or not they could afford them, with millions of defaults the result. An insurance-bubble is about to take place as people are told to buy insurance they can’t afford without incurring humongous deductibles. This is called bait-and-switch, the mother’s milk of government.

No argument here with healthcare being available for all but there’s also no free lunch! Elected Washington officials are very well paid (actually inordinately overpaid) and thus are out of touch with the hoi polloi. Senators and representatives receive $174,000 in salary and can earn in addition 15% of the level II executive rate, another $26,955 for a total of nearly $201,000 per year. The House Speaker makes $223,500 and the majority and minority leaders in both houses make $193,400. They also get great medical insurance and pension perks and have exempted themselves from Obamacare, which would cost them more than they would like to pay.

Obamacare hurts the most disadvantaged, who already suffer. Nothing has been more deplorable, however, than the president’s unilateral exemption of the business community (his friends) from the law until 2015 (after 2014 elections, then probably exempted again). As per the Constitution in personally nullifying settled law, Obama overreached and admitted the law is bad. Impeachment, anyone?

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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