Skip to comments.Obamacare's Oh-bummers for Americans
Posted on 03/25/2014 4:20:30 AM PDT by Kaslin
With Obamacare's March 31 sign-up deadline and subsequent penalties looming over the heads of young and old Americans, citizens are wondering more than ever -- and with good reason, I might add -- whether Washington has dished out another bill of bad goods. And here are a few more solid reasons our skepticism about socialist medicine continues.
Reporter Bob Unruh at WorldNetDaily recently reported about how Obamacare is blocking patients from paying for their own treatments. The feds are already capping what some citizens can spend on their own health care, even if those patients are willing and able to cover their own costs.
Unruh cited a new report from the Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics, which warned that some seniors will not be permitted to spend as much as they wish on their health care.
The report points to several ways that Obamacare "will drastically limit access to life-saving medical treatment under the law. ... These four areas include: the (40 percent) 'excess benefit' tax coming into effect in 2018, the current exclusion of adequate health insurance plans from the exchanges, present limits on senior citizens' ability to use their own money for health insurance, and federal limits on the care doctors give their patients to be implemented as soon as 2016."
The study goes on to warn: "Essentially, doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers can be told by Washington just what diagnostic tests and medical care are considered to meet 'quality and efficiency' standards. These standards will be enforced not just for health care paid for by federally funded programs like Medicare, but also for health care paid for by private citizens and by the health insurance they or their employers purchase. ... Treatment that a doctor and patient deem needed or advisable to save the patient's life or preserve or improve the patient's health, but which runs afoul of the imposed standards, can be denied, even if the patient is willing and able to pay for it."
And if Obamacare doesn't cap Americans' spending on their own health care, it will raise their health care premiums and medical bills instead. Forbes published an expose last week on "4 Reasons Why Obamacare Exchange Premiums May 'Double In Some Parts Of The Country' In 2015." They include:
--"The White House is making up the rules as it goes along."
--"The administration has avoided talking about the individual mandate."
--"Many of the young people enrolling are pregnant women."
--"Obamacare's design gave insurers an incentive to 'underprice' in 2014."
I know a business manager in her 50s from my wife's small hometown. She makes less than $25,000 a year and applied to sign up via Obamacare's website, only to discover that it would cost her half her paycheck to pay for the medical coverage it offered. She could have purchased that insurance "deal" before Obamacare was enacted!
And speaking of raw insurance deals, the Las Vegas Review-Journal just reported that Larry Basich, a 62-year-old Vegas resident, has been stuck with the ginormous medical bill of $407,000 despite his signing up in the fall and monthly paying for an insurance plan through Obamacare's mandated state insurance exchange program.
Basich signed up online and just kept paying his monthly premiums through the holidays. On Dec. 31, he had a heart attack and needed a triple bypass. To his horror, however, he soon discovered a problem while recovering from his heart surgery: Despite his faithfully paying his monthly Obamacare-obtained insurance premiums, no insurer was actually covering him for his $407,000 medical bills.
And if Obamacare's costs don't get you, its limitations in health care coverage will. CNNMoney just reported about an Oklahoma family whose teenage son has a terrible heart condition and now has health insurance thanks to Obamacare. The problem is that they "don't have ... local doctors and hospitals who will take it." The mother, Terri Durheim, gasped, "It's so frustrating!"
CNNMoney explained: "Like Durheim, many Americans who've enrolled on the Obamacare exchanges are realizing they have access to a relatively limited set of doctors and hospitals. In many areas, the largest hospitals are not participating and many doctors are not accepting the coverage. That's by design. To keep premiums down for silver and bronze plans, insurers narrowed the networks of doctors and hospitals, often excluding the priciest and most specialized providers. ... Limiting access to providers isn't new, but it is becoming more common as the Obamacare exchanges expand coverage to more people."
This case really illustrates the heart (no pun intended) of the problem. The disaster of Obamacare is only a symptom of a much bigger issue, and that is the problem of "insurance" that covers medical procedures that are both very expensive and increasingly routine. An insurance company that pays $407,000 in medical bills has to collect that much money in premiums (actually more than that) just to break even. When you look at the medical bills of someone who is 62 years old today, it's reasonable to ask if that person has been paying enough premiums over the course of a lifetime to cover the cost of medical care moving forward. If not, then someone else has to pay the bill.
I don't know what the answer is, but I don't see any way out of this dilemma.
Except for catastrophic insurance, get the government, the insurance companies and especially the slip and fall lawyers out of healthcare altogether. Buying the catastrophic policy just like car insurance in the open market will cost far less on a monthly basis just like life insurance. The earlier you get it, the less it costs as an ongoing expense.
But since the trial lawyers lobby in addition to the now obvious insurance lobby are all an ingrained symptom of the problem of our government in this regards, only a total reset can cure the problem because there is too much money and associated power for all three legs of that stool (pun intended) for anything meaningful to happen otherwise.
Another question you should ask is this:
Of the $407K bill, what portion is due to regulatory requirements and legal decisions of the last half century that keep raising the cost of medical care?
Is it possible to take all of that away and come down to the actual/real costs of providing the actual/real health care that this bill covers?
Your point is a valid one, but the cost of the regulatory burden probably isn’t as big a part of that bill as you might think. Medical care for these complicated procedures is expensive no matter how you look at it. The doctors need to be paid, the medical staff needs to be paid, it costs a fortune to build and maintain a hospital, etc.
“Of the $407K bill, what portion is due to regulatory requirements and legal decisions of the last half century that keep raising the cost of medical care?”
And, how many illegal aliens or EBT card holders were given the same procedure at no cost? Somebody has to cover that too. That person is the citizen who has an income, is here legally and can be “attached.” Several years ago I spent 20 minutes in surgery for hernia repair. I was in the hospital 4 hours total. The cost was $16,000. Because I had a catastrophic policy the hospital gave a $4,000 courtesy discount I would not have qualified for as their opening gambit. The insurance negotiated it the bill to $8,000 of which I paid $2,500...what I felt the procedure was actually worth.
Why did it start out so high? The emergency room was full of Hispanics who spoke no English and were being treated free.
Another question is what is the price that is usually paid by insurance companies? Is it closer to $100K or $200K? Then that's the "real" price. When you're not covered by some pricing group, and have some cash, the $407k price is used for predatory billing behavior. Both insurance companies, and people who don't have the money readily at hand, pay a lot less.
——subsequent penalties looming ——
I don’t believe that is true....... Haven’t nearly all of the various subsets of coverage been delayed? Is there still Obamacare in reality other than the various associated taxes?
——ginormous medical bill of $407,000-—
Once again, I am skeptical. The first thing that happens on coming to a provider, right before asking for your date of birth, is “may we see your insurance card?”
I do not believe this treatment was provided absent proof of coverage
Not if you come in through ER. We can’t ask for insurance info until you’ve been screened. And if you have an emergency, like needing emergency bypass surgery, we’re stuck.
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