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Health Insurance Rates Still Going Up





jmi256
Another example of the massive fail Obamacare represents as it failed to focus on factors that cause insurance rate increases. It’s tragic that this is a big surprise to some. What is even more tragic, however, is the liberal/progressive/left/whatever mindset that despite evidence before their face that government intervention doesn’t work, their answer is always more and more government intervention and intrusion.


Quote:
Healthcare overhaul won't stop premium increases

The new law doesn't prevent rate hikes such as Anthem Blue Cross' double-digit increase last year. 'It is a very big loophole,' says Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is pushing regulatory legislation.


Public outrage over double-digit rate hikes for health insurance may have helped push President Obama's healthcare overhaul across the finish line, but the new law does not give regulators the power to block similar increases in the future.

And now, with some major companies already moving to boost premiums and others poised to follow suit, millions of Americans may feel an unexpected jolt in the pocketbook.

Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases.

Many state governments -- which traditionally had responsibility for regulating insurance companies -- also do not have such authority. And several that do are now being sued by insurance companies.

"It is a very big loophole in health reform," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said. Feinstein and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) are pushing legislation to expand federal and state authority to prevent insurance companies from boosting rates excessively.

At least in the short term, regulators will be able to do little more than require insurers to publicly explain why they want to raise rates. Consumer advocates think that will not be an effective deterrent against premium increases such as the 39% hike that Anthem Blue Cross sent some California customers last year.

"The irony here is that it was the Anthem rate increase that breathed new life into the healthcare bill," said Jerry Flanagan, medical policy director of Consumer Watchdog, a longtime supporter of tougher premium regulation. "But there is nothing in this bill to guarantee that it doesn't happen again."

The lack of muscle is stoking concerns that more rate jumps -- and an angry backlash from ratepayers -- could undermine support for implementing the healthcare overhaul.

Insurance industry officials say that talk of more regulation is misguided and have urged federal officials to focus instead on containing rising medical costs, which help drive up premiums.

"Politicians are much more comfortable looking at healthcare premiums," said Karen Ignagni, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, the industry's Washington-based lobbying arm.

Ignagni, as well as some independent healthcare experts, said policymakers should look at ways to control what hospitals and other providers charge, although few elected officials have shown much appetite for doing so.

Obama endorsed Feinstein's insurance proposal this year, including it in the healthcare blueprint he unveiled in February as Democrats were struggling to revive their proposals. But congressional rules prevented Democratic leaders from including the rate control provision in the final healthcare package.

Many consumer advocates think this enhanced regulation -- known in the industry as "prior approval" authority -- is the only real way to protect ratepayers from insurers, particularly for-profit companies under pressure to generate returns that satisfy Wall Street investors.

Prior approval requires insurers to submit proposed rate increases to regulators, who can then comb through companies' financial and actuarial data to see if the proposals are justified.

Insurers cannot raise premiums without explicit permission from the regulator.

Some states have given prior approval authority to their insurance commissions and have used it to force down premiums.

In New York, the state insurance department reduced nearly a quarter of the proposed premium increases between 1990 and 1995, according to a recent department analysis.

More recently, state regulators in Kansas successfully pushed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to reduce a proposed premium increase for some of its elderly customers, according to state Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger.

California, which does not have the power to block health plan increases, has been using similar authority to control property and auto insurance premiums for more than 20 years, said Dwight M. Jaffee, a real estate and finance professor at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. "It has been very successful," said Jaffee, who studied the state's experience.

Health insurance, however, is more complicated than property and auto coverage. And even the most active state regulators typically cannot investigate every proposed change in every segment of the insurance market.

In Maine, where an aggressive Bureau of Insurance reviewed 186 rate filings in 2009, regulators focus on the so-called individual market, where people buy coverage if it is not available through their jobs.

Maine is battling Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, which regulators last year blocked from raising premiums an average of 18.5% on its individual customers.

Many states do far less, often requiring insurers only to file their proposed rate increases with the state insurance commissioner before passing them along to consumers. New York switched to that approach in 1996, a move that state regulators say resulted in "excessive rate increases."

A handful of states, such as Missouri, do not even require insurers to publicly disclose rate hikes.

The new federal healthcare law would step up oversight of health insurers in states with such limited regulation.

The bill directs the secretary of Health and Human Services to work with state regulators to develop a process for reviewing proposed premium increases to determine if they are unreasonable.

Insurers that propose such hikes would be required to post justifications on their websites.

For the first time, all insurance companies would have to dedicate at least 75% of their premiums to paying medical claims; this would reduce the proportion of companies' revenue that could go to administrative expenses, such as executive salaries and stockholder dividends. Some analysts think that requirement could restrain premium growth.

"These provisions are powerful forces that will help end sky-high premium hikes," said Nick Papas, a spokesman for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

On Monday, the department announced it would accelerate the development of new regulations.

But more intensive oversight would not begin until 2014, when states set up new regulated insurance markets, or exchanges, where consumers who do not get insurance at work would shop for coverage.

The healthcare bill allows regulators to ban insurers from the exchanges if their rates are deemed unjustified.

Even some regulators wary of greater Washington control over state affairs say that more federal protections may be needed before then.

"Some consistency there is probably warranted," said Praeger, a Republican and former head of the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners. Praeger criticized Obama's original proposal to give the federal government authority to block rate increases.

But she said last week that the insurance commissioners association was now talking with the administration about how the federal government could set a stronger minimum national standard for regulating medical insurance companies.

That could encourage more states to require insurers to get state approval before raising premiums.

On Capitol Hill, Feinstein said she was looking at ways to move her premium regulation bill forward, perhaps by attaching it to other legislation with bipartisan support.

Stepping up regulation doesn't promise to be easy. Insurance companies in Maine and Massachusetts have sued state regulators who tried to block rate increases.

Source = http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-health-premiums13-2010apr13,0,6665250,full.story
jmi256
More bad news for Americans as Obama’s healthcare debacle continues to prove itself an epic fail in lowering the costs of healthcare. Instead of working to lower costs and premiums, Obama worked on serving up millions of ‘customers’ who will be forced under law to purchase their products to his buddies in the insurance industry. This was clearly predicted by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which forecast premiums hikes of 10-13%, but Obama’s followers refused to accept that report. In part I guess they were right, though, as the increases are in the 20-30% range. But the fact that the CBO’s estimates often come in far too conservative was a common critique of the CBO during the so-called debate. It’s really sad for those who are forced to pay for more as their needs increase. Nice job Obama! No wonder the world is ready for you to leave office in 2013.


Quote:
Survey: Individual Health Insurance Premiums Jump
Kaiser Foundation Survey Finds Steep Jump in Individual Health Insurance premiums

People who buy their own health insurance have been hit lately with premium hikes that far exceed increases in premiums for employer-sponsored coverage, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The nonprofit foundation, which is separate from health insurer Kaiser Permanente, said recent premium hikes requested by insurers for individual coverage averaged 20 percent. Some customers were able to switch plans and pay less, so people paying on their own actually wound up paying 13 percent more on average.

That tops last year's average 5 percent annual increase for employer-sponsored family coverage and almost unchanged premiums for employer-sponsored single coverage, though foundation Vice President Gary Claxton said the comparisons come with qualifications.

The individual insurance survey asked respondents for their most recent premium increases, and those can happen more or less frequently than the annual increases mostly seen in the group market, he noted.

In the online poll, Kaiser queried 1,038 randomly selected people who pay for their own coverage.

Individual health insurance premiums generally rise faster than group coverage rates. They can be affected by variables like a person's age. They also can be affected by rising medical and drug costs and are more vulnerable when a bad economy makes healthy people drop coverage.

That can leave an insurer with a higher concentration of sick people who keep coverage because they need it more and thus generate more claims.

The market also appears to be cyclical, with a big increase following a couple years of smaller ones, said Robert Laszewski, a health care consultant and former insurance executive who wasn't involved with the Kaiser study.

But even with a sizable average increase, individual premiums still span a wide range from no increases to huge hikes.

"There is no real consistency," Laszewski said.

Guy Gooding of Sobieski, Wis., who is 59, said premiums for his and his wife's health coverage have risen 73 percent from 2007. They now pay about $646 per month, compared with $374 in 2007.

He said he has kept up with the increases because he doesn't want to sacrifice the quality of his coverage. But he'd like more of an explanation from his insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

"They're very vague on why the increases have been as much as they have been," he said.

Insurers drew heavy criticism earlier this year after requesting premium increases of 20 percent or more from their individual customers in several different markets. Analysts who follow the insurance industry say reports of those increases helped re-ignite the health care reform debate.

Congress then passed in March a reform bill that aims to offer health coverage to millions of uninsured people and help people buy individual coverage through exchanges that will be launched in 2014.

About 14 million Americans under age 65 receive health insurance through the non-group or individual market, according to the foundation. In contrast, about 157 million U.S. residents get their coverage through an employer.

Kaiser conducted the survey in March and April. The results had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.



Source = http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=10971283
Bikerman
Why would Obama's 'fans' not accept it? It is as predicted in the planning document.
It was always anticipated that there would be significant 'front loading' with the benefits only becoming apparent from 2014 onwards...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act
Voodoocat
The problem is that millions of insured Americans will undoubtably end up paying much larger premiums due to this law. Is it morally acceptable to steal from Peter to pay Paul? While I understand that there are people that need insurance, their benefit comes at a cost: removing much needed resources from other families.

Of course this balancing act is the conundrum of government. Remember, nothing is free. For every family receiving government subsidized healthcare, there is another family that had to give something up. Most famlilies do not have a financial cushion; these are the families that will be pushed even closer to the brink of disaster so that another family does not have to pay for their healthcare.
Alaskacameradude
Voodoocat wrote:
The problem is that millions of insured Americans will undoubtably end up paying much larger premiums due to this law. Is it morally acceptable to steal from Peter to pay Paul? While I understand that there are people that need insurance, their benefit comes at a cost: removing much needed resources from other families.

Of course this balancing act is the conundrum of government. Remember, nothing is free. For every family receiving government subsidized healthcare, there is another family that had to give something up. Most famlilies do not have a financial cushion; these are the families that will be pushed even closer to the brink of disaster so that another family does not have to pay for their healthcare.


And here you touch on the problem that every government since time began has tried to solve.
We are imperfect people and so our governments reflect that. But you are totally right,
there is NO free lunch. I worked covering politics for a few years, and I always saw citizens
come in and testify before the legislature. Almost without fail, they would be trying to testify
how 'the other guy' should pay for some benefits they enjoy. Or get everyone to pay for
benefits that the majority of people didn't need or want. Anchorage residents would want
rural 'bush' residents to help pay for roads (which are important in Anchorage and non existent
in the bush). Rural residents would like Anchorage residents to help pay for the state ferry
system (which is important to the villages, and not to Anchorage). That is always the way
it seems to work.

But the thing that makes it very important theses days, is the horrible economy that Obama
is presiding over. MANDATING that people have health coverage, and then having the premiums
go up, is going to cause many hard working families 'on the edge' to really have a problem coming up with the money for this additional expense. I actually predict that it may get worse, for this
reason. It is cheaper to pay the fines than to get health insurance. So families will choose to
pay the fines, instead of purchasing the insurance....saving them as much money as possible.
Then, when illness or disaster strikes, the families will go out and buy health insurance (remember,
the companies CANNOT disallow you because of pre existing conditions!). Suddenly this
is another cost the insurance companies must pay out, thereby shifting the burden onto
everyone else. It would be like not buying car insurance until AFTER you got into a wreck.
Everyone else who had your brand of car insurance would be helping to pay for your
accident, and at this point, it really isn't insurance anymore is it?
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Why would Obama's 'fans' not accept it? It is as predicted in the planning document.

Well, there was an awful lot of talk about the 'desperate need to lower healthcare costs', with the implication that this bill would do so.

Anybody who said that costs would actually increase could be easily dismissed by saying that they were just right-wing loonies who had been deceived by insurance company propaganda.
Alaskacameradude
Quote:

Anybody who said that costs would actually increase could be easily dismissed by saying that they were just right-wing loonies who had been deceived by insurance company propaganda.


Funny you should say that, as I was just reading through the thread
'American's want Universal Health Care. Why can't we get it?'

Read through that thread.....starting on the second page is the assertions by certain (more
liberal) members of this board that cost will NOT go up.....and these claims continue throughout
the thread. But of course, it is probably all a right wing conspiracy to 'fix' the numbers so that
we can blame things on Obama. Either that, or once again it is really Bush's fault....

As I've said countless times, it's not hard to see how this bill will cause healthcare costs to go
UP! Here is the scenario......I have a choice. Buy health insurance for my family, or pay
a penalty, which is less than the cost of coverage. Ok, I pay the penalty. Now someone in
my family gets sick. Ok, NOW I go out and buy the insurance (since they cannot deny me
because of prexisting conditions anymore, and they cannot charge me MORE because of my
prexisting condition). Guess what is going to happen to the cost of health insurance?
Maybe I am missing something here, but as I see it, it is pretty easy to see, that unless
the bill is modified somehow, costs will go up. I could have (and did) tell people this
back when the bill was being debated. Of course, I was just a right wing loony I suppose....
But this argument is not even a 'right' or 'left' wing argument. It's just common sense.
Especially during a crappy economy, people are going to try to save money where they
can. How could someone not understand this?
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Why would Obama's 'fans' not accept it? It is as predicted in the planning document.

Well, there was an awful lot of talk about the 'desperate need to lower healthcare costs', with the implication that this bill would do so.

Anybody who said that costs would actually increase could be easily dismissed by saying that they were just right-wing loonies who had been deceived by insurance company propaganda.

But if you read the analysis it gives a clear timetable of costs over time and, from memory, the breakeven point was 2013 or thereabouts...I thought it was pretty easy to follow....
jmi256
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
Why would Obama's 'fans' not accept it? It is as predicted in the planning document.

Well, there was an awful lot of talk about the 'desperate need to lower healthcare costs', with the implication that this bill would do so.

Anybody who said that costs would actually increase could be easily dismissed by saying that they were just right-wing loonies who had been deceived by insurance company propaganda.

But if you read the analysis it gives a clear timetable of costs over time and, from memory, the breakeven point was 2013 or thereabouts...I thought it was pretty easy to follow....


It was easy to follow to those actually paying attention, but supporters of the bill made the ludicrous assertion that premiums wouldn’t go up and that somehow spending more money we don’t have would reduce spending. Idiotic (or maybe dishonest?) I know, but still that’s what they claimed.
Bikerman
Well, opponents of the bill made some pretty startling claims of their own. 'supporters of..' is the sort of phrase that can be attached to just about any proposition without fear of being challenged, because it is almost always possible to find any wacko viewpoint if you look for it.
As for spending defecit money to reduce costs in a targeted area of the economy - nothing idiotic, or even hard to understand about it. If the saving is greater than the interest payable on the capital sum then, de facto, it has saved money. The US currently spends about twice as much as any 'first world' country does on health per capita - I don't find it particularly strange that it could reduce this cost somewhat.
deanhills
Bikerman wrote:
Well, opponents of the bill made some pretty startling claims of their own. 'supporters of..' is the sort of phrase that can be attached to just about any proposition without fear of being challenged, because it is almost always possible to find any wacko viewpoint if you look for it.
As for spending defecit money to reduce costs in a targeted area of the economy - nothing idiotic, or even hard to understand about it. If the saving is greater than the interest payable on the capital sum then, de facto, it has saved money. The US currently spends about twice as much as any 'first world' country does on health per capita - I don't find it particularly strange that it could reduce this cost somewhat.
I think there is a good chance that it is going to be even more expensive than before.

@Alaska. Really enjoyed your comment about rather paying the penalties than taking out the insurance. Probably logical when so many people are unemployed and probably unable to make ends meet. Think they say one in every 10 working people are out of work? And that is 18 months after the president's trillion-dollar 'stimulus' spending bill was enacted. So get that same administration to implement the Health Insurance Bill, and probably something similar will happen. The people whom the Health Insurance is aimed at, may not be able to afford Health Insurance.
Alaskacameradude
Quote:
@Alaska. Really enjoyed your comment about rather paying the penalties than taking out the insurance. Probably logical when so many people are unemployed and probably unable to make ends meet. Think they say one in every 10 working people are out of work? And that is 18 months after the president's trillion-dollar 'stimulus' spending bill was enacted. So get that same administration to implement the Health Insurance Bill, and probably something similar will happen. The people whom the Health Insurance is aimed at, may not be able to afford Health Insurance.


Ya, and it will also hurt those people who are right 'on the edge' and are JUST able to make their
house payment and buy groceries each month. Once you FORCE people to have another expense
that they did not have previously, it can hurt their ability to pay their existing bills. For example,
when I budgeted for my house payment, I figured in things like my car payment, groceries,
electricity, heat, sales tax, car insurance, homeowners insurance, property tax, and gas. I found
out I could JUST afford a house and rather than throw money away on rent, bought one. Now,
I am being told I will HAVE to buy health insurance. So depending on the cost (there was a
New York Times worksheet that would figure it out for you, and it was looking to be 4-5 grand a year
for my family, but who knows how this bill will change) that could make it impossible for me to keep
buying my home. So then do I try and find an Obama program to help people that can't afford their homes? It is going to be a real mess, in that sense. Also, politically, for the Democrats, I don't think
it is that smart as people who don't have health insurance, generally don't have it because they
can't afford it. Stepping on the 'little guy' in terms of ramming through the health care bill could
alienate some of the very groups who traditionally support Democrats. That will probably
partially depend on how the subsidy's work out, but currently, even with subsidy's
many low income people would have a fairly decent sized new cost laid on them.

Quote:
As for spending defecit money to reduce costs in a targeted area of the economy - nothing idiotic, or even hard to understand about it. If the saving is greater than the interest payable on the capital sum then, de facto, it has saved money. The US currently spends about twice as much as any 'first world' country does on health per capita - I don't find it particularly strange that it could reduce this cost somewhat.


Well there are two different things going on here. One is, how will health care costs going to
affect the total debt of the US government. The other, is what will the health care costs be
to a citizen. These two things could both be more expensive, both be cheaper, or one could
be more expensive and the other cheaper. I have my suspicions as to what will happen as I
outlined above.
handfleisch
Alaskacameradude wrote:
Quote:
@Alaska. Really enjoyed your comment about rather paying the penalties than taking out the insurance. Probably logical when so many people are unemployed and probably unable to make ends meet. Think they say one in every 10 working people are out of work? And that is 18 months after the president's trillion-dollar 'stimulus' spending bill was enacted. So get that same administration to implement the Health Insurance Bill, and probably something similar will happen. The people whom the Health Insurance is aimed at, may not be able to afford Health Insurance.
\Stepping on the 'little guy' in terms of ramming through the health care bill could
alienate some of the very groups who traditionally support Democrats. That will probably
partially depend on how the subsidy's work out, but currently, even with subsidy's
many low income people would have a fairly decent sized new cost laid on them.


Could you specify what "fairly decent sized new cost" is? Because, as you admit, there are subsidies for those who cannot afford it.

In a nutshell, the health care reform made it necessary to have insurance and offers a ton of subsidies for those who cannot afford it. It has miniscule penalties for those who don't comply, which I think is fair enough given the subsidies (it basically is an incentive not to just ignore the law. It is like the mandatory car insurance laws that many states have enacted recently, which didn't cause the end of the world, and benefited everyone so that some reckless driver couldn't just crash into you without any insurance to compensate for damages). This was all done because this country cannot afford NOT to have reform -- it was threatening our whole economy with 50+% of bankruptcies due to medical costs.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
(it basically is an incentive not to just ignore the law. It is like the mandatory car insurance laws that many states have enacted recently, which didn't cause the end of the world, and benefited everyone so that some reckless driver couldn't just crash into you without any insurance to compensate for damages)

But you can avoid buying car insurance by simply not owning a car. This new one is unavoidable.
Alaskacameradude
Quote:
Could you specify what "fairly decent sized new cost" is? Because, as you admit, there are subsidies for those who cannot afford it.

In a nutshell, the health care reform made it necessary to have insurance and offers a ton of subsidies for those who cannot afford it. It has miniscule penalties for those who don't comply, which I think is fair enough given the subsidies (it basically is an incentive not to just ignore the law. It is like the mandatory car insurance laws that many states have enacted recently, which didn't cause the end of the world, and benefited everyone so that some reckless driver couldn't just crash into you without any insurance to compensate for damages). This was all done because this country cannot afford NOT to have reform -- it was threatening our whole economy with 50+% of bankruptcies due to medical costs.


The problem here is....well, there are a couple. First, there was a calculator in the NY Times
and The Washington DC paper right after the health care bill passed that let you input your
family situation into it, and find out what your costs would be, and what the subsidy would be.
I input my family situation (wife and three kids, income between 50-70 thousand a year) and
came out with an additional monthly bill AFTER GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES of around $350
per month. That bill is significant enough to me, to cause me to not be able to make my house
payment. So, it really depends on your definition of 'significant'. In my case it would be
significant, because I don't make little enough to be considered 'low income' and receive the
more generous subsidies, but don't make enough to afford what they will be forcing me
to pay. It's THOSE people that it will hurt. Obviously, the lower income people that get bigger
subsidies will benefit.....ANY health insurance bill that would pass, no matter who passed it,
was going to have winners and losers. I never disputed there are winners in this bill. Low
income, the elderly, those who use health care a lot, are going to WIN under the new system.
The rich (but really who cares about them), the young, those who are relatively healthy,
and those in the 'middle class' who are self employed and do not have heath care through
their work, are going to lose.

As for the penalties, you missed my point. I was NOT debating if it was 'fair' to have penalties
at all. I WAS saying, that the penalties are SMALLER than the amount you'd have to pay to
actually purchase the insurance. SO......I could either pay $350 a month, OR I could pay a penalty
of $900 a year? Which do you think I am going to do???? DUH! I'm going to pay a penalty of
$900 a year!!!! Then when I fall off a log backwards and break my leg, I'm going to go out
and purchase health 'insurance' as they can NOT deny me OR charge me more than the guy
down the street just because I have this pesky 'prexisting condition'. So tell me, what do you think
THIS will do to the cost of health insurance for everyone else who is helping to pay for my treatment?
THAT was what I was saying.....in that particular part of my post, I wasn't even
debating if the new heath care plan was good or bad, I was just showing WHY I thought that the
new system would cause prices to actually go UP! People will do what is in their economic
self interest, and in this case, there is a BIG loophole.
handfleisch
Alaskacameradude wrote:
Quote:
Could you specify what "fairly decent sized new cost" is? Because, as you admit, there are subsidies for those who cannot afford it.

In a nutshell, the health care reform made it necessary to have insurance and offers a ton of subsidies for those who cannot afford it. It has miniscule penalties for those who don't comply, which I think is fair enough given the subsidies (it basically is an incentive not to just ignore the law. It is like the mandatory car insurance laws that many states have enacted recently, which didn't cause the end of the world, and benefited everyone so that some reckless driver couldn't just crash into you without any insurance to compensate for damages). This was all done because this country cannot afford NOT to have reform -- it was threatening our whole economy with 50+% of bankruptcies due to medical costs.


The problem here is....well, there are a couple. First, there was a calculator in the NY Times
and The Washington DC paper right after the health care bill passed that let you input your
family situation into it, and find out what your costs would be, and what the subsidy would be.
I input my family situation (wife and three kids, income between 50-70 thousand a year) and
came out with an additional monthly bill AFTER GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES of around $350
per month. That bill is significant enough to me, to cause me to not be able to make my house
payment. So, it really depends on your definition of 'significant'. In my case it would be
significant, because I don't make little enough to be considered 'low income' and receive the
more generous subsidies, but don't make enough to afford what they will be forcing me
to pay. It's THOSE people that it will hurt. Obviously, the lower income people that get bigger
subsidies will benefit.....ANY health insurance bill that would pass, no matter who passed it,
was going to have winners and losers. I never disputed there are winners in this bill. Low
income, the elderly, those who use health care a lot, are going to WIN under the new system.
The rich (but really who cares about them), the young, those who are relatively healthy,
and those in the 'middle class' who are self employed and do not have heath care through
their work, are going to lose.

As for the penalties, you missed my point. I was NOT debating if it was 'fair' to have penalties
at all. I WAS saying, that the penalties are SMALLER than the amount you'd have to pay to
actually purchase the insurance. SO......I could either pay $350 a month, OR I could pay a penalty
of $900 a year? Which do you think I am going to do???? DUH! I'm going to pay a penalty of
$900 a year!!!! Then when I fall off a log backwards and break my leg, I'm going to go out
and purchase health 'insurance' as they can NOT deny me OR charge me more than the guy
down the street just because I have this pesky 'prexisting condition'. So tell me, what do you think
THIS will do to the cost of health insurance for everyone else who is helping to pay for my treatment?
THAT was what I was saying.....in that particular part of my post, I wasn't even
debating if the new heath care plan was good or bad, I was just showing WHY I thought that the
new system would cause prices to actually go UP! People will do what is in their economic
self interest, and in this case, there is a BIG loophole.


Since you only used the NYTimes automatic calculator back when the bill passed, you might want to look it up again, research the costs, whether more subsidies are available for your income level, and what the actual fines are. Obviously nothing is perfect but there should be tweaking done to fill in loopholes if they are there. Or the free market might take care of it, there might be some company that will come along and offer insurance for whatever your subsidies would be, in order to get that money.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:

Since you only used the NYTimes automatic calculator back when the bill passed, you might want to look it up again, research the costs, whether more subsidies are available for your income level, and what the actual fines are. Obviously nothing is perfect but there should be tweaking done to fill in loopholes if they are there. Or the free market might take care of it, there might be some company that will come along and offer insurance for whatever your subsidies would be, in order to get that money.


1: Yeah, the NYTimes is completely unreliable... Yes, perhaps they got it wrong, but do you really believe that there will be nobody for whom it is cheaper to pay the penalty rather than buy insurance, even with the subsidies?

2: ^.^ Wut? A hard-core liberal saying 'the free market might take care if it'? How could this be?
Bikerman
Why not take that logic to the ultimate.
Surely it would be cheaper not to pay the fine and go to jail - no bills, food provided....

If you don't pay the insurance and you do pay the fine then you are out of pocket and still have no insurance...seems an odd way to go....then when you get sick (and everyone does) you get slapped with a retrospective charge which makes the premium look tiny......

At least that's my take on it from a distance (we don't have the choice - National Insurance is deducted at source as a % of our wage by the employer (who also has to pay some for each employee). Seems to work reasonably well but it is a bit complex to calculate.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:

If you don't pay the insurance and you do pay the fine then you are out of pocket and still have no insurance...seems an odd way to go....then when you get sick (and everyone does) you get slapped with a retrospective charge which makes the premium look tiny......

Try that again without the retrospective charge... After all, insurance companies are banned from charging you more because of preexisting conditions.

And it isn't just on an individual level either... Some companies that used to provide insurance are considering ending that policy now... Because paying the fine would be cheaper.
Bikerman
Examples?

You cannot be refused insurance, true, but you can be MULLAHED for the cost of it and that is what will happen. Sure, you will get the insurance, at double or triple cost, because you are a poor risk - with or without existing conditions.
Bikerman
To see how I think it will work, look at vehicle insurance.
You get discount for playing the game and you get penalties for not doing. Get fined for having no car insurance and your next insurance will be more....
Voodoocat
Quote:
Get fined for having no car insurance and your next insurance will be more....


There is one major difference, Obamacare does not require you to purchase health insurance, it just requires the the IRS fine you a set fee once a year. This fee does not increase if you drop and repurchase, therefore, unlike auto insurance, there is no inherent disincentive. This is the scenario: you get sick, sign up for insurance, pay one month's premium, get treated and immediately drop the insurance. The insurance company eats the cost of the treatment.

Here is the question: if this happens, how many insurance companies can afford to absorb the additional cost?
Voodoocat
Of course, there is one way to control the cost of insurance: rationing. Obama and his loyal lock-stepped Democrats swore this would not happen, but it just might:

Quote:
The tradeoff, they say, is that more Americans will be asked to pay higher prices for the privilege of choosing or keeping their own doctors if they are outside the new networks. That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/business/18choice.html

Yet another example of losing your current healthcare choice:
Quote:
The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead, a trend that, some analysts say, could eventually weigh heavily on the state’s already-stressed budget.

http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2010/07/18/firms_cancel_health_coverage/

Does anyone remember which political party stated that limiting health care choices would be an inevitable outcome of government controlled health care? It turns out that they were right.
Bikerman
Well, I have little sympathy with Obama over this one. It is his own making - early on he agreed that the government would not negotiate prices with the drug companies. I think the US is the only country in the world with such an agreement - which is, of course, why your drugs cost so much more. It is costing you about $86 billion by one reckoning...
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/clip.php?appid=595746784
http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/tom-carper-cant-negotiate-lower-drug
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Well, I have little sympathy with Obama over this one. It is his own making - early on he agreed that the government would not negotiate prices with the drug companies. I think the US is the only country in the world with such an agreement - which is, of course, why your drugs cost so much more. It is costing you about $86 billion by one reckoning...
http://www.c-spanvideo.org/videoLibrary/clip.php?appid=595746784
http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/tom-carper-cant-negotiate-lower-drug

Aww, really?
I thought the health care bill included a reversal of Bush's decision about not letting the government negotiate drug prices...
It was the only part of the bill I agreed with.
Alaskacameradude
Quote:

You cannot be refused insurance, true, but you can be MULLAHED for the cost of it and that is what will happen. Sure, you will get the insurance, at double or triple cost, because you are a poor risk - with or without existing conditions.


Actually, under the version of the bill that passed, you can NOT be 'mullahed' for the cost of it....they can NOT charge you any more than anyone else....ie no double or triple cost because you are a poor risk. The insurance companies don't get to 'discriminate'.

Now obviously that may change as the bill may be tweaked. I don't see how they could NOT
change that or I am willing to bet you, that the scenario I described will take place.
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