Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ACA? Not OK!

So there’s no doubt that we need some sort of healthcare reform in this country.  When prices are so high that ten minutes with a doctor costs more than double what the average person makes in a day, we have a major problem.  Our politicians are scrambling to figure this issue out, but as usual, politics get in the way of a real solution.  So they ‘compromise’ to make a plan they think their opponents will agree with, and you know what, the American people suffer as a consequence.

Right now, the ‘solution’ we have to the healthcare problem is this Affordable Care Act.  Which basically says that all Americans are legally required to have their own insurance, or they are punished.  So we’re being forced to buy into the system that already doesn’t work.  Add in the fact that businesses are responsible for subsidizing this, and you can see how this act is going to collapse our economy even further.  We need to change the system, to repair it, not put more money behind it. 

Insurance companies have been ripping off the American people for decades.  Whether they deny a claim due to pre-existing conditions or just trying to say you’re not covered for a random ailment.  Or just that they won’t cover you for the one pill that will actually best help your condition.  So why are we creating a system that will reward these companies with more clients?  In a supply and demand economy, we can seek alternatives to this corruption. But with this bill, we are forced to go with the companies that have screwed us in the past. 

So the bill does say that insurance companies will be forbidden from denying you because of pre-existing conditions.  But what if you’re not covered for a certain ailment?  The bill doesn’t make insurance companies cover every last thing.  We’re not doctors, we can’t always tell what we need and what we don’t need.   Insurance companies, like they have, are still going to try to find loopholes and exceptions in order to deny your claim.

What about deductibles?  The act doesn’t make any provisions about these.  Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean it kicks in right away.  You first have to pay off the deductible amount.  Some of these insurance plans have deductibles in the tens-of-thousands range.  Who says the insurance holder is going to be able to pay for that?  Even if it’s a few hundred dollars, there’s no guarantee one can afford the deductible.  And what about the otherwise healthy person who gets sick once?  Are they going to go to the doctor, knowing they have to still pay the full bill because they haven’t covered their deductible yet?  At this point, you’re better off holding onto the cash you’d spend on insurance to go to the doctor once or twice a year.

Our economy works on supply and demand.  Which, in essence, says that if prices are too high, people will not buy the products, and if the company wants to stay in business they will need to lower prices. Insurance is like an endless bank account that circumvents this rule.  Instead of pricing medical services or medicine at a price point people can afford, doctors/pharma can lift the price to whatever they feel like.  After all, consumers aren’t paying for it.  A billion dollar company is.  So why not price it to what the bottomless piggybank can cover?

And who’s to say what is affordable?  The bill says healthcare will be subsidized for those who make under $44k.  What about those who make just over that?  Should people cap their own salaries to make sure they don’t go over this amount?  This kind of goes against our economic system of opportunity and capitalism…

For those who won’t be covered, how can everyone afford this additional amount?  Average health insurance is over $400 a month for an individual, and it keeps going up.  It’s even more in cities that already have overwhelming rent costs.  Kinda sucks for those who live in San Francisco or New York, or one of the other many overpriced cities in the US.

So maybe you’ve cut back all your expenses so you can actually pay insurance and not have to move.  How does this help our economy?  Instead of spending on normal purchases, now this money gets funneled into the insurance industry.  Want to watch your city die?  Take away people’s ability to spend at local establishments.  Shouldn’t we be in charge of where our money goes?

This bill will kill entrepreneurship in this country.  Entrepreneurs need months, if not years, to put together their businesses.  How can they afford coverage for themselves during this time?  Force them into government assistance?  And to start the business, they now need to raise even more capital to subsidize their employees’ coverage.  Not easy, especially for those trying to start a business from their personal savings.  What’s an entrepreneur to do?  Either understaff or go bankrupt.  Or just say screw it since the costs won’t be worth the risk.  

My name is ACA.  I have come for you, entrepreneurs...
Granted, if the business is very small, they get around the mandate.  But then they’ll have to face the threat of turnover.  Why would someone stay with this company (or get a job there in the first place) if they first have to get their own insurance?  This bill is going to make the hiring process very difficult for entrepreneurs…  the job creators… the people our government is trying to push right now. 

You might be thinking, well, I have a job with a big company and I’ll be covered.  Well, I hope that stays true.  Because you better believe there will be massive layoffs once this bill is passed.  Trust me, your employer wants to keep costs as low as possible.  Now that salary expenses have risen, they’re going to be stingy with hiring.  And very likely, they’re going to look to cut workers to make up for this new expense.  Or cut you down to part time.  I hope your job is one they decide to keep.

(Let's also not forget that companies will begin raising their prices to cover new healthcare costs...)

The ACA will end up destroying our economy.  Instead on trying to work on a system, why don’t we focus on cutting costs in healthcare?  This way, a person can afford to go to a doctor, or get surgery, without spending their life savings.  This needs to be where we start if we truly want to reform our healthcare system.