Has anyone read it? Anyone who’s just answered yes is lying; there is no such thing. You see there is no such thing because Presidents don’t introduce legislation, there is this whole constitutional separation of powers thing.
So what is out there? There are three bills in various versions, in various committees, and there is a list of “Principles for Reform” that has been published with Obama’s name on it. If anyone has an interest (greater than mine) here is a link http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/healthreform_sbs_full.pdf which contains a nice comparison between current and previously introduced healthcare reform bills. I started to read it, but to be honest I saw a butterfly in the window which was more interesting.
Bottom line of it all, is none of them go far enough. I’m going to lead you through a little scenario and you’ll see why I think they don’t (or I hope you will).
I work for a Fortune 50 company and make a six figure income, so I’m doing okay. I don’t say this to brag but to give you a basis for what I’m about to say. I also pay around $4000 per year in healthcare insurance premiums while my employer claims to kick in another $8000, for a total of $12,000 per year or $1,000 per month. The $4000 per year is roughly 3.5% of my gross income. But wait… that other $8000 is technically mine too, it’s just the company seems to think they have the right to withhold it from me for my own good (also no one has to pay tax on it). So if I add the $8000 to my income and then calculate the total percentage of my pay that is being expended for healthcare premiums it is actually in excess of 10% of my gross income. So 10% not so bad right?
Oh but wait. Is that all I’m in for per year; of course not. You see on top of that if I actually USE it, I am in for an additional maximum $10,000 out of pocket per year. What are the odds that would happen? Add that $10, 000 to the previous $12,000 and the potential percentage of my income that could go to healthcare expenses is nearly 20%. But I could probably take that hit once. I wouldn’t want to do it every year, but I could financially sustain that hit once.
Of course there are thousands of my fellow employees that are making around $10 per hour, but they fortunately pay a lower rate for their insurance right? Well… no! They pay the same exact premiums I do. So let’s see how that works for them shall we?
The premiums they pay equate to roughly 20% of their income per year, while adding the additional $8,000 to their income and calculating that, results in 41% of their income, and if they have the same critical issue I could have… well… it’s an amazing 76% of their yearly income. This is the current state of healthcare insurance in
The only real solution to this is an end to the idea that insurance is an acceptable method of paying for healthcare. If we all paid 10% of our income (with a cap of say $10,000 per year) directly into a single payer system, whether privatized or government run (I personally don’t care), and all of these copays, and maximum out of pocket charges, and lifetime maximums, and yearly maximums, all went away… I’d be just fine with it. I also think we need a 1-2% federal sales tax on non-food and non-drug related purchases to get those who don’t have an “income” paying into the system as well.
What I find amazing is that so many people out there are woefully ignorant of the details of their own plans, but they’re screaming about how bad it would be if it were government run. Ever had a loved one denied access to the transplant list because they weren’t yet deemed sick enough because they still had 27% function of their heart muscle, and they wouldn’t even do the blood work? I have. Ever had a loved one denied coverage because a second surgeon was in the operating room and the insurance company decided that it was unnecessary? I have. Ever had an emergency room visit questioned by a non-medically trained clerk at an insurance company because they thought you should wait till Monday? I have.
So, to believe that a government run or private single payer system would be worse; well you have to define worse for me.
No I have not read all of the plans, but I know without reading them that they don’t go this far and anything less is not far enough.