The Obama Healthcare Bill

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 America, and it is simply ridiculous and unacceptable. I challenge you to do this same calculation for your own plan before telling everyone you’re happy with your current plan.

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.


  1. I respect your stance. However, regarding your second paragraph from the bottom, most experts believe these scenarios will become much more prevalent than they already are and that there will be a longer waiting line for basic care. Canada is a model that shows us how a govt-run system would operate. Perhaps you should check it out.

  2. I probably know more about Canada's healthcare system than you do as I work with Canadians every day. The ones I know can't understand how we can be so backwards in our approach to healthcare, and I agree. One of my coworker's last day at the company was Friday. He returned to Canada with his two special needs kids to pursue an advanced degree in theoretical physics, and did so in Canada partly because of their healthcare system which he has used nearly his whole life. I should also mention that he has lived all over the world and experienced the "socialist" healthcare systems in many countries... still hates ours with a passion.
    Healthcare should not be a privlege in this society it should be a right. The following is not Canada or England it is LA http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/32432094#32432094.

  3. As a former Insurance agent (Property and Casualty not health) I can tell you what insurance is supposed to be for. To cover your assets.
    Look at what you could lose if you had no insurance and a medical bill for $1,000,000. You could lose the equity in your home, if you move in the next 10 years ($0 for most people right now) and up to 25% of your income for the next ten years (after a certain minimum).
    So if you make $50,000 you could potentially lose $12,000 a year for the next 10 years. Is protecting that worth $12,800 a year? NO!
    In the next 10 years the cost for insurance is supposed to double. Is protecting $12,000 a year worth $25,600 a year? Nope.
    At that point even people making 6 figures will have to wonder if health insurance is worth it.
    The whole house of cards is going to fall apart before 10 years if nothing is done.

  4. I am not going to challenge you on whether or not that one gentleman hates our health care system "with a passion". But I can assure you that there are many who prefer present-day US care over Canadian. But don't take my word for it (not that you would). Instead, look here:


    There are tons of other examples too.