Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Public Health Care is Nearly Here

It’s that time of year again – when I pick the health insurance options for myself and my family.

Last year – in just twelve months – my out-of-pocket premiums jumped by 20%. This year, the cost increase wasn’t quite so high, but coverage was halved in certain key areas.

One thing became clear – just like every year, I’m paying more to insure my family, and receiving less. Obama’s much-touted health care reform hasn’t done anything to stop the sky-rocketing costs.

But I’m one of the lucky ones. Hitting the newspapers recently have been stories about companies demanding to be excluded from health care requirements entirely. Even McDonalds is amongst them – complaining that the insurance they offer their hourly workers simply can’t meet the cost/service requirements the government has set.

Other companies have simply looked at the math and decided that it’s cheaper to take a $2000 fine for each employee they fail to cover than to actually pay to insure them. The result is more and more American workers unable to get health insurance through their job.

And the result? They join the ranks of the already 40% of Americans who receive their health insurance through the government.

At first glance, the immediate affects of ‘Obamacare’ have been disastrous (and are going to hit the Democrats hard come the November 2nd elections.)

Yet in some ways, it’s actually a tremendous victory for those on the left of the party. Many Democrats, including the late Ted Kennedy, fought bitterly for a single-payer health care system like that of every other first world country in the world. The inadvertent result of ‘Obamacare’ is that they might end up getting exactly that.

20% premium increases year-on-year are simply unsustainable. When I was self-employed, I was expected to pay $1,200 a month for health insurance - which was more than my rent.

The fact is, private health insurance is already on the brink of pricing itself out of existence. There’s no doubt it will do exactly that within the decade, and the majority of working and middle class Americans will then have no choice but to sign up for a government-funded plan.

I estimate the result will be 90% of Americans becoming part of a ‘government’ health care system, and the richest minority paying for private health insurance. Incidentally, that’s exactly the public/private healthcare breakdown for people in Britain (home of one of the only true ‘socialized’ health care system in the world.)

By those standards, a single-payer health care system has already arrived – it’s just most Americans haven’t realized it yet. The question is: Do you think that's a good thing or a bad thing?


Susanne said...

Neat timing to see this. I just got my premium renewal notice from BCBS in today's mail!

Roland Hulme said...

I'd love to know how different it is to last time. I was ASTONISHED when my premium went up 20% in a single year.

Susanne said...

Well, it went up $20.11/month for 2011..weird numbers, huh? If I figured correctly it went up about 6%.

But the year before that it was a $54 increase, the year before $40-some so it seems this year's number wasn't too bad, thankfully.

Roland Hulme said...

6% isn't bad at all - about 150% of inflation. But how about coverage? I noticed that ALL of our copays went up - some doubled. Also our out-of-pocket maximums got increased, so we'd pay more if anybody got sick.

I take it the $20 is just from the portion you pay - I got my 20% figure because my old job gave us the amount they contributed too, and that's how much it went up by.

Susanne said...

I haven't got the benefit book yet to see if certain things went up besides the premium. That comes in a few weeks.

We pay all our health insurance because Andrew is self-employed. We are in BCBS's Blue Advantage plan. We have a rather high deductible and none of the frills (no dental, maternity for instance) so maybe that's why ours isn't a huge increase. Some things we prefer paying out of pocket if we need them.

There are only two of us which is different from you with the Mini Militant. :)

paul mitchell said...

Over 47% of the country already gets taxpayer funded medical coverage Roland. And yes, the government option will be the only one at the end of next year. Medical services costs will skyrocket like mad next year because of this terrible plan and almost fourteen million people that are currently employed in medical insurance industries will be unemployed in three years.

ObamaCare will be exactly what normal people knew it would be. Conservative estimates are a total increase of medical costs across the board of over thirty percent by 2014. Medical costs, not insurance, because of the overwhelming regulations and restrictions.

By the way, how are you going to use your REQUIRED pregnancy and gynecological coverage that you will have to pay for? You know, since you are a man and all?