8 Things That Suck About Obamacare

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In case you haven’t noticed, starting January 1st 2014 you will be required to buy a health insurance policy from an exchange if you do not have employer coverage.  If you have insurance through your employer, he or she will have to decide between paying a $2,000 penalty or continuing to provide you with your current plan. However, many employers have figured out that offering a plan that covers only the minimum requirements under law may be a way of avoiding the larger penalty.

The concept of the “skinny”  insurance plans make up just one of 8 reasons why Obamacare sucks.

  • 1. These “skinny insurance plans,” as noted in the Wall Street Journal and Avik Roy, will work like this: by offering coverage that may not meet the minimum standards, employees may seek a new health insurance policy on the exchanges. If employers offer a lesser policy they will have a lower fine applied.  So there is a perverse incentive for employers to change what kind of policies they offer next year and employees will have to spend time evaluating whether the reduced coverage is worth the risk. If they decide it’s not worth the risk. they will be forced to shop on the exchanges and evaluate the policy options there. So much for “if you like your policy you can keep it”. Obamacare as written will provoke employers to either drop or reduce coverage.
  • 2. The upside of employers dropping coverage is that individuals would seek coverage that they could retain regardless of their current job.  The downside is that the policy requirements for the Obamacare exchanges will be so high that costs for individuals will be much higher than promised for most folks under 40 You won’t have an opportunity to purchase a policy that fits your personal circumstances and  you will  be forced to carry coverage for events you may consider unnecessary. Say you happen to be a man and you know prenatal care isn’t for you, or  if you aren’t planning on being addicted to hard drugs, you don’t need coverage for rehab. Perhaps you plan on having children who act like adults before they are 27, so you don’t need a policy that would eventually cover them. Obamacare obliterates the catastrophic coverage option so you will be forced to purchase coverage for events you are sure you will never experience.

The problem with one-size-fits-all solutions is that everything has been decided for you and you will be forced to purchase a policy that costs more than you’d like, that contains features that you have no interest in.

  •  3. If you are one of the folks who now will be on Medicaid — I’ve got some bad news for you.  Even in some of the better-run Medicaid systems, the predicted outcomes for patients are neutral to negative compared to no insurance.  Worse, the missing money isn’t being spent on you but is being spent elsewhere:

“Given that Medicaid will spend $6,000 per person per year for around $1,250 in patient health spending and no improvement in health outcomes, it’s entirely appropriate — if not imperative — for conservatives to oppose Obamacare’s expansion of the Medicaid program.” 

  • 4. The IRS will now be in charge of confirming whether your health insurance plan is sufficient and will require information on your current insurance policy. Many individuals are exempt from the mandate, but the IRS determines whether you are exempt. Let’s just say the IRS’ track record as of late makes me question whether they have the ability to perform this role fairly and effectively. “Moreover, Obamacare will require Americans to update the IRS regularly on what’s going on in their lives”  If you have no concerns about the IRS gaining access to personal medical records,  I’d suggest reading this or having your head examined by an a professional — if you can get an appointment after the system is flooded with new participants next year.
  • 5. There will be plenty new folks out there with their shiny new Obamacare card.  As a reminder for some, Obamacare is not healthcare, it’s government mandated health insurance.  It does not a guarantee that any doctor will see you. There are many doctors already moving to concierge care, retiring, or not taking Medicaid and Medicare patients and the flood of new participants hasn’t even begun. I’d suggest bringing something to read whilst in the queue.
  • 6. This may be the most expensive “feel good” measure ever pursued by Democrats. Normally pharmaceutical companies are required to conduct double-blind studies to prove efficacy precisely because of the known phenomenon called the “placebo effect“.  The government, having to answer to no one, apparently doesn’t have to prove that it impacts outcomes.  Despite all evidence presented in the previously mentioned Oregon Medicaid study , it’s now a sufficient outcome that people felt better despite extracting no value for the taxpayer’s dollar.  Obamacare will prove to be the most expensive sugar pill ever sold to the American public.
  • 7. Obamacare is now projected to cost $1.8 trillion while 31 million people will remain uninsured. Remind me, didn’t we have to pass this now because there were 30 million uninsured?
  • 8. Sadly, the GOP hasn’t coalesced on a plan to move the United States to a better way to manage the costs and access to healthcare. Worse, there appears to be 42%  of Americans unaware that the Affordable Care Act even exists.

We still have one of the best healthcare outcomes in the world. I’d like to keep it that way.  In 2008, Candidate Obama used the 2000 World Health Report to mislead Americans about the actual outcomes of our health system. Here’s an important read about it: The Worst Study Ever? Read and remember when you are challenged by the uninformed about how wonderful Cuba’s healthcare system is.

To read more on possible solutions, here are some recommended links that provide some replacement options for the current challenges we face with the our heavily regulated health system.

  1. The Singapore Model
  2. Fixing the US Health Care System: Look To Singapore
  3. The Myth of the Free-Market American Health Care System

My personal preference always defaults to a system that makes price transparent and allows folks to shop for insurance that best fits their life circumstances while preserving the incentive for profit and thus innovation.

Finally, insurance should serve its traditional intent — as a hedge against unforeseen events and not for standard expected care. 

Californian. Capitalist. Liberty. Limited Government. Also Wine. Amy has worked in healthcare for over 18 years. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from University of Delaware and an MBA from Pepperdine University that shifted her work from bench science to oversight of drug development and commercialization. Amy grew up just outside of Philadelphia and is a long suffering Eagles fan. Follow on twitter @AmyOtto8

29 Comments

  1. Jon Rollings said:

    Excellent piece. This was an awesome read.
    Great info and you also offered solutions, something most dissenters seem to have no interest in doing.
    Another fantastic article from Amy Otto & PFoL!
    Keep up the good work!

    Jon – #OpinioNation

  2. Jon Rollings said:

    9th way Obamacare sucks…it has created a rift in this
    country that may take a really long time to heal.
    This was one of the flash points that really kicked off the
    Tea Party Movement & inspired Socialists, Communists, &
    others to emerge loud and proud. Thanks Barry!

    Jon – #OpinioNation

  3. Andrew Young said:

    9. People who couldn’t afford healthcare prior to the passage of this law, still can’t afford healthcare. They make to much money to get the government help and not enough to pay for their own.

    The law should be repealed, stopped, whatever. How can it be tax and fine at the same time??

  4. DrkLrdBill said:

    Your logic about employers cutting health benefits doesn’t add up. If employers are offering “full” health insurance now to employees that meets all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, why would they have an incentive to reduce the insurance that they offer? Yes, the policies could go up in price, but wouldn’t having more people on the plan actually decrease the price if other employers bring their employees on that plan?

    These employers that offer health insurance now do for a myriad of reasons. Not one reason is because they are required to by law, so why would requiring them to offer health insurance cause them to reduce their offerings?

    I think the biggest issue with the Affordable Care Act is that the insurance industry still exists. While there are some downsides to socialized medicine like TRICARE in the military, I definitely think the system could work if applied to the general population with some tweaks (such as co-pays that create a disincentive for going when you don’t really NEED to go, $20 or so).

    This would also allow greedy doctors that don’t want to participate the option of just accepting $$$ as payments (while acting completely outside of the socialized system). This would give people, who can afford it, the option of just paying the best doctors in the world directly for the best health care, while also maintaining a basic standard level of health care (from doctors who do participate in the socialized system) as a right for all.

    • robert said:

      It has nothing to do with employers who already offer full coverage. It refers to employers who currently don’t offer any coverage who (because they can’t afford to), who wish to avoid a $2000 per employee fine (because they can’t afford that, either). Those companies have figured out they can offer crappy coverage that comes in cheaper than the $2000 fine for each employee.

    • DrkLrdBill said:

      Robert:

      Did we read different articles: “If you have insurance through your employer, he or she will have to decide between paying a $2,000 penalty or continuing to provide you with your current plan”

    • Amy said:

      Its already happening in states and cities.. http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2013/05/27/obamacare-leads-states-and-cities-consider-dumping-employees-cutting-ba
      A quote :
      “Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican from Wisconsin, also criticized the move.

      “Not long ago, Rahm Emanuel worked for a president who told Americans, ‘If you like your health care, you can keep it.’ Unfortunately, the way Obamacare is designed incentivizes employers to cancel coverage, change health care plans, or simply dump workers into Obamacare exchanges against their will,” Johnson said. “While White House Chief of Staff Emanuel may have denied that, Mayor Emanuel’s actions demonstrate it.”

    • Lynn said:

      In regards to the companies that have insurance plans, many employees don’t take the insurance because they can’t afford it or they have different priorities. Now it’s going to cost the company so much money, they have to find ways around it, hurting those employees that have the insurance. Employees hours will be cut among other ways to “survive’ the system. I have a doctor that I really need that is already gearing up to switch to concierge medicine.

  5. Lawful Plunder said:

    Great piece Amy!…Thx for the Singapore link, very interesting.

    To the extent there ever was a healthcare “crisis”, it was exclusively about cost, not coverage. And Obamacare doesn’t deal with the fundamental factors driving cost.

    A) Huge govt involvement combined with huge subsidies.

    B) Third party payer where costs are opaque as far as the consumer is concerned. No real incentive to economize/”price shop”

    C) Heavily regulated industry—> lots of mandates/limited competition between insurers.

    D) Lastly, what I’ll call “unrealistic attitudes” about death, driven by the Medicare system where the cost of care isn’t a factor. The cost of care in the last few weeks/months of life is huge.

    But let me say a hopeful word about the exchanges. To the extent it makes prices more visible/enhances competition, it could have a dampening effect on rates.

    Didn’t talk about the Oregon study, but obviously that’s huge. Dems have been arguing forever that having insurance is critical to health outcomes, but it just isn’t so. (If the study is right)

    • jamie said:

      it hurts people. people that are doing their best to keep food on the table. and survive, some just can’t do this. then what? less food?…don’t like it at all!

  6. Lawful Plunder said:

    As for a 9th thing wrong with Obamacare, how about the 3.8% surtax on investment income paid by the “wealthy”.

    We’re mired in debt, and we’re taking measures to discourage savings/investment for the benefit of consumption. Makes no sense.

  7. Amy said:

    thank you everyone for your comments.

    I’d like to clarify the definition of a right. If it involves taking someones labor its theft, not a right.
    No one has a right to make a doctor work, unless you are recommending leg irons.

  8. Austen said:

    A lot of rhetoric and blind assertion in this article, with very little evidence. The one salient question the author raises — will employers drop health coverage? — can only be answered in time. For now, we know the similar reforms in Mass did not lead to more employers dropping healthcare.

    And from California, we have new evidence suggesting costs will be lower than our worst fears.

    Obamacare isn’t perfect. But it is a positive reform of an obviously flawed institution. So let’s tinker with Obamacare till it is near perfect and befitting this great society.

  9. CAPT Mike said:

    Excellent post Amy!
    . . . nice addition by Plunder.

    Best Regards,

  10. DrkLrdBill said:

    So there is no right to public education? Fetuses don’t have a right to life by your definition, since their existence requires the labor (in two ways) of the mother. Fetuses are guilty of theft if they are an unwanted pregnancy. Guilty of theft of biological resources.

    • me said:

      No, there is no “right” to education. That would mean that those who have knowledge would be slaves to those that didn’t. You have no right to healthcare. We as a society have decided that no one will be turned away but the person giving the services just makes the rest of us pay. Pregnancy is 100% preventable. Don’t have sex. With rights come responsibilities. The only “rights” you have are those which don’t interfere with the rights on someone else. If you choose to make decisions that impinge on someone elses life then you get to have the responsibility. When a woman has sex she is choosing to take the chance of creating another life. Once that life exists she doesn’t get to choose to end that life. A man has the same responsibilities once he decides to engage in sex. He is now responsible for the life of the mother and the child.

      There are NO rights that do not have responsibilites with them

  11. Sarah said:

    Your opening paragraph states that as of 1/1/14 individuals will have to purchase insurance through an exchange if they don’t have group insurance. That is not correct. An exchange is simply another marketplace from which to purchase insurance, and the only place where one may receive a subsidy. Individuals and groups will still be able to purchase coverage off the exchange, directly from the carriers, as we do now. As a matter of fact, individuals that don’t qualify for a subsidy are better off buying coverage outside of the exchange where there will be more carrier and plan options.

  12. Lynn said:

    The answer isn’t shoving this down our throats. The answer is providing insurance that is so affordable that the public wants to buy it!

  13. Marty Murray said:

    Obamacare is a monster. Don’t let it happen. Maybe we should riot in the streets. Seriouly.

    It is ridiculous that a monster program that most do not want will start to be enforced by IRS drones next year.

    Don’t let it happen.

  14. anthony said:

    another beautiful conservative explains things where i can fully understand them, my young doctor only takes cash now now checks, credit cards no nothing green money only 40.00 A Visit, blood work free on Wednesday, sounds like capitalism

  15. colonel marstellar said:

    Its passed and im glad!! Now when it comes crashing down.. Obama and the rest of the despots in DC got no one to blame but themselves. We want,, no more encumbents!! And we absolutely have to have a new way to make sure the voters are legit and that the vote counter is monitored!! Otherwise were done if? We aint dont now!! Idiots!!

  16. disqus_dtpUoBpMK6 said:

    clearly the author isn’t from the us.

    move on and shaddddddup. if you don’t like it then leave. that goes for us citizens as well.

    everyone will have a different opinion about everything the government does. writing articles to inform the public of your opinion and crude interpretations (both parties are guilty) don’t do anything. writing to your member of congress does.

    americans aren’t known to sit around and let things happen. if this change isn’t supported by americans enough then it’ll change in due time. complaining does nothing except make you look like morons.

  17. Julia Havey said:

    Just found out that I HAVE to add/pay for Maternity AND newborn care despite being post menopausal and barren!

  18. Zebra52 said:

    Illegals hate O’bamy care…….why would they pay for isurance when they can just clog up emergency rooms and get their healthcare at taxpayer expense.

  19. peterjameslaidler said:

    Obama sells snake oil & we will be fined/taxed if we don’t consume it.

  20. Pingback: On Obamacare: If You Like Your Plan, You Should Be Able to Keep It | Pocket Full Of Liberty

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