8 Things That Suck About Obamacare

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.