Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Affordable Health Care Act - aka ObamaCare Part 2

This is Part 2 of my personal discovery of what all the hoopla is over ObamaCare.  If you haven't read part 1 - please do so - scroll down to the next(aka previous) blog post.  The first 5 points below are 2011 changes.

  1. Medicare-covered preventative services were exempted from deductibles and the co-pay was eliminated.  - OK, this seems good
  2. Insurance companies must prove they spent at least 80% of the premium payments on medical services, rather than on things like advertising and executive salaries. Those that didn't were required to provide rebates to policyholders.  -- Hahahahaha - I bet those insurance companies hated this one!
  3. Provided grants to states so they could require health insurance companies to submit justification for all rate hikes. - ok, whatever - I suppose you have to police them since they are liars anyways
  4. Additional funding to increase the number of doctors and nurses, and more community health centers -- enough to double the number of patients they can treat in the next five years. -- ok, well, we have an aging population that is living longer - this seems like a good thing.
  5. The Senate must still approve higher taxes to pay for the additional benefits. Specifically, the 1 million people who make more than $200,000 and the 4 million couples filing jointly who make more than $250,000 would pay 3.8% Medicare taxes on dividends, capital gains, rent and royalties and 2.35% (up from 1.45%) Medicare taxes on income.  <-- ok, well think of this - there is currently a 15% tax on capital gains.  Most capital gains taxes are paid by really rich people who don't really make a traditional salary but get 99% of their money from investments.  This is how rich people get away with paying less taxes than your average middle/lower class American.  Regular people pay around 28% or higher.  So, I have no problem with increasing the tax in this manner. 
  6. 2012 changes - this is where it seems to get complicated.
  7. Health care exchanges - apparently all states must set up some sort of health care exchange - kind of like a state run health insurance program, which is weird because isn't that what Medical is (in California)?  So I think this is a federally subsidized stop gap insurance for people who don't qualify for MediCal (poor people) and people who don't work for companies that offer insurance.  It seems like the payments to providers will be lower (so that makes doctors very unhappy) and the coverage won't be as stellar as that provided by a big employer.  
  8. Fines for people and companies not buying health insurance.  This is a weird one - so if you make ~ $30,000 or less a year (and I'm ballparking here) then you can buy health insurance through these state health care exchanges.  If you don't, the government will send you a bill for $325 as a fine.  I don't know about this.  Wouldn't it be better to just say that if you don't buy insurance then don't go running to the emergency room cause we're going to kick your ass out without treatment?
Basically - the American health care system is set up so that your quality and level of care is directly dependent upon how much money is in your bank account.  The ObamaCare Act tries to remedy that.  Does it do that?  Well, that remains to be seen, probably not but I suppose its a step in a direction and better than nothing.  Can anyone really fix the American health care system anyways?  Doubtful.  It's a big machine moving along, unstoppable, especially by a democratic government that is more worried about entitlements for themselves, re-election, speaking engagements and their bank accounts rather than the people they are supposed to represent.  

1 comment:

Morgan Mandel said...

Quite a few seniors who have worked all their lives have put money into the stock market, since it's the only way they can make money after retirement. They basically live off of social security and their dividend checks.

Hopefully, it's correct that only those making $200,00 or more are affected by the dividends and royalty tax hikes, and seniors won't be subject to any new taxes on those dividends and/or royalties, as that would really hurt them.

Morgan Mandel