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WriteDown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:06 AM
Original message
Mandated Health Insurance Squeezes Those in the Middle
Source: WSJ

BOSTON -- President Barack Obama and his congressional allies have made insuring nearly all Americans a major goal of overhauling the nation's health-care system. One of their toughest challenges will be trying to cover people like Ron Norton of Worcester, Mass.

"I can't use up all of my savings just to buy mandatory insurance," Mr. Norton says. It's like penalizing "the homeless for refusing to buy a mansion."

As lawmakers hammer out legislation aiming to extend coverage to the country's 46 million uninsured, one of the most sweeping proposals has so far stoked relatively little debate: a requirement that nearly all Americans carry health insurance, much like drivers are required to have car insurance.

All of the major health bills winding through Congress feature a so-called individual mandate similar to the one in Massachusetts. Mr. Obama supported the idea in his speech to Congress last week. Such a mandate, proponents argue, is necessary to keep premiums affordable: The healthy, who are relatively cheap to cover, help pay for the sick

Subsidies for premiums would help low-income families gain coverage, while the prospect of fines would prod others to buy insurance.

But people like Mr. Norton show how difficult it could be to bring into the insurance pool the millions of consumers who make too much money to qualify for assistance, yet not enough to bear the full cost of new policies on their own....



Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125304790936413347.html...



This is what is coming down the pike. Brace yourselves.
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Wilms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
1. I didn't realize there WAS anyone in the middle class any longer. n/t

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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. There isn't. "Middle class" is what used to be "working poor."
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pattmarty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
2. So, what is it, you're against reform???????????????
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:30 AM
Response to Original message
3. This is the most absurd "reform" I've ever heard of
And while we're at it - what the hell is our party doing with the Baucus plan?

Are we sure he's one of us? Why is he writing a compromise plan - we DON'T need the republicans and partisanship for the sake of partisanship is an idiotic notion.

No public option? Mandatory insurance, but not a word about mandatory health care (can't be turned away or denied a prescription).

Have we lost our damn mind?

This is not a proud moment for us, and it's not good enough to be worthy of the democratic party. The Baucus plan is a shameful piece of fiction designed for the audience on the other side of the aisle and lets face it mandating COVERAGE does not guaranty health CARE.

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Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
4. Mandates are the only non-negotiable part of the "reform"
Pretty fucked. I say, if they gotta have em, trigger em. Don't mandate until the government can prove EVERYONE can easily afford insurance
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icymist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
27. I agree. This is nothing more than government sanctioned
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 02:36 PM by icymist
extortion that benefits only big cat insurance company executives making billions of dollars at everyone else's expense. This is worse than corporate welfare. "Like auto insurance" as if we didn't have the choice to own the car that we'll be required to buy insurance for. NO MR. PRESIDENT, THIS IS NOT LIKE CAR INSURANCE! This bill requires that everybody play the insurance companies' game but refuses to allow the government to referee it.
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Old Codger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
6. yup
They are going to give health insurers a guaranteed income of billions and billions and lose their seats while we lose our asses... if dems allow this to go through we may as well admit we have a one party system, demacons and repulicats...interchangeable, can be switched with each other and never skip a beat.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
7. What does Mr. Norton think will happen to his savings if he has a
big medical bill, too big to pay on his annual salary? He will spend all his savings to pay the bill and then still owe more. He will then go into bankruptcy. In any event, unless the cost of healthcare somehow miraculously goes down, he very likely will spend his savings on health costs at some point in his life. He is playing the health care insurance lottery if he isn't buying insurance now.
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SandWalker1984 Donating Member (533 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:09 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. How is he going to be better off if he spends his entire savings on insurance?
Because that is what the insurance companies want him to do. Spend his entire life's savings, retirement and mortgage his home to the hilt to pay the gods of insurance their due.

Since I'm in the same catch 22, let me explain it to you. Yes, we are taking risks by not having insurance at this time. However, I cannot justify taking almost $20,000 a year out of my retirement savings to pay for corporate health "insurance" since I am self employed and my business income is down substantially at this time due to the "Depression" my local economy is experiencing.


Having looked over all of the bills being proposed, it appears that the MIDDLE CLASS TAX PAYERS ARE GOING TO PAY A HUGE PRICE for being middle class.

Obama promised in the campaign that he would not raise the taxes on people making less than $200,000. Another broken promise to add to the growing list.


PS: What's this I'm reading about Hu from China getting the contracts to provide security for the port of LA???????
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #8
20. Mr. Norton should be demonstrating for a public option as should we all.
I haven't heard about Hu getting the contracts for security for the port of LA. I thought that idea was thrown out long ago. Is it BAAAAACK? Oh, no.
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Oregone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. Whether or not he wants to play the game of risk with the private insurers should be his choice
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 12:16 PM by Oregone
The uninsured contribute an insignificant amount to insurance premiums anyway (and a lot of the claimed costs is merely write-offs that medical providers use for tax breaks). Its a reasonable cost for a society to pay in order to avoid become a complete corporacracy. Mandating that citizens purchase goods and services from profit driven private industries is a fucking nightmare of a policy.

Profits and overhead contribute TWICE as much to the cost of healthcare than the uninsured. On-site or outsource billing even contributes more (both can be eliminated in one fell swoop). If anyone is serious enough about containing uninsured costs with a mandate, they should more readily look at the more easily solved problem. Besides, mandates will still leave 17 million uninsured. Its a complete give-away.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. He'll still need his savings to cover the high deductibles and copays the bill allows
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 12:25 PM by dflprincess
not to mention items like dental & vision that will not be covered for adults.

When will these assholes figure out that we need access to health care, not insurance.
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:39 PM
Response to Reply #7
15. Something on the order of 80% of bankruptcies are medical related by people WITH insurance.
Having "insurance" guarantees nothing in terms of protecting his savings. Co-pays and deductibles alone could eat up all of his savings and much, much more.

We need single payer. Not more insurance.
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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #7
25. Not necessarily...
He could go a long time without a costly illness. Or he could go to another country and pay out-of-pocket should he need an expensive procedure. He could buy expensive drugs in Mexico or Canada. Or he could simply choose to take the risk and live (or die) with the consequences.

I have considered this. My premiums are approaching $20,000 per year. I spend roughly $26,000 per year on all other expenses (I own my home and cars free and clear, have no debt, and live in a relatively low cost area). At some point I must decide whether paying for health insurance is worth it. In other words, would I be willing to pay $30,000/year? $40,000? Would I be willing to live in a homeless shelter and eat at soup kitchens while handing over $50,000/year to the insurance companies? There's absolutely nothing in these bills except smoke and mirrors to control costs, and being forced to pay obscene premiums may very well become a reality. If things progress as they are, there will come a point where I may decide to set aside $10,000-$20,000/yr to pay for health expenses out of pocket, and hope for the best. That would cover antibiotics and doctors visits for common things, perhaps a few major procedures done in Costa Rica or India if it came to that, and a headstone if/when all hell broke loose on me.

There's more to life than health care, and if I reach the point where my quality of life is being ruined by health insurance premiums, I may just say, "fuck it"... I'll spend the money I was spending on health insurance on things that make me happy, and if it ends up killing me, so be it. I may reach a point where I'd rather be dead than pay so much to the insurance companies that I can't live a decent life. And that should be MY choice - not the corrupt politicians and their insurance company handlers.

But the thing is... it doesn't need to be this way. Our worthless fucking politicians could proceed with a single payer system. If they had the stones to do that, we could all have a reasonable level of health care, and get on with our lives. If the insurance company give-away the politicians are pushing actually becomes law, it will kill a lot of people unnecessarily, and who knows? I may end up being one of them. We should all despise these fuckers with a red-hot passion for selling us out to the insurance and pharmaceutical corps.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:12 PM
Response to Original message
9. Subsidies would help 75% of Americans
Which is why it's the most important part of the legislation.
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:28 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. but the most important part SHOULD be
you are guaranteed health care.

You can walk into any hospital anywhere, insurance or not (since you're getting fined) and they MUST take care of you.

Oh wait, that would be health care reform, not health insurance reform.

Now I'm confused. Well at least they'll cover all pre-existing and chronic. Oh wait, they didn't say anything about caps on premiums for those cases - so there is nothing keeping the "insurance" organization from charging you just two dollars less for your premiums than it would have been to pay cash.

Oh wait I guess I'm still confused.

There may be "parts" in this plan that ring not completely off key, but most of it is discordant with providing primary health care to the uninsured.

We're kind of like the poor little japanese fishermen running down the street with our grandfather clock in a wheelbarrow while godzilla is flinging skyscrapers across the city.

Don't save the grandfather clock, and don't save the HEALTH insurance industry. Save Americans.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #13
18. Are you going to pay for 300 million people
to have health care?

Somebody has to pay for this. The cost is still going to have to be on a sliding scale. Some people will have to pay more so everybody can get health care.

The amount people pay per month - no matter who distributes that money in the form of payments - is the most important part of health care reform.

It won't work if it people can't pay the monthly premium or tax. Period.

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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. And you think the answer is for everyone to pay... health insurance companies?!
Really?

I have zero faith that health insurance companies are the best at "distributing" either the dollars to pay for health care, or health care period.

The government is already doing a fine job of providing health care for millions of Americans. Not perfect but pretty good. Why can't we eliminate the middle man (insurance companies)? Our tax dollars go towards health care, NOT to enrich some private corporation that has a really shitty record at providing this service already?
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. sorry I completely disagree with you
Let's do numbers:

1. 50 million uninsured people MAY need access to healthcare in the next year
2. some of those people will pay cash in the absence of insurance
3. the sum total of that cash may be less than the sum total of their insurance premiums
4. a significant part of those 50 million people will not require or seek healthcare in the next twelve months

AND YET

We're involving insurance companies? Even you don't believe it. This needs to be a sliding tax, not a PREMIUM. The tax has to be income based, ONLY, not based on your priors or chronic. If you already have insurance you select an additional withholding exemption on your W4 elections. If you pay the tax AND you have health insurance anyway, you write off the total amount off your contributed premiums at the end of the year.

Finally, if you require health care and you don't have a job, you pay the total cost of the premiums as your tax burden in the subsequent year, or workout. It's not a fine. It's a tax, and it's only a tax if you want it or if you use it while unemployed.

Now I would support having a regulation that says you MUST make a selection; private or public option, and provide proof of coverage to your employer throughout the year if you select private. The private has to meet minimum health coverage guidelines.

that makes private option have to compete with public. It gets immediate coverage to the people who need it, now, not in 2024.

This is a real democratic plan. Not that other bullshit.
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eridani Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #18
28. We are ALREADY PAYING to take care of everybody, twice over
We just refuse to spend the money on care.
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #9
17. But most bankruptcies are medical related by people WITH insurance.
This in no way shape or form protects against that catastrophe.

Compelling everyone to pay the insurance companies without any guarantee that you still won't be financially wiped out at the end? Sounds like a huge give-away so the insurance companies get every single last dime from us before we become destitute.

That's fucked up. Subsidies or not.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. When you can't get the health care in the first place
The bankruptcy is not your top priority.

$500 will bankrupt some people. Do you think there isn't one Canadian with a $500 medical bill or prescription bill?
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riderinthestorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I'm saying bankruptcy shouldn't even be a factor in anyone's decision to go get health care.
I object to it even being on the "priority" scale. Ever.
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:16 PM
Response to Original message
11. mandated insurance is unacceptable.
won't receive any support from me.
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:31 PM
Response to Original message
14. make your political donations out directly to the insurance companies and save some time

this is garbage

without a public option, this will be in courts for years
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sui generis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:08 PM
Response to Reply #14
24. well the good people of Montanada need to fire Baucus with their ballots
Of ALL the people in this country, farmers and rural folk especially, THEY should know that healthcare co-ops DO NOT WORK.
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MadLinguist Donating Member (167 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
16. You can choose not to own a car. you cannot choose not to own a body
I find the analogy of mandatory car insurance to mandatory health insurance really offensive. There is really no comparison. This is such a game. If the idea is that we should all pay into a health care pool of money so that we are all covered whenever any of us are sick, then that's a tax, and it should be called a tax. Mandatory health insurance is not going to make that pool of money available to all. Just aint gonna happen. I hate this even more than the trigger game. Its a wholly cynical piece of shit.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
26. Kucinich has already conceded that we will have this disastrous piece of shit
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 02:27 PM by Greyhound
imposed on us.

Now, it is time to start organizing for the battles coming over the next four years to undo this mess and get a sane policy through. As long as the corporatists rule, we are screwed.
:kick: & R

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