Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Continued Victimization of Cinfici by “Obamacare”

           My health insurance plan was cancelled again recently, in what has become an annual event and an imposition of an extra burden in having to reapply because of the federalization of health insurance, known as “Obamacare.”

            My health insurance premiums will increase over $200 per month.  In less than two and a half years, they have increased by more than four and a half times, while the deductible has also increased significantly!  And, unlike in my current plan, now there will be co-pays for doctor’s visits (of at least $100.00).  As before, the additional coverage I receive in return is for things I cannot possibly ever use, such as maternity care.  Coverage for treatments I cannot ever use, which has become one of the distinguishing features of Obamacare, is different from coverage for things I hope I never need, but for which I purchase the peace of mind knowing I will not have to pay fully for them.

The health insurance plan also includes free preventative care (e.g. routine age-related examinations), such as checkups, which I would have been able to afford better without having the burden of higher premiums.  It appears that the value of the preventative care is outweighed by the increased in premiums.  I understand in practice I would have to pay for a checkup if it included any additional care or preventative care if any treatment results from it.  Therefore, there is a financial disincentive to visit the doctor, even for a “free” checkup.  If no treatment does result, then the checkup or preventative care would be a waste of time and resources while exposing me to sick patients at the doctor’s office or other health center, thereby minimizing the value of one of the principles of Obamacare of treating healthy people.

One positive was that the choice of health insurance plans was easy because there was only one comparable coverage plan by one provider to choose from in my area.  In other words, there is no competition.  With no underwriting any more in health insurance, insurance agents cannot help clients even where there is still some competition.

Since my last post on the federalization of health insurance, there were some political victories over Obamacare.  One was the defunding by Congress of a program to reimburse health insurance providers for losses stemming from the federalization of health insurance, which will eventually make the program unsustainable.  The other was another court victory against the Obama Administration’s mandate for coverage for abortifacients and artificial birth control. 

There is anticipation that the new Congress, again led by Republicans, although with a slightly smaller majority, will be able to repeal Obamacare gradually without liberal Democratic United States President Barack Obama or a successor from his party to veto it.  However, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who generally favors big government and has expressed support even for the individual mandate that is the core of Obamacare, wants to retain the popular parts of the program.  I hope the federalization of health insurance is repealed and not replaced with any federal plan, as health insurance is generally not a federal matter.  Even keeping the popular parts would be wrong for various reasons.  

The health insurance reform the federal government should make is addressing the inequality in terms of tax liability between employer-provided and privately-acquired health insurance.  Either those who receive health insurance from their employers should pay income taxes on this compensation or those who do not should get a corresponding federal income tax break.  Health insurance should only be a state-regulated private option.  Those who do not have coverage should be treated and billed, but everyone should at least have affordable catastrophic coverage.

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