Millions losing current insurance plans under Obamacare

Lisa Myers of NBC News has just released a jaw-dropping investigative report. This is explosive. In light of the montage above, the report speaks for itself. Myers writes,

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

I would add one more angle to this story that I think is relevant to those of us who have been critical of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate—which is one of the new regulations that has caused the cancellation of all these policies and which requires coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

As Myers reports, the healthcare law has been sold to Americans with promises that did not come true. One promise was that no one would lose their current insurance plans under Obamacare. Another promise was that no one’s religious liberty would be in jeopardy as a result of the contraceptive mandate. As Myers’ reporting shows, it was a mistake to be credulous about the former. No one should be surprised that so many of us are incredulous about the latter.

The contraceptive mandate is one of the chief threats to religious liberty in the United States today, and we have more than enough reason to be skeptical about the administration’s assurances to the contrary.

79 Responses to Millions losing current insurance plans under Obamacare

  1. Michael Rue October 29, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Not surprising, but I’m pretty sure NBC pulled the article. It’s still on their front page but when you click it, the page says the link is missing,

  2. Bill Hickman October 29, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    The statement “if you like it you can keep it” is true for the many people who either buy employer-provided insurance or buy a “grandfathered in” plan on the individual market. Granted, the statement is false for many of those who currently buy low-quality plans on the individual market. Those will no longer be permitted. But when they lose these meager plans, they’ll be able to console themselves with the shiny, new, high-quality private health insurance they’ve purchased for the first time with their federal subsidies. So I don’t think we should weep for them, and I don’t think they’ll weep either. After all, the entire point of the ACA was getting good insurance to these very people.

    Should the administration have told the whole truth? Absolutely. They should have said: “If you like your employer-based plan, you can keep it. If you buy on the individual market, you might not, but don’t worry because we’ll make a better plan available to you and help you buy it!” That would have been a fully truthful statement.

    Am I outraged by the half-truth? Not really, because the massive social problem that is our health care system offends me far more. I don’t understand why conservatives would apportion so much outrage to this statement but ignore the actual social problem altogether. Conservative outrage doesn’t seem to be guided by any discernable ethical pattern.

    • Seneca Griggs October 29, 2013 at 5:23 am #

      Bill, your assumption would appear to be that the poor and truly needy will now get good medical care. I’m thinking you’re wrong. The conservative position? Big government inevitably screws up and it is, indeed, the truly poor and needy who suffer from governmental intervention.

    • Wayne Roberts October 29, 2013 at 8:35 am #

      Most of the people signing up are signing up for Medicaid, not private insurance plans.

      • buddyglass October 29, 2013 at 9:13 am #

        Which may, in fact, represent a better deal for them compared to the cut-rate plan they had before or the absence of any plan at all.

        • David Powell October 29, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

          We didn’t have to pass a 2,000+ page, $1,000,000,000+++ bill to add people to an existing welfare program which is going to continue to drive the budget deficit beyond even the distant vicinity of sustainability.

          • David Powell October 29, 2013 at 3:09 pm #

            Ack, not $1,000,000,000. It’s 1,000,000,000,000.

    • Johnny Mason October 29, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      ” After all, the entire point of the ACA was getting good insurance to these very people.”

      No, it wasn’t. It was to get insurance to people who did not have it. Most of the people that are losing their insurance actually liked it and now they are being punished for being responsible.

    • Greg Scott October 31, 2013 at 3:22 am #

      “But when they lose these meager plans, they’ll be able to console themselves with the shiny, new, high-quality private health insurance they’ve purchased for the first time with their federal subsidies.”

      “…we’ll make a better plan available to you and help you buy it!” That would have been a fully truthful statement.”

      You can’t be serious.

      What facts, in front of your very eyes, would change your mind?

      What you have written above sounds like the scrawl of a madman, or a paid sponsor, Bill.

  3. Seneca Griggs October 29, 2013 at 8:06 am #

    “Obamacare was sold … on the grounds that it was the way to achieve universal health insurance coverage for all Americans. But the Congressional Budget Office scored the legislation as leaving 30 million uninsured 10 years after full implementation! That is more than half the nation’s uninsured pre-Obamacare.”

  4. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 8:43 am #

    I suppose I am fortunate enough to work for an employer that is large enough to not remove its coverage from their employees. But truly the other side of this issue is the rising cost of premiums. Dave Ramsey has an interesting piece on this and how math doesn’t lie nor does it have any political affiliation.

    My company has around 10,000 employees. You woudld think that with that large of a group, we’d have some decent buying power when going to insurance carriers. Well, for a premium plan, it’s running just under $400 per month next year. And we keep hearing the talk about the company wanting to go to an 75/25 split with employeses for the cost eventually. Next year, it’s only at 21%, so a rise is on the forecast is on tap for a few years at least.

    The reason more is being shifted to employees across the board is due to this legisaltion. It’s all just simple math. If for example-Blue Cross is insuring two 40 year old males. One is in good health and the other is 300lbs and has had 2 heart attacks. If Blue Cross cannot charge a higher premium for pre-existing conditions, that means that the male that is unhealthy and exponentially more at risk to get sick (and force more coverage provided by the carrier), what do you think will happen? The rates across the board have to go up to make up for the potential outpouring of benefits by the provider (to cover a potential loss). We were also sold on the issue that costs would fall….clearly also not the case.

  5. Will Griffin October 29, 2013 at 8:47 am #

    Let’s rest easy. Valerie Jarrett cleared this up last night when she tweeted:

    FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.

  6. Bill Hickman October 29, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Denny – a more accurate and less confusing headline to this post would state: “Millions losing current, bare bones, high-deductible insurance plans under Obamacare … and receiving federal subsidies to buy great new health insurance!”

    • David Powell October 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Not all of us need the Mercedes/Lexus of health insurance plans. “Insurance” is supposed to be protection from disaster from which one cannot recover. High-deductible plans (which my family carries…HSA ftw) are for normal Americans like you and me. The government-dependent entitlement mindset of our generation is mind-boggling. Mind-boggling.

      • Esther O'Reilly October 30, 2013 at 8:11 am #

        Besides, don’t subsidies only go to people who fall below a certain income level? There are unfortunate folks falling between the stools here. It’s the middle class who’s going to be hit hardest first, followed in time by everyone else as the economy self-destructs under the weight of this monstrosity.

  7. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    ***while those of use with insurance through our workplaces continue to pay higher and higher premiums….

  8. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    What’s funny would be if the President made a law, ala-Switzerland that required all American adults to purchase a firearm and fined you if you did not each year. I wonder if the reaction would be the same or louder if the shoe was on the other foot.

  9. Chris Ryan October 29, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Thank God Obamacare bans the deceptive & fraudulent insurance policies that gave ppl a false sense of security. Sure it only costs you $40 a month, but it has a $10K deductible & co-pays of 75%. Some of those insurance salesmen are no better than used car salesmen. I have some personal experience with the individual insurance market. When my mother was forced to retire early we looked at the individual market. It was lousy. To get good insurance for her I had to pay ~$1K a month. I was so happy when she finally qualified for Medicare!

    The main impediment to Obamacare is that many GOP Govs have refused to expand Medicaid, denying millions of men, women & even children of the health care they need & deserve. In TX 5M people–25% of ppl don’t have insurance thanks to Perry. The Bible enjoins us to help our neighbors & heal the sick. Freely we have received, freely we shall give.

    • Michael Sweet October 29, 2013 at 1:57 pm #

      Chris,

      With all due respect, it is not all Rick Perry’s fault.

      Yes, there are about 4.8 million uninsured people in Texas. However, only about 1.0 – 1.5 million of these would be eligible for Medicaid if the program were expanded. So while you may strongly disagree with the decision, your blame of Perry is exaggerated.

      Part of the problem we have in Texas is that we rank 49th as far as employer-provided health insurance. If we moved to the top 10, then that would take care of about 2.0+ million of the uninsured. I cannot see how that is Governor Perry’s fault.

      Last, half of the uninsured children (under age 17) in Texas are not insured even though they would qualify for government-sponsored health insurance subsidies. The reason – the parents don’t sign them up.

      • Chris Ryan October 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

        You’re right on the #s, Michael, and make a good point abt TX employers. I think if Perry was more like Kasich in OH, or Snyder in MI, or Mike Beebe in AR, or Brewer in AZ, I wouldn’t blame him. Those Govs are all expanding Medicaid. That’s b/cs states can choose who can qualify for Medicaid. The Feds set the floor, but the state sets the ceiling. Many states set the ceiling much higher than TX, for instance. But certainly Perry isn’t the only reason for TX low health insurance rate, its just that he’s not doing anything to improve the situation. He’s not even advocating free market policies to improve health insurance in TX. In terms of kids & Medicaid, when my 8yo nephew needed Medicaid to get his leukemia treatments funded we were told it would be a 2 1/2 year wait even with his dire health. I’m not a lawyer & I don’t know all the ins & outs of the law so you may be right, but something needs to be done. TX has too much money to have so many ppl w/out health insurance.

        • Michael Sweet October 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

          Chris:

          So very sorry to hear about your nephew. In a country as rich as the USA, it seems to me that we could find a solution. Yes, something needs to be done.

          Granted, I am a right-winger. But I am fed up with both parties right now on a list of issues. I don’t understand why reasonable people cannot reach across the aisle and come up with reasonable laws to the benefit of those less fortunate.

          I’ll put away my soapbox now.

      • James Stanton October 29, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

        Michael, Texas being 49th in employer-provided health insurance is a feature not a bug. This state has experienced better than average job growth in the Obama years but many of these jobs are low-wage with low benefits. Texas is not likely to force businesses to offer comprehensive health insurance. 1.5 million is a significant number and there’s no real good reason outside of ideology to deny people access to affordable health insurance.

        • Greg Scott October 31, 2013 at 3:15 am #

          “Texas being 49th in employer-provided health insurance is a feature not a bug”

          Really? Demonstrate.

          “…better than average job growth in the Obama years but many of these jobs are low-wage with low benefits”

          Really? Demonstrate.

          “…deny people access to affordable health insurance.”

          Who is doing this? How? Show your work.

    • Nate Schlomann October 29, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

      Chris, the problem for you and your ilk is that the Bible doesn’t enjoin us to force our neighbors to help our other neighbors and heal the sick through the threat of violence, and this is exactly what you are advocating! I can’t think of many things less Christian.

      • buddyglass October 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

        Out of curiosity, does the Bible enjoin the believer to force his neighbor to pay for his other neighbors’ fire and police protection? I’d say there’s precious little exact guidance from the Bible on whether the believer should support social insurance programs as a voting member of a representative democracy.

        • Nate Schlomann October 29, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

          I’m not the one who brought up the Bible, Buddy, and I’d have preferred not to. I was responding to a point above.

          The question of course then is, what is it OK to force a neighbor to do, on threat of violence for non-compliance, by majority vote? And if the line is anywhere, then it must be somewhere. I certainly think we’ve crossed it.

          • buddyglass October 29, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

            Bear in mind nobody’s forcing anybody to do anything. If you don’t want to pay the taxes you’re free to emigrate. If you want the privilege of reaping the benefits of the American experiment then you abide by the laws passed by its citizenry’s elected representatives. If you choose to attempt to cheat the system by reaping those benefits but not paying your taxes then yeah, you go to jail. But that was your choice; nobody forced you to remain here and cheat.

            • Nate Schlomann October 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

              Buddy, the question is when and why is it OK for some to pass laws forcing others to do things. I’m not saying never, but I’m asking when and why. I’m asking reasonable questions, but your response here was not reasonable. All I’m asking is a thoughtful response.

              • buddyglass October 30, 2013 at 12:31 am #

                I find it reasonable to require that folks pay their taxes if they want to live and work here, without respect to how the citizenry chooses (via its duly elected representatives) to spend that revenue. If the public decides to pile up $10T and set it on fire then so be it. If you deem that to be such a ludicrous waste of resources that you can no longer conscience paying taxes to the U.S. government then you’re free to emigrate. This isn’t Cuba or North Korea; nobody’s going to stop you.

                If you do choose to live here then the citizenry will take means to ensure (via those to whom it has delegated power) that you follow the rules, including the tax code. If that arrangement isn’t to your liking…well, nobody’s twisting your arm to stay.

                • Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 10:35 am #

                  Buddy, it is highly immoral for you to be OK with taking money from people and wasting it. I’m not sure what your aim was here, but it wasn’t to converse.

                • Randall Seale October 31, 2013 at 12:23 am #

                  @buddyglass

                  Where does tyranny begin in your view?

                  • buddyglass October 31, 2013 at 12:45 am #

                    I’m not sure there’s a bright line. Certain things are an unequivocal breach of rights that (IMO) should be afforded every human being, but “opting out of paying taxes when I disagree with how tax revenue is spent” isn’t one of them. In representative democracy there will always going to be programs with which one disagrees. It is not “tyranny” to be required (under threat of law) to pay one’s taxes, even when one disagrees with some (or many) aspects of government spending.

                    • Randall Seale October 31, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

                      @buddyglass

                      Thanks for responding to my question. Do you think a citizen/subject could be ‘taxed into tyranny’? IOW, is there some line where (over-) taxation becomes tyrannical?

  10. Roger Simpson October 29, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

    I generally do not like government intervention into our lives. I do not like government short- circuiting free market choices. I agree that Obama misspoke when he told us that we could keep our existing health insurance / doctors.

    HOWEVER: Even though I do not support Obama care, and I believe it should be repealed, I agree with Obama Care’s provision to do away with minimalist policies.

    I don’t object to paying an extra $1,000 [or whatever it is] when I buy a car so I can have front and side air bags, anti-lock brakes, and the feature that automatically “takes the foot off the gas pedal” when the computer knows your car is skidding. This is true even though I may never need any of those features to protect me from serious injury or death. There was some initial pushback when the government mandated safety features on cars — now most consumers would not even touch a car without air bags — even if it was legal to sell such a new car and even if manufactures wanted to produce one.

    Just today in the Wall St. Journal reported that the 2014 Toyota Camry did do to well in the recent crash tests. Toyota is going back to the drawing board to beef up the car. NITSA, the car manufactures, and public demand have worked in-sync to produce safer cars.

    Insurance companies are doing the right thing by not marketing “bare bones” policies. They should not sell them even if there were no government regulations that prohibited them. And more to the point, people should step up to the plate and make responsible choices when they buy insurance coverage. Who knows when you might get sick and need some exotic provision — such as no lifetime cap — that existing “bare bones” policies don’t have.

    Buying “bare bones” policies is a mild form of Russian Roulette. You might be sorry later you didn’t get a decent policy. Like the Pennzoil guy says, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later”.

    • Michael Sweet October 29, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

      Well that is certainly fine, but this country may get a quick lesson on Moral Hazard/The Law of Unintended Consequences.

      1. I make too much money to qualify for a tax credit. According to the 2011 census/income reports as provided by the US government – about 1/3 of households make too much money for ACA tax credits.

      2. My current health insurance (family of three) runs me about $850/month. Note: I have a deductible over the $6,000 maximum. Currently, my plan is “grandfathered”, but the insurance company has every right to stop offering the plan. I have a $25 co-pay so I am not sure how my plan is considered “bare bones”, but it is.

      3. If I lose my plan, then I will have to get a new ACA-compliant plan. The bronze-plan will cost me about $900 or so. Let’s just call it $12,000/year to make my math easy. I have the option of dropping coverage and paying about $1,000/year in tax penalties. That saves me about $11,000/year.

      4. As I said earlier, my family is healthy. So I don’t use insurance. While I run the risk of developing a bad disease, there is good news – I cannot be denied coverage now. By the way – this was discussed on CNBC this morning. So if I drop coverage (very good chance) – I can still get insurance if I ever get sick. Yes, there is an annual enrollment period, so I will need to get an annual checkup. But, hey, that is by far the smart decision for me.

      While I certainly can understand a person’s personal dislike for “bare bones” policies, I cannot understand why high-deductible plans for people with money in savings is such a bad thing.

      • James Stanton October 29, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

        I don’t believe your plan (at 850/month for 3) can be considered bare-bones. High-deductible plans are generally the worst option unless you have ability to pay a high deductible and are willing to pay for all excess costs beyond coverage limits. The coverage is not comparable and one cannot predict future medical expenses. So it’s not a bad thing but it is also not necessarily the smartest thing for an individual or a family who can afford better plans.

      • buddyglass October 29, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

        I’m not understanding your math. Let’s say your $850/mo policy is canceled and you have to sign up for a bronze plan that costs $12,000/yr (or $1,000/mo). That plan costs you $150/mo more than your previous one, or $1,800/year. So going without coverage saves you $800/year over what you were paying before once you pay your $1,000/year tax penalty. Yes you can always sign back up if you get sick, but going without coverage means:

        1. You pay full price for prescriptions,
        2. You pay full price for regular doctor visits,
        3. You are on the hook for emergency care and hospital stays.

        #1 and #2 will eat into your $800/year savings even with a relatively healthy family. Recall, you’re obligated to at least one doctor visit per year per family member just to see whether you’re sick and need to apply for coverage.

        You’re basically betting against a potentially huge loss in order to save ~$600/year. Not something I’d do, personally.

        • Michael Sweet October 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

          Buddy:

          That is why my first post said this situation creates a moral hazard and deals with the law of unintended consequences. Prior to ACA, you were correct – I had to look at the incremental cost.

          However, that is no longer the case because I cannot be denied coverage. So I can cancel my insurance and save $11,000 per year ($12,000 premium less $1,000 penalty). If I get sick with a horrible disease – no problem from an insurance standpoint as I cannot be denied coverage (annual enrollment issues aside).

          If you think I am making this up, I beg to differ. As I previously stated, this was discussed as a viable option on CNBC.

          I am in good health, I eat well and exercise. I have no family history of heart disease, diabetes, etc. We don’t have any prescription medications, and we go to the doctor once per year. So I think this is a great option to consider.

          • buddyglass October 30, 2013 at 8:35 am #

            Any hospital stay will obliterate the savings for that year. So, car accident and you’re in the red. Potentially way in the red. Get cancer? You get to wait until the enrollment period to start chemo or you pay for it out of pocket. It’s still a gamble but, as you note, a payoff of $11,000 makes it a more attractive gamble than a payoff of $800.

            Of course the numbers can (and probably will) be tweaked as needed to motivate “invincibles” to opt in. The penalty could be increased and the additional revenue used to discount plans across-the-board without respect to income.

    • Nate Schlomann October 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      All your points should be moot because it’s not OK, through threat of violence, to force people to make the decisions you think they should make! Can we not agree on this? These are all nice ideas that you have, but you shouldn’t be able to pass a law that forces people to do them. That is absurd.

  11. Brett Cody October 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Hear! Hear!

  12. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 2:02 pm #

    Chris,
    “The Bible enjoins us to help our neighbors & heal the sick. Freely we have received, freely we shall give.”

    That is true, and there are many churches and Christian organizations/non-profits that do all kinds of good for those that are truly in need. The problem for me is that it isn’t the government’s job to do that. Authorial intent from the country’s inception was to protect the citizens, not provide and wipe their bottoms for them. People have become reliant on a system that shows no accountability (whether through welfare or even our elected officials) and does not encourage those recipients to grow and seek a higher purpose or something better than what they have at the time. You are right about the premiums on the open market though. Guy at my work is retiring next month and it’s actually cheaper to stay on Cobra for a while (until he’s eligible for Medicare) than find something in the marketplace. And Cobra is usally insanely high!

    I do also agree with Roger that minimalistic plans are garbage from the get go, because if you are generally healthy, most of use maybe only have 2-3 sick visits a year and an annual checkup. Crazy high deductibles are not realistic for the average joe or his family. Though I do have a car with no airbags, but it has a 5-point harness and a cage.

    • Chris Ryan October 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

      Hey, Ian, sounds like a fun car, man! Zoom, zoom, huh? Our church runs a pantry & we feed ~300 ppl weekly but when my nephew needed leukemia treatments we were in no position to fund the $150K he needed. So I think its unrealistic to expect churches, even one like ours with strong tithing, to pick up the country’s health care tab… In terms of the Founders, I’m not sure how they would’ve perceived Medicaid/Medicare/SS/etc. I do know this, though, that they weren’t infallible. They committed as many sins as any other politicians & people do. They–especially Thomas Jefferson–certainly got the slavery issue wrong. So if I have to put George Washington’s words against Jesus Christ’s, Jesus Christ is gonna win every time 🙂 I’ve been pretty blessed myself, and esp when it comes to employer health insurance. I just want everyone to have the same benefits I do.

      • buddyglass October 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm #

        Hard to beat my setup. My wife works half-time and my entire family (of four) is on her employer’s insurance. They cap the cost at three family members, so we pay the same as a family of three would. Except the size of the discount varies by seniority, and my wife has been there long enough to be in the top tier. We pay $200/mo for both medical and dental for a family of four. Now, obviously some of that discount is coming out of my wife’s paycheck in the form of a lower salary, but given her seniority (and the fact that we’re covering four for the price of three) we’re essentially being subsidized by those of her co-workers who are less-senior and/or are covering three-or-fewer people. Also, since she’s working half-time, the salary hit she experiences in order to finance the employer’s generous subsidies is only half what her full-time co-workers do.

        Talk about perverse incentives: I actually get free coverage at work, but the plan wouldn’t cover my allergy shots. When I was getting them every two weeks the total cost was about $1200/year. Since we would have three people on her plan already, though, it doesn’t save us anything for me to take the free coverage my employer offers. So I stay on her plan, which covers the allergy shots 100%.

        This is also a great example of why U.S. health care expenditures are so high. Insurance, even private insurance, totally distorts the cost structure. If I had to pay that $1200 out of pocket I would probably skip the shots and make do with over-the-counter antihistamines. But if they’re not going to cost me anything out-of-pocket then why not get the shots?

        Another example. Last year I developed a sore ankle from running. I went to a sports medicine doctor, who ordered a MRI and then weekly physical therapy appointments for about six weeks. Each appt. with the PT cost me $40, but the practice billed my insurance company $200. If I’d had to pay $200 there’s no way I would have gone to those appointments. But at the discounted cost of $40 I figured it was worth it.

    • buddyglass October 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      “Authorial intent from the country’s inception was to protect the citizens…”

      How about protecting them from unforseen healthcare expenses beyond their ability to pay?

  13. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

    Michael,

    What about the family of 4 that makes too much to get a subsidy, but yet has student loans up the wazoo and still lives nearly paycheck to paycheck with no real savings other than a 401k? Everyone’s situation is different. You can’t claim, “well, if you make too much to get the subsidy, you must be well off enough to afford a high-deductible plan”. Making over the line to get a subsidy does not mean you are “people with money”.

    • Michael Sweet October 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Ian,

      I never said that. I said…

      (a) For some people, a high-deductible plan makes great financial sense. Unfortunately, that is no longer an option.

      (b) While “you cannot be denied” sounds great, in practice, it gives people the option to drop health insurance and only get it when needed.

      (c) The tax penalty is extremely low compared to the cost of insurance. So, again from a purely selfish standpoint, what incentive is there for healthy people to have insurance? My argument – none.

      I will expand just a little on the high-deductible. It makes great sense for most healthy, financially-disciplined people. You will save about $200/month by increasing your deductible by $5,000. Therefore, if you put that money into savings, then you will “break-even” after about 2 years. The co-pay covers regular doctor visits – so if you don’t go to the hospital for 2+ years – you come out financially ahead.

      Unfortunately, this is like a tax refund. Most Americans cannot leave their savings alone, so it’s better to let Uncle Sam save for you by having extra money withheld from your paycheck that you then get in April. I think most financial people will tell you a big tax refund is foolish, just like a low-deductible plan for healthy people.

      • James Stanton October 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

        Well if we’re talking financial discipline.. it makes less sense to assume your potential medical expenses will be less than your savings. That’s the point of health insurance in that the average person and family cannot afford to pay the full cost of service. If something happens you are out the high deductible and everything that exceeds the cost of the plan’s limits. Russian roulette as someone else out it is exactly right. It’s about mitigating risk not compounding it.

  14. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    Michael,
    ” I cannot understand why high-deductible plans for people with money in savings is such a bad thing.”

    My work offers a high deductible plan for those that want to save a bit from their monthly premiums. Deductible is $3k, but here’s the caveat….no copays. It’s 80% after deductible, but hardly any coinsurance until it’s met, even for a sick visit. And guess what, that’s the one I’m on this year. Kids had a bad year for sick visits. A week or so after I take my kid in, I get a bill for $120. That’s right. I get billed $120 per sick visit until I hit my deductible. You can imagine how fast that accumilates if the wee-ones get strep, ear infections, etc. Even with my HSA, I could not make enough contributions from my check to cover it all immediately, so now I’m playing catch-up and essentially paying the ongoing bill everytime my HSA gets funded.

    To have a high deductible and still have a copay for a sick visit would be very fortunate, rather than waiting for 80% after deductible. For me, it’s either high deductible and $120 sick visits until it’s met, or high premiums and $25 copays. Pick your poison, right?

    • Michael Sweet October 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

      Ian,

      Wow, that stinks. I’m in a little different position (or at least I was). I’m self-employed so I had to buy my own policy, so I could get the best of both worlds.

  15. Andy Moffat October 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    I’m Canadian. And while our system certainly has its flaws, after seeing the discussion on this board, I’ll take our system over yours any day of the week.

  16. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    Yeah, I would keep the high deductible if I i Had copays and wouldn’t get killed until I hit the deductible. no brainer there.
    $189/month for $3k deductible with HSA
    or
    $384/month for $800 deductible and copays.

  17. Ian Shaw October 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Chris,

    There is a growing movement for churches to form a kind of collective when it comes to offering health insurance benefits across a network of many churches and their members. Yes, churches can’t do everything, but we’d be surprised in what we could accomplish I think.

    Personally, I think it’s morally reprehensible that leukemia treatments cost as much as a house. The days of pharmaceutical companies having higher profit margins than big oil are numbered in my opinion.

  18. Johnny Mason October 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    And why do you guys think these are good plans? The deductibles are huge for these plans and many are worse than the high-deductible plans that existed prior to this legislation.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-13/business/ct-biz-1013-obamacare-deductibles-20131013_1_health-care-overhaul-health-insurance-health-coverage

  19. Nate Schlomann October 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    It is disheartening to see so many people on this board express the opinion that it is OK for the government to decide what is best for people and to then pass laws and regulations that require compliance through the threat of violence.

    We’ve been sliding towards this for years, but this isn’t America. This attitude is bullying and totalitarianism. We need a resurgence of the virtues of liberty and freedom. You who would make people do what you want through violence shame us all!

    • Randall Seale October 31, 2013 at 12:28 am #

      @ Nate Schlomann

      So well stated. This whole discussion is foreign to America.

  20. Roger Simpson October 29, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

    It is very hard for me to get to a bottom line on Obama care vs. the previous situation. On balance — across all people who are customers for individual plans — it is probably close to brake even.

    (a) Some will be paying more but getting better plans,

    (b) some who were previously not insured and have low income are getting insurance for the first time and using a government subsidy to pay some or all of their premiums,

    (c) some are no longer able to afford coverage like they had before — even with the subsidy — because premiums for Obama-care “non bare bones” policies are too expensive now and they “make too much to be eligible for subsidies”. Obama care implicitly equates income with discretionary income. Many families are just scraping by from paycheck to paycheck regardless of their income.

    On balance, subtracting the Obama care losers from the Obama care winners, my guess is the by the end of 2014 Obama care will collapse from its own weight.

    Remember what happened to Dan Rostencowski [spelling?] in the 1990s when seniors revolted about “increased coverage” to Medicare which cost these seniors “an exorbitant monthly charge”? Those seniors literally revolted and the “increased coverage” was quickly repealed.

    I know this is short sighted, but many people won’t sign up for a “decent plan” because they just can’t afford it. Academics might say “you can’t afford to not have insurance because what happens if you, your spouse or one of your kids develops a serious medical condition that could bankrupt you?” The answer [unstated but true in many cases is] “we know we need medical insurance but we just can’t afford it. What are we supposed to do? Not pay our mortgage? Not make our car payments? Not feed our family? We will just have to take a chance.

    Is this a rational choice or one made out of desperation?

    The situation with many families is that because of mortgage payments and other debt people just can’t pay any more periodic expense. These people have a “decent middle class income” but that doesn’t mean they have a dime of spare change at the end of the month.

    I believe that Obama care is going to disproportionally negatively effect middle class and lower middle class families. These people vote. I just don’t think any member of Congress — either Senate or House (either Democrat or Republican) up for election in 2014 will survive if he/she is on record as supporting Obama care. The calculus is such that for every person it helps — it hurts maybe 1.1 to 1.5 people. Do this math, this just won’t fly.

    I know I’m out on a limb but I think Obama will sign a bill before the November 2014 elections which dials back the ACA significantly. Both houses of congress are going to put something on his desk which is going to have to sign. This will be some type of face saving move but it will be tantamount to the appeal of the ACA.

    Roger Simpson Oklahoma City

  21. Roger Simpson October 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Corrected text “. . . . something on his desk which HE is going to have to sign. This will be some type of face-saving move but it will be tantamount to the REPEAL of the ACA. ”

    Sorry for bad proofreading.

    RK Simpson OKC

  22. Ian Shaw October 30, 2013 at 9:00 am #

    Nate,

    I don’t believe it is ok for the government to decide what’s best for me and then force compliance with fidicuiary threats. Maybe that’s why I don’t affiliate with any one political party and try to stay out of it as much as I can because it’s so mind-numbingly frustrating.

    Regardless fo what occurs, we serve a mighty God that is and will be in control of everything and we (myself included) should really try to put things in the proper perspective sometimes.

    • Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 10:40 am #

      Ian, I agree of course on your final point, though it also shouldn’t stop us, as citizens with responsibilities, from working for the good of everyone.

      On your first point, however, don’t be so kind as to think the government stops at fiduciary threats. It is not that alone. When one suggests something be done through the hands of government, we need to work to be clear they are advocating violence. If you do not comply, the penalty will not be merely fiduciary. Men will come to your house with guns. I’m not saying there is no role for civil government, but I AM saying we need clarity as to what we are advocating when we propose its use.

      If you are saying the government should require health care, you are saying men with guns should come and make your neighbor do what you would have in regards to health care. Maybe you’re OK with that. I don’t think Jesus would be.

      • James Stanton October 30, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

        Nate, I am going to go out on a limb here and say that men with guns (working for the federal government) are not going to come to your house to force you to buy private health care insurance.

        • Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

          James, you’re just wrong about that. That is what the law requires! In our governmental system, the end result of not complying with any tax (except consumption taxes) is men with guns coming to your door and making you pay. That’s how it works, and I’m not saying that system in itself is wrong. I want men with guns to go to my neighbors door and force him to help provide for the national defense, or keep him from hurting others.

          There is a gross ignorance in our country as to the nature of government and taxation, and we need education. Government force IS ultimately men with guns (violence), so we need to be cautious about when and why we use it. That’s all I’m saying.

          • Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

            And should add, this is fact, not opinion. The debate is not one of WHAT government is, that is fact and plain to see for anyone willing to look honestly. The debate must be one of to what extent government should be used.

          • James Stanton October 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

            I understand Nate. You are technically correct but our current structure of government (since at least 1913 and probably before) requires this coercive element. We do not live in 1700 or 1800s where the government did not have quite the reach and power that it does today. Your point of contention here goes well beyond Obamacare to a philosophical debate that may not ever be resolved to your liking.

            • Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

              I don’t think all governmental coercion is wrong in and of itself. But to circle us back to Obamacare, I do think it can be argued it is immoral to use coercion for THAT. And I wish we thought through more political ideas from that perspective.

  23. Ian Shaw October 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    Nate- for the record, I am not saying I’m ok with government requiring healthcare. I disagree with it and find it to be a reach and abuse of power. As Christians, our prime directive is to follow the charge Christ left for us to do. Our citizen responsibility cannot come before that.

    To your comment regarding men with guns coming to knock “politely” on my front door…I am a lawful, abiding firearm owener/operator. Michigan has no law requiring duty to retreat. Also, it is perfectly legal as of this moment to lawfully purchase, own, and operate a Sig50 (feel free to google). Whether they are foolish enough to try to come to my door and force me to purchase health insurance, isn’t probable, but I am in agreement regarding a slippery slope and to what point it may come to. That’s all I’ll say on that matter.

    • Michael Sweet October 30, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

      Sarcasm Alert:

      Ian – they have drones for troublemakers like you.

    • Lynn Burgess October 31, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      Ian: I don’t know If you are serious or not, but I know people who are armed and ready to fight — and it is getting all to close to home.

  24. Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Ian, I know we’re pretty much on the same page here, but don’t kid yourself. If you don’t pay your taxes and don’t comply, that is the recourse even now. No slippery slope needed.

    • James Stanton October 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

      Nate, tax evasion is a crime, civil and moral. How do you reconcile government violence with a failure to adhere to civil norms? You may disagree with the legality of coercive government but this particularly situation does not merit civil disobedience.

      Now if you do pay taxes then the IRS would simply fine you (maybe reduce your refund?) and they would never need to send armed agents to your door.

      • Nate Schlomann October 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

        James, of course tax evasion is a crime. The end penalty of failure to pay is not fines, it is prison. That is men with guns coming to get you. I’m not saying that’s always an unjust penalty, but we need to be clear what we are talking about. We’re too flippant with government force, it’s part of what’s gotten us in this mess.

        BTW, nothing in what I stated was favoring civil disobedience, so there must be a miscommunication there.

        • James Stanton October 30, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

          No, you didn’t but I think I was responding to a hypothetical refusal to pay taxes. I probably just understood it incorrectly.

  25. Ian Shaw October 30, 2013 at 1:03 pm #

    They’d have to come to my door. I doubt they’d consider a tax evader an enemy combatant and send a drone up to drop a hellfire on my home……or would they?

    Oh, I pay my taxes, but I don’t believe this penalty is a tax..it’s a penalty, which by definition is not a tax, but some supreme court justice saw it differently.

  26. Ian Shaw October 30, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Michael,

    A Sig50 could take down a drone…….

    ~sarcasm….or is it?~

  27. Brian Rollins October 30, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

    Don’t forget- Christians do have a way out of this Obamacare mess. Consider one of the sharing ministries such as Samaritan. Then you can thumb your nose at the government and experience a more biblical approach to health care at the same time.

  28. Brian Sanders October 31, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Roger: This is in response to your post by for some reason it would not post as a reply.

    Social-ism/Commun-ism always brings the middle class down; it does not raise the standard of living (or the standard of medical care) for the lower class.

    I hope you are correct that there is public outcry enough to reverse the bill, but I don’t think that will happen. Just read how many people in this blog support both the bill and it’s philosophy.

    The easiest way to lower the cost of health care is to outlaw health insurance; supply and demand would lower costs over night. Think Lasik Eye Surgery.

    Insurance is a huge part of the reason health care is so expensive. When I was a kid my parents paid the doctor cash every month, we always had a bill with six children, and there never was any discussion about anyone not being treated. All medications were provided through his office and not from a pharmacy. I can’t remember anyone being hospitalized except in those years giving birth kept a woman in the hospital for several days and those costs were paid the same way.

  29. Ian Shaw October 31, 2013 at 12:28 pm #

    Makes me wonder what the bills were like for my grandparents. My dad was 1 of ten. My grandpa had a good job at GM, but with 10, there had to be doctors bills…

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