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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Great American Strategic Health Insurance Default

When I retired in the fall of 2007, I managed to keep a few months worth of Cobra health coverage through my old employer. The cost of that insurance was around 450 dollars a month. Although I've had a few health issues over the years, they tend to be sporadic rather than chronic. With proper diet, exercise, and the elimination of other bad habits- I've been able to live a fairly undiminished lifestyle.

With very minimal prescription costs of about ten bucks a month, and two trips to a "Doc in the Box", my costs have been small. Thus at the end of 2007,  I jettisoned Cobra coverage. My net savings of 16,200 over three years was probably closer to 20k factoring in the yearly premium increases.

It used to require gross earnings of 30k to clear 20k. This is an incredible amount of money- up in smoke. I am not here to argue whether you think I may become a burden to you. Quite honestly that's not the point. We are all forced to the health care watering hole where the predators wait. 

Because my health is relatively good, I was able to opt out of health care insurance. During the collapse of 2008, I suspected that our country would face a health care crisis. Very simply, the young and the healthy would be forced out of health plans. The newly unemployed. The young and the healthy could strategically default, just as I had done. Thus the only remaining people in health plans would be those who absolutely had to have them, could not switch because of prior conditions, or people so afraid of going uncovered that opting out of health insurance coverage was simply not an option for them. Those that would pay any amount of money.

I suspected, and rightly so, that the mass exodus of the healthy would leave the unhealthy and the insurers holding the bag. Costs would go supernova. This has happened. That health care in this country is socialized already- is without question. Those who don't need health care pay for those that must have it. That the atrocious costs we have been burdened with are the result of people who cannot pay or who use far more than their share of pooled premiums. Coupled with an entire strata of health care buzzards that simply cannot or will not even attempt cost containment.

Thus Obamacare was a simple acknowledgment and an extension of a socialized system that already existed. Yawn.

Under Obamacare, the system cannot work without robbing young and healthy people of their premium dollars- therefore the government had to make it illegal not to participate. What Obamacare is really all about- is recapturing and forcing those of us who have had the good fortune and health to exit health plans. People who were opting out en masse. Thus, under government threat, they forced us back in. Without question, Obamacare is a tax. It is wealth confiscation and redistribution from the healthy and wealthier segment of our population to the not so healthy and wealthy segment. Simple as that. Demographics. 

And as crazy as all of that sounds, nobody represented the healthy. In other words, there was nothing in this plan for people living healthy lifestyles. Nobody forced health insurers or providers to reduce costs. There were no profit margin regulations, no drug maker concessions, no reduced profit margins for drugs under patent protection or medical devices. No reduced awards for malpractice attorneys. No abandonment of the bullshit "non profit" moniker and legal tax evasion technique of many hospitals. No forced reduction of administrative costs. No caps on salaries. No reform whatsoever. Business was allowed to remain status quo. Government literally robbed the young and healthy and failed to represent their interests in any significant way, shape, or form.

Obamacare is a tax complete with penalties for non compliance. Remember that phrase, "No taxation without representation? The phrase captures a sentiment central to the cause of the English Civil War, as articulated by John Hampden who said “what an English King has no right to demand, an English subject has a right to refuse” in the Ship money case.

Who represented the young and healthy? The people who could strategically default if they absolutely had to? Nobody.


Anonymous said...

Man, I love the way your mind works. You see sides to issues no one else sees. This essay is a master piece.

What I'm about to ask you is something that should be done in the privacy of an E-mail. But the E-mail link on your profile page doesn't work.

What I want to ask you, Brian, is if you would consider doing an occasional guest post at Conservatives On Fire? Think about it. You can contact me at gemgordy@hotmail dot com and I can explain what I have in mind.


Brian said...

I'd be honored to. I'll fire off an email.

Dedicated_Dad said...

I'm sorry this is an old-ish post, but I can't resist another comment...

You've made many valid points about the HC Obamination, but missed the most salient point. It's NEVER been about the young & healthy, or the old and sick -- it's about nothing but pure, naked power and the destruction of our way of life.

They DID promise "change"...

Bear in mind, I'm ignoring the obvious fact that the whole she-bang is unconstitutional tyranny - just for discussion.

The "force everyone to buy insurance" was nothing but a ploy from the beginning. If the desire was indeed to force everyone into insurance, the cost (read "fine") for failing to do so would be HIGHER than the cost of obeying.

In this case, the fine is less than 10% of the cost of a policy - hence the intent was NEVER to force all into insurance.

The intent from the beginning was to drive the InsCos out of business.

Think about it... Not only did they make the "mandatory" ruling, but they also prohibited any "pre-existing condition" penalties of any kind.

Now, though the law says "you must have insurance" it also says "but if you don't, we'll still make the InsCos eat the cost of any emergency care you may need.

Now, nobody who is healthy (with any sense) NEEDS insurance. They'll all take the smart way out and eat the trivial fine.

The day after the accident, or the catastrophic diagnosis, they'll be free to sign up for insurance and have all their bills covered.

How long will the InsCos be able to stay in business under this model?

When they're all driven out of business -- or forced to raise their premiums to cover their costs -- who will step in and resolve the "crisis?"

Who else...

Brian said...

I agree DD. It's just a bad law all the way around. But ya know, I don't think they'll repeal the POS. I don't think they've got the spine...