Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Wilmington, Delaware
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Hmmm, how many of you folks on this thread actually pay the lions share of the health care premiums? I've been wrestling with health care costs since 1991 and it's a very very complex subject. I will agree with Paul that nobody in the US Government is really looking out for my best interests (that is the interests of a small business owner).
A couple of points. Most large corporations couldn't care less about this whole debate. They already provide health insurance to the majority of their workers. Also, they use the Blue-Crosses and Aetna's as paperwork processing agencies. They self-insure, so they dictate (not insurance companies) what is covered for their employees. The tax on "cadillac" plans will actually reduce their costs, as they'll be able to reduce benefits and blame it on the Government.
I agree something needs to be done. I would prefer to see employees "own" their own health insurance, so they can pick and choose which plans they want from private companies. That way they aren't held hostage at a company with "great" benefits. If the Government maintained the deductibility of company contributions to health plans, this could be easily accomplished. Just prohibit companies from actually providing insurance directly to employees. The company could subsidize the insurance but the employee would be free to go wherever they choose. If people could shop plans across State lines, you would see rates drop real fast.
Pre-existing conditions is a tricky subject. Massachusetts is a good case study. Turns out that younger folks tended to skip paying for insurance (even paying a fine) until they have a problem, THEN they purchase the insurance. So, the risk pooling necessary of the many healthy to cover the few really sick gets screwed up.
Here's what's really going on. First, Medicare is on a path to financial destruction, and everyone in Washington knows it. The only way to "fix" the problem is to do what private insurance companies do; deny benefits. So you will see rationing of benefits to older folks. That's not partisan talk, it's the cold hard truth. Second, younger healthier folks need to be in the "system" so the risk pool can be increased to help cover the costs for the additional insured to be added to the program (over 30 million of them). Third, small businesses will be forced to go with the public option, which will increase the risk pool for Medicare and Medicaid. All of those Government programs will be merged into one uber-program. This will actually drive down the per-person cost. But, the overall costs will go up, paid for by younger folks who currently don't pay into the system, and small business owners who don't have the political clout to resist.
I had hoped that there would be a fair and honest debate of this issue, with truly all options on the table. Tort reform was eliminated, shopping across State lines was refused, and these are just two of many many good ideas that were not even seriously considered. Nobody can argue that those two items I listed wouldn't reduce costs. So why not consider them?
Democracy: Two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
Representative democracy: Two thousand wolves and one thousand sheep electing two wolves and a sheep who vote on what to have for dinner.
Constitutional republic: Constitution that says sheep cannot be eaten. The Supreme Court then votes 5 wolves to 4 sheep that mutton does not count as sheep.
Liberty: Well-armed sheep contesting the above votes.