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Rock Street, San Francisco

Its been several months since the healthcare bill passed and despite the fact that most of it hasn’t taken effect, we are already seeing how it will impact our lives.  Insurance companies are now required to take people with pre existing conditions and young adults up to the age of 25 are now on their parents plan.  The result is that now there are a lot more people that need health insurance dollars, but they aren’t making up the difference.  Health insurance companies only make about 4 percent of the total they bring in as profit, so they have to pass on to the customer the bulk of the cost increase.  Healthcare premiums are now going up at a staggering pace and the mandate for everyone to buy health insurance doesn’t begin for another 2 years.

 It is true that healthcare costs would have gone up if we had done nothing, but now they are going up much faster and we were told the healthcare bill would make them go down.  New taxes on medical equipment have kicked in causing the overhead for hospitals and private practices to go up and be passed on to us, along with Medicare cuts which are also being passed on to us.  None of this comes as a shock to those of us in the healthcare field, and the American people were warned about this before the bill was passed.  Congress was aware of the unpopularity of the measure and decided to pass it anyway.  Americans have now cleaned out their house and given control back to Republicans in the mid term elections.

 The logical course of action would be to repeal the whole bill and then work on it piece by piece, but as we all know; politics have nothing to do with logic.  Republicans may try to repeal the bill, and they could get it through the house but not the Democrat controlled Senate.  Even if they could get it through the Senate, President Obama would simply veto the measure making the whole exercise a waste of time.  The next step they might try would be to defund the new bill but even if they succeeded, it wouldn’t have any effect on the new taxes and mandates that are already making our premiums go up.  The only course of action left is to revise certain parts of the legislation that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on.

 Now we come to the real problem with politics; the only things that everyone can agree on will make the situation worse for those of us paying for our heath insurance.  The healthcare bill will already cost far more than we were told and the most popular part of the bill to repeal is the mandate that everyone purchase health insurance; which will make it cost much more.  If we were to repeal the Medicare cuts or tax increases, the result would also be a greatly increased cost of the bill.  Repealing the pre existing conditions part of the law would reduce the costs of our premiums, but no politician would do that and risk being seen as insensitive.  They could add some of the Republicans ideas to the bill like tort reform and purchasing health insurance over state lines, but none of their ideas will be useful if private health insurance companies start going out of business.

 In the end, we are stuck with the government’s “help” for at least the next 2 years.  We have all been assured that we could keep the health insurance we had if we wanted to keep it, but there are some hitches to that statement.  Most Americans get their health insurance from their employers, and if it becomes more cost effective to just pay the tax for not insuring their employees then you will lose the choice to keep your plan.  No one mentioned how much your plan will cost to keep either.  All of this is designed to drive everyone to a single payer program run by the government that will drive the quality of healthcare down and the cost to the tax payer beyond our limits.  We need real solutions that don’t involve government intervention, like discount fee for service plans and group employer plans purchased over state lines.  Ameriplan, AARP and various other private companies have these plans, but we have been convinced that private companies are the enemy.  Until we get common sense leaders and change our viewpoint on private industry, the sky is the limit on the amount of “help” we are going to get.

Post Author: Lisa Sharon