On the state of Obamacare

I have been observing, from my intimate perch of acting as a Broker for over 150 Individual Clients seeking Health Insurance, the implementation, accessibility and expense of Health Insurance in NY. I assist people in trying to find insurance that will work for them. I try to be of help but I did not create the system and (as I often say) they didn’t ask my input!

First let me say that I believe that seeking and finding quality medical care should be a fundamental human right. I think it sits right alongside basic (and even higher) education, clean drinking water, feeding the poor and children, and income for our elders (Social Security). I believe that an educated privileged society has a responsibility to all its members to do better. I do not have the answers about how this can be done but I do have some basic tenants;

* Individual rights must be ranked above the rights of  Corporations

* All citizens must contribute a fair share of their earnings to the sustainability of the government and infrastructure of the society.

* Government must be minimal, logical, fair, efficient and serve the best interest of ALL its citizens. (I know, I know, I’m a dreamer)

Witnessing the adjustments to the rates and policies offered to New Yorkers is shocking. An ordinary, middle class individual can easily pay $6000 to $10000 per year for Health Insurance and still have to pay out of pocket for a visit to a Doctor! The basic formula of the Affordable Care Act is that an individual earning less than $47,500 (400%) of the Federal Poverty Level should not have to pay more than about 10% of their gross income for health insurance with a deductible of about $2,000. If you make $50,000 you are expected to pay about 15% for the same coverage.

The Insurance companies continue to post profits and pay obscene salaries to their CEO’s and cry that they need to access risk pool funds to pay their way out of the high costs of Insuring sick people. I see several problems: One is that even though NY State oversees the Insurance Industry in NY, compensation to executives does not seem to fall into the profit line item of an Insurer. Another is that many Insurance policies do not cover mail order prescriptions AT ALL. This demonstrates that the Pharmaceutical companies have used their influence to plug up the hole that allowed people to save money by ordering their drugs from across borders that did not have exorbitant prices.  Lobby much?

The problem goes back to my 1st tenant, the rights of Corporations. Continually our representatives in Congress choose to accept money and promote the interests of Corporations over their constituents. The laughably named Affordable Care Act does not have a chance if it does not find a way to control the costs associated with medical care. Insurance companies are just 3rd party payers, they try to limit their costs but at the expense of their customers and their providers. Doctors have bills to pay too, not the least of which are school loans, malpractice insurance and a staff whose primary job is to bill the insurance companies!

Basic Arithmetic – A large Corporation employs 1000 who earn $50k each. What if a CEO was paid a % of the earnings of their employees? 10% would be $5 MILLION. Want a bonus? Pay your employees more money and you got it!  Too logical. And I’m not even asking for the CEO to pay 10% of their GROSS income on Health Insurance.