Third Party & Independents Archives

Huckabee on Health Care

Huckabee said that the dems were saying the reps were complaining about HC but providing no input to improve Obamacare. He gave a HC presentation this evening that was simple, clear and seemingly workable. Unlike the 23k page monstrosity that will be put together by the Corpocracy over the next ten years or so. Only 15% are currently uninsured so why should we implement an Obamacare care system to take care of that?

He says that we don't have a HC crisis, but a health crisis. Mainly due to a lack of exercise, overeating and smoking. Huckabee stated that 17% of GDP, or $2.5T yearly, goes to HC. 90% goes toward treatment and 75% of your lifetime cost for HC will be expended in the last two years of life. Says the system is upside down. Where we should be spending HC $ on prevention, cure, then treatment, we are doing the exact opposite.

Doctors and sick folks are the losers while those providing hi-tech equipment, pharmas, hospitals and insurance are making big bucks. Money is in treatment with little emphasis on prevention or fixing the problem the first time.

Also, 90% of HC $ is paid out by a 3rd party meaning if you don't have a dog in the fight you don't really care who wins. Says we need a system of co-pay and deductibles to put some skin in the game. Also, need tort reform. Also, need a hi risk pool for those with chronic problems where the gov't would provide some support.

Further, states that doctors should be the ones making HC decisions vice the gov't. Should be incentives for getting it right the frist time. Fund and fight big diseases similar to the way polio was overcome. Suggests a $5B bonus fund to find a cure for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and alzheimers. Diabetes cost $245B yr, Alz -$200B going to $1T by 2050.

Recommends a health savings account with the first $2500 tax free. Patient would choose doctors based on competitive pricing. Folks might receive discount for living healthy, etc. Coverage should be based on your personal conditions, be portable and premium based.

He dumped it on the folks in about 20 minutes. Sounds simple, clear and workable, far from the 23k page corpocracy induced bucket of worms. Or is it? Who knows?

Otherwise - - -

Posted by Roy Ellis at August 23, 2013 9:30 PM
Comment #369853

15.7% of the non-elderly population is a huge number of actual persons.

Doctors are big losers from a treatment oriented health care system? Because they aren’t the big health care winners doesn’t mean that they are losers. Take a look at what specialists make.

High risk pools with government support? Do you realize how much that would cost the public by isolating the older and sicker into separate pools? Its been tried and it is costly to the public.

Prevention and cures for diseases are great ideas. Who is going to fund it? How is the War on Cancer going? How much has that “war” cost since its inception during the Nixon administration? No cure yet. What are we going to do in the meantime? Stop treating people? How does he propose to change lifestyles that lead to heart disease, diabetes, etc.

The HSA proposal is already law.

Pay for outcomes not simply treatment. Already in pilot implementation under Obamacare.

Translating his simplistic proposals into legislation would be very difficult. They are not simple concepts to implement.

Posted by: Rich at August 24, 2013 11:10 PM
Comment #369857

Here is a site that lists the specific aspects of Obamacare:

Huckabee does not know what he is talking about. Period.

Good law is specific, detailed, and comprehensive.

Bad law is brief, vague, general, and poorly written.

One of the best benefits of Obamacare is the stress on prevention, rather than treatment. Apparently Huckabee and the writer of this article are unaware of that fact.

Here is a list of preventative services that will be available:

The list of services that will be made available through Obamacare is rather long. For those who dislike long, specific, detailed provisions for their free health care services- too bad.

Here is a short list of other Obamacare features:

• No annual limits on healthcare
• Insurance companies can’t drop you when your sick
• You can’t be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions
• A large improvement to women’s health services
• Reforms to the healthcare industry to cut wasteful spending
• Better care and protections for seniors

In addition, Obamacare is bringing health care into the 21st century through improvements in data processing and relevant laws. Incorporating the new technologies into updated law will make huge strides in the efficiency of health care.

Furthermore, Obamacare limits the amount health care insurers can charge for ‘administrative costs.’ At least 80% must go to the actual health care. Insurers that charge more will have to pay the excess back to overcharged customers. Millions of Americans have already received checks for such overcharges.

This provision has already slowed the growth of health care costs (that is, insurance premiums) to the lowest since 1996.

Meanwhile, the competitive nature of the state insurance exchanges are resulting in people being provided with MUCH better insurance at lower costs.

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2013 11:43 AM
Comment #369865

So that’s why it’s been delayed and businesses are moving people to part time! I get it now! Huh! Silly me.

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 25, 2013 3:42 PM
Comment #369866

Correction: one part has been delayed for one year, and only applies to a small number of people. In addition, these people will still be able to obtain individual policies through the state health care exchanges. Assuming they make low wages, they will be entitled to subsidies that will completely cover the cost of their insurance- subsidies that have already been paid for by the federal government.

Beware of people who attempt to mislead about Obamacare!

People have been moved to part time ever since the cost of benefits started going though the roof. Again, these people will be covered at no cost to themselves through subsidies provided through the state insurance exchanges.

Beware of people who attempt to mislead about Obamacare!

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2013 3:58 PM
Comment #369867

Yea, beware of those who call more federal spending “subsidies”. How are we going to pay for these “subsidies”, phx8?

Simple question.

We’re borrowing money left and right every day to pay for federal government spending. Progressives have tapped into Social Security and bankrupted it. Medicare/Medicaid spending has ballooned out of control. Interest on the debt is a timebomb waiting to blow up in our faces. How are we supposed to pay for more “subsidies” tacked onto the already ballooning debt this country has?

Beware of people who attempt to mislead about the intentions of the federal government.

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 25, 2013 5:28 PM
Comment #369869

Time for you to educate yourself, Weary Willie. You have a computer. Use it.

Abbreviated answer: ACA (Obamacare) will be funded through a wide variety of sources. “The Congressional Budget Office projected that the ACA will lower both future deficits and Medicare spending.” (Wikipedia, Patient Protection and Affordable
Care Act).

Here is a link that answers your question in more detail. There are many more links within the article to provide further details.

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2013 6:57 PM
Comment #369871

Looks like increased taxes, increased payments, and increased fees.

I don’t think it explains where the money for the subsidies comes from.

I don’t think you understand what’s going to happen down the road, phx8. Just look at the history of government programs.

Or, maybe you do.

Beware of people who attempt to mislead about the intentions of the federal government.

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 25, 2013 7:35 PM
Comment #369873

“I don’t think you understand what’s going to happen down the road, phx8. Just look at the history of government programs.”

This program will succeed or fail on the ability of the market to bring affordable health insurance to the currently uninsured. Sure, there will be government subsidy for low income purchasers but the price of the policies will be market driven.

It is driven by the concept that a large pool market will drive cost down to an affordable level. It is basically what conservatives have always promoted: the power of the market.

Now, conservatives diluted the market power by dividing the market pool into individual state markets. Apparently fearful that their own concept will prove correct. Anything to damage a program of Obama.

I don’t get conservatives railing against Obamacare when it is nothing more than a carbon copy of conservative proposals for decades.

I think it also important to note that a substantial portion of the ACA is devoted to prevention, changing fee structures to represent outcome and developing effective medicine standards for reimbursement.

Posted by: Rich at August 25, 2013 8:25 PM
Comment #369875

I have a question, Roy. You apparently agree with Huckabee that doctors have not been beneficiaries of the health care cost escalation over the past few decades. But, what about the annual doctor fix in which Congress sets Medicare physician fee reimbursement rates higher than allowed by law? During the past decade, Congress has annually set rates higher than allowed under the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) passed by Congress in 1997 which ties Medicare physician fee rates to annual overall GDP growth. In other words, Congress has approved for the past decades reimbursement rates much higher than overall economic growth for physicians.

Posted by: Rich at August 25, 2013 8:35 PM
Comment #369879

Weary Willie,
You write: “Looks like increased taxes, increased payments, and increased fees.”

Dead wrong. The only tax is the fee charged if people opt to not buy health insurance. It will be low the first year, then increase substantially the next two years.

The public response to the state insurance exchanges already indicates many more people want to sign up than anticipated. Why? People want health insurance- they just don’t want to pay a high cost for it. The exchanges are what make that affordable insurance available. Furthermore, that insurance is MUCH better than cheap policies used to be. ACA policies include preventative care, no caps on treatment, no threat of being dropped when sick, and so on.

The only people who might pay higher amounts are healthy young people; however, they will receive insurance coverage far superior to what used to be out there. They have the option of paying the mandate, but as the preliminary numbers already show, most people want insurance.

In the past, the cost of health care insurance premiums skyrocketed, while at the same time tens of millions of Americans went uninsured. ACA controls those skyrocketing costs, which dramatically helps with the deficit and debt. Americans will pay less for insurance, everyone will be covered, and the insurance will be better.

It is already a sharp piece of legislation. And if you or others bother to do any reading, you will see it is continually evolving and improving.

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2013 8:59 PM
Comment #369881

Either liberals have swallowed this pipe dream hook, line, and sinker, or they know what’s going to happen down the road and have planned for it all along.

I think it’s the latter.

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 25, 2013 9:13 PM
Comment #369882
Dead wrong. The only tax is the fee charged if people opt to not buy health insurance. It will be low the first year, then increase substantially the next two years.

Duh, gee phx8, for a minute I forgot I was stupid and should believe whatever the Democratics tell me.

Increase Medicare tax rate by 0.9% and impose added tax of 3.8% on unearned income for high-income taxpayers: $210.2 billion.

That’s a tax, phx8. Read it! It’s from your own link. Did you miss that or are you just a liar and think I’m an idiot?

Charge an annual fee on health insurance providers: $60 billion.
Charge an annual fee… Does that mean something else because I’m too stupid to read it correctly, or are you just lying to me to make this monstrosity look like apple pie?
Impose a 40% excise tax on health insurance annual premiums in excess of $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family: $32 billion.
More taxes on individuals and families! Duh. No that can’t be true, right phx8? It must be a misprint!
Impose an annual fee on manufacturers and importers of branded drugs: $27 billion.

Fees passed on to consumers = higher costs to consumers, phx8. Simple economics.

Impose a 2.3% excise tax on manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices:$20 billion.
More taxes on manufacturers that get passed on to consumers.
All other revenue sources: $14.9 billion.

Here’s the catch all! The excuse! The garbage can for all other taxes that pop up after the fact. Has anyone ever seen this number come in on target in government programs?

Quit insulting our intelligence with your simplistic whitewash, phx8. We’re not stupid.

Posted by: Weary Willie at August 25, 2013 9:40 PM
Comment #369883

The increase in the Medicare tax rate only applies for those (married) with incomes over $250,000. Same for the tax on investment income- and there are a lot of ifs, ands, or buts for that provision. So you are correct on that one, Weary Willie. Married couples making over $250,000 will pay more, and that is about 2% of all households. (Anyone reading this should check before assuming the fee applies to them!)

There is a tax on medical care devices for companies in that field. Since part of the deal with AMA is making tens of millions of new customers potential customers, the manufacturers of those devices are undoubtedly very, very happy to pay the tax.

The tax on health insurers will be phased in starting next year, but not take full effect until 2018. Health insurers are happy to pay that tax, because they are about to acquire tens of millions of new customers.

So you are correct and I was wrong about there being no taxes whatsoever. Up to two percent of the wealthiest people in the country maypay more in taxes, depending. Some companies will pay more in taxes, but see those taxes more than offset by an enormous addition to their customer base- in other words, they may pay more in taxes, but their profits will be much, much greater.

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2013 10:07 PM
Comment #369884

And by the way, the small increase for married couples with income over 2% occurs through Medicare. If someone wanted to quibble, they could point out that Medicare is not the same as the ACA.

Posted by: phx8 at August 25, 2013 10:09 PM
Comment #369886

Rich, can’t recall Huckabee’s exact wording re the winners and losers. He did emphasize that doctors are not big winners in the current healthcare system. Mentioned that some doctors are quitting the HC practice as the return for their work is just not there any longer.

Through medicare statements I note that the doctors generally charge the patient on the order of 2X what medicare pays. That, to me, is emblematic of gov’t setting the cost for much of the healthcare we receive.

However, I don’t understand HC very well at all and it may be that no matter what the medicare established costs, the doctors would just double the figure to try and goose the system.

I believe I heard this in my area; a guy thot he was having a heart attack and drove himself to the emergency room. They diagnosed him for heartburn, sent him home and he received a bill for $18k.

I do believe that it is the hospitals, the treatments that are abusing the system, less so the doctors. A general statement as we are all aware of the reports of doctors frauding medicare/patients of millions over long periods.

IMO, doesn’t really matter whether O’care is good or bad. The Corpocracy will keep working to give us an international HC system. I suggest that O’care will ‘evolve’ to that system over the next couple of decades.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 25, 2013 10:18 PM
Comment #369891

“I suggest that O’care will ‘evolve’ to that system [international HC system] over the next couple of decades.”


I think that you are correct. In fact, outbound US medical tourism has been growing dramatically over the past few decades. It is not just for cosmetic surgery but also for complex cardiology, cancer and joint replacement. The incentives are comparable technology and equivalent practitioners at a fraction of US cost. The following link provides a detailed but readable discussion of a hip replacement tourism experience and why it was necessary.

The only thing holding back more medical tourism outside the US is the reluctance of US medical insurers, including Medicare, to cover such procedures. It is not just a quality issue since the principal accreditation agency for US hospitals (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals) has been accrediting foreign medical providers for some time using the same US standards.

In a few decades, though, I think that you will find global centers of excellence emerging for certain specialties, i.e., cardiology, cancer, joint replacements, etc. This will be accompanied by international coordination of health insurance benefits and travel costs. If an insurer can reduce its costs dramatically by paying for a heart by-pass operation in a foreign country, why wouldn’t it create incentives for a US insured to travel to that country for the procedure?

Posted by: Rich at August 26, 2013 8:52 AM
Comment #369926

phx8 said:

Good law is specific, detailed, and comprehensive.

Wrong. This is not only wrong, it is dangerously wrong. Take a look at the thing you likely hate most phx8 - the Constitution. THE Law of our Land. That governing document is only a few paragraphs. It and all the amendments are FAR less that ONE percent of this Obamacare nightmare, and yet, until Communism was lately able to rear its head within our borders, it was enough to guide a nation from nothing to the greatest nation on the earth.

Thousands of pages mean tens of thousands of government workers trying to get it all straight and implement it, and nothing, NOTHING could be more wastefully stupid. Obamacare is nothing more than a giant cash grab by our failed government. I know I can’t afford $18000 per year for a 60/40 Bronze policy that will still bankrupt me if someone in my family gets cancer.

The left never wants to elevate anyone, or anyone’s status, they want to bring everyone down to the same level as the laziest and least able people in a group. Obamacare et al.

Posted by: Yukon Jake at August 27, 2013 3:53 PM
Comment #369927

Yukon Jake,
The Constitution is not the same as law. The Constitution establishes the framework of government, enumerates rights, and a process for amending itself. It is the foundation for law and government, true enough, but it basically establishes broad principles, which law then expands upon, essentially filling in the gaps of the framework with the rest of the building.

Law, on the other hand, is not brief. It does not deal with vague generalities, not does it rely on broad statements of principle. It needs to be detailed, specific, and comprehensive in order to be effective.

I realize we would all like to live in a simple world where one person writes a one-page bill, and that covers the matter. In fact, we live in a complex world. Legislating laws takes teams of people, with each team addressing sections of bills.

You write: “I know I can’t afford $18000 per year for a 60/40 Bronze policy that will still bankrupt me if someone in my family gets cancer.”

Obamacare specifically reforms health insurance so that no one can be bankrupted by cancer or other illnesses. It removes the caps.

Unless you make a large income (over $250,000 married), your personal cost for the insurance premium under Obamacare will possibly be as low as zero, and in any case, far, far below the amount you suggested. Subsidies will cover this, subsidies which will most likely cost you, personally, nothing whatsoever.

For example, if you live in Oregon and apply through the state insurance exchange, for a family of four (2 adults, 2 kids) making $50,000, and the adults are 55 years old, it would cost an estimated $280/month. The total premium would be $1223, of which the government would pay 77%. The MAXIMUM amount you would pay annually would be $6250, and that is only if you required a lot of services.

These are estimates, but at least it will give you a realistic idea of what the insurance will actually cost.

And remember: there are no caps, you cannot be refused insurance, and you cannot lose the insurance if you get really sick.

The days when American families went bankrupt due to medical bills is over.

Posted by: phx8 at August 27, 2013 4:32 PM
Comment #369928

Btw, as of right now, the cap on out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays and deductibles, may be delayed until 2015. The ACA is obviously a work in progress, so we may not know how it finally looks until everything is in place. In Oregon, the state insurance exchange will be available online in mid-October.

Some states, like Alaska, have turned down federal funding to establish state exchanges. It is a terrible thing for state governments to do to their citizens, but in any case, states such as Alaska will still have a federal insurance exchange available. In AK, Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield and Moda Health will be available to Alaskans. The Federal Exchange will be available by the end of the year.

Posted by: phx8 at August 27, 2013 5:19 PM
Comment #369929

Agree Rich. But, I suspect that only the 1% or so will be able to take advantage of such special centers, which is pretty much the situation now.

The > problem is how to globally provide HC for the hundreds of millions of uninsured roaming around in India, China, Africa and so on - —

I heard something about where the UN was postulizing something like a tax on developed nations to provide for the underdeveloped nations. As in all things, the risk conveys to the taxpayer.

Although we have been globalised since the 80’s we still have a long, long way to go. For example; few countries fully abide by WTO/world court/IMF regs etc. Better said, no countries fully comply.

Current events suggest we are at least a couple of decades away from full blown globalisation. Weaning the Corpocracy off the $80B/monthly stimulus, paring the budget to address the $20T deficit, etc. Equalizing wages across the world is the elephant in the tent, IMO.

Posted by: roy ellis at August 27, 2013 5:26 PM
Comment #369932


Your never going to please some conservatives. The ACA is a good example. It’s too complex, specific and long for them. Well, if it was short and general, then they would complain about the extensive rule making required to implement it.

I do think that conservatives have a point, though. The extensive nature of the Act tended to obscure much of what is undeniably good in the Act. This is particularly true of the prevention measures, the effective medicine aspects and the reimbursement reforms. But, they didn’t want those reforms highlighted and threw up so much smoke about the general act that those reforms are hardly ever even mentioned in the media.

That said, the Democrats could have done a much better job in simplifying their presentation into understandable summaries. It seems that they got so involved in the political battle that they forgot to sell it to the American public in a manner that they could understand. How about: we are going to establish a large market place for those without insurance, provide some subsidies for low income Americans and create incentives and disincentives (tax penalties) for all Americans to participate; we are also going to create incentives for prevention such as early cancer detection, blood pressure, diabieties, etc.; we are going to establish a means of determining cost effective medical practices and medicines and we are also going to create incentives and pilot programs for reimbursing providers for treating the whole medical problem with incentives for positive outcome rather than the current fee for procedure without consideration of outcome.

Posted by: Rich at August 27, 2013 6:41 PM
Comment #369934

On the one hand, I do agree with you that Democrats and the Obama administration could have done a better job of selling and informing the public about the main provisions of the reform. Unfortunately, something as broad as health care reform is, by its very nature, broad and complex. It has been literally decades since the topic was addressed in America. Still, the selling of Obamacare was not done as well as it could have been. I have been learning as I go along…

On the other hand, it is worth keeping in mind the obstructionism and sheer partisan hatred the Democrats & the Obama administration faced. A lot of bandwidth was absorbed by ridiculous statements. It was not that long ago the GOP and Tea Party were making claims about ‘death panels. One fact-checker named Sarah Palin’s comment about death panels the Lie of the Year for 2009. Even today, GOP governors and legislatures are turning down federal funds to educate their state’s populace about Obamacare, and Republican Congressional offices are refusing to answer constituent questions about it. The GOP is actively seeking to sabotage the program. And failing.

Most people like the elements of Obamacare. Even those who hate Obama and think Obamacare is a disaster, love Obamacare when they are presented with its features without any mention of Obama. There will be a huge political price to pay for the GOP. People are going to like this program very much.

The GOP knows the success of Obamacare will face them with a complete PR disaster. That is why they are making outlandish threats to the economic health of the country, threatening to shut down the government, or refusing to pay the country’s bills by not raising the debt ceiling, and thereby defaulting on the debt.

Ugly, ugly stuff. But be of good cheer. They will fail.

Posted by: phx8 at August 27, 2013 7:49 PM
Comment #369937


The ACA was always a tough sell for the Democrats. It moves forward toward the goal of health insurance coverage for all Americans but uses a conservative vehicle. Kind of like going to the moon in a Soviet space vehicle.

Robin Wells and Paul Krugman wrote a piece on health care in the New York Review of Books in 2006 before the Democrats regained Congress. They predicted the complicated compromise.

“Even liberal economists and scholars at progressive think tanks tend to shy away from proposing a straightforward system of national health insurance. Instead, they propose fairly complex compromise plans. Typically, such plans try to achieve universal coverage by requiring everyone to buy health insurance, the way everyone is forced to buy car insurance, and deal with those who can’t afford to purchase insurance through a system of subsidies.” The Heritage Plan implemented in MA.

Why would they do that? “Proponents of such plans make a few arguments for their superiority to a single-payer system, mainly the (dubious) claim that single-payer would reduce medical innovation. But the main reason for not proposing single-payer is political fear: reformers believe that private insurers are too powerful to cut out of the loop, and that a single-payer plan would be too easily demonized by business and political propagandists as “big government.”

“We believe that the compromise plans being proposed by the cautious reformers would run into the same political problems,..”

How right they were.

Posted by: Rich at August 27, 2013 8:23 PM
Comment #369955

“It seems that they got so involved in the political battle that they forgot to sell it to the American public in a manner that they could understand.”

You guys mean they should have just simply told the truth in the first place.

- Even though 80+% of Americans are satisfied with their current health care and insurance, government is going to drastically change everything about it.
- Through threat of punishment, government is going to force you to buy government approved health insurance.
- Government is going to establish an even larger “market place” for those without insurance, which will be paid for by those who currently have insurance.
- Government will provide massive subsidies for low income Americans, subsidies that will be paid for by everybody else.
- Government will offer incentives for government approved prevention programs. Something that, despite all the prevention lit currently in the medical world, government thinks it can do better.
- Government is going to dictate and control how private businesses operate.

Something else Dems could have done is not to try and pass hopeful projections off as facts. Especially when you are talking about a government program as large and intrusive as this one.

Posted by: kctim at August 28, 2013 10:02 AM
Comment #369959

Don’t be such a tool.

You write: “… 80+% of Americans are satisfied with their current health care and insurance…”

Well! Knock me over with a feather! About 40 million Americans do not have health care insurance. Their access is on an emergency basis at the highest possible cost. Since they represent about 12% of the population, and it does not make sense that they would be satisfied with something they do not even have, or that they would be happy about paying so much, that means…

… Virtually everyone else is satisfied with their health care insurance. Isn’t that something! And that is even more remarkable, seeing as how health care insurance costs went up 110% during the Bush administration, or, to put it another way, from over $5000 in 1998 to over $13000 by 2009.

Think about those kind of statistics before repeating them. They are obvious examples of misinformation.

At least you didn’t mention death panels. Thank you.

Posted by: phx8 at August 28, 2013 12:25 PM
Comment #369960


80+% of people were satisfied with their health care, with their main complaint being about rising costs. Rising costs could have been dealt with without a government mandate that has yet to guarantee lower premiums, lower taxes or lower debt.

YOU are the one who pretends to care about the 12% who do not have insurance, not me. At least half of that 12% choose not to purchase insurance and I respect their right to do so.

Misinformation? Like claiming a policy for a family of 4 would be $280 a month when in fact that is for a household of 2 adults, while the children are thrown on childrens Medicaid?

Posted by: kctim at August 28, 2013 12:57 PM
Comment #369961

My company had a cafeteria of 4 choices plus an HSA last year. The top two plans have been elimiated for 2014 due to them being considered Cadillac and subject to the tax. So there’s at least a portion of our 5k U.S. employees that won’t be able to keep the coverage they liked as promised by the President.

Wonder how many companies will do the same and how much tax revenue will be generated by the Cadillac policies?

Posted by: George in SC at August 28, 2013 12:58 PM
Comment #369962

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act… imposes an annual excise tax on plans with premiums exceeding $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family (not including vision and dental benefits) starting in 2018.”
(Wikipedia, Cadillac Insurance Plans)

Why would anyone want an unusually expensive plan, such as a Cadillac Plan? They won’t be subject to an excise tax until 2018, but if the company chooses to eliminate them, there is probably a good reason.

Companies change insurance providers all the time. At the last place I worked full-time, the company changed providers because one increased the cost by 31%, while the other increased in only 17%.

If Obamacare provides people with BETTER insurance due to its provisions- no fear of losing insurance when sick, coverage for family members under the age of 26, free preventative care, no cap on coverage in case of catastrophic illness- and does so at a lower cost, then why in the world would someone want to keep more expensive, inferior coverage?

Posted by: phx8 at August 28, 2013 1:52 PM
Comment #369968

One must wonder why the Corpocracy stresses HC for the poor and uninsured while fighting any effort to raise the minimum wage or a worker ‘living wage’.

Leaves me with the opinion that the Corpocracy wants to further drive down wages and spread insurance coverage of the multitudes across the middle class taxpayers.

I do believe the migrant workers will be covered and therefore, their extended families back home and so on - - -
Another small step toward one world, IMO.

And, what is this I hear about another push to implement the NAU. Called the NIC now, or something like that, pipelines from Canada to the Southern coast, etc.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at August 28, 2013 3:31 PM
Comment #369971

Health care corporation want HC for the poor and uninsured because they will ultimately make more money. Obamacare will bring tens of millions of new customers, and not just poor people, but also those who choose to be uninsured due to cost, and others with pre-existing conditions. Although my wife and I are healthy, we fall into the latter two categories.

On the downside, health care corporations will eventually pick up part of the cost through taxes, so while they will make more money, their margins should be reduced. Most companies find that an acceptable trade. Exxon has a margin of only a couple percent, but due to its size, Exxon makes more profit than any other corporation in the world.

Health care corporations are realists. The alternative to Obamacare would have been universal health care and the near elimination of private insurers. If Obama did not bring about health care reform, the next president certainly would, and on less favorable terms. (In the 2008 election, Hillary Clinton supported single payer, while Obama did not. Conservatives never did comprehend the obvious fact that Obama is a moderate). So the days of skyrocketing price hikes, and the days of CEO’s from the top five private health insurers living in houses assessed at $40 million or more, is over. Obamacare limits ‘administrative expenses’ to no more than 80%. Private health care insurers can live with that.

I would prefer universal health care- Medicare for all. However, that is not going to happen anytime soon. Given the nature of compromise and the continued existence of private health insurers, Obamacare seems like a good bet. Private health insurers will continue to exist, but they will be competing in more competitive marketplaces. People, both insured and uninsured, will receive coverage at lower prices. People will not longer be refused coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and they will no longer face losing coverage if they get really sick. Caps on coverage will go away. Children up to the age of 26 will be covered under their parent’s policies. Preventative health care will be available for free.

It will be paid for by the mandate, a Medicare tax on people making $250,000 more, and (eventually) taxes on medical device providers and private health insurers. The CBO estimates it will cut government costs.

Is this a perfect solution? No. But it is pretty darn good.

Posted by: phx8 at August 28, 2013 4:05 PM
Comment #369972

Ph, the top two plans were Blue Cross PPO 1 and 2, and Plan 2 (or 2500 or whatever else it’s called in each BCBS State) is the most popular in the company.

As to why now:

“A total of 60 percent of employers said that the excise tax will have either significant or moderate influence on their health-care benefits strategy in 2014 and 2015, the study found.”

Posted by: George in SC at August 28, 2013 4:15 PM
Comment #369979

George in SC,

Come on! You are normally a very reasonable debater and usually stick to verifiable facts. But, in this case, I very much doubt that your company eliminated the most popular plans because they were subject to the “Cadillac” excise tax which only takes effect in 2018. It should also be noted that the threshold level for imposing the tax is adjusted by a health care inflation factor as well as age and occupation of the workforce. So, the numbers that phx8 provided of $10,200 for individuals or $27,500 for a family will actually be higher when it takes effect in 2018 due to the multi-year health inflation adjustment.

Now, what do employer group policies cost today? The most reliable source of that information is the Kaiser Family Foundation annual survey. The 2013 survey found that the average plan’s total premium cost was $5,884 for single coverage and $16,351 for family coverage.

So, do your company’s most popular plans cost almost double those offered by companies across the US? Now, it is understood that premiums vary by region. Is North Carolina a huge outlier for health care costs?

There is also the grandfathering provision of the ACA which provides that plans in place at the passage of the ACA can be maintained.

Sometimes, I think that many critics of the ACA interpret any change in company health care benefits as something related to Obmacare when it is nothing more than normal business negotiations for new contracts. Jeez, my experience is that companies change insurance offerings almost every year.

Posted by: Rich at August 28, 2013 7:59 PM
Comment #369982

Many on this blog are opposed to Obamacare. Some for good reason, some for bad reason and some for no reason. What I find lacking in the opposition is some alternative.

If you have a better mousetrap, then present it. We are all in the same boat, guys.

Posted by: Rich at August 28, 2013 9:30 PM
Comment #369997

Not making this stuff up Rich. I’m on the business end of things so I know a little about the decisions and when dealing with benefits you usually use a pretty large window. Again from the CNBC article you can see that we are not the only company out there doing this.

We are replacing the BCBS PPO 1 and 2 with a another PPO that is a little better than the PPO 3 so that it will fit under the tax. The total premium on my PPO 3 is $17,209 for a family this year so this new plan will come in right around $20k in 2013 dollars.

The problem with Obamacare was it was focused on who wasn’t covered instead of the whole picture. Basically they told the 60% of the country that nothing was going to change/impact you and that Obamacare wasn’t going to cost you anything. That’s why the reform is so unpopular; it didn’t help the majority of Americans and there is lots of skepticism (rightfully so) that it will change/impact what we have.

As for alternatives I linked a pretty good piece a few months ago when you asked this same question but I can’t find it now. The basics were tax reform for the treatment of insurance premiums and the fed provide Universal Catastrophic Coverage with max out of pockets yearly and on lifetime. Funny I’ve seen articles on Universal Catastrophic on both DailyKos and AEI, so there must be some common ground there.

Posted by: George in SC at August 29, 2013 8:30 AM
Comment #369998

Rich, Roy’s post is full of ideas and many others have presented ideas. You don’t like those ideas so I guess you don’t see them.

And we are not all in the same boat here. I was VERY happy with my health care and insurance.

Posted by: kctim at August 29, 2013 9:10 AM
Comment #370017


The ideas aren’t new. They are generalities that few would disagree with. Who disagrees with the idea that prevention should be a priority in the health care system? Who disagrees with the idea that we should find a cure for major illnesses such as cancer? Who disagrees with the idea that economic incentives in the system are frequently perverse? Most of the ideas are incorporated into the ACA although you wouldn’t know it from conservative comment.

If there is anything different about Huckabees approach, it is the concept that better cost control would come from eliminating much of what third party insurance currently pays for in health care. The concept of getting more skin in the game. If you have to pay directly for that MRI, you are likely to shop around for the best deal and maybe bypass the MRI if the cost is too great. This approach may have an impact on the “sticky” price problem in health care. One of the most difficult issues in health care is the lack of price reduction in health technology. While the price of all other technology has dropped dramatically over the years, i.e., personal computers, cell phones, etc., that is not the case in health technology.

But, are a majority of Americans willing to pay more out of pocket for their health care in order to drive prices down? Are they willing to give up the comfort of a third party payer for most of their health care? Would they really take advantage of the HSA compensating tax advantage in their younger years and save sufficiently to fund their increasing out of pocket in their later years?

“And we are not all in the same boat here. I was VERY happy with my health care and insurance.”

So was I. I guess the only difference between us is that I recognize that my wife and I were fortunate to have had very good employer group insurance. My wife had a series of very serious illnesses due to an un-diagnosed rare underlying disease prior to her death about a year ago. In the absence of very good insurance, we would have been wiped out financially a number of years ago. I can only imagine what it would have been like to have tried to manage our lives during that time without insurance. It was hard enough to watch her suffering. It would have been unbearable to know that she died not only in physical pain but knowing that after a full and productive life that she also died financially destitute.

Posted by: Rich at August 29, 2013 6:04 PM
Comment #370235


The ‘generalities’ are what should have been the starting point to the bipartisan reforming of health care. Instead, we got only the lefts ideas of how to deal with it.
The ACA is fundamentally changing our health care system, a system that 80+% were satisfied with, so of course there will be negative comments about it.
The lefts solutions are based on more government and more government mandates, so of course there will be negative comments from the right.

Health care reform could have, should have, been something we worked on together.

“I guess the only difference between us is that I recognize that my wife and I were fortunate to have had very good employer group insurance”

No, the difference is all in how we look at things. The experience you had with your insurance is the norm, not the exception, for the majority of Americans.
You believe you were ‘fortunate’ to have chosen to have insurance, I believe you were smart.

Posted by: kctim at September 3, 2013 10:27 AM
Comment #370538


err… Obamacare was based on RomneyCare which was based on a Heritage Foundation plan.

ergo… ObamaCare is a CONSERVATIVE plan.

Posted by: henryjones000 at September 11, 2013 9:24 PM
Comment #370833

The cost assistance, subsidies make it near-affordable for low to middle income individuals. It also covers preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost for all adults, women, children and seniors. In my opinion, it’s a much-needed move from the government.

Posted by: Robt at September 18, 2013 6:34 AM
Post a comment