Mar 31, 2010

Part 2: The dollars and sense of health care reform

Now that we've played with numbers as far as people, let's go play on the fiscal playground, shall we? Our administration says that this health care reform bill will represent a savings to us over our current system because it will eliminate uninsured ER costs since everyone is going to be required to buy health insurance.

Here are the initial problems with this idea:

1) Poor people aren't going to be able to buy this or any insurance, nor can they pay the fines.  So then what?
2) It  means the taxpayers are going to still be picking up the cost of these people using ERs, just as they've always done.  That, or we're going to be paying their premiums for the new health insurance.  How much are premiums going to be per person?  Gosh, we don't know, do we?  We're being told they'll be affordable by a government who finds it affordable to give $100,000,000+ to Haiti alone while having borrowed $363,000,000,000 from China and $1,492,000,000,000 from Japan just to keep ourselves afloat. That $3.15 trillion deficit Obama projects? Please tell me how this all works?  How is it smart, responsible, *feasible, to have when you look at the numbers?  Let's relate it to something more easily...well, able to relate to.  Let's say you have a neighbor who is $50,000 in credit card debit,  home in peril since monthly payments are difficult, borrowing money from friends to pay those bills every month and then they decide a good move would be to trade in their '03 Blazer that they still owe on and that is expensive to drive on a '10 Prius because it'll be cheaper to run and better for the environment, even though the payments will be higher and will, in the end, still cost more.  Forget HR 3200 and other bills...are you okay with *this?  Answer honestly, at least in your head.  You don't have to own it here.   If you answered yes, you're too stupid to read my blog or contribute to this conversation.  Go away.  The rest of you, please tell me the difference in this scenario and what we're looking at as a nation. Is it all about feel-good? Or am I missing something huge?

Let's look at some facts.  I love facts as much as I hate "facts".

Here's a fact for you...we *must be prepared to cover all 305,000,000 people in the US  under this plan.  Not the numbers Obama has stated and that I'm too lazy to go look up since they make no sense.  We must be prepared to cover every single person here under this plan.  Why?  Because they *are.  They exist.  But many have health insurance, you argue.  Sure we do...I do.  But this bill stipulates regulations such as no caps, no forbidding pre-existing conditions, etc. Here's another fact for you - we can only regulate insurance companies to the point they wish to be regulated.  They, ultimately, have the final say in what happens to them, as they should.  They will accept regulation until they don't feel like it anymore, and then they'll close up shop as we know it.  Let's address a common misconception about insurance companies right now.  They are not health care providers.  They never have been and never will be.  They are financial institutions, investment companies.  Period.  Our government, under many administrations and parties, has tried to lead us to believe otherwise but it simply isn't true.  They do not give a shit about you personally, nor should they.   They are out to provide you with an investment that benefits both parties, period and end of subject.  Think bank. Think mortgage company. Insurance, of all types, is the same.  Do they give a rat's ass if you have cancer?  Of course not.  That's not their business and bravo to them for it.  That's the business of your health care *providers, your doctors, nurses and such.  Health insurance is an investment, nothing more or less.  It's a bull market if you're sick and a bear market if you aren't.  Insurance, all of it, is a financial institution and that's something people have lost sight of due to big, bad cases of the feel-goods.  Take enough of their profit away and they *will leave. Florida and the Gulf Coast states found this out after our hurricanes...the states began saying what could and could not be done and the major, most solvent companies?  Are gone or in the process of leaving. Add to that that every employer in this country is going to examine their bottom line and determine what benefits them most - paying partial premiums for their employees on the company plan or paying the fines.  Believe me, the fines will benefit their bottom dollar most.  Add into the mix the economy, growing unemployment and people like me who pay out of pocket for private plans and will absolutely stop if the government plan is cheaper and we've got a situation where we *must plan on insuring every single person in this country.

That little rant over, let's look at numbers.   For many years I've looked for a figure of what typical, as we know it know, health care would cost per capita if health insurance did not exist.  Basically, if we all had unlimited money and saw doctors as we all wished, what would each person, child or adult, pay out of pocket at current rates for this care?  For years I've low-balled and used the figure of $20,000 per person, knowing full well it's way too low.  Lately, I've been  I've been coming up with numbers that, averaged out, lead me to  believe $80,000 is a closer (and still low) approximation.  In my effort to low-ball and give the benefit of the doubt to the "other" side, I'm going to choose an average of the two, so $50,000 per person.  If you find better numbers, please let me know in the comments. I will also gratefully recalculate if they turn out to be more accurate.

All that said and getting down to numbers, what it appears we need to be looking at is an annual figure of  $15,250,000,000,000.  Yes, over $15 TRILLION dollars and that's just for health care. That doesn't include the cost of building all of the additional, necessary hospitals and clinics.  It doesn't include additional administrative costs.   Now, yes, I know that all of those will create jobs (some temporary, such as construction) and will alleviate some of the strain the high numbers of unemployment have caused but those were temporary numbers  to begin with.  Unemployment has a limited  lifespan and public assistance programs will either still be used by the newly employed or their salaries will be high enough to not need PA, so either way, it's a tax-suck.  Again, I'm going to low-ball numbers and leave the figure of $15 trillion as is.  I'm going to simply ignore the cost of all the construction, education, staffing, liability insurance, etc.  Gone.  Poof.   How's that for fair beyond belief for the other side?  So, it will fall upon the taxpayers to pick up this tab every.  single. year.  Think it can be done? Well, how many of our citizens are actually taxpayers?  Oh, I know many think they are, even though they get back far more than they pay in.  Newsflash, you're not a taxpayer if you qualify for  EITC, WIC, Medicaid, CHIP, etc.  Actual taxpayers make up less than 100 million people, or less than 1/3 of our citizens and that number grows smaller by the day with our economy still failing.  So, how much extra will those 100 million people have to pay *each, to make sure others have health insurance under the health care reform bill? Well, we don't know their figures yet since they aren't telling us but I can tell you that using my figures, and remember how much I didn't even count, every actual taxpayer in this country will have to fork over an additional $150,000+ *annually* to fund this little adventure.  Now, I don't know about you, but that's just not going to work for me.

Thoughts?  Prayers?  Want to tell me how and where I'm wrong?  Because trust me, I hope I am.

PS:  Please ignore's late and I'm just going to hit send.


KaytieJ said...

"they decide a good move would be to trade in their '03 Blazer that they still owe on and that is expensive to drive on a '10 Prius because it'll be cheaper to run and better for the environment, even though the payments will be higher and will, in the end, still cost more"

I have 2 *friends who have done just this thing. The "in" thing to do. And then they make comments about my not doing it like I am an ecoterrorist. Whatever.

Back to Health Care Reform:
Did you see in this that they are going to allow exceptions for people who have religious beliefs against medical coverage? WTF?

Anemone Pie said...

No, I did not see that but in fairness, the traditional Amish, for example, do not participate in "worldly" health insurance plans. Those with a history of not doing so ought not be required to start now, imo.