October 1, 2013 is here. Health Exchanges are open in all states and most of the provisions of Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare are about to take full effect beginning in 2014. The Federal Government is shut down over an impass in Congress. There have been enormous resources deployed to convince the American public that this implementation by the government will make our health care system “better” or, on the other hand, to tell you what a disaster this is going to be.
What’s all the fuss about? How may the ACA affect you and your pocketbook?
Let’s start with this premise. The governments (federal, state, and local) have no money. So they have no money to spend on healthcare. Oh yes, I know that the federal government has the power to print money at will, and they have been doing so regularly. But the federal government still doesn’t have any money. They have the power to tax. When you send in your tax dollars, these governments decide how to spend your money—including for the ACA provisions about to take effect. So if taxpayers don’t pay enough in taxes, governments are forced to borrow the money needed from somewhere else. Lately the source of federal borrowing has been China. So now with your tax money and borrowed money in hand, the federal government can afford to pay for health care costs associated with the ACA.
Here’s a second premise. The provisions of the ACA are said to actually make health care in the United States better and more affordable.
The ACA forbids “existing condition” determination for providing health insurance to Americans. This means, for example, your existing condition of say “diabetes” doesn’t figure into the equation that an insurance provider may make in issuing you a health policy. If the vendor understands anything about business, the vendor knows that risk is expensive. So the price of a health insurance policy for everyone (those with and without preexisting conditions) goes up in price to cover the vendor’s risk.
I heard a couple of days ago that the monthly price of the second least expensive policies on the new “health exchanges” for Georgians is about $800 for a family of four making about $50,000 per year. I doubt that the ACA is going to make health insurance more affordable for more Americans.
As to making the healthcare system “better”, I guess that is in the eye of the definer. If ACA-similar programs in other countries of the world are so much “better” why do people from those countries seem to value the current American system to the point that they come here for health care?
Here is a final premise. The ACA will affect nearly a third of the U. S. economy and gross national product. Will the ACA program make our economy better or will it force the nation into economic depression? The answer is that we don’t know, and that is dangerous. American confidence in its economy is a fragile thing. Sometimes perceptions rule rather than good common sense.
Since we will not know the entire ACA-effect on the economy for several years, here are some thoughts expressed in the media:
- The ACA will require enormous resources to be implemented fully. You should expect higher tax rates on all Americans.
- The American healthcare system will not become automatically “better” because of the ACA, in fact it may become “worse.”
- Health care will not be more affordable because of the implementation of the ACA.
- The national debt will increase, and the cost of debt-service will increase dramatically.
- Fewer new health-professionals are expected to enter the healthcare system.
- ACA affects individuals not families. You can be taxed if you don’t buy a health insurance policy, even if you can afford one. You may even be put in jail for failing to have a health insurance policy. If you happen to have a medical policy that pays all your medical insurance needs, it may be deemed too “gold-plated” for you to own.
- The common 40-hour work week will rapidly fade into a 29-hour work week as private companies seek to limit the enormous costs of ACA on their bottom line. Don't think of this as "hard-heartedness" but rather as economic survival.
- You will probably have a harder time finding an entry-level job.
- Younger Americans will pay more for health-care insurance.
- Older Americans will have a harder time receiving health care.
- More than a dozen new taxes will be imposed on Americans beginning January 1, 2014, the largest tax increase in American history. Happy New Year!
Everyday working Americans really don’t know what effects the Obamacare law will ultimately bring. As the new provisions come online, the effects will become clearer. This is a game-changer. We really shouldn’t leave this to the full-time politicians who tell us “we won’t know what’s in the law until we pass it.” If I were President, I would hate to have my political legacy defined that way by a totally supportive politician.
I wonder how many of our national law makers including the President really have read the entire bill and understand the contents of it? Not many, I would think.
That, above all, is the SHAME of Obamacare.
Read more blog posts by Dacula Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks here.