I don’t know who the Obama administration consulted when it created ObamaCare, but clearly it wasn’t people who have experience working in health care.
Jessica Nickerson of Winneconne wrote this about the implications of ObamaCare becoming law. The views expressed are her own, but I agree with them:
Do you know that more than half of Americans strongly oppose ObamaCare and favor its repeal? Why would our government pass legislation that more than half of us oppose? Who is our government looking out for: us or the party faithful?
Our families and our economy cannot afford the cost of ObamaCare, or the impingement of our freedom of choice, that this legislation will instill. It is imperative that we vote this fall for legislators who will repeal it and will implement a plan that fosters competition and decreases regulations.
Not only will ObamaCare affect the very fabric of our nation, it will drive up the costs of private insurance to the point that private payers will no longer be motivated to provide coverage.
Currently, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) sets the payment rates to providers for services rendered to Medicare and Medicaid patients, which private insurers then utilize to set their own reimbursement rates. When ObamaCare takes effect, CMS, which has complete price control, will be able to lower reimbursement rates to a point that could make it unprofitable for private insurers to offer their products, ultimately requiring them to exit the market and making the public option for insurance the only choice.
Currently, competition among private insurance companies leads to higher quality healthcare. Competition in the market requires insurance companies to find the best doctors, which increases patient visits, ultimately leading to greater profit. Profit drives insurance companies to improve processes and pay for procedures, drugs and services the patients want and need. If a consumer doesn’t like what services are covered, or the quality of care is undesirable, the consumer’s dollars are spent elsewhere.
Another side effect of this legislation will be the reduced supply of quality physicians. Even though we’d like to believe that doctors practice medicine for completely altruistic purposes, the fact is that doctors make a huge investment into their education and ultimately expect, and deserve, a solid return. When the government lowers reimbursement rates to control costs, and competition no longer exists because private insurers have left the market, what monetary incentive is there to become a doctor? Many of our best and brightest physicians may choose a more financially rewarding career.
Included in the ObamaCare plan is the mandate for employers to provide health insurance or face a “substantial” fine. The fine is predicted to be significantly less than the cost of insurance itself, so employers may opt to pay the fine, or lay off employees, as a way to save money. So will you really be able to stay with the insurance plan that you currently have through your employer, as President Obama has recited repeatedly since the beginning of his first presidential campaign? It doesn’t seem likely.
Not only are employers mandated to provide insurance, individuals and families will also be liable for fines. The fine for an individual will be $695 and $2,085 for a family per year. Again, if the fine for not buying health insurance is significantly less than the cost to purchase insurance, individuals may choose the fine. We already see this happening with auto insurance mandates in states all across the country when the cost of the mandated auto insurance exceeds car owners’ ability to pay.
From the standpoint of a healthcare facility, the demand for treatment will undoubtedly increase when ObamaCare is fully implemented. Right now, people with private insurance think twice about going to the emergency room, because they know they will have to make a large copayment. If the new public insurance is like our current Medicaid program, no copayment will be required for an emergency room visit.
Do you think this will increase or decrease the usage of our emergency rooms? The answer is obvious. The increase in usage will lead to increased wait times for patients to see a doctor. The increased utilization would drive up costs, requiring the government to raise its revenue stream, which we all know is code for higher taxes. Let’s not forget the previous point that the supply of doctors may decrease due to a lowered financial incentive. That point, combined with increased utilization, will more than likely lead for the need to ration healthcare.
A better option to Obama Care is the option offered by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R–Janesville). For people currently on Medicare or older than 55, they will see no change from the current system. Americans younger than 55, in Ryan’s plan, will be given a voucher, based on the amount of money they make, to apply to whatever insurance plan they choose. We see vouchers working to improve school systems across America, and we should learn from their success.
Allowing private insurers to compete across state lines, which would give all Americans equal access to the lowest rates, would drive down costs. Reducing regulations on the insurance industry, as well as within the insurance policies themselves, would also drive down prices. Allowing for the implementation of higher deductibles and lower coverage amounts, as well as further expansion of health savings account, is yet another alternative to ObamaCare.
If you are OK with having the government decide which physician you must see and the treatments you are allowed to receive, then the ObamaCare plan is for you. However, if you want to be able to choose your physician, decide how best to spend your healthcare dollars, or at least be given the freedom to choose, than fight with all that you have to elect representatives that will overturn the current legislation this fall and replace it with a less regulated and more competitively-driven healthcare plan.