The Center for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) predicted that in 2014 more than 40 percent of United States citizens would be insured under Medicare, Medicaid, or Children’s Health Insurance Services (CHIPS). With Medicaid spending (if it remains solvent) projected to more than double in the next 10 years, those programs should provide health insurance for almost all the truly needy.
But the central planning crowd keeps pushing more government control of medicine at us. They tried the 1989 Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act (MCCA); it failed. The 1994 Clinton Health Care Plan (Hillarycare) never made it out of a Democrat controlled Senate.
Along comes the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) a/k/a Obamacare. It passed without a single Republican vote. It provides a government taxpayer subsidy (paid direct to the private insurance company) for some who insure through ACA insurance exchanges.
Of more concern than that, it includes a potential government taxpayer bailout for insurance companies through the Reinsurance Program and Risk Corridor Program if their losses exceed a certain level. For example, the private insurance company would pay costs (after deductibles and co-pays) below $45,000. After that the government taxpayer bailout pays at least 80 percent of the costs the private insurer accrues.
Those might be some reasons why insurance companies collaborated with Democrats to promote the ACA i.e. profits with minimal risk.
Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about the ACA: “We’ve got to pass it to find out what’s in it.” Democrats did and we have — and are still learning! For many it will involve an increase in insurance premiums along with significantly higher deductibles and total out-of-pocket expenditures.
Short of placing restrictions on how much medical providers can collect from individuals, the result may involve medical providers chasing after insurance policyholders to try to collect those high out-of-pocket expenses, or eating the charges.
Furthermore, subsequent to all the sign-up and policy cancellation muddle some have predicted that even after full implementation, there may be as many uninsured as before the ACA was signed into law.
For the immediate future the Reinsurance Program and Risk Corridor Program must be stopped. Taxpayers can not afford to subsidize insurance companies.
Down the road, if Republicans hold control of the House and gain a majority in the Senate in the November 2014 elections, and win the presidency in the November 2016 election the ACA must be comprehensively repealed. Not modified or “fixed”, repealed, and replaced with a program taxpayers can afford. One that allows people the freedom to control their own health care!
Bob Jentges is a former teacher, coach and insurance claims superintendent. He lives in North Mankato.