“ObamaCare” is the street name for the Affordable Health Care for all Americans Act H.R.3590 signed into law on March 23, 2010. Since the act contains more than 2,000 pages it is quite difficult to condense and even an overview would be too long for this article. I will however attempt to use some of the mandates from the act to illustrate portions of “ObamaCare” that may have not been brought to your attention through the news media whether it is in print, on cable TV or the Internet. The items may not necessarily be in a sequence that offers continuity of thought, but were picked at random to highlight the vast scope of this new Health Care Reform Law.
Wikipedia describes Health Care Reform as a general rubric used for discussing major health policy creation or changes – for the most part, governmental policy that effects health care delivery in a given place. Health care reform typically attempts to broaden the population that receives health care coverage through either public insurance programs or private sector insurance companies expanding the array of health care providers from which consumers may choose.
The following two paragraphs were taken from the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee Legislative Notice December 2, 2009:
To pay for the expansion of insurance coverage, the bill increases taxes by $493.6 billion, and reduces Medicare spending by $464.6 billion.
Specifically, the bill would cut $134.9 billion from hospitals, $120 billion from Medicare Advantage (MA), $14.6 billion from nursing homes, $42.1 billion from home health agencies, and $7.7 billion from hospices. Among the more prominent taxes, the bill includes a new 40 percent excise tax on health insurance plans that exceed $8,500 for individuals and $23,000 for families, raising $149.1 billion over 10 years; a new Medicare payroll tax on higher-income individuals that raises $53.8 billion; a $60.4 billion tax on health insurers; a $22.2 billion tax on drug manufacturers; and a $19.3 billion tax on medical device manufacturers. The bill also includes new taxes on individuals without, and employers who do not offer, qualified health insurance
H.R. 3590 mandates that all lawful residents purchase qualified insurance coverage or pay a penalty. The penalty for not having qualified health insurance would be $750, phased in over three years beginning in 2014. The bill would provide tax credits for individuals between 133 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)—$29,330 to $88,000 for a family of four—to help them purchase insurance coverage. Credits would be available on a sliding scale based on income. It is noteworthy, that while the bill would expand insurance coverage to 94 percent of the legal population 24 million Americans would still be without coverage.
Perhaps one of the most egregious requirements of “ObamaCare” is forcing legal residents to buy health insurance or be penalized, and this clause is the root of a lawsuit against the federal government by the Attorney Generals of 21 states and is making its way through the judicial system. With the exception of a catastrophic event such as heart failure or stroke, young people, until they reach their early forties, receive little health care. Frankly, it is akin to requiring people who do not own a car to buy auto insurance.
Warren Meyer, who blogs as Coyote Den, writes a three-part critique of “ObamaCare,” entitled “The Looming Failure of ObamaCare” in Forbes. The critique is very long, as is “Obamacare,” however, I note the following remarks from his analogy: For decades, the seemingly prosaic act of individual “shopping” has been steadily eroded in health care with the growth of third party payers, particularly Medicare. How much did you pay for your last doctor visit, your last X-ray, your last blood test? Health plans, which include this seemingly positive incentive to shop, will soon be illegal since high-deductible insurance plans, as well as medical savings accounts, are effectively banned.
Under ObamaCare virtually all individual payments for medical products and services will cease –the government and a few large, highly regulated insurers will pay for nearly every visit, drug, or procedure. The government will be making price-value trade-offs for our cure, and they will be doing it incredibly imperfectly, because by eliminating individual shopping they have cut off a, excuse the pun, priceless source of information. These prices mean nothing without the act of shopping, of consumers providing feedback on these prices and in effect voting with their pocketbook for the price-value combinations they find compelling. Well! When we quote former speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s, unconscious remark “We have to pass the bill to find out what is in the bill” and President Obama’s reversal on his campaign pledge about transparency and the arm twisting of the pathetic Democrats in Congress who voted for this bill to become law without reading and debating on it, I knew that the taxpayers were going to be saddled with a huge financial burden that would transcend to their grandchildren. However, I am struggling to grasp just how small the minds were and are in Washington D.C. to even consider such an ill-conceived law when we have double digit unemployment, vast underemployment and an economy that does not structurally have the jobs to return 10 million people to the workforce.
With “Obamacare,” Americans who have no job, are underwater on their mortgage and will be fined if they do not purchase health insurance…