YOLO COUNTY NEWS

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Give Obamacare a real chance

By From page A8 | December 12, 2013

By Dave Hart

I wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter a couple weeks ago suggesting Obamacare should be repealed along with local building codes as a way of trying to highlight the faulty logic of critics of health insurance reform. Apparently I was too subtle.

A recent letter to the editor from John Doughty on Dec. 4 is a great example of the unqualified criticism that is being heaped on a program that is in the early stages of implementation. He compares the price of his old insurance plan — which, presumably, is being canceled — and the one he selected on the new website: $480 per month for the old one, $1,150 per month for the new one. He provides no other information. And that is precisely the problem with every criticism I’ve heard. The fine print in a policy that cheap needs some checking.

Anyone who does any analysis at all knows that a complete side-by-side comparison is the only way to make a proper evaluation, whether you’re buying a car, a house, a roll of toilet paper. When such a comparison is performed, these low-cost policies offer no guarantees on the maximum out-of-pocket payments that the customer may have to come up with under various medical event scenarios.

One analyst noted that most of the people with these substandard, canceled plans are “paying to be uninsured” after citing the statistics of how many personal bankruptcies from medical bills are incurred annually by people who had health insurance that simply didn’t provide enough coverage.

Paying to be uninsured puts your kids’ future at risk a lot more than paying the premium for actual health insurance under the new plan that limits your annual out-of-pocket to under $10,000 annually. You won’t go bankrupt and all the other bad things that happen in a community when people go bankrupt won’t happen.

Yes, it would have been better if we had chosen to open Medicare for everyone and fund it directly like we fund Medicare now for a small part of our population. We could have completely eliminated all insurance premiums. That probably would be cheaper, but too many of us are mired in thinking about how cheap we can get by.

This seems to be especially true of those who can afford to pay their way, so we have insurance reform instead. We should at least give it a chance and that means a full year for implementation to take hold before we pass judgment.

— Dave Hart is a Davis resident.

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