Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Give Obamacare a real chance

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I wrote a tongue-in-cheek letter a couple weeks ago suggesting Obamacare should be repealed along with local building codes as a way of trying to highlight the faulty logic of critics of health insurance reform.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

Special to The Enterprise

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Discussion | 5 comments

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  • greg johnsonDecember 11, 2013 - 7:19 pm

    all the other bad things that happen in a community when people go bankrupt won’t happen. Dave, as tragic as bankruptcy is for a family, I don't think it destroys communities. You are right that the Doughty letter did not have an apples to apples comparison. However, there is no reason to think that Obamacare finds the sweet spot on the tradeoff curve between affordability and coverage. Why is the speed limit on the freeway 65 MPH? "55 saves lives". Remember that slogan? I'm sure it was true but most people probably prefer the 65 MPH speed limit because they feel the extra risk is worth the reward-saving time. Most people probably feel that they would rather have $8,000 per year (approx. increase cited in the Doughty letter) to spend on food, transportation, vacation, etc. than have great insurance. Life is about choices and people should be free to make them for themselves. I would have no problem giving Obamacare a 1 to 2 year trial, and then letting the public vote on it. However, most of us against it realize that every day that passes means less of a chance we'll ever be free of it and we have seen enough!

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  • W66December 12, 2013 - 10:06 am

    If ObamaCare is so darn tootin great, why are the unions running away from it? If its so great, why did Nancy Pelosi grant so many waivers to her pals? If it is so fantastic, why habe many Congressional staffers been given a pass? Better still, in another chapter yet to be written, many claim that under these Big-Brother-designed plans, doctors and hospitals will be very limited. And in yet another chapter, doctors may withdrawl from many of these plans due to the reduced payment levels. This train wreck has a lot of chapters yet to unfold.

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  • ontDecember 12, 2013 - 1:55 pm

    “paying to be uninsured” Right-wingers have always fought for the right of big business to profit from the sale of defective products to consumers. It's what they call free-dumb.

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  • greg johnsonDecember 12, 2013 - 4:19 pm

    I am not an advocate of big business. It made me want to puke when Goldman-Sachs gave record bonuses in '09 after the financial industry drove the world economy to its knees. I was equally disgusted when Jaime Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase was supposed to be grilled by Senate and House committees regarding the London whale case, and all they did was kiss his ass. I hate insurance companies with a passion. I just believe Obamacare will be a disaster and I don't want another disaster.

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  • Noreen MazelisDecember 12, 2013 - 2:05 pm

    Is Dave Hart seriously claiming that ObamaCare has NOT had a chance?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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