I am glad to be old enough for Medicare because it is clear, from the letters to the editor of my college town's professional local newspaper, that early retirees on Obamacare are being price gouged by health insurance companies as well as drug companies and hospitals that charge cash customers 10 times what they charge insurance providers.
For example, one letter writer (see quoted letter below) described how her or his monthly premiums increased from a little over $100 per month before Obamacare went into effect, to nearly $600 per month for 2017. It is clear to me that Republicans added changes to the Affordable Care Act in a way that they knew would blow up Obamacare just in time for the 2016 elections as a political trick to help Republicans get elected. Ironically, many Republican politicians are now upset that it might help Trump get elected because these same Republicans do not support Turmps crazy political agenda.
Below is the text of letter I mentioned above:
I recently learned how Republicans calculatedly amended Obamacare in a way that would upset many voters just before the 2016 presidential election.
Prior to Obamacare, I paid a little more than $100 per month in health insurance premiums.
I was willing to keep my grandfathered health plan, as President Obama promised, by continuing timely payments of the premiums even though they more than doubled to $264 by 2016.
However, contrary to Obama's promise, the insurer canceled my policy by exploiting a loophole amendment to Obamacare that Republicans inserted.
Consequently, right before the presidential election I must sign up, or pay a penalty under the so-called "Affordable Care Act," for an Obamacare plan costing $659 per month during 2017, or if I change doctors, $579, despite financially needing only the catastrophic coverage I had.
No presidential candidate has proposed a solution to fix the root problem with health insurance - everyone wants to stay alive at all costs and their inelastic demand for medical treatment will drive up costs toward infinity,according to the fundamental laws of economics.
Insurance companies claim the number of people receiving heroic medical treatments costing more than a million dollars per person, right before they die, makes health insurance an unprofitable business, which is believable given the premiums that individuals and employers are able to pay and also how few people are able to earn and save even a million dollars for retirement during their lifetime.
Below are some related links of interest:
- Dianne Farrell, "Letter: Why we can't afford this health care system," gazettetimes.com posted 10/4/16 says in her opinion that the reason is "administration; that is, for insurance company administrative costs, plus staff required in doctors' offices and hospitals to deal with insurance companies. . . But Medicare has 1.4 percent overhead - if you don't count Medicare Advantage (private) and Medicare Part D (drugs). (If you do, overhead rises to just under 6 percent.)"
- Mike Huntington, M.D.,"Letter: Health care system is flawed," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 9, 2016 Corvallis Doctor says, "The Aug. 22 Gazette-Times reported that three of the nation's largest insurers -- Aetna, UnitedHealth and Humana -- are pulling out of the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, further weakening President Obama's health care plan."
- Bruce Thomson, M.D., "Letter: Articles display health care flaws," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 27, 2016 Another Corvallis doctor says, "One article outlines the history of pharmaceutical industry tactics of disguised efforts at lobbying against reform using shadow groups such as the Academy of Integrative Pain Management. . . The second article chronicles the all-too-common destitution of a patient by a health care industry that puts profits before patients."
- Jo Alexander, "Letter: Single-payer system would ease worries," gazettetimes.com posted Aug. 31, 2016 A letter writer from Great Britain praises their health care system and compares it to ours. Ironically, their system is the example Republicans like to use as an example of the poor healthcare the U.S. would get if it went to "socialized medicine" that was forced to ration care
- Zachary Tracer, "Obamacare is losing the biggest insurers," Businessweek, Aug. 22-28, 2016, p. 27-29 posted as "Obamacare Is a Money-Loser for Insurers, Who Are Giving Up," bloomberg.com Aug. 17, 2016
- "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 29, 3016 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare enacted by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010
- "Provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act : Effective January 1, 2014," wikipedia.org accessed Aug. 29, 3016 "shared responsibility requirement" or "mandatory minimum coverage requirement" individuals who are not covered by an acceptable health insurance policy will be charged an annual tax penalty of $95, or up to 1% of income over the filing minimum . . . 2.5% of income over the filing minimum
- Editorial Board, "A Fix for Medicare Drug Spending: The whole system is going to be tough to reform, but this proposal shouldn't be difficult," Bloomberg Businessweek, Jun. 6-12, 2016, p. 8, posted online as "An Obvious Fix for Medicare Drug Spending," May 31, 2016
- OregonHealthRates.org redirects to oregon.gov site
- "Oregon announces final health insurance rate decisions," oregon.gov undated page URL says June 30, 2016 "the state announced its final decisions for 2017 individual and small employer health insurance rates. The proposed rates are for plans that comply with the Affordable Care Act for small businesses and individuals who buy their own coverage rather than getting it through an employer. . . ."
- "Oregon health rates www.oregonhealthrates.org," State of Oregon Division of Financial Regulation dfr.oregon.gov accessed Aug. 24, 2016 includes the following document
- Oregon 2017 Approved Rates (PDF)
- "Oregon health rates www.oregonhealthrates.org," State of Oreegon Division of Financial Regulation dfr.oregon.gov accessed Aug. 24, 2016
- "Proposed rates for 2017 health plans," Oregon Division of Financial Regulation dfr.oregon.gov accessed Aug. 24, 2016
- "Summary of benefits offered with standard plans: Oregon standarized health plans: Summary of Coverage," (pPDF) - Bronze Plan$7500 deductible
- "Proposed rates for 2017 health plans," Oregon Division of Financial Regulation dfr.oregon.gov accessed Aug. 24, 2016 - Eugene area Proposed rates for 2017 health plans for Benton, Lane, and Linn counties - 2017 Individual Plans (one person) Age 60, single, non-tobacco user - See links below for Individual PDF tables for Age 21, 40, and 60
- Age 21
- Age 40
- Age 60
- An acquaintance of mine checked with my local longtime insurance agency to see what they were selling for healthcare insurance, mostly to small businesses in town: "About Barker-Uerlings" barkeruerlings.com accessed Aug. 22, 2016 - They were unsure of why they are unable to sell a high-deductible health insurance policy that would protect a person's assets, while avoiding the "Shared Responsibility Payment," while also requiring that the patient has to pay no more than the negotiated rate paid by insurance companies. Steve Urling disclosed he was a member of the Good Samaritan Hospital's Board that decided to charge cash customers ten times the "negotiated rate" that is normally charged to insurance companies because most of the hospital's uninsured cash customers do not pay thier bill and it becomes charity the hospital can't afford. This made me wonder why a credit worthy patients with verifiable assets and a good credit rating can't also get the same negotiated rate after they have been credit checked by the hospital. I think it is immoral and should be illegal for hospitals and drug companies to gouge cash paying patients by charging them ten times more for drugs and hospital stays. It seems like this is a business opportunity for somebody and perhaps it needs a change in law in Oregon, which I have not confirmed if Oregon State law is the issue or if th fault lies in Federal law.
- "Steve Uerlings, CIC, ARM, CRM - President" barkeruerlings.com accessed Aug. 22, 2016
- Shari Attebery Life & Health Senior Account Manager
- Barb Butler Life & Health Agent
- Rosemary Deever Life & Health Account Manager
- Trevor Griesmeyer Personal, Business, Life & Health Agent
- Kristi Hart, Vice President, Life & Health Agent Barker-Uerlings - Staff member who has promised to follow up on the question about what law or regulation prevents somebody in Oregon from buying a $50,000 deductible health insurance policy that also requires on to pay only the negotiated rate instead of the ten times inflated cash rate that hospitals and drug companies charge cash customers.
- LeAnn Kennedy Life & Health Account Executive
- Karen Selander Life & Health Agent