Monday, August 17, 2009

Health Care Reform and the 100 MPG Car

Obamacare is like mandating a 100 MPG car yet no one is crying foul.

Much has been made about the gray panther death squads, queue's for medical services and some even talk about higher taxes but almost no one is addressing the most cost prohibitive portions of HR 3200 and health care reform. Let's look at it like this.

If the government decided we need auto reform and passed a law affecting all cars sold in America as well as existing ones on the road, if they follow the health care reform blueprint, the outcome would look something like this.

All cars sold in 2013 and later must get at least 100 MPG and go 20,000 miles between oil changes. Older cars that do not meet this standard may be kept until you need a repair. At that time you must destroy the old car and buy a newer car that meets the 100 MPG standard. Anyone who does not have a car will be fined. Anyone who tries to repair an older car will be fined and forced to turn in their old car and purchase a newer model. Anyone driving an older car in 2015 or later that does not meet the MPG standard will be fined and forced to turn in their old car and must replace it with a newer car.

How does this grab you?

Of course the new cars will have a much higher price tag due to emission standards and MPG requirements. New cars will cost roughly 2x to 3x the price of new cars currently on the road.

Not surprisingly, the health insurance mandates in HR 3200 will have a similar impact yet no one is even batting an eye.

Everyone cheers when they hear that health insurance companies will no longer be able to charge a higher rate or refuse coverage if you have a pre-existing condition, but almost no one is bothering to ask . . . at what price?

The "guaranteed issue" (no underwriting for pre-ex conditions) roughly DOUBLES the premium.


How is this making health insurance affordable for everyone?

Here is a partial list of NEW, mandated benefits if HR 3200 is passed without modification.

In addition to guaranteed issue, the new plans (all of them) will be required to cover maternity, rehab treatment and mental health services will no longer be restricted. If you have psychological issues, a drug or alcohol problem are are addicted to sex, you will be able to get unlimited treatment under the Obamacare plans.

Community rating means everyone your age in your "community" pays essentially the same rate. No longer will females pay more than males for health insurance. The most your health insurance carrier can charge you is double the lowest price for someone your age.

That means a 40 year old female who is a non-smoking gym rat will pay the same as a 40 year old chain smoking male with a beer gut with high blood pressure and the closest thing to exercise is hunting for the TV remote.

How is this working for you so far?

Don't believe me? Look at Subtitle B, "Standards Guaranteeing Access to Affordable Coverage."

Section 116, "Ensuring Value and Lower Premiums" is a joke. Their idea on how to accomplish this is to mandate loss ratio's for health insurance companies.

Heads up! Carriers already have mandated loss ratio's at the state level. If the carrier has better than expected loss ratio's they are either forced to reduce rates or may not be granted a rate increase.

Of course nothing in the current system or the proposed one guarantees a profit.

How much do you think a car that get's 100 MPG at a minimum will cost?

Take that wag and apply it to this health insurance proposal. There is nothing affordable about a car that gets 100 MPG and goes 20,000 miles between oil changes. Similarly, there is nothing affordable about health insurance that covers everyone for everything as HR 3200 proposes.

Yet no one is batting an eye.

It is time to ask the tough questions of the folks in Obamington who are proposing this mess. Here is a start.

How much will guarantee issue (no pre-ex underwriting) add to my premiums?

How much will it increase my premiums to cover maternity, and children from birth to age 21 (including all immunizations, vision, dental and hearing)?

How much will my premiums increase to cover any mental health issues, including addiction, on an unlimited basis?

How much will my premiums increase to cover any and all preventive care, including annual exams, pap, mammography, PSA, colorectal cancer screening, cardio blood testing, ultrasound for aortic aneurysm, bone mass density and more, all at no charge to the patient?

My guess is, your senators & congressmen nor the President can give you a figure for any of these. They don't have to give a dollar amount, just ask for a percentage increase.

Hold their feet to the fire. Make them answer. Don't let them off.

Until these people are held accountable for their actions they will continue to ramrod through changes that will only serve to make health insurance LESS affordable.

Smaller cars, bigger health insurance, Poppa Washington.
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