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‘Obamacare’ benefits everyone

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, January 13, 2012
Posted: 11 am ET

This March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which for the first time will require all Americans to obtain health insurance two years from now under a provision called the individual mandate.

If the nine justices rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, those 26 states challenging health care reform will urge them to take the next step and scrap the rest of the Affordable Care Act as well.

I'm a big fan of President Obama's historic health care reform. Without it, health care's ruinous fee-for-service paradigm that has hijacked patient care in the name of profit could very likely drive our economy off the cliff.

The individual mandate would insure an additional 30 million Americans, some with the help of government subsidies. Since we're already essentially subsidizing the uninsured who are forced to use places such as emergency rooms as their primary care provider, reallocating tax dollars toward their preventive care seems to me far more humane and sustainable.

I understand that being forced to purchase health insurance rubs many Americans the wrong way. Should the Supreme Court agree with them, so be it.

But before they toss the baby with the bath water, I hope the justices will consider the benefits that health care reform is already providing to millions of Americans. For example:

  • 2.5 million young adults have been allowed to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26.
  • All Americans who enrolled in a health care plan after Sept. 23, 2010 now enjoy access to free preventive services, including cancer and cholesterol screenings, mammograms, colonoscopies, flu and pneumonia shots, vaccinations against measles, hepatitis and meningitis, blood pressure checks and nutrition counseling.
  • 20.5 million Medicare recipients reviewed their health status at a free Annual Wellness Visit or received other preventive services with no deductible or cost sharing this year.
  • 1.8 million Medicare recipients received a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole" in the first nine months of 2011.
  • 4 million small businesses are now eligible for tax credits of up to 35 percent to help cover their employees. The credit jumps to 50 percent in 2014.
  • Your health insurance company is now required to spend at least 80 percent of your premium (85 percent for large employer plans) directly on your care and well-being or rebate the difference to you beginning this summer.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions can now obtain coverage through a pre-existing condition insurance plan.
  • Insurance companies can no longer place lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits for policies written after Sept. 23, 2010. Annual dollar limits will be prohibited beginning in 2014.

I hope the individual mandate stands. I want all Americans to have access to health care coverage. Don't you?

But even if it doesn't, by what logic would anyone undo all of the good listed above?

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253 Comments
TxPharm
March 10, 2012 at 3:13 am

This is a shamelessly biased article. Did you know Obama's DOJ is now quietly arguing that individual mandate is indeed a tax to prevent it's being ruled unconstitutional? Google it, see Sebelius awkwardly defend it saying its not a tax but it acts like a tax." So much for " if you make under 250k your taxes won't increase." Any reasonable person knew it was a tax since they are hiring thousands of new IRS agent to enforce it. 30 and 50% of Americans now insured through their employer will be dumped into the exchanges. Obama just tried to sneak in a $111 billion over and above the original amount budgeted for subsidies for those people. Massive tax increases go into effect after 2012 election. Government HMOs called ACOs are being created, and Medicare recipients will be the first forced into them in 2014. So much for " if you like your insurance you can keep it." Democrats cooked the CBO books, lied about the
cost to get this passed. Primary care docs will be replaced by nurses, and you will wait three months to see a nurse. We are a flat broke nation, have a 15 trillion dollar deficit, with Obama lying to the electorate saying All We Have To Do IsnTax The Rich." we can't afford the entitlements we have. Republicans are
Dumb to get so far into social issues, but Democrats engage in some kind of bizarre group think when it comes to fiscal policy. it is truly Money Grows On Trees Insane. We needed insurance reform, entitlement reform, Make patients put more skin in the game so they dont overuse system. Now many don't care about cost because they aren't paying. Obamacare is a disaster about to happen. There is reason it is 2700 pages- so no one will read it. Welcome to Greece.

MikeinTN
March 10, 2012 at 1:03 am

Pez, I shudder to think of how your company functions at all if that's the best you can do for your insurance policies. And how about the tax credit? What, you don't use it because that's forced on you too? Give us a break, Pez and "JacK.: The man asked a valid question, which is why would anyone want to undo those good things listed and see to it that every American has the ability to see a doctor? Only the most callous answers seem to come from those opposed to it, along with some malarky about "personal responsibility" and "liberty" as though any of those spouting their last refuge of patriotism are anything by scoundrels. For profit health care only is an evil idea. Period

Dan
March 09, 2012 at 4:35 pm

Funny, the cost of my premium didn't go up from last year. Maybe pez & Jack should shop around for insurance or live a healthier lifestyle. When you start using the insurance like that, that is what causes the rates to go up. $500/month for meds. Figure it out.

Jack Kennedy
March 09, 2012 at 4:32 pm

looks like all those that get to mooch the free obamacare love it and all that are paying for obamacare HATE it

since obamacare was shoved down my throat, my insurance has gone thru the roof, so I am already tired of paying for the mooches..............just wait till the rest of the mooches gets on the dole for the rest of obamacare

incredible, the greed of the freeloaders willing to kill the best healthcare in the world..........just to get more freebies

if obamacare stand.........I WILL NOT KEEP PAYING THE BILL FOR THE MOOCHES..........IT WILL COME TO AN END

pez
March 09, 2012 at 10:18 am

Insurance is already make a dramatic premium climb to prepare for and cover the costs of Obama care. I used to have great insurance and a 20$ copay and a $10-30 copay on prescriptions. ( I am a CEO) Now I can barely afford to keep my family and the rest of the company insured. Today I am paying far more than I did when we had $20.00 copays 3 years ago. Now I have a $9000 deductible and generally it covers only 10 to 20% of a prescription. My meds now cost me a minimum of $500 per month. (2 kinds of pills both for migraine) Now explain to me how Obamacare is benefitting me. at this rate of increase, I wan't be able to afford insurance for me or anyone I employ in two years. We will all have to be on the govt. plan, and this country will be sucking up tax dollars like a hover.

peter robison
March 09, 2012 at 9:41 am

It is good to see some facts instead of the lies and misinformation being put out by the GOP and special interests. No American should be denied healthcare,or become bankrupt because they cannot afford to buy insurance. The profits made by the healthcare industry are obscene.

Pat
March 08, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Jay,

They can call it free if they want to, but I hate to be the bearer of bad new, your rates are going to go up. Your company benefits will cost you more. Everything you listed above, call it free if you like, is going to cost you more no ifs, ands or buts. Insurance companies are not just going to give you all these benefits. If you think they are, let's me and you talk about some free land I have in southern Florida. Nothing is free. You think poor people are poor now, just wait. You think you can't get seen by a doctor now, just wait. In a few short years, our government will be just like the one in Greece, flat broke. Social programs will no longer be sustainable. Goodbye Social Security, Medicade, Medicare, Food Stamps, WIC and many other programs. You can add Obamacare to that list as well. Keep drinking the cool-aid if you want, because under Obamacare, it will be the only free medicine available one day.

Andy
March 08, 2012 at 8:39 pm

Gayle, it is not true that 50% of Americans pay no taxes. While nearly half the population pays no federal income tax (remember we're including children in this number), pretty much everyone pays sales taxes, social security taxes, value added taxes, usage fees, payroll taxes etc. To your second point about "receiving government assistance" would you call Social Security "government assistance"? I wouldn't since those who collect it have paid into it. Unemployment Insurance? Well you can't get it unless you paid into it either. Your statement was also a little fast and loose since you combined anyone not paying federal income taxes with anyone receiving any form of government payment. Someone could have paid into federal coffers for years and now be living on social security but by your definition they're basically leaches. Not true.

Gayle
March 08, 2012 at 7:44 pm

This is assuming Obamacare passes and paying for Obamacare is a tax. Currently, there is only approximately 50% of Americans paying taxes while approximately 50% are on Government assistance paying no taxes. That means there will only be approximately 50% of Americans available to pay for Obamacare. That same 50% will now not only be forced to pay for their insurance but through taxation, they will now be forced to pay for insurance for the other 50% of Americans who are on Government assistance paying no taxes. So explain it to me again, how is this going to save the Country money? I could go on and on. I think any of us against Obamacare could; it is so wrong on so many levels.

Carol M
March 08, 2012 at 7:37 pm

Yo,Zippy Dodah: I am so pleased that you took such great care of yourself. Must be wonderful to be perfect. I took good care of myself too - until some idiot T-boned me at 80 mph on the freeway. Needless to say it was a nightmare. I am now uninsurable (once I lost my job and my Cobra gave out) Diasbility took a year to kick in. I could not get ANY medical care because NO COMPANY would insure me. SO I have to die according to you? Go to some Thrid WOrld country where you can join the elite. Mr. President - we love you!