Save Our Health Care System

Don’t mess with my health care!! Throw out Obamacare!!!

A majority of the House of Representatives voted to do just that, carrying out, as they said, the people’s wishes.

Polls indicate that half the country wants Congress to repeal Obama’s health care law.

Remember when Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were being chased by the guy in the white hat and weren’t sure who it was? One of them said, “Who are those guys?”

Well, who are the people who want Obamacare repealed?

Is it the 45 percent covered by employer health plans (down from 60 percent five years ago)? Is everyone covered by an employer-sponsored plan satisfied? Or are they nervous about losing what they have? Do the 30 percent covered by government health care oppose Obamacare? Or the 10 percent who have individual policies? Or the 15 percent who have no health insurance coverage? Do the 9 percent unemployed want Obamacare repealed? (The numbers don’t add to 100 percent because of overlap.)

The Department of Labor recently reported that the number of self-employed grew from 9 to 14 million last year because many of the unemployed are trying to start their own businesses. That’s almost 10 percent of the workforce. Most are single-person businesses with no health care, no unemployment insurance and no workers compensation coverage. Do they want Obamacare repealed?

The U.S. spends twice as much per person on health care than does any other nation in the world. Yet U.S. life expectancy – the ultimate measure of health care – ranks 37th in the world, right behind Cuba. Those poor people waiting in line for medical care in Canada, ranked 11th, outlive us by an average by 2.4 years.

Government policies encourage the development of small businesses because they are the job generators, but government policies exempt small businesses providing employee health care. Am I missing something or is that schizophrenic?

My company has approximately 25 employees, but we’re conveniently reminded that we are exempt because we have less than 50 employees. How does that help our employees or our company? We want them to have health insurance. It’s good for them and good for us.

Several years ago, we got a quote for a group insurance plan. It was approximately $10,000 per year per employee, more than our profit, and about 33 percent of our entire payroll.

Our agent suggested individual policies for each employee since that reduced the cost. We offered to cover 70 percent of everyone’s cost, but most couldn’t afford that and few bought it. We ultimately set up a plan where we set aside each employee’s benefit each month. When they need money to pay health care, we give it to them out of their fund.

That worked until last week.

Sadly, we have an employee facing a cancer scare. Medicaid will cover her after she’s incurred (and paid) $15,000 out of pocket. She’s having trouble getting an appointment with an oncologist because they want proof of a source of payment before they will see her. My son just turned 24. He is a self-employed artist and also works for a small, privately owned company in Washington, DC that cannot afford health care for its staff. He is now headed for grad school, which requires proof of health insurance upon admission. He was on his mother’s policy until last year when he was kicked off. Obamacare would let him stay on his mother’s policy until he’s 26—next July 1. It didn’t apply last July 1. So, we bought him an individual policy.

My hips were replaced five years ago at a clinic that also operates a research facility with the FDA. In fact, my left hip is part of an FDA study. I was a “star” patient. Literally. I did everything required and more, and had such a good recovery that the clinic did a movie about me to show what a good outcome looks like.

Even so, no insurance company will touch me. They are worried that I might be in a car wreck that will really mess up my hips and result in very high medical bills. (If I’m in a car wreck, my concern is more about other parts of my body, like my head and lungs and bleeding.)

The North Carolina high risk pool will cover me after I pay $15,000 per year in premiums and deductibles. I can afford that, but most people can’t.

Obamacare proposed an 8 percent payroll fee on employers who didn’t cover employees to help provide those workers with health coverage. We’d love that. It’s a lot better than the 33 percent cost of insurance.

The irony of Obamacare is that it is essentially the Republican alternative proposed during the Clinton health care debate almost 20 years ago. It was fashioned after the Massachusetts law championed by Mitt Romney, a Republican governor and leading Presidential contender.

Politics is funny. The minority’s idea is a good one until the other side adopts it as its own.

Sometime next year, right before the 2012 election, Anthony Kennedy is likely to decide whether Obamacare should be kept or thrown out. He is the tie-breaker on the Supreme Court. He has the best health care government can buy, guaranteed for his entire life. He will decide whether my employee might have to battle cancer (and fear) without insurance, whether my son must buy his own insurance, and whether I’m insurable.

We are truly a modern medical family.

This is the system half of us want to preserve, right?

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Mon, 1 Sep 2014 09:44:21 -0400

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