I recently came across a study of how Obamacare will really work starting next year (2014). And the results indicate that instead of making a step forward, we’ve made two steps backwards instead! For example, those whose incomes fall in say the range of an $8 an hour full time job will have too much income for Medicaid, but not enough to actually afford very much in the way of health care. Nor will Obamacare be of any value to them. The lowest cost plan under Obamacare is the “Bronze” plan which has an “out of pocket” deductible of over $4,000 before the plan provides any actual coverage. Then after the $4,000 plus deductible is paid, the plan will only pay 60% of any “allowable” health care costs. This is for single individuals. The family plan is somewhat different. So say after a short stay in the hospital you are presented with a bill of $10,000. The first $4,000 is yours to pay, then the plan will pay 60% of the remaining $6,000. Or $3,600 dollars leaving you to pay an additional $2,400 dollars on top of the $4,000 initial deductible, or a total of $6,400 in all from a bill of $10,000. I think we can say that such a plan ordinarily wouldn’t be worth spending money on! But thanks to the mandate you will be forced to purchase such a plan under Obamacare. True, the federal government will pay most of the premiums, but even so, what you’re getting isn’t likely to be of much value for at least 95% of the people who are forced to take this plan. There are better plans with lower out of pocket deductibles, but they will cost more and the additional cost will be yours to pay. In fact you’d probably be better off cutting back on the number of hours you work so that you can qualify for Medicaid, which is a far better “deal” than the plan described above. As a matter of fact, you’d be better off if you lived in any other developed country than the USA in that you’d get excellent basic health care at a lower cost to you. The various national health insurance systems in use do very well with basic care, it’s a problem when you have to have expensive specialized care. There they don’t do so well. Some have long waiting periods for such care, others simply don’t include certain types of expensive specialized care for those above a certain age. For example, the British NHS does not provide dialysis care for seniors whose kidneys have failed. It is not considered a worthwhile thing to do for people who are no longer contributing useful work to the benefit of society. Other countries with national health insurance have waiting lists, and certain expensive drugs are simply not “available” in these countries except for those who pay extra for their own private insurance. But all of these countries do very well when it comes to basic health care. Everyone gets to see the doctor, and get prescriptions, although getting to see a specialist may be a different matter, sometimes requiring a long wait of months depending upon the nature of your illness and the number of specialists available to treat it. Whereas here in the USA if you have the money, you can get treated for almost anything on a timely basis. Unfortunately private health insurance of the sort to take advantage of everything American medicine has to offer is very expensive. Well beyond the means of anyone below an income of say $100,000 a year unless you belong to a labor union that has negotiated such a level of health insurance for its members. So most Americans do face “rationing” of health care services based upon income, and nothing in Obamacare will do the slightest to improve things as it does nothing to control excessive costs despite any claims to the contrary. All that labor and the result wasn’t worth the paper wasted to print it all out in detail!
We could of course have something “better” than Obamacare for much less money. This would require repeal of prescription laws, the development of “doctor on a dvd” software which would allow people to take charge of their basic health care needs for far less money. Add to this a system of “tiers” for medical providers and facilities and costs drop even further. Allow consulations with doctors outside the USA via “Skype”, treatment outside the USA, competitive bidding, elimination of restrictions upon the import of medical drugs, supplies, etc., and you’d quickly see a massive drop in the cost of US health care. Enough that basic health care would be “affordable” for almost anyone except those in dire poverty, and higher levels yet of health care would be available at much lower costs than today’s. We might also develop other means of financing health care than the “insurance” model. In any case, we’d save at least a trillion dollars a year if not more by returning to true free market health care instead of the governmental enforced monopolistic system that is costing us so much now! Plus due to the fact that generic medicines would be “affordable” to virtually everyone, it is safe to say that the number of heart attacks and strokes would be greatly reduced. Plus the cost of treating Type 2 diabetes would be considerably less. So a person with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar (diabetes) would have monthly medical costs of little more than $100 a month, or $1200 a year. Less money than cigarette smokers pay today! Unbelievable, isn’t it? Here’s the math: $10 a month for generics to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Insulin, needles, meter, test strips are available right now from Walmart for about $90 or so. This gets you two bottles of 70/30 insulin, needles, test meter and test strips, along with the device to prick your finger for the blood sugar testing. Maybe you first see a nurse (RN level) with a computer with diagnostic software, or you get a “free blood test” as a member of Sam’s Club… In any case, no prescription laws, you buy what you need. Your computer software tells you what to do. Instead of having health insurance, you have a health savings account that you fill with pre-tax dollars just like we do today with IRA’s and 401k’s. In a Libertarian society there are no drug laws, no prescription laws, no “professional monopolies”. The cost of living is less, and jobs are much more plentiful because there is no system of government permits and regulation to keep people from using the skills they have to support themselves. And with “certification”, you can use the knowledge you have gained throughout your life to qualify for jobs that require greater education. Or that you taught yourself using books from the public library. Taxes would also be considerably lower than they are today. Our “aggressive foreign policy” would be a thing of the past, and the military would be much smaller. We’d be living in peace with the rest of the world instead of “throwing our weight around” as the US now does. We’d be making friends instead of enemies. Killing innocent women and children in the Middle East can only eventually lead to a repeat of 9-11-2001 all over again despite the best efforts of “Homeland Security”… Libertarians are peace loving people, people willing to mind their own business. Which is really the best way to get along with everyone else. Something to think about as you consider what I’ve written.