Monday, February 3, 2014

Michael Barone,  in a column published in the Wall Street Journal Feb. 2 2014 and on line, chides the elite in Washington who designed Obamacare for misreading America. His thesis is that sign up is slow and limited because not everyone wants health insurance, particularly those in lower income levels, because they are "disconnected " from society and others do not want all of the various services Obamacare requires in all insurance policies.
This is an amazing column that ignores a basic piece of Obamacare... There was not one reference to mandates and fines which were specifically designed to "encourage" free riders to sign up for insurance. In fact, the originators of that approach did recognize that human behavior would try to free ride the system...and that approach was designed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, that did not misread the American public. Now, of course, it is the crusade of the right to do away with mandates and leave us all stuck with the free rider costs shifted to our premiums when those that use the system cannot pay their bills.
Amazingly, not mentioned in the column too is the deadline period for sign up is still two months away, the fines this first year are minimal and will increase significantly over the next two years. This is another case of those opposing Obamacare to declare it dead before it is totally implemented.. The fines for free riders increase dramatically in the two upcoming years. In addition, those in lower income brackets get subsidies and maybe Medicaid if they are fortunate not to live in the red states which did not expand Medicaid eligibility, leaving  those "socially disconnected" with no choice but to free to ride again because they cannot afford either the exchanges or they are left out of the expansion.

What is even more contradictory  is that the conservative wing is the one fighting Medicaid expansion, and recent GOP proposals would give  us all the option of being free riders.  That would mean eventually the total demise of health care insurance reform since either all participate and expand the pool to make it possible for all with varieties of health conditions to  pay something in or, failing that, taxpayers would have to make up the difference to make health care insurance affordable for those who need subsidized  premiums.  Current proposal from 3 GOP senators: the latter is what they plan: to make those who get their insurance from employers pay by making their health insurance benefits taxable income. ...a virtual tax increase for all who get insurance from employers increase to make insurance affordable .

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