What’s So Bad (or Great) About Obamacare? (Part 5 of 9)

Posted: October 9, 2009 in Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

These seem like pretty valid concerns to me. Let’s look at a few more issues brought up by Obamacare’s critics:

Less coverage: In addition to the above-mentioned home care and wellness services provided by Medicare Advantage, it covers several other things not covered by basic Medicare – e.g., improved prescription drug plans, screening for vision and hearing, dental care. Many seniors opt for Medicare Advantage because it is cheaper than getting private supplemental coverage. This goes for the disabled, as well as those of low income and rural residents, too. Without MA, many will no longer be able to afford such coverage and will have to do without, thereby putting their health at risk.

What about the President’s promise that, if you like your doctor and your insurance, you can keep them? Frankly, he has no business saying such a thing. For one, your employer can decide to change or drop your insurance right now. Or, your doctor can decide not to accept whatever plan you are on. Second, while there are no mandates in the current bill forcing such changes, it is the outworking of the proposals and their consequences that will, in effect, limit what kind of policies you can get and the doctors you can see.

On second thought, I need to amend that “second” statement. There will be no forced changes right away. Most employer-funded plans would need to be modified to meet new, H.H.S.-determined “minimum benefit standards”, but they would have a 5-year grace period to do so. This could mean dropping benefits in some areas, so that they can include other, newly-mandated coverage. Some may lay off workers so they can afford health insurance for the rest. They would be able to choose a level of coverage and give employees the ability to shop for a new plan at the marketplace called the Health Insurance Exchange. Or, they might just decide to stop providing health insurance altogether. (More on this to follow.)

Privately-obtained insurance policies, however, will supposedly not be required to comply with the federal minimums. Or, will they? Given what I have read about the “essential benefit package” to be designed by the new Health Benefits Advisory Committee, I am not so sure any private insurance policies will escape federal dictates. Of course, everyone will be mandated to get some sort of health insurance coverage, or they will be subject to a fine – starting at $750/yr for an individual and ranging from $1500/yr to $3800/yr for a family. And, by the way, there will be a new tax on those who obtain private insurance. Yippee!

< to be continued… >

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