Post # 1
As a researcher by trade, I am dying to know what our group feels about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Please keep your responses non-inflammatory, as we all have very different opinions and each one is valid!
For me, I think it’s interesting that car insurance has been mandatory since the 1920s but it isn’t until today that healthcare is mandatory. I am FOR people having access to affordable healthcare, but I am AGAINST the creation of the marketplaces and the additional cost of subsidizing healthcare that will ultimately trickle down. In MY opinion, we should improve the existing Medicaid infrastructure to expand and serve everyone who needs it… which is now everyone who is otherwise uninsured.
Thanks in advance for participating!
Post # 3
The legislation seems overly complicated, and does not solve the problem of WHY health insurance is so expensive. I do think everyone should have access to healthcare, because those who don’t cost us so much money anyway, but does the bill really have to be thousands of pages long?
Post # 4
I don’t know too much, so take this with a grain of salt…
I like parts of it – like the fact that I can stay on my parents’ insurance until I’m 26 and my expensive birth control is now free. I like the idea of free health clinics, where, if you’re poor and your kid is sick, they can get treatment for no cost to you. By no means am I against people getting the treatment they need for free.
But… Canada has free universal healthcare and their waiting lists are a mile long. And how is the quality of healthcare going to change? And doctors’ paychecks? I’ve also heard that Obama and the whole administration is exempt… if it’s so wonderful, why is he exempt? There’s quite a bit that makes me uncomfortable.
I’ve heard that New Zealand has a public healthcare sector AND a private sector… which keeps quality up and costs down. I like that, but I don’t know all the details about it or how it works. Just, in theory, I like that best.
But, again, I really don’t know much.
Post # 5
I *want* to understand it, but I do not. I’m realizing that it’s less about me being daft and more about this situation being so complicated on its own.
We had a meeting about it at work and it doesnt appear that it will (at least initially) be effecting those of us that already have coverage. It seems to be more geared toward the associates that havent been able to afford the coverage in the past.
All in all, I’m not going to lose sleep over my premium going up a few bucks…but I understand that this is rumored to effect out-of-pocket expenses and wait times to see doctors.
Commenting to follow to see what other Bees know.
Post # 6
Until we have the same health plans as the people in congress, I think it’s going to be crap.
Post # 7
I think it’s a very much needed step in the right direction. Face it, the US is the only developed nation that lets its citizens fend for themselves when it comes to healthcare, and something like 50% of all personal bankruptcies are triggered by medical bills. That’s not the way a civilized society is supposed to run, and we really need to embrace the fact that nice people look after one another, not turn their backs when someone less wealthy gets sick. We are so obsessed with this concept of being exceptional just because we are Americans, yet we cannot be exceptional if we only look after ourselves and contribute the bare minimum to the greater community. We need to work together to build a better community, and we can’t do that if millions among us can’t pay for their basic health needs, let alone a catastrophic injury or illness.
As to the legislation itself, it is overly complicated and has some serious flaws, but then again what bit of legislation in the last 50 years has not been overly complicated and flawed? You have to start *somewhere.* It will evolve and be revised and fine-tuned and in another generation it will still be complicated and flawed, but at least it will be accepted.
Just wanted to add that this law is already a law, and what some in Congress are doing is shameful. If you don’t like a law, introduce legislation to have it changed, just like all the other laws are handled. Don’t hold an entire nation hostage because you don’t like a law.
Post # 8
I think it’s better than what we had before, but not by much. I think we need to go a lot further in our healthcare reforms. We really need to start equalizing costs across hospitals and across the country. It makes no logical sense that a colonoscopy can cost ~$550 in one hospital and ~$6,400 in one just miles away.
Post # 9
@badabing88: Excellent points. I have worked in healthcare for over 20 years and what I know is this: private physicians can choose what types of patients they see. They can schedule their day such that they take x number of “regular insurance” patients a day and y number of “Medicaid or HMO” patients per day, etc.
This is why you end up with long waits to get in to see a doctor depending on what insurance you have. It may suck, but that’s the ecnomics of it for the doctor to remain afloat. They know that with an Aetna patient, they will get $70 per patient for a visit, but with a Medicaid patient, they will get $40 and with an HMO patient, they get nothing except the monthly HMO payment that they get that covers all of the patients enrolled.
Hope that helps clarify things a bit.
@housebee: You actually CAN purchase the same plans that Congress has, the difference is, as one of their benefits, 75% is paid for by the federal government. See below, from NPR:
“Members of Congress have basically choice of the same plans that the other nine million federal workers have. This year , they can choose from 16 different plans. The most popular by far, I assume among members of Congress but certainly among federal workers in Washington, D.C., is the Blue Cross Blue Shield standard option plan. This year, the premiums are $1,120.47 a month for a family. Of that, the government pays $763.88 and the member of Congress would pay $356.59 a month.
Post # 10
It’s so overly complicated, honestly I’ve just stopped caring. I tried to understand it but there is so much misinformation out there it’s hard to find a factual unbiased source of information. At this point it is what it is for now, and I’m just trying to figure out how it impacts me.
Post # 11
@MrsLongcoatPeacoat: The biggest problem for me with ACA is the penalty tax.
Yes, people should be able to get healthcare and insurance companies should NOT be able to turn down someone because of a pre-existing condition.
Parents can keep their kids on until the person is 26 – ok good, some are in college until 21-23 and the job market is tough.
But say you don’t want/need healthcare at the moment as you are young and healthy and maybe it’s not financially reasonable right now? You pay a tax penalty.
Should employers provide their workers with health insurance? Yes. BUT they may decide paying the tax is cheaper and just go with that instead. Since it only applies to full time workers, some employees’ hours will be cut down to part time. Providing healthcare will be required for businesses with 50 or more employees…so those small business with, say, 60 employess, 10 will get canned.
I think it is wrong to penalize someone for NOT buying something. I think that is where the biggest devastation will hit.
I think it is good in theory, I really do. But I think this particular legislation really needs to be worked on some more.
The amount of people it will actually be affordable for is slim. The president and congress are exempt so all of the burden falls on the lower and middle class.
For example, I now have much higher premiums and deductibles and my benefits have been slashed.
As far as the birth control… I don’t know how I feel about that. On one hand I think if you’re responsible enough to be having sex you should be responsible enough to pay for your own BC. On the other hand I don’t think it’s fair that the expense falls solely on women and the cost (as far as gov’t cost) is much more to support a family without the means the support their *unexpected* children is much higher than covering BC. So I’m still kind of on the fence about that one.
Post # 12
FWIW I think the concept of a for-profit healthcare system is asinine. People’s basic needs should not be at the mercy of the free market. A for-profit system by default sets the consumer against the provider: the consumer wants the best medical care for the least amount of money, while the health care provider wants the most money (and profit) for the least amount of care delivered. This concept works great when there are alternatives: if you can’t afford to be a consumer to a restaurant, you cook at home. Can’t afford a new car? Buy a used one. But if you need chemotherapy, or a basic checkup, or anything in between, you shouldn’t have to place your quality/quantity of care in the hands of someone whose goal is to make the biggest profit off of you.
Not every industry needs to be regulated, but health care does. Look at the decline of service and value in the airline or telecomm industries since deregulation. Look at all the things factories did to the environment before the EPA existed. How can we see these situations and say that some regulations and reforms in health care are not long overdue? Without the EPA, factories would still be dumping crap in the air and the rivers; without the DOT airlines wouldn’t give two sh**s about getting you anywhere on time. Why should we expect that the pharma companies and insurance companies and for-profit medical systems would treat us any better? And let’s not even talk about for-profit prisons, because that is not working too well either.
Post # 13
@MrsLongcoatPeacoat: It definitely does, thank you!
Post # 14
I don’t think our healthcare here is perfect, but I prefer it so much more to the system in the US.
Post # 15
@ValerieBee03: Great points–I actually looked up how the fines will be tracked and it will be through the IRS. If you don’t submit proof of insurance with your W2, you will be levied a percentage of your income or the flat fee, whichever is more. This amount will go up every year until 2016, and the amount can come out of your federal tax refund if you have one.
@Horseradish: Those are great points as well. The problem is, though, the medical industry hinges on for-profit medical schools, low-paying residencies, and physicians who are working to pay off those debts. The only way you could have truly free healthcare is to have free education from university level on up. I work for a state medical school and my students incur a debt of $45K per year for 4 years, on top of any undergraduate debt, and then they get out and get a residency spot which barely pays the bills. Add on top of that the malpractice that they have to get once they are practicing physicians, and most doctors don’t really make that much until about 7-10 years into their careers–which start about 8 years after the normal college grad.
Post # 16
@MrsLongcoatPeacoat: I think they are “fixing” a symptom and not the problem. I think insurance companies are the problem. They deny anyone who might cost them money and they charge out the ass (pardon my french) to those they do insure. I think ACA is trying to fix HOW to pay these companies and get them their money instead of helping the people. I don’t know…