My thoughts on the recent healthcare legislation

By Stew

I have watched more C-SPAN over the last couple of days than in my previous thirty-five years combined. I have been fascinated by this health care debate. I had a traditional personal finance post ready for today, but I am so into the details of what has happened in Washington D.C. over the past months that I just cannot concentrate on anything else.

Obviously, health care and health insurance is a huge concern for all of us. I would love to hear thoughts from some of you who have watched this process. I am not interested in yelling or accusations, just perspective. Here are a few of mine:

  • I am a huge fan of Health Savings Accounts. I would love to have seen something along those lines in this legislation.
  • I know that many people will say that liability costs only add 1% to health care costs. My anecdotal research indicates a percentage that is much higher . . . either way, couldn’t Congress at least make an attempt to address this need?
  • I tend to like freedom, even when that freedom has the potential to hurt me. For instance, it might surprise some of you to know that I favor the legalization of most drugs . . . I don’t want to debate that issue here today, but as a result of this recent bill, I no longer have the freedom to decide whether or not to contribute to health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, government schools, etc. I’m not saying all those things are bad, I just want the freedom to decide for myself.
  • This one has been bugging me for the entire debate. There is a huge difference between health insurance and health care. For instance, in a perfect world, I would like my employer to pay me all of the money that I earn. In my case, my employer spends approximately $14,000 a year to purchase health care for my family. We have a good plan with $35 co-pays, etc. If I could get that money as a part of my paycheck, I would pay cash for routine health costs, but purchase insurance for big stuff. The reality is that it would not be difficult for government to help people purchase health insurance (covers everything above $10,ooo or something like that). Government health care is a completely different product.
  • Most government programs are riddled with cost over-runs, waste and corruption. I doubt if the Affordable Health Care for America Act will be much different.
  • I am curious about young people who are studying to be doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals. How are they taking this news? Do they see this as an opportunity to build a good life for themselves and their families? or are they afraid that they’re earning power will be limited by government bureaucracy?
  • This bill includes some major changes to the ways that all student loans are funded. Not sure why it was included in this bill, but I am researching the changes.
  • Many of the provisions in this bill will not be enacted until 2014, some will be delayed until 2016. It will be interesting to see how that plays out since our political landscape changes on a regular basis.
  • Caterpillar, the nation’s biggest manufacturer of large machinery, claims that the bill will add $100 million in expenses this year. I am not sure if the law will affect other companies this way – or even if it is true, but with unemployment so low, I hope that story is exaggerated.
  • Can our country afford this? What is the long term effect of this debt load?

The bottom line is that our trust is not in man. Psalm 20:7 states:

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

Photo by batega

Want to learn more about what other bloggers are saying about the healthcare issues? Stacy Johnson of MoneyTalksNews writes about how healthcare reform will affect you and 8 positive changes.


14 Responses (including trackbacks) to “My thoughts on the recent healthcare legislation”

  1. TheDebtHawk.com Says:

    One of the things that bothered me the most about this debate was criticizing the health insurance companies for being too bureaucratic. While I hate dealing with any large corporation, I can’t think of something more bureaucratic than the Government.

    If you hate calling up you health insurance company, just wait until you have to call the Government to resolve an issue. They will be so backlogged with disputes that you will never get your issue resolved.

  2. Liz Says:

    Can you explain this comment, “I no longer have the freedom to decide whether or not to contribute to health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, government schools, etc.”?

    As far as I know, the latter three already come out of your taxes, and always have (for at least your working lifetime, and mine too, unless you’re far older than me), so I don’t understand the freedom on the latter three– unless you’re not paying taxes, in which case these wouldn’t matter at all

    For the record, I am glad to see this bill pass

  3. Stefanie Says:

    I would also like more info on this commment: “I no longer have the freedom to decide whether or not to contribute to health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, government schools, etc.”

    Specifically the “social security, medicare, government schools” part.

  4. Carolyn Doolittle Says:

    Regarding the comment, “I no longer have the freedom to decide whether or not to contribute to health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, government schools, etc.”, I think he is just pointing out that the list is growing. What will be next?

  5. Hal Jordan Says:

    Your list reads like a Republian Talking Points Memo.

    Turn off Fox News & Wake Up.

  6. Stew Says:

    Carolyn is correct. I probably should have phrased that idea better. The bottom line is that I control less and less of my earning power every day. Everyone in this country is required to contribute to public education whether they desire to do so or not. Same with Soc. Security, Medicare, etc. and now healthcare.

    Hal, I’m sorry that your read it that way. I primarily watched CSPAN last weekend and these were some what I thought were common sense comments. Which comment of mine do you think was the most full of error?

  7. Health Insurance Providers Says:

    Here is a cool infographic that lays out the timeline for all of the new changes brought about by the health care reform bill year by year: http://www.healthinsuranceproviders.com/health-care-reform/

  8. Abigail Says:

    Stew,

    Have you actually talked to HR about insurance? It’s my understanding that employers can’t *make* you purchase their health care. Some will even give you some of the funds that would otherwise go to your coverage, so that you can buy insurance for yourself/your family.

    That last part isn’t mandatory (some employers don’t want to encourage employees to opt out because it decreases their negotiating power with insurance company rates) I’m pretty sure you can, at the least, choose not to have a plan through your company. That means the premiums you pay now would stop coming out of your paycheck.

  9. Abigail Says:

    PS. DebtHawk,

    I have Medicare. It’s far from perfect, but I’ve rarely had a problem getting someone on the phone to answer my questions. The plans certainly need to be less confusing — though I actually think a lot of the confusion started with the privatization of Medicare, so that there are a zillion Medigap plans to figure out — but that’s pretty true of most insurance plans. And any Walgreens/CVS/Rite Aid will go over the plans with you to figure out what works.

    Like I said, Medicare has a lot of problems, but at least rates don’t skyrocket each period (my mom’s individual plan went from $299 to $419 after the first year and she had barely used her coverage!) and I know Medicare won’t try to refuse to pay for emergency services. (One of my readers said her newborn baby needed emergency, life-saving surgery on a Saturday afternoon. The insurance refused to pay because it wasn’t preapproved. It led to her financial ruin.)

  10. Stew Says:

    Yes, our company (and most companies) need my family in the pool in order to share cost with older, less healthy employees.

  11. Alex Burda Says:

    HI…actually lots of people think different the health problem is all over the word is same but somehow we can mannage here .The peoples are working they are paying taxes and insurances they want better medical treatment aswell .Everyone is contributing for better service.

  12. Rico Garmany Says:

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  13. chguest Says:

    There are companies (http://www.wecanhealth.awiscard.com/) out there that are offering insurance benefits with better monthly payments in preparation for the reform changes in 2014 (and those changes being implemented in October 2013).

  14. shira Says:

    Amen! I’m happy to see that there are forward thinking people, who believe that the Government is one big mess. The more people they hire, the less productive they are, including Congress, the Pres, state and local. If the Fed would get rid of IRS, that’d save a bunch of $$$$ and lives. If your taxes are not paid, you go directly to jail, and you don’t pass GO!

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