Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Can You Explain It?

     I just don't understand politics . . . or people, for that matter. Or, B argues, much of anything else either. Which is why I hope you'll take my poll, to the right.

     But, be that as it may, consider:

     We all know it's the Democrats, or people in the Blue states, who support Barack Obama and his health care plan. And people in the Red states are opposed.

     Why are people against the health care plan? In part because it requires people to buy health insurance. It forces people to take responsibility for their own medical bills and pay their own way. But wait a second! That's a Republican principle; it's the conservatives who preach individual responsibility, personal autonomy, self-reliance and the importance of paying your own way. The Democrats are the ones who want to get other people to pay for their problems. This is ass backwards!

     The other reason people oppose the health care law is they're afraid it will cost them more, as the government raises taxes to pay for insuring all those uninsured people. (Check out 5 Obamacare "Myths" that Are Partly True.)

     In fact, those people are correct. The new health-care plan will levy a tax on people who sell their primary residence. But only for people who make over $200,000 a year ($250,000 if you're married), who also make a profit of over $250,000 on the sale of their house (or $500,000 if you're married). The tax will be 3.8% of the profit above the limit.

     Where do people sell their houses for a $250,000 or $500,000 profit? Not in Red states like Mississippi or South Carolina, that's for sure. It's in Blue states like New York and California. 

     There will also be a 3.8% surtax on investment income, again for people making over $200,000 a year, or $250,000 if you're married. And an additional medicare tax of 0.9% -- again, on people making over $200,000 a year.

     The new taxes are levied on people making over $200,000 a year. Where do these people live? They live in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. They live in Washington, DC, and the Maryland suburbs. They live in Illinois and California. These are all Blue states, where the vast majority of people support Obamacare. These people are in favor of taxing themselves for the Affordable Health Care Act.

     Meanwhile, people in the Red states are against taxing other people for the health plan.

     Like I said, I don't understand.

     But here's another thing I don't understand. According to latest figures I've seen from the federal government, inflation in our economy is currently running at less than 2%.

     But I just got a notification from my health insurance provider. They're applying to my state insurance commission for rate increases for next year, ranging from 22.6% to 40.1%, depending on whether it's an individual or family plan and on other variables. For me, the increase would be either 22.6% or 35.6%. I can't tell, because I'm not exactly sure which category I fit into, and I don't know where to locate the fine print to figure it out. And besides, what difference does it make anyway? There's nothing I can do about it; I'm completely at the mercy of the insurance company.

     And by the way, this increase is on top of a 15.9% increase that took effect for this year.

     I know that medical costs are rising. But not by 20 or 30%. So why the outsized increases in premiums? According to the notice, they "reflect increases in the cost of individual medical services and the increased use of those services." Plus, there's an additional 1.5% increase added "due to the addition of new women's preventive services benefits required by the federal health care reform law," and another 0.6% added "due to the addition of new benefits for autism spectrum disorder required by state law."

     Now I know many of you are on Medicare, and likely don't care about private insurance increases. I myself am looking forward to getting on Medicare before too long -- but it won't be before these increases, and probably some other ones as well. (And after I get on Medicare, what's next? Looking forward to an early death to avoid those unaffordable medical expenses?)

     So you tell me. What's going on? And who's to blame for these ridiculous increases? Go to the poll and tell me what you think.


Olga said...

I think that the fact that Congress is willing to take its 32nd go at repeal of 'Obamacare' surelydoesn't help matters.
ISN'T THERE OTHER BUSINESS THAT COULD BE GETTING TAKEN CARE OF? Sorry--didn't mean to shout, but hey, I'm leaving it that way.

Anonymous said...

Well, welcome to the real Obama world! You don't know who to blame? It's very simple. Obama did this to ALL of us. I got the same announcement you did and I live in New York also. My health insurance is so unaffordable right now that we had to switch to the new Obama High deductible plan. It's supposed to cover 100% with no deductible all your routine annual physicals, especially woman's care.
Here it is July and I am still waiting for my insurance company to pay the pap smear and mammogram and annual gyn exam I had done in January. I keep getting the run around and now I am getting collection letters from my doc, the lab and some other doctors. I told them to sue me and to give that mastermind, Obama a phone call. Stop calling me. I'm NOT paying and I have my medical pamphlet to prove I am NOT responsible for these bills.
I am getting less medical coverage and paying more. My rate went from $400 to $846. And now that I got this letter, it's supposed to go up another 17%.
You bet I blame Obama. No one else did this to me. No one. My life was fine before this idiot came in to office. Obama is a nice guy but totally leading this country in the wrong direction.
I'm paying more in health benefits so that someone else, who doesn't work can get free health coverage. Brilliant. Eventually, if I plan it correctly, I'll be broke and poor and maybe perhaps I can get free coverage also.
Again, brilliant.
I count the days this moron Obama is run out of office. He has destroyed this country and you bet! I blame him for everything wrong today! Not everyone in NY is a democrat.

Snowbrush said...

I spent 36 years in Mississippi, and I still don't understand red state mentality. No doubt, much of it is due to the fact that Republicans better represent the moral values of the region, which despite its poverty, still extols an exaggerated notion of individual responsibility.

Stephen Hayes said...

I support Obama care. At least until something better is done about our healthcare system, which is a disgrace. I get better and cheaper healthcare when I leave the United States. And I find it interesting that the principles of Obamacare were what the Republicans invented to combat Hilarycare back in the nineties.

MerCyn said...

Every year for years our health insurance costs have gone up. We are part of a company plan, but each year we pay more for less coverage. This started long before Obamacare. Our health care system is broken and has been for years. At least Obama is trying to do something - which is more than Republican rhetoric.

schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

Health insurance costs will continue to rise as long as those who can use the system whenever they can. Everytime an effort is made to rein in costs by advising that perhaps some tests are not necessary, such as mammograms, the outcry is so loud, the insurers, regulators and doctors back off.

Ditto other tests such as colonoscopies. According to some, you only need one every ten years, but some doctors (mine) think I should have one every five years. What am I to do? He also thinks a mammogram every year is good.

I do think the Republicans have some good ideas such as Interstate insurance pools. Unfortunately, the rancor in DC is so bad, the Dems won't listen to anything they say. Which is one reason they have tried unsuccessfully so far to overthrown the ACA 32 times.

As for the Medicaid expansion, our state cannot afford it. Many states can't and won't accept it. The Feds are notorious for starting programs and then crying poor mouth when the going gets tough. So the notion the Feds will pick up the tab infinitely is foolhardy indeed. You can expect NY to be paying this bill in full within 10 years.

I'm for rationalizing health care, but we need to do it rationally.


Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

My feeling -- as a retired healthcare professional and a citizen -- is that the biggest problem in escalating healthcare costs is the unfettered greed of the big insurance companies. I hated dealing with them when I was in practice because they would refer a patient to me and then I would have to fight for (at times) up to a year to get paid. But I most hated hearing stories about people who had faithfully paid premiums being dropped the moment they really needed care or being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.

So I'm in favor of the ACA/ Obamacare because it addresses these horrendous wrongs perpetrated by the insurance companies. While it doesn't go as far as I'd like in terms of offering universal one-payer health care (Medicare for all would be great!), it does make a few important steps toward correcting some insurance company practices that have gone on too long.

Medicare is a blessing -- because I can't imagine some of us being able to get private health insurance with age-related maladies -- but it isn't free as some people suppose. My husband and I currently pay close to $600 for basic Medicare, a Medicare supplement and an Rx plan. Still, that sum is a lot less than we would be paying with private insurance. Our supplemental policy -- which is from an insurance company -- has gone up substantially from two years ago. I would be in favor of totally eliminating the insurance companies and going to a one-payer system.

I can live with Obamacare, but what scares the hell out of me is the Paul Ryan-inspired voucher system that the GOP is proposing.

I live in a red state, by the way, but am blue through and through as a native Californian.

June said...

In a former life I worked in the insurance industry. It was property and casualty insurance, not health insurance, but in some ways there isn't much difference. Greedy insurance companies are The Bad Guys in this situation.
The second response up there, from Anonymous, offers proof of my point and weakens her argument.

Bob Lowry said...

The silly season has begun in earnest. Obama is to blame for everything: global warming, rising cable TV rates, the shooting in Colorado, airplanes sitting on the tarmac too long.... oh, and the decade of health cost increases that occured before he was elected.

If any fingers are to be pointed then direct them at a partisan Congress and a public that wants everything fixed at no cost.

Retired Syd said...

Tom: You bring up such a good question. I am one of those blue-state people that support all the things that would cost me money that would help other people that don't have money. Go figure.

I feel so strongly about things that have absolutely no impact on me whatsoever, but I want them for everyone else:

1. I'm not gay but I strongly support gay marriage.
2. I've never needed an abortion but I feel strongly that everyone should have a choice in the matter.
3. Most of our working years, my husband and I made over $250k, and yet I support raising taxes at that level.
4. I have my own health insurance, which I can afford, and yet I want others to have it too--even if it costs me more money.
5. I've never been on welfare, food stamps, or unemployment, yet I whole-heartedly support all of those programs.

I could go on and on, but the question remains--what's up with us blue state folks?

schmidleysscribblins,wordpress.com said...

I came back and reread this. Very informative post. I am sad to see so many folks blame the insurance costs on the insurance companies. We need to look at our own contribution to the mess. (The beam in our own eye??)

Many university trust funds and 401k accounts have money invested in funds based on the profits from insurance companies, oil companies, and other "hated" enterprises.

You are correct about the locations of income. CA is another place where some folks make big bucks. Some of these "persons" are companies (like my SIL's roofing company) however, and raising their taxes will not help the economy.

Furthermore, what is left over after my SIL pays his taxes is being used to fund the college educations of young girls who do not qualify for student loans as their father makes "too much money." Where's the fairness in that?? And where is his nice "fat" self-provided pension? Dianne

Dick Klade said...

I think people opposed to the health care reform act simply don't understand it.