I just received a notice today from my health insurance provider that starting May 1, my premiums will go up, yet again... In December, I paid $445.70 a month for family coverage. This increased to $556.37 in January and will go up to $623.78 in May - a total of a 40% increase in less than 6 months.
Letters assured me that both increases were due to market conditions and no changes to personal health situations. I have compared my plan to others offered online and the rates are comparable to what the marketplace seems to be offering.
Perhaps these rates would not have been any different than if ObamaCare (or PPACA, if you prefer) was not passed; but four years ago, everyone knew that the health care system was broken. Now, half the country seems to have the attitude of "just wait and we will enter the world of utopian Obama health care ." Just wait as our health care costs continue to skyrocket... Just wait as our government spends billions in trying to implement all of the systems required to support the new bureaucracy... Just wait while all of the problems become worse.
We need true market reforms by returning the market to the free market.
- Eliminate the employeer-provided health insurance system; this removes the consumer from understanding the true costs of health care is the primary cause for ever-escalating prices in the market.
- Provide carefully designed mechanisms (e.g., public subsidies) for those with serious health problems so that they are not unduly penalized for genetic or other conditions that are no fault of their own. However, individuals should bear the cost of their lifestyle decisions (e.g., smoking, weight, etc)
Action 1 will ensure that almost everyone will be in the private, individual insurance market; action 2 will ensure that reasonable rates will be available to everyone despite any genetic issues. But each family will be forced to consider how much they want to spend for health care compared to all other desires in their life. Many are likely to select scaled back options once they realize the full costs and our entire culture will likely become more health-concious as we directly feel the cost implications of our poor health choices (esp weight).
Unfortunately, with the implementation of ObamaCare, we are even further from this model. Instead, we will likely see the entire system collapse due to its weight, whereupon Congress will attempt to impose a single payer, national health care system - which was Obama's stated goal at the begining.
In the single-payer model, the government controls all of the cards. They decide how much to tax for and how much to spend on health care; likewise, they will decide how much care you personally will receive from the public system. We can hope, though our votes, that they will make reasonable decisions about doling out care, but clearly they often make choices that disregard the opinions of large minorities (and this problem grows worse as politicians become even more entrenched). Thus, we can hope that they will make reasonable decisions, but we will have given them the power to dole out care on any basis that they think that they can get away with, including: perceived need, life expectancy, value to society, income, weight, the "good" of society, political contributions, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
Note: I am not saying these factors will be used, I am merely pointing out that we will have created a system that allows them to be used. If we ever elect an evil leader (as Germany unfortunately did with Hitler), we will be presiding over a system that would be easy to corrupt.
More likely, the problem will only be that the choices that our government makes simply will not relfect the choices we would like to make individually. And mind you, we still have not made any decisions that will actually contain the out-of-control costs - meaning that the 40% increase this year is likely to be followed by another significant increase next year...