Obamacare, Great for Other People

chick1I have health insurance through my work…at least for now. I hope I never have to sign up for Obamacare.

That’s not too surprising, given my generally conservative principles. But what is surprising is that most of my liberal friends think exactly the same way I do! Why? Because, like me, they have good insurance through their companies. Less expensive insurance, with better coverage, and more doctors, than any insurance you’ll find on Obamacare.

This is sort of the big secret of my liberal friends. Sure they supported Obamacare. “People need health insurance, especially under-privileged people, and something should be done so they can be covered.” Of course, they themselves hoped to never have to use the same system! What’s good for poor people isn’t so good for those who are well off.

But Obamacare has already driven up insurance costs at companies, and it is only partially rolled out. Soon employers, especially those who offer good insurance at reasonable rates, will be faced with a difficult decision: drop employees and pay the measly $2,000 per employee penalty, or continue paying for skyrocketing insurance costs, ones that run $10,000 to $20,000 per employee per year.

For a capitalist company, where the bottom line is profit, paying $2,000 vs. $15,000 is a no-brainer. Multiply that by 5,000 employees and you start to see savings for the company in the tens of millions of dollars. And since employees can “just” sign up for their own insurance through Obamacare, there’s no harm done, right?

Of course, there is harm done, and companies know it. “Dumping the employees on the exchanges,” as it is known, will become a game of chicken between companies. Who is going to dare to do it first? Currently good companies that pay good salaries have to offer insurance in order to attract the best and brightest. Dumping employees on the exchanges would be a serious ding against any company in the eyes of its employees and potential employees. But once one big guy does it, others will be tempted to. Companies don’t want to be in the medical insurance business, and if they can get out of it, they will.

Obamacare is great for Other People. Not for you, not for me, not for Obama or wealthy politicians, but for the proletariat, the plebes, the unwashed masses.  We like to think that that is not us, but it actually is.

A Brief Digression

“But Obamacare has already helped me!” And it has helped some people. One of my family members benefited from an expensive surgery that he was able to do because he was 26 years old and could still be covered through a parent.

But why then not increase that age to 28 or 32 or 35? Then even more people would benefit from being able to stay on their parents plan! But of course, all this does is push the age that Americans consider a child to be an adult even more absurdly late. A 26 year old is an adult. So is a 24 year old, a 22 year old, an 18 year old. Allowing people to stay on parent insurance plans just encourages them to not take more responsibility.

What about preexisting conditions where people cannot get coverage? I think this is a truly difficult area. Maybe readers have ideas on how to solve it. Forcing insurance companies to cover it simply means that costs and therefore premiums will go up for everyone.

Another difficulty is conditions that people have brought upon themselves. What if, for argument’s sake, someone did lots of drugs, was promiscuous, and contracted HIV/AIDS? Is it the responsibility of “others” to pay for that person’s medical care? What moral responsibility do they have for paying for it? If I contracted HIV through my own immoral behavior, I would not expect that everyone else should foot the bill for my drugs and therapy. I caused my own problem through immorality!

Wrapping Things Up

Do you have any other options though? It’s either find insurance (through your work, your own search, or Obamacare) or pay the penalty. Ah, but there’s one “out” that hasn’t been closed off, and that is health-sharing ministries like Samaritan.

They are not insurance, but fill the role that insurance plays in many cases. You share your medical expenses with other Christians; you can negotiate some discounts; you avoid paying for abortions, contraception, and all the other evils Obamacare forces you to pay. Our plan is insurance through work then Samaritan then finding our own insurance and only if all else fails, Obamacare.

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15 Responses to Obamacare, Great for Other People

  1. We’re gonna get half as much care for twice (or more) as much money.

    And govt. bureaucrats, not your doctor, will decide if you are a candidate for a medicine or procedure.

    Lord help you if you are old…or maybe if you have been voting the wrong way (yes, they know what political party, or your voting habits). (IRS scandal?)

    Our Founders are rolling in their graves.

  2. Lucilla says:

    I used to think like you about access to health insurance until I was laid off. After several months of unemployment I got pregnant (high risk unplanned pregnancy) and I can’t even imagine what could have happened if my husband didn’t have a job and an insurance that could extend the benefits also to the spouse. I also found very disturbing the judgement you pass on HIV/AIDS patients. If that’s your thought than why doctors should provide care to people with obesity or diabetes due to unhealthy eating habits? Why they should give assistance to people involved in accidents while they were driving like nuts or practicing dangerous sports? Why should they assist ex-smoker after they get cancer?

    • Devin Rose says:

      Lucilla,

      If your husband didn’t have a job, likely y’all would have qualified for Medicaid, which would have covered the bills. Or in the worst case, they bill you and you can’t pay them, so they reduce the bill by a huge amount. This is what happens with many self pay patients. Or you would have gotten on with Samaritan before you even got pregnant. Lots of options even before/without Obamacare.

      I didn’t “pass judgment” on “HIV/AIDS patients.” I spoke specifically of a subset of people with HIV who contracted it through explicitly immoral behaviors. Do I pass judgment on their immoral actions by saying “those actions are immoral”? Yes. So does the Church. Do I condemn those people? No, of course not. They are human beings, loved by God, deserving of our compassion.

      That said, I don’t think there is a “right” to have other people pay for your immoral behavior. So that person who gets drunk, drives like a lunatic, and smashes their car against a concrete wall, injuring themselves badly? Yes we should try to save their life, and that costs some amount of money (let’s assume it is a reasonable amount and not the insanely inflated false fees charged by hospitals in some cases). Who should pay for that cost? The driver should! Now, if he has insurance that covers him even when he does something immoral and reckless, more power to him. It was good he bought such insurance because he went and did something immorally reckless. But if he doesn’t have such insurance, or it doesn’t cover him when he does something immoral (similar to life insurance not paying out when someone takes their own life), obliging everyone else in the country to pay for his costs is wrong.

      Now, maybe he can find help from his church, social services run by charities, his extended family, etc. etc. I volunteered for years with St. Vincent de Paul society and we helped tons of people with thousands upon thousands of dollars, no matter their beliefs.

      Are we personally responsible for our own actions? Actions that have consequences? I would say, yes we are.

  3. Michelle says:

    I agree with Lucilla x1000. Excellently put.

    Health is not a simple “you made a bad choice, now deal with it” situation. There is often a host of factors that determine whether someone is healthy or unhealthy, and these are often largely beyond our control. Socioeconomic status, where you live, familial support, what you do for a living, your level of education, your religion – all of these things impact health status. It’s a gross oversimplification to say that someone has brought a condition on themselves, and it’s downright nasty to say that people whose choices do result in (say) them contracting HIV are not worthy of our assistance. You have no idea what factors led to them being in that condition – what you see as reckless immoral behavior could very well be the result of absent parents, a lack of sex education, prostitution out of desperation, rape, or any number of other possibilities.

    I know this doesn’t fit into the conservative mindset, but it’s basic public health. We talked about it on the first day of medical school and we’re still talking about it now, months later. Personal responsibility is only a fraction of what determines whether we are healthy or not, and healthcare policy that fails to recognize this does an incredible disservice not only to sick individuals but to society as a whole. Your HIV patient who has been told that they are to foot their own medical bills for the rest of their life may now go bankrupt, likely fail to be compliant in following their treatment regimen, could lose their job, could end up homeless, could end up passing the disease onto others.

    A society that instead of saying “you made your bed; now lie in it” says “here, let me help you with that and let me help make sure others don’t fall into the same situation” is a happier, healthier, more cohesive society. We are all human and all deserving of care. Don’t abandon your compassion in the interest of capitalism.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Michelle,

      Thanks for your comment. Sure, there are many factors that go into someone’s health, as well as things that happen beyond their control (from accidents to genetic disorders) that can cause them to be hurt. Should “we” assist them? Yes, we are our brother’s keeper. It is our Christian duty. Does that mean the government is the one who has to do it? No. Does it mean that everyone else is obligated to pay for any and all conditions that others have? No.

      I hurt my back three weeks ago. It was my own fault. I have gone to the doctor, and even though my insurance is good, I’m actually self-paying this doctor at a discounted rate (since we are bypassing insurance) and choosing therapies that are less expensive and less invasive. I am responsible for my actions. My family and I are having to save in other areas to make sure we have enough to pay for the bills. If I get into trouble, I will go to my extended family for help. If they can’t help, I will go to my church. If they can’t help, I’ll go to St. Vincent de Paul Society and other charities.

      We Americans have changed our mindset into thinking that the government is the only thing that can help us, and that we are entitled to be taken care of no matter what. Both ideas are erroneous.

      Capitalism be damned. I’m a Distributist. Money should not be the highest priority, people should be. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t take costs (money, time, resources) into account when deciding these matters. And it doesn’t mean that anything and everything that someone does to themselves should be paid for by others.

  4. Lucilla says:

    Devin, do you really think that when mother Theresa opened the homes for HIV /AIDS patients, before caring for them, she carefully investigated what was the infection route for each one of them?

    • Devin Rose says:

      Lucilla,

      Of course not. But Mother Theresa proves my point better than she does yours. The Missionaries of Charity are a private, Catholic religious community, helping people when the government and “society” won’t.

      Further, the help they offer is love, comfort, especially in these people’s last days. Mother Theresa wasn’t performing expensive surgeries or trying to physically heal through drugs everyone they brought in.

      As I already said, I was a Vincentian for a long time. We helped people, even when others wouldn’t, and that included the government.

  5. Devin, you wrote: Our plan is insurance through work then Samaritan then finding our own insurance and only if all else fails, Obamacare.”

    I’m interested in what you mean by “our own insurance.” What insurance options are out there that you would do after Samaritan? Is there anything out there better than the Samaritan option if someone is self-employed?

    We really like Samaritan. It’s worked very well for us, but we are always searching and looking for “best options.” It sounded like you have something, so we’d love to know your thoughts.

    Excellent post, by the way!
    God bless.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Thanks Casey. I don’t know of something better than Samaritan (or Medi-share or Solidarity if it ever becomes reality), simply because with those you don’t have to pay for others’ immoral contraceptives and abortions. So that is number one the best.

      But I presume you could go shopping for insurance out there with companies, even with ones that didn’t participate in the public health exchanges, but these companies’ policies would still have to conform to Obamacare mandates, including all the immoral ones. So it is not a much better option than just going to healthcare.gov and choosing one, though perhaps you could find one cheaper.

  6. Patrick V says:

    Great post and follow-ups, Devin.

  7. They have free healthcare in Cuba.

    Anybody want to trade our system for that one? This is a big step in that direction.

  8. Augustine says:

    Right now, the labor market for some white-collar positions is on the workers’ side, so the fact that these will still be offered a health insurance as part of the benefits package is transitory. When a recession hits the economy again, the labor market will be inundated with a supply of such workers and then it’s likely that the health insurance benefit is dropped. Moreover, after the recession is over, no health insurance benefit may become the new norm.

    And while some may have hit the jackpot with Obamacare, others will be hit a raw deal. My employer offers a very generous health insurance with no premium to me and low copayments. However, such generosity offered to all of its tens of thousands of employees is considered a “Cadillac” plan, a plan reserved for the elites. So, starting the next year, the company will be fined 40% of the health plan costs per each employee, unless it slashes its terms. That’s likely to mean my paying a premium and higher copayments.

    I recall arguing with supporters of this abomination that I asked them how much they had ever donated to charitable hospitals, since they were so concerned about the downtrodden. Of course, their answer was zilch. O, the hypocrisy was so thick that I could cut it with a knife.

  9. Lena says:

    I’m one of the “other people.” I just went to that Samaritan site and it doesn’t allow for pre-existing conditions. It doesn’t pay for treatment that my expensive, conventional insurance plan pays for.

    • Devin Rose says:

      Yeah Samaritan isn’t insurance. So it isn’t bound by all the laws that insurance is. That’s the way it works.

      My brother in law is other people too. He got an expensive thing paid for because he was on my father in law’s insurance.