M&K's HR UH Tucker of Texoma JH
M&K's SHR Prime Black Angus
M&K's Miss Jessie Girl JH
Sir Jacob of Lakeview-Jake
I am SAVING......just so you know. I dont have DEBT, my father who is wise told me never dig a hole you can't get out of.
Good try, I'll give you credit (ha-ha)
With respect to companies deciding it's cheaper to force employees into government plans....
I'm not sure what the issue is. Companies can now save money -- and many are choosing to do so -- by simply terminating their existing medical plans. Today, a company paying 10% of payroll on health care can reduce its labor costs by 10% by simply terminating insurance. Under the House bill, a (larger) company terminating coverage would not save 10%, because it would still have to pay the 8% tax. That makes it less likely, not more, that companies will terminate coverage they now offer. With respect to the proposed public option, the House bill requires that this be self supporting. It will charge premiums for coverage that are sufficient to pay all claims and administrative costs and maintain suitable insurance reserves to protect against fluctuations in payments. To the extent that an individual/family is entitled to a financial subsidy to pay a portion of the cost of coverage, that subsidy is equally available regardless of whether the individual purchases coverage through the public option plan or through a purely private plan. The proposed "Health Exchange" provides an open marketplace in which companies offering plans that meet at least the minimum standards for coverage may offer their plans to the general public. Both individuals and companies can use the exchange, if they desire, to purchase any plan at rates set by the provider. The Exchange will theoretically include tools to make it easier for purchasers to compare the costs and services offered by each available plan.
I'm not sure where your estimate of 84 million enrolling in the public option comes from. I've seen some estimates argue that the government will pay providers lower rates to keep costs down and that private insurers will have to pay providers more as a result. This, they argue, will make the government program cheaper and better than the private plans and people will therefore switch to the public option.
My own view is that if people flock freely to a public option because it is cheaper and better than private plans, then the private plans will have to figure out how to do a better job or go out of business. That is what competition is about. However, the competition needs to be open. Neither the private plans nor the public plan should receive preferential treatment under the law. In HR 3200, there are phase in provisions designed to limit the ability of employers to shift from private plans to the public option to protect private insurers during a 5 year transition period.
Let's go back to the USPS v. Fed Ex. Fed Ex makes money because it cherry-picks the profitable services. The USPS is required to offer those personal letters at 44 cents. Anybody use Fed Ex to send birthday cards? Christmas cards?My own view is that if people flock freely to a public option because it is cheaper and better than private plans, then the private plans will have to figure out how to do a better job or go out of business. That is what competition is about.
The public plan does the same thing, then mandates the private insurors also offer the same low-income services.
I believe the private insurors will stay in business by doing the same thing they do with Medicare. Let the govt program take the "basic" coverage, and sell the "gap" insurance as they do with Medicare. In a way, that might work out well for the private insurors. Get out of the basic coverage. Don't worry about having to accept pre-existing conditions, etc. Just sell the "supplemental" coverages with the govt plan picking up the rest.
So, now the private insurors will accept those gap coverages, even on pre-existing conditions, any guess at what the premiums may be? Will the govt then regulate what the private insurors can charge for those supplemental coverages? Since they won't be able to reject pre-existing conditions, will they be allowed to charge more premium for those cases for supplemental coverages? They can also offer coverage that would pay the first $5000/$10,000 deductible of the govt plan. That should be relatively cheap since exposure is limited to $5000/$10,000.
My inclination would be that the private insurance industry will get smaller in terms of people employed, but more profitable.
My larger fear is that the govt way under-estimates the cost of this public option over the long haul. Even though govt removes the "profit" from the bottom line, the govt layers in the bureaucracy, and costly employee benefits for Fed employees.
As these secondary costs become more evident, the cost of the govt plan will increase; and what they can't get from increasing premiums alone, they'll get in the form of income taxes. If it is accurate that almost 50% of our citizens do not pay any Fed income tax, then those who do pay will pay more. That will hurt the mid-income taxpayer more than the high-income taxpayer. I'd just venture a guess that the fellow making $60K/year has less disposable income than the fellow making $300K/year. A tax increase for the $60K guy may be less in flat dollars, but is likely to "hurt" more.
FWIW, one of the basic features of employer provided coverage (when I was in that business) was that all employees had to be covered. This meant that the insuror could expect the young, healthy workers to offset the losses on the older, higher-cost (to the insuror) workers. This is also the basic premise of the public plan proposed. By making coverage universally mandatory (or lack thereof penalized with a tax), they get $ from the workers who won't actually be costing the insuror much $ in return for the premium (or tax) paid.
In the private sector, even with very large companies (with a diverse worker population), the costs grew ever larger due to the advancement of our medical technology. A couple of heart-bypass surgeries could wipe out all the premium profits from those young workers. Why would we expect the laws of mathematics to change?
If we are going to accept the concept of universal health care coverage, then we also need to accept the fact that it's going to cost a whole lot more than O or our legislators think it will cost.
With a universal insurance program the govt will have incredible clout to negotiate fees. Right now we know that private payers pay more because fees are set at a level to account for the insurors (public & private) paying less than the billed amount. Will fees simply increase to cope with the increased negotiation clout?
As someone else mentioned, if these lawmakers are truly interested in private citizens then tort reform has to be part of the whole program from the outset. God knows they put plenty of unrelated amendments on other bills, and tort reform would be relative to this legislation. OTOH, since most of the lawmakers are lawyers, it does give one a feeling of conflict of interest when they don't even mention the issue of tort reform in such legislation.
"Know in your heart that all things are possible. We couldn't conceive of a miracle if none ever happened." -Libby Fudim
I don't use the PM feature, so just email me direct at the address shown above.
I was stuck on the Pa turnpike a few weeks ago. I pulled over to wait out the accident clean up. I saw the car in front of me was from quebec, Canada. We got talking and i asked them what they thought of their health care since they were from canada. I didn't tell them i was for it or against it. The woman told me the average wait if you go to an emergency room is 6 hrs and if you need non emergency proceedures is about 9-12 month waiting time. This really stunned me. I asked her what the problem was, she said not enought doctors. So cost cutting is going to reduce the amount of doctors. Why choose a profession where your payment is goverment regulated. Is this what people want here? If this is enacted and the libs I meet complain about service, I'll slap each one in the head and say "don't you bitch, you support this crap public option".