How Does The Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” Shift Who Pays For Our Rising Health Care Costs?
Incase you don’t have time to read this whole post here are the high points of what we’re talking about:
- The ACA (Affordable Care Act / Obamacare) primarily raises funds through the individual mandate
- The individual mandate was invented by Republicans
- As a society we already seem to have decided that we won’t let the least among us die without emergency care
- Emergency care is less affective and more expensive then preventative care
- The idea is that we get “free-loaders” to pay something instead of nothing by offering partially subsidized insurance plans
- The insurance plans would hypothetically provide for more preventative care, and less emergency care, and they are still through the private market
- The private insurance mandate is designed to shift the cost back to those who are getting care (ei: the “free-loaders” who will go from paying nothing to something for the care that they are already getting)
There is more to all of this, so if you’d like to I encourage you to read the rest, but these are the basic ideas behind this post.
I have differing feelings about the government being involved in our lives. With that said, I think that when it comes to more integral parts of our society surviving as an organism we must take care of our health as a whole. I don’t think that people should be rewarded equally for unequal work, and I consider myself to be a genuine capitalist, but it is important to ensure that when it comes to the health of our societal unit (like our health) we must consider the true cost of living in a society that allows it’s weakest to die and blame it on their own sins. That’s essentially what we are doing when society as a whole allows people to die with negligent resources at their disposal, which do exist. Ineffective healthcare is part of the result of a system where those who can’t afford care are only patched up in the emergency for extreme problems, when they might possibly been more easily treated for less money at an earlier date.
Scarcity is when a society has been depleted of a resource that it desires, and thus the resource becomes more important and valuable amongst those seeking it. Every resource has a degree of scarcity, and many of them vary over time. One of the most unchanging “Price Inelastic” resources (and it really is too small to call it a single resource considering it’s enormous scale and scope into our lives) is healthcare. We as a society want to be healthy, and thus the demand in the market is high for healthcare – we demand “adequate” healthcare. By adequate I essentially mean that anyone can get emergency care, but not preventative care because that is for people could afford “real” insurance.
So we seem to have decided that by some means people need to have basic emergency healthcare, but that’s it. And whether or not it should be that way it is that way. Some people do not pay for their healthcare. I think that a large number of people would really enjoy the idea of getting some of these people who are having trouble paying for private insurance to have an option to at least pay something, to maybe receive partially subsidized insurance policies (as Obamacare allows for). In essence, the same people who are generally getting free healthcare, and thus driving our insurance premiums up, would be required to pay for some of their health costs. People would of course have to qualify, much like on food stamps (which I know a lot of people who I know hate), except instead of giving them something that they wouldn’t already have this policy incourages them to pay for some of what they’re already getting for free. It actually has the reverse affect of that of food stamps financially. I still have my questions about whether or not it’s a good idea, but as of now I think that it makes economic sense. With that I would like to remind everyone that this philosophical idea of mandating insurance was invented by (the heritage foundation), and first implemented by (Gov. Romney of Massachusetts) Republicans. I’m not 100 percent sure that it’s a good idea, but the outrage against it has really seemed to be just another of tribalism and group think that is the inverse of critical thinking.
This has been a bit of a rant, and I really didn’t intend to let that happen, but we need to simplify for people what it means to be governed as they are governed. There needs to be better explanations about what it means to require citizens to have health insurance, and discuss whether or not we should ever subsidize insurance, or anything for that matter. I tend to think that there might be a few things worth subsidizing, and those things are usually linked to survival and health. A large part of the care that is being mandated will not be subsidized, and that will be part of what helps fund the system that is already costing more than it’s taking in to our society. Calling for healthy people (at least currently healthy) to pay into insurance pools is designed to bring premiums down. Now whether it will truly work or not seems yet to be a mystery. And we would do ourselves a favor if we were to admit that there are multiple variables that are being changed in this experiment, not just your standard 1 for a real scientific experiment.
So, Obamacare, or at least an enormous facet of it, is underway and I’m curious what will happen. I’m pretty sure that the only way for this to work is if people who would be candidates to sign up for subsidized insurance will find out and sign up. Ezekiel Emanuel said recently on Real Time with Bill Maher that they have estimated that if at least 7,000,000 people sign up for this Obama that it will be considered a success (I’m not sure exactly what that is defined by however), and with over 8,000,000 people clicking on the site to sign up on Tuesday when it opened I’d say that number doesn’t sound all of that out of reach. Let’s also not forget that this is run through private companies being bid on and having their market produce their price.
So, here we are with a front row seat to government interventionism… How Does The Affordable Care Act “Obamacare” Shift Who Pays For Our Rising Health Care Costs? To be honest I don’t think we fully know. But having about 18% of our GDP (gross domestic product) going towards healthcare, and most of the nations that are healthier than ours pay about 7% to 10% of theirs – we pay the most for our healthcare in the world, which runs counter to a free market providing the cheapest price for the product in demand. Finding out whether or not taking the “at least have everyone pay something” approach with subsidized insurance is a good idea or not will probably take a while, and I doubt it will go away for a long time. How this program works out really will affect the future of our nation, and the world.