28 March 2012

About Obamacare

There is a reason that Democrats worked long and hard for the health care reform act which has been dubbed Obamacare.

The real problem in this country is not that people might have to pay a small tax penalty (far less than the cost of buying health insurance) for failing to buy health insurance which they have the ability to buy.

The real problem in this country is that something on the order of one out of six, or one out of seven people at some point in any given year, don't have health insurance and can't afford to pay to receive the health care that they need - something that is sometimes a matter of life, death, or lifetime disability if not addressed promptly.

Obamacare addresses about 90%+ of the problem, mostly by creating strong incentives (most via the tax code) for businesses to provide private health insurance for their employees and for families who don't have employer provided private health insurance to buy individual coverage with private health insurance. This mostly takes effect in 2014.


Michael Malak said...

Would have been a lot better if it had addressed the biggest problem with the U.S. healthcare system, which is the tying of health insurance to employment. I.e. have an individual mandate, but phrase it as a tax credit instead of a penalty. In fact, that wouldn't be too far from Ron Paul's proposal.

andrew said...

The theory of the law, which was politically most viable, was to leave as many people completely undisturbed as possible. Basically everyone with Medicare, Medicaid, and employer provided health insurance sees very little change.

Michael Malak said...

It's the employer mandate that is most objectionable, and my guess is that the anti-Obamacare forces are attacking the individual mandate as a proxy to attacking the employer mandate.

Basically, if overall taxes were raised (individual and corporate), but everyone got a tax credit for health insurance premiums, the whole problem would have been solved.

And with health insurance severed from employment, portability and pre-existing conditions would automatically not be a concern in the long-term, such that the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions could be phased out over the next 70 years.