Whatever Happened to Free Obamacare?
The IRS issued
regulations last week announcing that the cheapest insurance plan under
Obamacare will cost a family of five $20,000 per year by 2016. That
estimate is based on choosing the plan offering the least benefits, the
bronze plan. Government employees with their heavily subsidized
healthcare and those who haven't been able to afford health insurance
the last few years are in for a rude awakening when they realize how
much health insurance for the private sector has increased over the last
few years, especially due to Obamacare. Low-income Americans making
barely over minimum wage are bitterly discovering how much their
premiums are increasing.
Many people voted for Obama because they thought Obamacare would give them free healthcare. Obama told
voters in 2008 that they would not be required to pay for healthcare if
they could not afford it, “If, in fact, we are not making healthcare
affordable enough, which is what’s happening right now, and you mandate
on families to buy health insurance that they can’t afford and if they
don’t buy it you fine them or in some other way take money for them.” He
that healthcare would not be purchased without tax increases on middle
class families. He claimed that Obamacare would actually reduce premiums by 14% to 20%.
Instead, premiums are continuing to increase under Obama. Over the
past few years healthcare premiums for insurance through employers increased a whopping 600% more than wages. The implementation of Obamacare began in 2010, after Obama signed it into law in March 2010. In 2011, average healthcare premiums jumped
up 9% to $15,073 per person annually, with employers generally paying
two-thirds of that and workers responsible for one-third. This
translates to about $400 monthly the average person must now pay out of
This is evidence that private insurance alternatives to Obamacare
coverage are not going to be any cheaper. Healthcare companies across
the country have been applying for and getting approval to increase
their rates lately, in order to keep up with the new Obamacare
mandates. The reason healthcare premiums are rapidly increasing is
simple. Obamacare requires
health insurers to accept anyone who applies, regardless of their
health problems, increasing the costs for all. This is terribly
inefficient considering there are more cost-effective ways to insure
those who incur high healthcare costs, such as risk pools.
Most likely it was done purposely to increase the costs of private
insurance so much that people choose government Obamacare instead.
Obamacare also includes numerous forced mandates that increase costs
for healthcare insurance providers, such as requiring them to provide
birth control. It would be cheaper to decouple birth control from
insurance and deregulate it, so adults can purchase it without a
prescription or health insurance. It is so inexpensive and safe nowadays
($9 per month from Wal-Mart) that it is absurd to continue requiring
basic birth control to be approved by doctors and health insurance
companies, adding up administrative costs needlessly. Furthermore, why
is birth control covered under Obamacare yet something as basic and
important as dental care is not? Obamacare is all about picking winners
and losers, rewarding feminists and cronies in the healthcare
industries. It is not about really fixing healthcare.
Employees of Wal-Mart, many who make barely above minimum wage, saw their premiums increase
last fall by up to 36%. Only Americans who make less than $15,302
annually, or $31,155 for a family of four, will be eligible for Medicaid
to pay for Obamacare. That means unless you are making $7.35 an hour or
less, you are likely going to be paying something for Obamacare. Many
states have higher minimum wages than $7.35, so someone making $9 an
hour doesn’t even have the option to take a slightly lower-paying job in
order to get their health insurance completely paid for.
Premium subsides will supposedly be available for individuals making
up to $46,021 and families making up to $93,700, but it is not clear how
much or how it will work. Subsidies for out-of-pocket costs will be
available for individuals making up to $28,763 and families of four
making up to $58,564, but again, it is not clear how or if the subsidies
will ever really materialize for most people. Most likely there will
suddenly – surprisingly of course - be no money available anymore by the
time low wage workers apply for the subsidies. The states with the most
efficiently run healthcare industries will be hit the hardest. Those
workers who currently pay the lowest premiums will see the steepest
increases, between 65% and 100%. Almost half the states have valiantly
announced they will not implement Obamacare insurance exchanges, but
this just means a federally administered insurance exchange will be
utilized in those states instead.
Beginning in 2014, families that do not purchase healthcare insurance
will be taxed (the IRS calls it a “penalty”) annually either $2,085 or
2.5% of their income. By 2016, the minimum
annual penalty per person will be $695 per person. This is cruel,
considering many people do not have healthcare because they cannot
afford it. It also goes against principles of freedom, to force someone
to buy something they do not want.
Obama promised free healthcare in order to get reelected. He knew
free healthcare was impossible, but most people have short attention
spans, do not remember history, and do not pay enough attention to
politics to figure out that it was a lie. The next time someone
complains about their insurance premiums going up, your response should
be to ask them if they voted for Obama.
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Rachel Alexander is the editor of the Intellectual Conservative.
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