The Affordable Care Act is a scam. Before Obamacare, indeed before managed care health plans, catastrophic policies had high deductibles and fairly low costs. That's because they were purchased solely for financial protection against the cost of medical catastrophes like coma, car crashes, and cancer. They were true insurance and thus relatively inexpensive. People reached for their checkbook, not their insurance card, when they went to a doctor.
But under Obamacare, Americans face policies with huge deductibles - essentially catastrophic coverage - at high prices. Most people are buying the least expensive bronze and silver coverage where average deductibles, per HealthPocket, are about 40 percent higher in bronze plans than in pre-Obamacare individual policies. Obamacare deductibles are around $4,300 to $5,000 for individual coverage. As Deb Hornbacker of Colorado told "CNN Money" last October about Obamacare:
This is like a catastrophic plan. . . . I am totally shocked and taken aback at how little it did provide at the level I could afford.
Many health providers are smiling. We've essentially been forced by Congress to buy their catastrophic policies at first-dollar coverage prices. But because many Americans don't remember catastrophic policies or know what real insurance is or how much insurance should cost - or how low cash-based medical prices could be - they don't know badly they're being scammed.
To be clear, this is not the first act in this Congressional scam. True insurance got more difficult to buy after Congress favored first-dollar health plans with the HMO Act of 1973. Most employers were forced to offer HMO plans. Like the frog being slowly cooked, people began to think of prepaid healthcare (HMO/health plans) as health insurance when it actually was a corporate version of socialized medicine with centralized pooling of dollars and centralized control over medical decisions.
Obamacare is not a gift to the uninsured. It is a gift to health plan corporations. They get:
Boatloads of Cash - 98 percent of all new spending in Obamacare - $1 trillion -
goes to health plans through the Obamacare exchanges.
Fewer Bills - Deductibles are huge, so health plans in the exchanges won't have to pay most healthcare bills.
Reduced Competition - True catastrophic policies were outlawed for people over age 29, forcing many traditional health insurers to stop offering their policies or go out of business.
Control - Although the ACA requires health plans to spend 80-85 percent of premiums on medical care, corporate data systems and intrusive analyses that are used to limit care have been defined as "medical care," decreasing the amount of money health plans must spend on actual medical care provided to patients and allowing them to use premium dollars to control doctors.
Coercion - Americans are forced to buy the insurer's product or pay a "shared responsibility payment" (penalty tax) - unless individuals claim an exemption (22 categories so far).
Pricy Premiums - Premiums paid to Obamacare-approved health plans are high because people are forced to pay for services they will never use.
Bailout - Insurers are shielded from the insurance risks of people with preexisting conditions (or lack of enrollment in Obama's exchanges) by a three-year taxpayer-funded bailout plan.
Dollar Grab - A federal ACA "risk adjustment" program allows health plans with sophisticated data systems to annually claim "sicker patients" and strip premium dollars from smaller health plans that are less tech-savvy.
U.S. Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, said Obamacare will correct the "maldistribution of wealth" in America. He called the healthcare overhaul an "income shift" to help the poor. Clearly this is not true. Obamacare shifts wealth and wages from taxpayers to healthcare corporations. It's a wealth redistribution scheme that primarily benefits large health insurers.
Are the largest health plans positioning themselves as "too big to fail"? If so, this may secure for them a steady stream of taxpayer-funded bailouts whenever costs outweigh revenues.
Congress may think they can control these "too big to fail" health plans, but they have proven they cannot. Case in point: Congress mandated that employers and individuals buy health insurance, and it did not enact caps on what health plans can charge. Congress has a history of capitulating to health plans. When health plans began dropping Medicare+C (HMO) enrollees en masse, Congress raised capitated payments to the health plans until health plans participating in Medicare+C were making 12 to 18 percent more than fee-for-service providers. What will happen this time is not known.
It's time to end the Obamacare scam. The ACA-mandated grip of health plans on our wages, our personal health and America's wealth must come to an end. Obamacare must be repealed. Insurance must be put back in its proper place. Cash payments for routine and minor care must become the rule, not the exception. And charitable care must be reestablished for the poor and needy. With or without Congress, the American people must begin now to build the post-Obamacare healthcare system. *