This week, I attended a meeting in Mena, where a presentation of all the “wonderful” things Obamacare will do for us was given and the enrollment process was explained. I’m always shocked as I hear the details of the program explained and particularly so as otherwise intelligent people indicate their support for the programs mandated by the law. This morning as I enjoyed the beautiful weather, I just can’t help but share my thoughts on the foundational assumptions made in the new law and why I’m certain it will fail families and consumers in addition to failing fiscally.
The first thing I want to say is that there are many people here locally and around the state who are tasked with implementation of this law. They are simply doing their job as the law requires, many of them do not support it politically and mistreating them because you disagree with the politicians who forced it on us won’t help anything.
One of the underlying assumptions made by the proponents of Obamacare was that young healthy people would enroll in the subsidized health care plans it mandates. The problem with that assumption is, these folks can do simple math. The year one penalty for not enrolling is $95 and it increases to $600 in a couple of years. Best estimates on the low cost plans are around $4000 per year. Healthy people who choose NOT to enroll will be about $3905 better off in year one and $3400 better off even at the maximum penalty.
This situation becomes even more lopsided when it is taken into account that the IRS cannot use liens, seizures or impose any penalties other than debiting tax refunds owed when attempting to collect the fines. Basically, a young healthy person can set up their tax withholding so that they are not due a refund and NEVER pay for insurance until they are seriously ill. At this point, due to the law requiring coverage of pre-existing conditions, they simply enroll in health insurance at the point their care becomes extremely expensive. This is equivalent to requiring home insurance companies to sell and issue fire insurance policies after you’ve called 911 and smoke is rolling out your windows. It’s ludicrous on its face.
The Obamacare model was based on young healthy people paying premium and subsidizing the cost of care for unhealthy and older Americans. It’s becoming more and more clear as plan bids are received around the nation that the most obvious result of Obamacare will be premium increases for the insured and/or a reduction in benefits.
No one in America wants people to go without health care but manipulating the market, mandates and penalties are the opposite of real solutions. The only sustainable solutions that will truly improve access and affordability come from the free market and not from big government.