Saturday, November 02, 2013

Lowering Costs

Regarding my little post about health care costs, I'm not preaching against the ACA here, even though at times I have said that it should have been a better program and I dislike some of the flaws that are built into it. I'm making a different point here. I’m asking where are the promised and currently advertised cost saving benefits of the program.

When someone is telling me that the sky is blue and I look and observe that it is gray, I don't merely assume that I am wrong or that I cannot trust my eyes. I ask what is the difference between "his blue" and "my gray." I find out that he lives 300 miles east of me and that the rainstorm that is covering my sky has not yet reached where he lives and that explains it. His sky is blue, mine is gray and the discrepancy is explained.

The ACA was described for one full year of debate prior to its passage as a program to provide insurance for people who didn't have it and to lower the cost of health care. The latter was not some secondary unimportant discussion, it was a fundamental and important goal of the program, otherwise it offered nothing for people who already had insurance, which is some 85% of the people in the country. What it offered for 15% was insurance availability, and what it offered for 85% was a reduction in the terrifying increases in the cost of health care. Without the promise of lowering costs it would have had very little support, because it would have offered nothing for the majority of voters, and it would not have passed.

After it passed there has been much praise about how well it is lowering the cost of health care, and that is at odds with my observation. I don't see it doing that and I want to know why your skies are blue and mine are gray. I'm not going to assume that gray is blue merely because you tell me so or you claim that I'm colorblind. I’m not going to accept your assurance that the program is a success despite, “sure some people will pay higher costs,” because that was never advertised as part of the deal.

The program was not sold as “some people will pay higher costs and some people will save money.” The program was sold as being a program that would lower the cost of health care.” It is, apparently, providing insurance for people who previously didn’t have it and it is, apparently, doing so at affordable costs to those people, but where is it “lowering the cost of health care” for the rest of us?

Before ACA passed my health care expenses were increasing about 10% per year. Then they increased 25% and 30% and I was told that ACA hadn't fully kicked in yet. Well it fully kicks in next year and my costs are going up 77%. Who is getting the savings promised by ACA, and why are they getting them while I am not? How many people are seeing the same thing I am and are not having their voices heard?

Look, I would even be willing to pay a bit more for health insurance in order for people without insurance to get insurance, if that was the way the program had been sold to me, just as I am willing to pay higher taxes for people to have a social safety net,. But that was not the deal that was sold and is being touted as today’s success. Don’t promise me lower costs and then piss in my ear and tell me it's raining.

If the way it's working out is that some people are paying higher costs in order for people without insurance to get it, then we should admit that that's the way it's working out. We should admit that Plan A of insuring the uninsurable along with lower costs didn’t work and so we’re going with Plan B which is to insure the uninsurable and raise costs. But I’m fed up with being told that ACA is lowering costs and watching costs go up faster than ever.

1 comment:

bruce said...

As far as the third paragraph, it might have passed anyway, because Congress doesn't always follow "the will of the people". The people wanted a 'public option', too and didn't get it. I think that was over the objections of the medical lobby who contributes to the politicians campaigns, and you see where that has got us. I won;t even touch on the Pharma industry.

And yes it may be lowering to cost to some people - but is it lowering to total cost? or just what they pay and the rest is a subsidy from the government, which we all know is running on taxes and borrowed money. Which means it really isn't lowering the cost of health care, it just transferred cost around.

Yes, now many people are getting coverage where they had not been able to before, for whatever reason - affordability, pre-existing conditions, job hopping, young people staying on parents policies, etc. All that is good, and should be applauded. But the selling of the ACA has been haphazard at best, and why not, since the politicians themselves don't understand it.

It is politics as usual, that is sell the people what they want to hear and implement something else. Voters have a short memory, better to ask forgiveness than permission.

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