JLF Gets it Wrong on Health Care

The JLF posts their misguided take on the Health Affairs study that I previously mentioned. Their bias against the uninsured is palpatible and remember...
The uninsured? We used to call them the working class.

The Health Affairs article found that...

We found that 24.7 percent of the uninsured are eligible for public health insurance programs, 55.7 percent are in the “need (financial) assistance” category, and 19.6 percent are likely to be able to afford coverage on their own. There is much variation in this distribution across population groups, with 74 percent of uninsured children being eligible for existing public programs and 57 percent and 69 percent of uninsured parents and childless adults, respectively, being in the “need assistance” category. Consequently, absent a universal coverage solution, a range of policies will be needed to address the problem of uninsurance.

Only a conservative would read those numbers and think that the private system is working well.

Let me start with an exhortation from Dr.Steve over at DailyKos, who is also a PNHP member.

EVERY OTHER DEVELOPED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
ALL THE OTHER WESTERN CAPITALIST DEMOCRACIES
EVERY SINGLE ONE

...has SOME form of universal health coverage for their citizens.
Only the United States does not.
They differ from each other in how they do this, and the mechanisms
and details do matter...
Canada is different from the U.K., is different from France is
different from Germany, Japan, Australia, etc.
But only the United States does not have something.

Now, on to the JLF clap-trap.

Who is uninsured

...This leaves 56 percent in a category the authors describe as needing assistance to afford coverage. Even without the overly broad definition of those who “need assistance,” this is good news.

Hear that? It's good news. Those people that die each year because the United States is the only advanced country without national health care? That's good news. Our high rates of infant and child mortality? That's good news.

At face value, this means that we should not talk about the 46 million non-elderly uninsured, but the 25 million or fewer uninsured who lack either the ability to pay or who do not qualify for medical welfare.

There it is folks, the welfare mom meme. Let's review the stats on who ISN'T insured in this country.

They work, often for small companies. About 78 percent of people without health insurance have at least one full-time worker in the household. Half of uninsured people either work for a business with fewer than 25 employees or have a family member who does.

The working class, that is who he is degrading as needing welfare. The working class = Welfare at the JLF. Remember that next election season.

But there is a problem with the authors’ definition of affordability. They use annual premiums of $4,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families as their baselines. Even at three times the federal poverty level, the authors note, these premiums would take 13.8 percent of income for an individual and 17.9 percent of income for a family of four.

The average new car costs $27,800. Not everybody drives a new car, and those who do can choose a Nissan Versa to save money.

Right! You folks just aren't buying that low-cost insurance that is available everywhere.

Despite government attempts to drive up prices by limiting interstate competition and mandating benefits, individuals can still find insurance for less than $1,000 a year. This would be less than 4 percent of income.

Bull. Shit.

I dare him to find concrete examples of "people" who can find insurance for less than $1000 a year that covers anything other than catastrophic illness. At most you are going to get a policy with a $5000 deductible or greater. This isn't health care, it's health insurance against tragedy. That is the kind of policy that Massachusetts will be selling a lot of, now that everyone has to have insurance.

Before we add more government to health care and health insurance, let's try cutting back on government's role.

Yeah, because that has worked so well before!

We need to do away with these people that think 25 million uninsured, dying individuals is okay. They are wrong and they are immoral. To them, insurance corporation dollars are much more deserving of protection than uninsured children, than uninsured adults, than the uninsured working class.

Comments

At most you are going to

At most you are going to get a policy with a $5000 deductible or greater. This isn't health care, it's health insurance against tragedy. That is the kind of policy that Massachusetts will be selling a lot of, now that everyone has to have insurance.

But isn't that something? When we see coverage about the unaffordability of healthcare, we get all these stories of middle class people going bankrupt over bills in the hundreds of thousands. A high deductible costs you more money if you need something outside your primary physician, but even so you are less likely to go bankrupt with a high deductible plan than with no coverage at all.

We chose have a higher deductible on our plan not only to make it cost us less evey month, but because we are generally healthy. Am I going to pay a great deal more each month just in case I might need surgery and want a lower cost at that point? What if I never need surgery? Our deductible is $2,000 or 2,500 through BCBS and it costs our family of three about $325/month. If I bought insurance through work, it would be around $1,300/month for about the same benefits. My parents have BCBS and pay $4,000 or $5,000/month. Now THAT is screwed up.

They need to fix the whole situation with groups more than anything else. If everyone is required to have some kind of insurance, more healthy people will be in the mix and rates should theoretically go down. We already pay one way or another for sick people, so they are not an issue except that they might get earlier care and therefore not cost as much to treat.

Hmmm.

If we were all one big group, they could spread the cost of caring for all the sick over the entire country. Seems like it would work, doesn't it? I think it might be called Universal Health Care, or a single payer system.

I don't think we can "require" everyone to have health care under the current system. Now that I've read a bit about MA's plan, I'm certain it will fail, and that opponents of UHC will point to it as an example of why "it'll never work". (For that to be effective, you really have to read it in an Eeyore voice.)I think that we should all have the option/ability to be covered by a National Health Service, with perhaps the ability to opt out if you don't want coverage. I think that any rates charged for the service should be based on household income (including investment income, no loopholes). This way, no one is paying a higher percentage of their income than anyone else for their health care. I'm thinking 3% is reasonable - and would cover everyone, easily. Is that a tax? You bet your blue donkey ass it is. But taxes should pay for things we need. Like roads, hospitals, and health care.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi

Health Insurance rates have nothing to do with the user pool.

The big firm's profits tanked when the stock market tanked and that is why your rates are higher, to make back those losses. No, it isn't something for a family of four to have coverage of $4000 or even $3000 a year in premiums so they can have a $5000 individual deductible and something similar for their family deductible. That isn't better at all. If they could afford that, then they probably could afford a better plan.

The reason your rates are low is because kids are cheap, believe it or not, while adults are not. In a few more years, you will be the one paying $4000 a month unless something is done. It has nothing to do with you, just your "profile".

Requiring people to pay for lousy insurance is insane.

The other thing you might be missing is this, a majority of bankrupty in North Carolina comes from Health crises. In 2004, North Carolina had 36,862 bankruptcies, of which 18,560 were due to medical reasons. Those families, nearly 52,000 people, lost everything. However, 3/4 of those bankruptcies occurred to people with health insurance.

You think you are sitting pretty with your cheap personal insurance, but wait until something bad happens. They can and will drop you like a hot potato. Or, you'll get sick like an acquaintance at NC Defend Health Care's husband did. And, you'll be unable to work and unable to pay for the COBRA and unable to afford a nurse. Then, you'll be sitting around with a pre-existing condition, paying out of pocket, unable to get coverage, and you'll be the next statistic. You can't get medicaid until you are poor, and that inclues property poor. So, sell the house, sell the cars, spend your kid's college fund, because you can't get medicaid while you have any of that good stuff. That is what happened to my friend's family, from over $250,000 in savings to living in a trailer with no car - with health insurance.

Anyone who thinks the free market will fix this is just...insane. But, don't try to see a doctor, because there is no mental health parity in the current system.

Then, we'll be left to say "we already pay one way or another for sick people" like him, because they just want to save a buck and buy crappy insurance that was dropped at the first sign of trouble.

p.s. crappy insurance does not lead to earlier care if the person has to pay for it out of pocket.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I did a report

on copay on drugs vs total healthcare spending by the insurer. It showed, essentially, that the higher the copay (eg, more OOP for the patient), the higher the cost to the insurer, because the patients were less likely to fill the prescription and more likely to wind up in the hospital.

I can email it to you if you want to read it.

Hmm...

It's an 8-page Word document, and i can't send it as an attachment through the form (and I don't think 8 pages will fit in the comment box...)

Should I blog it?

Sorry

I thought I responded to you earlier...
robertpATourspectrumDOTcom

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

No problem

I don't know if I've got my contact form set up right. And now that internet is restored at work, I can get that to you.

something important

Even at three times the federal poverty level, the authors note, these premiums would take 13.8 percent of income for an individual and 17.9 percent of income for a family of four.

Go compare the minimum wage against the federal poverty line. Then go read all the studies that suggest the federal poverty line should be double what is, without taking health insurance into account. THEN do the math backwards.

HelpLarry.com

"Keep the Faith"

Yep, there is a reason...

43 percent of uninsured employees are working within three dollars of the minimum wage. While this amounts to only 7 percent of the workforce, it is clearly a significant portion of the uninsured population

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

The money quote.

The uninsured? We used to call them the working class.

That is a shocking, but true, way to put it.

The working class.

I wonder when Bush is going to start the "Welfare to Riches" program? God knows how long you will need to ride a bus for THAT program.

Thanks for posting this.

--
Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!

Aristocracy.

The more you learn, the more your realize we've let down the working class. My dad was a coal miner in the 70s and 80s and he got all his health care paid for by the employer. Now, wages are at an all-time low and health care isn't even included. The Republicans really are creating an aristocracy.

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Ok, that was scary.

My grandfather also was a coal miner. He mined coal out of the West Virginia mountains for more than 40 years.

He was always a vocal supporter of unions as he was a member of the United Mine Workers. In fact, the UMW check my grandmother gets more support from UMW than she does from the social security. God bless the UMW.

--
Town Called Dobson - Daily Political Cartoon: Not all is red in rural America!

son! n/t

CountryCrats - my thoughts, my blog.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me