9. Sarah wrote:
RE: “Funny, I found my health insurance costs skyrocketing before the AHCA was passed . . . “
Certainly the health care central collectivization of the industry led to growing costs every year prior to Obamacare. That’s not in question—we all already know that we’re in a health care industry bubble, just like the housing bubble.
RE: “What evidence do you have that AHCA is the cause of the price increases where for the most part very few of it’s provisions have yet to be enacted?”
There has been no controlled quantitative study on this.
I assume you’re not asking for that. In the absence of the controlled quantitative study, we have 1) qualitative evidence and 2) rational thinking.
In the way of qualitative evidence, 1) many of my friends work at corporations—very very very large corporations. Many of them received very specific detailed letters after Obamacare passed explaining why their costs were going up or why their choices were going away. For example [just to name one] a major bank—a name you would recognize and one of the big 10 in the country, sent out a letter to their employees explaining why their plans were *going away* [due to the recently passed legislation which larded up policies with further entitlements and mandates] and they would now have a choice of a very very very high deductible HSA or a very very very very very very very very high cost alternate plan. Those were the two choices the employees were given. I sat across the breakfast table with one of these employees as she tried to figure out what the heck she was going to do.
They went from cadillac to beetle bug car—and it was clearly named as to the reasons why. This bank is not “conservative” by any remote standard—I’d imagine the bank executives happily voted for Obama in 2008, although I’m sure their costs of employment going up have made them none too pleased.
All around the country, employees have gotten called into mass meetings. For example, another friend got called into a huge meeting at her manufacturing company—very solemn, and with lots of information, graphs, and intel on what this had done to their health insurance costs.
Companies have insurers. Those insurers talk to the corporate heads and inform them of how much higher their insurance costs will now be. And corporations pass those higher costs on to their employees and limit the choices that they offer. And . . . of course . . . since the cost of hiring additional employees has now been raised, companies put hiring freezes on their expansion plans.
I just marvel at the divide in this country. Anybody working with leaders in companies or talking with the peons who work in those companies gets the same stories. Corporate leaders of small to mid-sized businesses are agonizing over these changes and the devastating hit this has given to their cost of hiring and cost of keeping employees. Those who don’t know this and don’t have real-life examples of these decisions having to be made are . . . well . . . they’re just not in the world that business people are in. They’re not in the same world, and that’s fine, I guess—the chasm will continue to grow.
In my own case, approximately two months after the act was signed into law—and for the first time ever—I received a “special letter” from my insurance company—around six months *earlier* than the usual annual letter explaining why my health insurance cost was going up. It explained that due to additions to their costs I’d have a massive increase in health insurance costs. Of course, many many Americans got that letter and no amount of wide-eyed “what evidence do you have” questions from people who approve of state central planning of health care is going to make people not see the rather striking correlation between a) Obamacare passing and b) unusual second letter raising my bill in the middle of the year.
Then there’s, of course, the rational thinking.
When you take a product, and force the product manufacturers to add all sorts of special “features” to it in the way of mandates and add further draconian regulations, and also demand that 16 million people should “have” this new highly gizmoed, larded up product, it stands to reason that the actual people who are paying for this new lovely-featured product for 16 million more people will pay more money for the product.
Just to name one—of hundreds—of the little special gizmos . . . is the wretched, grindingly-regulated, horrific electronic health records requirement. My father and brother are in medicine; they are medical directors of practices, on hospital staffs, and a part of boards of multiple healthcare entities of all sorts. Thanks to Obamacare, they and the hospitals and medical practices and non-profits they are a part of are grinding to a halt. It is taking 40% longer to deal with the paperwork requirements now—they are seeing far fewer patients as a result and having to send patients away, or delay their discharges from hospitals due to the unbelievable amount of time that it is taking now to deal with the massive tsunami of new paperwork required.
Further, the sheer cost of implementing the Federally regulated EHR—regulated to the point that it is unworkable—is massive. It is driving the smaller practices into the ground because some places just can’t afford to be in compliance. No worries—we can all enjoy Walmart-Care!
The irony of EHR is that doctors and other providers like EHR. And Obamacare didn’t “invent” EHR—oh no. But now they’ve ruined it. They’ve made it utterly unworkable, like adding an anchor to an already overloaded car.
So now we all get to wait longer, and they get to slow down the rate of patient care, and providers and practices get to throw in the towel—not because they’re providing better patient care, but because they’re in the back cubicle, trying to get the clunky, grinding, horrible EHR to work.
One of the best nursing home administrators in one of our SE states is retiring early—he simply cannot keep up the pace of compliance with all of the latest draconian regulations and mandates the government has piled onto his and the board’s back.
Of course, there are thousands more such examples, town by town, state by state.
I recognize that none of the above qualifies as “evidence” for those who do not value individual liberty, private property, the Constitution and free markets. If I quadrupled the qualitative evidence I listed or multiplied it by 1000—or if a quantitative study were produced pointing all of this out—it wouldn’t be “enough” to counter the high value that those who believe in collectivist, central-planning place on Obamacare.
No amount of cost-escalation, or quality decline, or supply-loss is too much when it comes to the ultimate value, which is a small group of bureaucrats in the State getting to decide how it wants to manage and control an industry and the decisions of individuals who use or serve in that industry.
That’s the highest value. None of the rest matters.
So I say all of the above for the benefit of those who *do* care about individual liberty, private property, the Constitution, and free markets.
The good news is that all of this is now a political matter. The entire country gets to vote on whether central planning of an industry is a good idea.
Perhaps a majority will decide that yes, this is a great idea and in that case all of us must suffer their choices.
But one never knows.
All I have thought about for three plus years is the Senate and the House; every conservative [not Republican, but conservative] that replaces a collectivist central planner from the parties of the Republicans or the Democrats is all to the good.
June 29, 1:04 pm | [comment link]