There is nothing in the world as hotly debated as Obamacare right now. Some people love it while many people loathe the very idea or the mention of the name. This email is not meant to choose sides – instead, we are simply pointing out what we do think we know about the bill. As I think you’ll see, there is both good and bad within the bill.
HIGHLY POLARIZED – In our experience, it is very hard to get any real, down to earth information on Obamacare. Some people love it and exaggerate the benefits, while others detest it and degrade every aspect of what they perceive of the bill. We hope to give as straightforward information as is possible, but again, with this level of partisanship it is extremely difficult to get any real information.
The people who seem love the bill are typically on Obama’s side of the political scene or have no insurance. Often, the people who like the idea of Obamacare are also the ones that have had a healthcare catastrophe and may have even gone bankrupt from a health problem.
The ones that seem to hate Obamacare are the people on the opposite side of the political scene, or those that have good insurance or have never been hit by a huge health catastrophe. Also, insurance companies and many in the healthcare field seem to dislike Obamacare as it may negatively impact their businesses and income levels.
OUR TAKE – We see parts of the bill that look good on paper, and parts of the bill that seem scary on paper. But how it looks on paper is not always reality.
What follows is a brief synopsis of what we think we understand about the bill. We do not like how long the bill is, and how hard it is to understand. We do understand that healthcare seems to be bankrupting America and individual Americans who cannot afford quality health insurance. That being said, these seem to be the main points of Obamacare:
1. Individual mandate – This seems to be the most controversial part of the bill. According to this mandate, you must have insurance or you will be penalized. The penalty is $95 per person or 1% of your taxable income, whichever is higher. The supporters of the bill say that the purpose of the Individual Mandate is to make sure the American taxpayers no longer have to carry the burden of paying hospital bills for those people not responsible enough to take care of themselves by getting health insurance and then get hurt or sick and need care. This way, everybody must take individual responsibility for their own healthcare by paying into the system that will eventually support them should something happen. The ultra poor and a couple other groups are exempt. The opponents of the Individual Mandate believe it is unconstitutional to force an American to buy insurance.
2. The Bills allows the FDA to approve more generic drugs. This is to allow more competition and hopefully drive down prices. This part of the bill makes Pharmaceutical Companies and their employees nervous, as most companies make the majority of their profits from one or two popular medications. Generics cut into those profits. Also, if generics are more common, Pharmaceutical companies claim they have less incentive to create new drugs, since their profits will be cut as soon as a generic is available. In short, generics seem to be great for us as consumers, but not so great for the Pharmaceutical business.
3. The Bill increases rebates for medications the elderly on Medicare are taking.
4. The Bill requires fast food companies to display calorie counts of their foods.
5. The Bill imposes a 10% tax on indoor tanning booth use. This, they say brings in money to the government that may offset the expenses of treating skin cancer later in life in these people.
6. The Bill says that kids can be covered by their parents insurance until age 26.
7. NO MORE PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS. You can no longer be turned down for pre-existing problems or have to pay higher rates. Obviously, from the Insurance companies point of view, they feel they have to charge more for someone with poor health so they can still make a profit. By not allowing them to charge more it really presents a challenge to them on how to give these guys care and still make money.
8. The Bill makes it harder for insurance companies to change the premium they charge us for their plans. In other words, the rates cannot just keep going up all the time. From the consumer’s point of view, insurance companies seem to be gouging us while making larger and larger profits. From their point of view though, they may not be able to raise prices if they legitimately need to in order to keep making profits.
9. Insurers cannot just drop customers once they are sick. Again, from an Insurance Company’s point of view, this can be hard on their profits, but from a patient’s perspective, this can be life saving.
10. Insurance has to offer an appeals process for you when they deny to pay for one of your claims. In the past, there was no recourse but to hire a lawyer and try to take on a giant Insurance company.
11. Preventative care must be put into the new health care plans. This includes thinks like mammograms and colonoscopies. And there will be no charge or even co-pay for them, from what we understand. The idea behind this is that our nation is being crippled by illnesses that are highly preventable. Spending more money on prevention should save us money in the end. Of course this doesn’t cover all preventative medicine like Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Nutrition, etc.
12. If you make over $200,000 per year, it looks like your taxes will increase by .9%. This is another highly emotional point.
13. Businesses with over 50 employees will be required to carry health insurance. This is obviously a boon to the people who work for these businesses, but a problem for those businesses who are already struggling in these hard times.
14. Congress and congressional staff will have to buy the same insurance offered to the rest of us. They will no longer be given a “golden federal policy” that the rest of us cannot have. We really like this one. However, we’re sure detractors of this idea have their reasons.
15. The Bill increases the amount of money you can deduct from taxes for medical expenses.
There is much, much more to this bill, and I’m sure both sides will find fault with the way many of these points were presented, but it was the best we could do at pointing out what seemed to be without any intentional partisan sway.
Hope this helps,
Dr Matt and Dr Robin
This week’s bit of Useless Information: Napoleon Bonaparte was afraid of cats. Also, he conducted his battle plans in a sandbox.
This email is courtesy of Matthew Barnes, D.C. and Robin Barnes, D.C. Neither this nor any of our emails are intended to be medical advice and should not be taken as such. They are opinion and are for informational purposes only. None of the nutrients discussed here are meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.