A few of my readers know the mandated health insurance here in Hawaii has caused major problems for patients, doctors, and small businesses (even though the NY Times would like you believe that it is the most wonderful thang since sliced bread).
A few health insurance companies have a monopoly on coverage, employers are required to pay for health insurance for employees working 20 hours or more (so they have many part-time workers to stay afloat), there is no such thing as tort reform, and doctors are leaving the islands (especially the Big Island) because of the high cost of lawsuits and the reimbursement rates are so low. An added benefit to the health insurance law is that dependents aren’t covered at all; the cost is completely out of pocket to the employee. I just loved turning all my paychecks back over to my boss to cover my son’s insurance.
Dr. John Bellatti, 10.15.2008:
My son is ten and has not seen a pediatrician since our move to Hawaii, our family has no general practitioner, and I have not seen a doctor regularly for over three years because they keep moving back to the mainland and the few that remain aren’t seeing new patients.
Here is your future America! Welcome to Obamacare where coverage and care goes in the toilet, and your taxes go up.
WASHINGTON — When Congress required most Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty, Democrats denied that they were creating a new tax. But in court, the Obama administration and its allies now defend the requirement as an exercise of the government’s “power to lay and collect taxes.”
And that power, they say, is even more sweeping than the federal power to regulate interstate commerce.
Administration officials say the tax argument is a linchpin of their legal case in defense of the health care overhaul and its individual mandate, now being challenged in court by more than 20 states and several private organizations.
Under the legislation signed by President Obama in March, most Americans will have to maintain “minimum essential coverage” starting in 2014. Many people will be eligible for federal subsidies to help them pay premiums.
When I lost my job last year, my son and I lost our coverage. I guess it’s not a big deal though, without a job, I couldn’t cover the cost of the flights to Oahu for care.
And then there is Massachusetts’ great idea to provide universal health coverage. Thanks Mitt!
With cost rising, small companies turning to state
The relentlessly rising cost of health insurance is prompting some small Massachusetts companies to drop coverage for their workers and encourage them to sign up for state-subsidized care instead, a trend that, some analysts say, could eventually weigh heavily on the state’s already-stressed budget.
Since April 1, the date many insurance contracts are renewed for small businesses, the owners of about 90 small companies terminated their insurance plans with Braintree-based broker Jeff Rich and indicated in a follow-up survey that they were relying on publicly-funded insurance for their employees.
In Sandwich, business consultant Bill Fields said he has been hired by small businesses to enroll about 400 workers in state-subsidized care since April, because the company owners said they could no longer afford to provide coverage. Fields said that is by far the largest number he has handled in such a short time.
“They are giving up out of frustration,’’ Fields said of the employers. “Most of them are very compassionate but they simply can’t afford health insurance any more.’’
Precisely how many small businesses have recently given up offering insurance is hard to pinpoint. The Office of Labor and Workforce Development said the most recent quarterly insurance data collected from small companies has not been compiled.
But insurance brokers say the pace of terminations has picked up considerably since then among small companies, of which there are thousands in Massachusetts. Many of these companies — restaurants, day-care centers, hair salons, and retail shops — typically pay such low wages that their workers qualify for state-subsidized health insurance when their employers drop their plans.
“Those employers are trying to keep their doors open, and to the extent they can cut expenses, they will cut health insurance because they know their people can go to Commonwealth Care,’’ said Mark Gaunya, president of the Massachusetts Association of Health Underwriters, a trade group representing more than 1,000 brokers and other insurance professionals.
And the 40% of the population that doesn’t want to repeal this POS law the first chance we get thought the insurance companies were going to be put in their place….hahahahahahahahaha.
As the Obama administration begins to enact the new national health care law, the country’s biggest insurers are promoting affordable plans with reduced premiums that require participants to use a narrower selection of doctors or hospitals.
The plans, being tested in places like San Diego, New York and Chicago, are likely to appeal especially to small businesses that already provide insurance to their employees, but are concerned about the ever-spiraling cost of coverage.
But large employers, as well, are starting to show some interest, and insurers and consultants expect that, over time, businesses of all sizes will gravitate toward these plans in an effort to cut costs.
The tradeoff, they say, is that more Americans will be asked to pay higher prices for the privilege of choosing or keeping their own doctors if they are outside the new networks. That could come as a surprise to many who remember the repeated assurances from President Obama and other officials that consumers would retain a variety of health-care choices.