11.30.2014

Affordable Care: Unaffordable To Millions

Affordable Healthcare has Financial Assistance.
Wait, what?
(Scroll down to Part II for my Affordable Care analysis)

Part I:
My return to Washington State has brought the boob tube back into my life. Thanks to the nearly 5-year hiatus I took from television programming while participating in and learning about legal systems through work as a freelance court reporter, I am now more critical and cynical of everything I watch, which is all the better.

For example, these past couple years I have noticed the numerous ads for mandated insurance, popularly and misguidedly called 'healthcare'. Pardon me for being obvious, but insurance is not healthcare. The two words do not even look the same, nor are they.

I understand that various dictionaries these days define healthcare as not just maintaining and treating one's health, but also treatment by professionals or other medical services; thus making it sound as if one's healthcare is dependent on others, and that people, in turn, have an entitlement to services from medical professionals because that is, supposedly, what healthcare is now -- entitled dependency on others. To that I say poppycock.

Yes, healthcare is caring for and maintaining health, no doubt about it, but since when does caring for and maintaining one's health require the time, labor, skill and ability of someone else? Am I not able to care for my health any longer, because overreaching bureaucrats think they know what is best for me....while continuing wars? Those are the so-called leaders in government I am supposed to listen to? As Mr. Hand poignantly questioned: What are you people, on dope!?

I have no right to the time, labor, skill, ability, money, or anything that belongs to another. It does not matter if they are a teacher, doctor, lawyer, garbage man, hotel heiress, movie star, sports star, or billionaire philanthropist. I have no right to what is theirs simply because they have skills or luxuries I do not. What makes you think that you do? Why are you so entitled to someone's time, labor, skill, ability, and money?

Please, in all sincerity, leave a comment so that I may better understand the mindset of someone who believes they are entitled to what another has when they have done nothing to earn it themselves. Please, explain to me why you are entitled; is it a disability, an injury, political philosophy, complacent laziness? Whatever the explanation, my comment box awaits below as does my e-mail.

If I am wrong in thinking that people should not be entitled to take from others what is not theirs, you are openly invited to explain to me where I am wrong. Granted, that does not mean calling me a cunt when you have no argument because you did not read the entire article. However, I cannot stop ignorance, I can only ignore it; for ignorance is bliss and who am I to deny anyone of their bliss. But I digress.


Part II:

Has anyone else noticed the recent commercials from HealthCare.gov?

At first viewing I spent more time rolling my eyes than paying attention to the fine details, but what caught my attention came at the 8-second mark where an insurance enrollee appears with text stating that 'Millions like Josh get help paying.' Did I read that right? Millions get help paying for their monthly mandated insurance coverage? To be clear, this is the insurance offered under the Affordable Care Act, right? Pardon me for being obvious again, but if something is 'affordable' then why is there financial assistance for it? Does this make anyone's brain hurt besides mine? 

Despite the pain, I pushed through with more thoughts, such as: How much money can a person make and qualify for financial assistance?  There are multiple answers to this question on the Accessible Chart of Incomes that Qualify for Lower Costs, as the answers are broken down by household size. I encourage you to follow the highlighted link to learn how the breakdown works for yourself, but for demonstrative purposes I will base this blogging argument on a household of two:
If there are 2 people in your household:

  • If your yearly income is between $15,730 and $62,920, you may qualify for lower premiums on a Marketplace insurance plan.
  • If your yearly income is between $15,730 and $39,325, you may qualify for lower premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Marketplace insurance.
  • If your yearly income is below $21,707 and your state is expanding Medicaid, you may qualify for Medicaid coverage.
  • If your yearly income is below $15,730 and your state isn’t expanding Medicaid, you may not qualify for any Marketplace savings programs. www.healthcare.gov/qualifying-for-lower-costs-508/
Now for some novice, Eve-style analysis, which I disclose here and now as not being trained in doing; math is not my bag, baby. Should something be off in this amateur analysis, please inform me so that I may learn better.

So at the high end for a household of two is $62,920; that is the maximum income allowed to qualify for lower premiums on a Marketplace plan. Wow. Doesn't nearly $63,000 sound like plenty of money for a household of two that they shouldn't need financial assistance? I remember when $40,000 was considered high income for a household, but that was in another century.

I then wondered: What was the average household income for 2013? $51,939 was the median U.S. household income in 2013. I understand that the median is not the average (that's the mean), but the median is the number that told me what I wanted to know. Not being a math person I easily get the terms turned around; this helped explain mean vs. median.

The reason the median income matters, in my view, is because it represents the dividing line of income distribution; half the population in 2013 had income above $51,939 and the other half of the population had income below $51,939 (according to the numbers I found which is the basis for this argument). 

Therefore, if half the population had income below $51,939...and the maximum income allowed for a household of two to qualify for lower premiums is $62,920...does that mean half the population qualifies for lower premiums, also known as financial assistance? 

Not only that, but if the other half of the population has a household income over $51,939, it's hard to say how many of them could still qualify for assistance since some of those households would have income under $62,920. Therefore, over half the population would qualify for financial assistance of mandated 'affordable' insurance. Or did I misunderstand the numbers?

Granted, the statistics and numbers on reports can be argued multiple ways, and I defer to people with more training, knowledge, and experience in the field. However, if the median income, no matter what it is, if it is lower than the maximum income allowed for financial assistance, my point is still proven and it begs the question: How is that good for people? 

If people cannot afford what is required of them, and the financial slack is picked up elsewhere, then who is paying the bill? Can anyone answer this with certainty? Please remember in your answer that government bureaucrats do not make money to pay bills; bureaucrats take money from people who earn it. Obama will not personally be making up the difference, nor any other bureaucrat. So, I reiterate, who will be paying more in taxes, fees, fines, and other bureaucratic thievery to make up for people who are unable to pay their government-mandated insurance premiums? The Unknown Taxpayer, that is who.

I cannot say with certainty who will pay more, and nobody else may know either, but it appears from the evidence presented in the government's own commercial that people are unable to afford 'affordable' care and the financial burden is being passed on to someone, somewhere, who will have another couple bucks (or couple hundred) to pay for their premiums, or a few more dollars added to an invoice, simply because they have the means...because they worked hard with their skills and ability to produce more wealth for themselves, to eventually have the money taken by bureaucrats who have no money in the name of people who need money.

In conclusion I question: (1) Is it prejudicial to place a financial burden on people who have more than others, and (2) is such a system good for everyone involved?
Got a thought? Leave a comment.


Thank you for reading.

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