Healthcare Reform: Is It Worthwhile? Can We Afford It?

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by: Ray

First, let us clear something up; healthcare reform is totally different from the monstrosity that is currently in front of the Senate at this moment. Healthcare reform would mean that the government would be telling insurers that they could no longer decide not to insure people with preexisting conditions, annual and lifetime caps would be removed and insurers would lose their federal exemption from anti-trust laws. Healthcare reform has nothing to do with a public option, period. The current mess in Congress does reform some of those issues I mentioned, but not all of them are addressed, and this legislation creates far more damage to the system than it will solve.

Now, this is an issue near and dear to my heart as someone with cancer and who desperately needs the health coverage that I currently have. I am not the only one in this position, as I am sure you can imagine, and there are millions like me out there who are waiting to see how Congress will screw this issue up for us. Here is what I foresee happening in the near-term and how a death sentence will be issued to many people like me.

Congress will pass this budget-busting, horrible healthcare package that will help the most destitute of Americans who already qualify for Medicaid or similar programs, I might add, and will immediately drive up the cost of existing plans for people like me who already pay through the nose for healthcare coverage. Once this thing passes, my monthly premiums will jump from $1,200 a month to $2,000 or more a month because insurance companies will be out of business starting in 2014 when the public option, i.e. socialized healthcare, begins. This will make health insurance unreachable for most Americans and small businesses, and will put people like me at risk of dying because I will not be able to afford health insurance. That is the irony.

Let’s not forget that I will have a “Cadillac” plan, because that is what NY makes you have, so add another 40% tax to my premium, and if I make $250K a year, add another tax to my income tax, on top of my already high taxes, and how am I supposed to pay my other bills? It will make very little sense for me to put any effort into anything or to make any money at all if this thing passes. In fact the crossover point is somewhere close to about a third of what I make now, so I will literally not have to work in a couple of years, and I will end up netting the exact same amount of money and pay less in taxes. I am not the only one figuring this out either, so guess what will happen? All the bad people, i.e. “rich” people, will decide to make less because it is easier and less of a headache, which means all those estimates the Senate is coming up with are going to be shot to hell.

The real fun will begin after 2014 when the supposed 31 million Americans, mostly illegals from what I can tell, will then flood the doctors’ offices. This is when the fun really begins. We will then have to get used to extremely long waits at doctors’ offices because we have more people with insurance and we will have fewer doctors because they will be reimbursed less, since it will probably be a Medicare-like reimbursement system. Doctors will not stay in this business for the $25-$40 they get reimbursed for government health plans, would you? That means the polls showing that doctors will quit if this nationalized health care plan is approved are probably accurate or at the very least, doctors will flock to become specialists, so you can forget about preventive care or GP doctors.

At this point in time, innovation will have stopped because there are going to be taxes on biotech companies and other pharmaceutical companies, read the bill. We will have a healthcare system exactly like Canada or the UK, which by all accounts, is great if you are not sick. If you are sick in those countries, you get out and come to, guess where, America, but that will be long gone by 2015. We, Americans, will be flocking to China, India or somewhere else in South East Asia for healthcare because there will be no waiting, it will be cheaper, the service and survival rates will be better. For the life of me, I have no idea why we, the country where other citizens flock to for medical treatment, would revert to a socialized system that is failing other countries not only in terms of their health, but also in terms of their national financial health.

If you think about it, who goes to the UK or France to get cured of cancer? I didn’t. I went to Boston along with many people from the UK and France. Who goes to Canada for surgery? They come here. The only people who venture to those countries are those who do not have insurance and refuse to pay for anything on their own, which I get that this is an issue, but it does not warrant the U.S.going to socialized health care for 10% of the population. Also, the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland and any other country that offers socialized healthcare has a debt to GDP ratio that is horrible, worse than ours, but our actual number is that largest of all, so why would we do this at all? We can’t afford this and to think we can is absurd.

We currently owe $12.03T ( which is 81% of out GDP and some $7T comes due of the $12T next year. That means we have to fund about $9T in US debt in 2010, depending on how much this wonderful government decides to spend next year, which will be a record, think about that for a minute. We have never done that before, and even Moody’s is beginning to doubt the solvency of the U.S. government, and now the government wants to add socialized healthcare to this mess? How in the world can we pay for this? We cannot. Even the Chinese are saying, um, how are you going to pay for this? They, the Chinese, will not show up at some point in time to buy our government paper because they know we will not be able to pay off our debt.

We have yet to even raise our debt ceiling yet from the $12.1T to the $14T we need to raise it for next year’s deficit spending. Yet our Senators will pass this monstrosity of a bill for the “greater good” of 10% of the population who already qualify for Medicaid, but are too good to apply for it! Then they will wonder why people like me end up losing their insurance next year and rates go through the roof, surely it will because of the big bad insurance company who, by the way, paid for more $10,000 procedures for me than I would care to admit to. This bill not only impacts the insurance industry, but it impacts every American in ways that you cannot imagine from your insurance coverage next year to the very solvency of the country in the next 10 years. This government needs to be stopped before it destroys this country and kills people like me.