by John Gibson
Vice President Mike Pence is warning Republicans not to revolt on the Republican replacement for Obamacare.
Sorry, Mr. V.P.
I might be revolting right here and now.
That’s because I’m trying to figure out the Republican replacement for Obamacare. Don’t believe those pols: it’s not simple.
Near as I can tell, unless you are an academic in the healthcare insurance field, or an executive of an insurance company, or the proprietor of a health care group, the only way you can judge Obamacare itself or this proposed replacement, is to look at how it shapes up for you, personally and individually.
Sure, I can look at the Medicaid changes proposed and judge that yes, it may be more efficient to have the states control the way that cash is spent on health care for the poor in their individual states, and yes, it may also result in lower quality care for the poor. Both things could be true. I have no idea which, and am left taking the word of experts.
What I do know is my own case. I buy insurance for my wife in the individual market. She is not part of a group, she is not covered by Medicare, nor by an employer. She is out in the world by herself buying coverage on the individual market.
In our county, the deal is simple: buy a crap Bronze policy for what is now considered a “cheap” rate (but is actually much more than employees pay in their employer plan), offered by one insurer, in a take-it-or-leave-it deal.
Or–second option– step up to higher grade policy and pay through the nose. Her policy costs $12k per year, plus a $7k deductible. So, assuming even the most mundane medical procedure, she is on the hook for $19k a year (the MOP, or maximum out of pocket.)
She is in that category of insurance customer who is not considered young, and therefore falls into the group insurers were allowed by law (Obamacare) to charge more than a younger customer. Obamacare allowed the insurer to charge her three times what it would charge a younger customer (where the cutoff lines are is a mystery to me).
Under the new Republican proposal that same insurer could charge her five times what it would charge a younger customer.
The logic is that insurers can jack the price for the “older” customer in order to drop the price for the younger customer in order to drag that younger (healthier) customer into the system. Right now those younger folks are not buying insurance and paying the nominal penalty set by Obamacare.
But the replacement law gives those younger customers an even greater incentive to not buy insurance by setting the penalty even lower: a 30% surcharge on a policy when that young person finally does get around to buying one. Like when they have a motorcycle wreck and need insurance. (You do know you can buy a policy from your bed in the emergency room, right?)
So now the young healthy insurance customer still does not buy a policy, and the insurance company can charge an older customer who needs a policy five times more than the rate for the younger customer who remains on the sidelines anyway.
There’s my beef.
Read the thing. You’ll probably find your own complaint.