Some Americans Cannot Afford the Affordable Care Act

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The base word “tax” comes from Greek and means “arrangement” or “order.” The Supreme Court recently ruled that the federal government has the power to enforce the penalties in the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act under its constitutional power to tax. I can’t help but remember that the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence took place so many years ago because of taxes.

Whether or not the individual mandate is constitutional, it is flawed as a public policy because it is impossible for some people to follow. If some Americans cannot afford to pay the required premiums (or pay the fee, or pay for anything associated with health care), then what happens to those people?

I ask because I am one of those people, who cannot afford “one more fee,” “one more license,” “one more tax.” As a hard-working small business owner, I am barely keeping pace with my expenses now, so how am I going to pay for this new tax issued by the federal government? And if I refuse to pay it, either on principle or because of my inability to afford it– what happens to me? What happens to millions of people who are in the same situation?

We have real problems already with our policies, laws, and mandates that are not equitably enforceable in a humane and free country like we proclaim to be. Our issues run deep, and no doubt there needs to be reform when it comes to health care, but the federal government creating a new burden for Americans already struggling with their growing expenses will not solve our deeper underlying problem of having a weak economy, a weak currency, and a focus on sick-care versus preventative care.

These talking points should be a normal part of our representatives’ diction. How do we preserve people’s individual rights to make choices for themselves, and also build an economy where more people like myself can voluntarily make purchasing decisions for health insurance? If I earned more money, I would like to be able to focus on preventative care, gladly pay doctors and professionals the “going rate” for some routine or inexpensive services on a case-by-case basis, and purchase insurance for catastrophic events (versus insurance for check-ups and other routine visits to health professionals).

Solutions are not complicated, but many of these solutions are outside of the scope of the federal government, the insurance industry, drug companies, and politicians. A big part of the problem is that with an economy in such bad shape, many Americans simply can’t afford the rising costs of health care. Policies to grow our economy would make quality health care available to more Americans who want it. Congress’ crude solution forces Americans to buy a service many may struggle to afford without addressing the reasons why.

Photo: reid.senate.gov

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  1. Jackie G I could not agree more. After going through a few calculators online to determine what my monthly premiums might be with the Affordable Care Act, I am discouraged because it will cost more than my house payment. I keep reading that the more people that enroll, the lower the premiums will be for everyone but I'm not so sure.I am just now recovering from a job loss from 4 years ago, went from one location job to another and even went to school to become licensed in a trade and only recently and finally got a temporary job making about the same amount of money and trying to catch up on so many bills and past debt. Couple that with every day monthly expenses, & I simply cannot afford this. While I do agree people should be given the option to enroll in affordable health care I don't agree with everyone being forced to do so or face penalties in the subsequent years to come. I hope I can find some sort of option that I can afford, otherwise I will be even further below the poverty level thanI am now and how that's supposed to help me I'm not sure
  2. asashii under Obama care even with the subsidized portion, which i dont get any, i still can NOT afford the out of pocket expense of health coverage, i am going to starve, so they can try and take it out as a fine or send me to jail, i will either do those are leave the country, no liberal can show me another solution, get ready for all full time work to go to part time work hours, they will have to take it off my corpse, sad i love this country, but my love affair is slowly drifting away, cant afford it oh well go to jail, started looking at out of states work with less hostile taxation, i am screwed by communists that have taken over the country, and there isnt anything left for singlw actually working Americans like me anymore, to my fellow Americans hope you still have a roof over your heads and dont starve to death paying for fines, healthcare, and everything that is going up!
  3. Jane Susskind Aren't there tax credits and exemptions provided for small business owners?From the White House Website: "If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable."
  4. Craig D. Schlesinger My thoughts on health care, and the PPACA in particular, are that the bill does nothing to bust up the already existing health insurance monopolies – regional and otherwise – that predated the bill. Quite the opposite. In fact, it protects the health insurance companies by guaranteeing them 300+ million customers in perpetuity. In other words, their incentive to lower costs is almost nonexistent. If we got back to an actual market for health care (not insurance, insurance is the driving factor that keeps costs up) then we would actually know what things truly cost. Health care is the only good/service that we don’t even shop around for. Imagine a market solution where we can completely blow the lid off of supply. So states like Mississippi that have only one or two insurance providers now have to deal with an influx of competition. Instead of waiting on infinitely long lines, imagine walking into Kidneys-R-Us to get your organ and transplant at a fraction of the cost. Plus, markets would eliminate the need for insurance coverage for routine checkups such as annual physical, dental cleaning, eye exam, dermatologist exam, etc. Insurance will only come into play for catastrophic coverage or preexisting conditions – which will all be much much easier to afford when costs drop dramatically as a result of getting health care back to dr-patient relationships and a pay-as-you-go model. If you actually have to pay for your health care, the inflated coasts will come down instantly. The well intended regulations and laws only serve to create bubbles in health care pricing. As far as tax exemptions and credits go, this just proves the crony nature of the bill and the perverse incentives it offers. Every reasonable person can agree that all should have access to quality, affordable health care (care, not insurance). But this individual mandidate approach, originally a conservative plot to battle HillaryCare, currently being embraced by the progressives and high liberals is somewhat ironic. No public option. Massive corporatist giveaway to large incumbent insurance companies that effectively eliminated their competition and incentive to compete and lower costs. Sounds pretty perverse. Let’s at least get back to a free, voluntary exchange and actually let markets work for a change. If we don’t try to control and steer them, they won’t go haywire. But if it’s still a messed up system, reform will be much easier then what is currently going on with health care legislation…polishing a turd.
  5. Brad R. Schlesinger THIS!
  6. Matt Metzner Interesting points. The Daily Beast released this today that shows that Obamacare is actually cheaper than today's options. http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/07/05/obamacare-it-s-cheaper.html
  7. Brad R. Schlesinger Well said. From what I understand about health insurance markets is that about half of the people who do not have insurance (I believe they tend to be young people) choose to forego it, though they could afford to purchase it. These individuals can afford to pay for health insurance, but do not because it would be a cost to them that would significantly limit their ability to pay for other things like their rent, bills, buy food, etc. Is it more important to be able to pay the rent and put food on the table, or be forced to pay for health insurance that someone might not need for many years?
7 comments
Jackie G
Jackie G

I could not agree more. After going through a few calculators online to determine what my monthly premiums might be with the Affordable Care Act, I am discouraged because it will cost more than my house payment. I keep reading that the more people that enroll, the lower the premiums will be for everyone but I'm not so sure.I am just now recovering from a job loss from 4 years ago, went from one location job to another and even went to school to become licensed in a trade and only recently and finally got a temporary job making about the same amount of money and trying to catch up on so many bills and past debt. Couple that with every day monthly expenses, & I simply cannot afford this. While I do agree people should be given the option to enroll in affordable health care I don't agree with everyone being forced to do so or face penalties in the subsequent years to come. I hope I can find some sort of option that I can afford, otherwise I will be even further below the poverty level thanI am now and how that's supposed to help me I'm not sure

asashii
asashii

under Obama care even with the subsidized portion, which i dont get any, i still can NOT afford the out of pocket expense of health coverage, i am going to starve, so they can try and take it out as a fine or send me to jail, i will either do those are leave the country, no liberal can show me another solution, get ready for all full time work to go to part time work hours, they will have to take it off my corpse, sad i love this country, but my love affair is slowly drifting away, cant afford it oh well go to jail, started looking at out of states work with less hostile taxation, i am screwed by communists that have taken over the country, and there isnt anything left for singlw actually working Americans like me anymore, to my fellow Americans hope you still have a roof over your heads and dont starve to death paying for fines, healthcare, and everything that is going up!

Jane Susskind
Jane Susskind

Aren't there tax credits and exemptions provided for small business owners?

From the White House Website: "If you can’t afford insurance or you’re a small business that wants to provide affordable insurance to your employees, you’ll get tax credits that make coverage affordable."

Brad R. Schlesinger
Brad R. Schlesinger

Well said. From what I understand about health insurance markets is that about half of the people who do not have insurance (I believe they tend to be young people) choose to forego it, though they could afford to purchase it. These individuals can afford to pay for health insurance, but do not because it would be a cost to them that would significantly limit their ability to pay for other things like their rent, bills, buy food, etc. Is it more important to be able to pay the rent and put food on the table, or be forced to pay for health insurance that someone might not need for many years?

Craig D. Schlesinger
Craig D. Schlesinger

My thoughts on health care, and the PPACA in particular, are that the bill does nothing to bust up the already existing health insurance monopolies – regional and otherwise – that predated the bill. Quite the opposite. In fact, it protects the health insurance companies by guaranteeing them 300+ million customers in perpetuity. In other words, their incentive to lower costs is almost nonexistent. If we got back to an actual market for health care (not insurance, insurance is the driving factor that keeps costs up) then we would actually know what things truly cost. Health care is the only good/service that we don’t even shop around for. Imagine a market solution where we can completely blow the lid off of supply. So states like Mississippi that have only one or two insurance providers now have to deal with an influx of competition. Instead of waiting on infinitely long lines, imagine walking into Kidneys-R-Us to get your organ and transplant at a fraction of the cost. Plus, markets would eliminate the need for insurance coverage for routine checkups such as annual physical, dental cleaning, eye exam, dermatologist exam, etc. Insurance will only come into play for catastrophic coverage or preexisting conditions – which will all be much much easier to afford when costs drop dramatically as a result of getting health care back to dr-patient relationships and a pay-as-you-go model. If you actually have to pay for your health care, the inflated coasts will come down instantly. The well intended regulations and laws only serve to create bubbles in health care pricing. As far as tax exemptions and credits go, this just proves the crony nature of the bill and the perverse incentives it offers. Every reasonable person can agree that all should have access to quality, affordable health care (care, not insurance). But this individual mandidate approach, originally a conservative plot to battle HillaryCare, currently being embraced by the progressives and high liberals is somewhat ironic. No public option. Massive corporatist giveaway to large incumbent insurance companies that effectively eliminated their competition and incentive to compete and lower costs. Sounds pretty perverse. Let’s at least get back to a free, voluntary exchange and actually let markets work for a change. If we don’t try to control and steer them, they won’t go haywire. But if it’s still a messed up system, reform will be much easier then what is currently going on with health care legislation…polishing a turd.