Barack Obama’s political fortunes may hang on the U.S. Supreme Court’s view of his health-care law. For Joy Waldon, the stakes add up to a quarter of her paycheck and some peace of mind.
A heart defect and a history of melanoma make it imperative for the 56-year-old New Yorker to find a new insurance plan to replace coverage that runs out at the end of June. With the best option so far costing $1,000 a month, Waldon says her hope lies in the health law’s subsidies, online marketplaces and other benefits that are supposed to kick in by 2014.
$1,000 a month for someone with a history of melanoma (an aggressively-malignant form of skin cancer) and a heart defect isn't bad when you think about it. That's an implied cost of medical care of $12,000 a year.
Here's the problem -- the heart defect may or may not kill you. The melanoma may or may not recur. But if you have Obamacare (or Romneycare) you will have no choice but to subsidize the possibility for this person, while this person will have to buy insurance against an event they may be willing to shoulder the risk of themselves.
Now let's talk about the realities of these conditions.
Waldon said she’s found plans available for about $300 in monthly premiums that would cover catastrophic care. For the more comprehensive coverage she wants, including prescription drugs and office checkups, she’d pay at least $1,000, almost as much as her monthly rent, she said. On her annual income of about $50,000, “I can’t afford it,” she said.
So in other words for $3,600 a year, which she can afford, she can insure against the cancer coming back or the heart condition threatening to kill her.
But she wants someone else to cover her office visits and prescriptions.
And who is that "someone else"?
Because insurance is a thing you buy to cover you when something that is unlikely but catastrophic occurs. When you "insure" against a sure thing you pay more than you would otherwise. You have to, becasue the payout is certain and nobody works for free, including the insurance company. As a consequence you simply pay more.
Then we add, through government law, the requirement that people who choose not to buy insurance and have no money will get treated anyway. Who pays that bill? You do. This is true both here and abroad; we develop drugs and charge $300/month for them, but in Canada, the UK and other nations the same drug is available for $20/month. Why? Because the government there demands that price or they'll ignore the patents and as a result the entire cost of development is shifted to US Citizens. The drug companies for their part make it illegal to buy the drug there and reimport it.
Is this right? No, it's dead wrong. It's just for us to pay for the development of what we use, but not just for us to pay for what everyone else uses. And while removing that subsidy would undoubtedly result in some drugs not being developed at all, what was developed and available would be much, much cheaper -- maybe by as much as 75% or more -- than what we have now!
Which is better? A medical system you can't afford that's 4x as expensive or one that's 1/4 of today's price but you can afford to pay for routine things out of your own pocket and can choose whether to accept death if a catastrophe happens or you can buy insurance to cover that possibility?
Those are the only two choices folks. Currently medical spending at the Federal Level has grown by 9.3% compounded annually since 1980. This means it doubles every 7-1/2 years or so and last year it totaled $820 billion. That spending will rise to more than $3.2 trillion in 15 years, a number we cannot possibly pay, which means that everyone younger than 70 (on average) will face the collapse of our government if we do not deal with this now.
Gary Johnson does not have any position on this that is cogent and makes sense. But the Libertarian position on health care is that:
I call upon Gary Johnson to advance and support an actual Libertarian position on Health Care right here and now. If he needs reading material on this problem and Libertarian solutions I recommend either Leverage (look to the right) or he can click this link and start reading with the 2009 entries.
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