Our President naturally supports his namesake law Obamacare which has greatly expanded coverage, but at a price. He also insists that the coverage be comprehensive including many things a lot of people don’t need or want. That insistence, in part, has caused coverage for many to become unaffordable under the Affordable Care Act.
We constantly hear from left leaning politicians that prescriptions or some other service is unaffordable to many Americans, but you never hear the “compared to what?” question.
Where does paying for a portion of your health care expenses come within the hierarchy of needs? I’m guessing right behind food and before shelter and clothing, but I can guarantee that’s not the way many, if not most, Americans see it. Rather a lot of other stuff comes first.
Now we have a few years experience and we know for the most part Obamacare is not affordable and premiums are rising at significant rates. The conservative view says let people choose less comprehensive plans that cost less. The liberal view says let’s increase the government subsidies to make comprehensive coverage more “affordable.”
Both these views are illogical. Increasing subsidies does nothing in total to make health care affordable, but only spreads the costs between individual consumer and taxpayers.
Allowing people to buy catastrophic coverage will only make other coverage more expensive because healthy people will tend to buy the less generous coverage and it also creates the new problem of people selecting catastrophic coverage to save on premiums, but unable to pay out-of-pocket costs before coverage kicks in. Just consider those who are buying high deductible plans and then complain about what they have to pay.
It all comes back to my basic premise; paying for health care is not even within the hierarchy of needs. In the mind of Americans every other expense of life both basic and the other stuff comes first.
Once we accept that, we can design a viable health care payment system … but nobody will like it.