Obamacare: The Popular Benefits (Continuing series by Nancy Thorner and Jane Keill)
July 27, 2012
A Continuing Series by Nancy Thorner and Jane Neill -
Obamacare won’t be fully implemented for several years, with many benefits going into effect in 2014. But already the original 2700 pages of Obamacare have been expanded ten-fold with the addition of 13,000 new pages of regulations, even before all the provisions of the original bill can be ascertained.
As reported in the Orange County Register on July 9, 2012, the Health and Human Services Department was given a billion dollars of implementation money. It has already been spent for additional bureaucrats and IT programs and towards computerization for the implementation of Obamacare.
Even thought 66% of the people dislike Obamacare, feel it is bad law, and wanted the Supreme Court to overturn some or all or the healthcare law, there are several provisions in it that have already been put into put into effect. Some of them have become very popular with the American public, even if it means paying additional costs to receive some of these benefits.
The irony about the following popular benefits is that many in the American public have latched onto them because these benefits help their families in some way. Most of the popular benefits were already available in government and private health care programs for which most Americans were eligible before Obamacare was passed. And, where appropriate, they may be incorporated into a new, revised health bill once Obamacare is repeal
The most popular benefits include:
Many Americans have coverage for their medical conditions through their employers and 80% of them say they are satisfied with that coverage. If they leave or lose their jobs, they can continue to carry their former company’s insurance through COBRA (Comprehensive Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, 1986) for up to 18 months (and, in some cases 36 months).
Yes, they do have to pay the premiums for it, but it is the same coverage they had while they were still working. When they are able to obtain another job, the new employer cannot deny them coverage for their medical conditions because HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996), allows the individual to carry their previous insurance plan to the new employer. The person cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
And, for those who run out of their 18-month COBRA coverage, most states have an SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) program to cover children who cannot get coverage elsewhere. And, most states also have a CHIP (Comprehensive Health Insurance Program) program for adults who cannot qualify for other coverage. (In Illinois, it’s called ICHIP.) And, yes, many state programs do require a high deductible and you must pay monthly premium. As a last resort, state Medicaid programs are available for those who cannot pay premiums or who have no other resources.
The following programs are already available, so the vast numbers of the American people already have access to some form of health care:
- Medicare = aid to the elderly
- Medicaid (known as Medi-cal in California) = aid to the poor
- SCHIP (State Children’s Health Insurance Program) = aid to poor children
- CHIP (Comprehensive Health Insurance Program) = aid to poor adults
- Part D Medicare = prescription aid to the elderly
- VHA= medical care for our veterans
- Tricare=medical care for our active-duty military
So the question is asked again, “Why have we written a massive new health insurance law of 2000+ pages (which nobody read before voting for or signing), when the large majority of the American people not only have health insurance coverage, but have protection for their coverage through multiple existing agencies?”
Why not reform health coverage for those people who don’t fit into the above programs and genuinely cannot find health care for some reason? Why write a massive new universal health law for 313,000,000 Americans when 30,000,000 (if that number is correct) are the ones who need help?
26 year old children
This is a very popular provision of Obamacare which was implemented in 2011. Because young college graduates are having so many problems finding jobs, especially jobs with health benefits, they may now be covered under their parents’ health insurance plan until they are 26 years of age. Parents have discovered, however, that while this may be a positive way to cover their ‘children’, their insurance premiums have gone straight up.
It is with some cynicism that we wonder about those ‘children’ who are 26 years old, are married and have children themselves. Are they still ‘children’ under the plan of their Moms and Dads? And, what about those ‘children’ whose parents both have insurance plans? Are the ‘children’ covered under both plans? And, what if a 26-year-old husband or wife has coverage? Is the ‘child’ spouse covered under both the spousal plan and the parental plan?
This benefit would not even be necessary if the economy was strong and functioning and young adults could find jobs that would either provide health insurance or pay enough for them to purchase their own.
The sputtering economy fits right into the Obama and Democrat plan to place as many people under a national health program as possible. It also garners votes since both the ‘children’ and the parents will be beholden to Obama and the Democrat Party for government largesse.
Free Everything and Freedom of Religion
In the recent decision by the Obama administration and HHS to cover mammography, pap smears and contraceptives for women – without a co-pay – the door has been opened to mandate coverages for all kinds of tests for which there is no financial foundation. It’s simply ‘free everything’, so that people become accustomed to having no obligation to pay something for themselves. The ‘government’ pays for it so an ‘entitlement’ attitude is encouraged. And, the costs of medical care will soar because no one is paying for it. It’s free, after all.
Most women, under their employers’ health plans, have been able to get mammographys and pap smears for years and many of them were without cost, or for a very low co-pay. In addition, contraceptives have also been available for low costs for years for almost all women. The ‘war on women’ issue, which was fomented by the Democrat Party, simply doesn’t exist, and never did.
In addition, when Obama announced that contraceptives will have to be covered by all agencies, he ran headlong into the Catholic Church and Freedom of Religion protected in the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Even his proposed ‘compromise’ to have insurance companies provide the contraceptive coverage is a facade, since many of the Catholic organizations that provide health care are self-insured and paid for by the Church. If this breach of the Constitution is allowed to stand, the door is open for any President to order any health care coverage he wishes, even when the Constitution specifically prohibits it.
Lifetime Maximums Eliminated
Another popular provision in the Obamacare bill is the elimination in health insurance plans of the maximum amount of money that can be spent on medical conditions. With the new law requiring an open-ended allowance on medical care however, insurance premiums will rise steadily because there will be no limit on what can be spent. Americans may consider this provision to be a wonderful benefit, until IPAB and the Mandate Task Force begin to enforce their regulations and limitations. People may find a ‘lifetime maximum’ is literally true.
It may be possible to continue some of these popular benefits in a new health care law, indeed we may have to. Once people have become accustomed to having something, they feel ‘entitled’ to it and it becomes very difficult, if not impossible to take it away. The Democrats are relying on just that happening.