|Many are still expressing shock and dismay at the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act (aka the healthcare reform law), once thought to be blatantly unconstitutional by experts and novices alike. In fact, many still believe that the law is not valid. But more on that later.There are many ways to address the problem of the nation’s uninsured without the government taking over one-seventh of the U.S. economy, such as high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions and subsidies or tax credits for the truly needy. Deregulation to allow health insurance companies to compete across state lines would be a huge step toward increasing competition and lowering costs overall.Chief Justice Roberts, a key Supreme Court appointee by George W. Bush and considered a solid conservative, found a contorted way to view the government mandate that all Americans purchase private health insurance as a form of taxation. The strained logic of his ruling did for the Obama Administration what they had not been able to do for themselves – gave the law a shaky legal toehold over strong public objection.
As expected, the high court rejected the Obama Administration’s central argument – that the Commerce Clause empowers the government to regulate non-commerce—that is, someone not buying something—health insurance. But the court agreed with another tack taken by President Obama’s attorneys during oral arguments—that the law could be justified as a tax – a notion that the President repeatedly mocked and denied during the debate over the healthcare law. Despite his protestations that the law was not a tax, his lawyer argued it was. Chief Justice Roberts agreed. And as a result, the President’s allies in Congress have now created 20 new or higher taxes for American families.
Instead of throwing out the issue and sending it back to Congress to find better solutions, the Supreme Court has basically said to the American people, “If you don’t like it, fix it yourselves.”
But as people of faith, it should not surprise us that the backward logic of a few men and women who found a way to classify abortion as non-murder should also discover new, previously unknown powers for a bloated central government. One can only imagine what the next mandate will be. Will we all be forced to purchase an electric car, a windmill to power our homes or a ticket to Disneyland since these, too, will supposedly improve our quality of life?
As a footnote, remember that not all Americans who fail to comply with the individual mandate to buy health insurance will be penalized/fined/taxed. The President and First Lady, members of Congress, and employees of those favored few corporations declared exempt for no obvious reason other than political favor will not be forced to participate. But for most of us, well, get ready for higher taxes, higher healthcare costs and higher deficits.
Another Robin Hood Plan
According to the Christian Science Monitor, the healthcare system overhaul is based on fairy tale math:
Consider a working-age family of four, with an income of $60,000 and no earner covered by an employer-based health plan. According to a “health reform subsidy calculator” created by the Kaiser Family Foundation, which tracks U.S. health-care policies, this family would reap a tax subsidy of $9,308 if they buy insurance in 2014. That would cover most of a total premium cost of $14,245, perhaps putting health insurance within the family’s financial reach.
Without the “stick” of an individual mandate, this “carrot” might not prompt as many households to fully insure themselves. To take the family in the example just given, they would still face a sizable premium (nearly $5,000), plus the prospect of additional out-of-pocket expenses, capped for this family at $6,250.
For comparison, the typical US household in 2010 had total spending of $48,109, with $3,157 of that for health care, according to a survey by the US Labor Department.1
To put it bluntly, this typical family of four previously without insurance will now be able to become insured but will likely go from the current annual average health coverage expense of $3,157 to $5,000. To make this possible, others will be taxed $9,308 that will be redistributed to this family so they can pay more to the health insurance company for higher cost services. Brilliant. Government math at its finest.
When our nation is literally teetering on the edge of a financial abyss, this expensive legislation is good news only for bureaucrats who earn their keep shuffling dollars and paperwork through the halls of government. This socialist philosophy is leading our republic headlong into replicating the failed economic policies of Europe.
Writing in 1994, now 18 years ago, in an update to his national bestseller, The Coming Economic Earthquake, Larry Burkett wrote, “It is difficult for me to imagine that we, as a nation, are considering such an expansive and potentially disastrous program (speaking of the Clinton Health Care Reform proposal) at a time when the survival of the economy is in jeopardy. If, in fact, any form of national health care is implemented, it will be the final straw – the dagger in the heart of our economy as we know it.”
Coming in 2014 – Healthcare Run as Efficiently as the Post Office
In March, Fox News reported the staggering projections of the true cost of the “Affordable” Care Act:
The Congressional Budget Office has extended its cost estimates for President Obama’s health care law out to 2022, taking in more years of full implementation, and showing that the bill is substantially more expensive—twice as much as the original $900 billion price tag.
In a largely overlooked segment of the CBO’s update to the budget outlook released Tuesday, the independent arm of Congress found that the bill will cost $1.76 trillion between now and 2022. That only counts the cost of coverage, not implementation costs and other changes.
“The bill spends more than the president promised, it covers fewer people—probably 2 million fewer people—and it taxes more than was expected,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
The first estimates of the cost of the health care bill included three years before the bill even took effect, so there was little or no spending, making the full 10 years look less expensive. Sessions notes that the $1.76 trillion estimate includes only the costs of coverage, not implementation and other costs. He argues that all those drive the price up even further over the first full 10 years of the law.
“The full accounting of the bill is $2.6 trillion. That’s a fair and accurate analysis of what the bill would cost, according to CBO,” Sessions said, noting how the cost dwarfs the fight over the 10-year debt reduction plan debated last year.
“We spent a whole summer fighting over a way to reduce spending by $2.1 trillion and here this bill is going to add $2.6 trillion more in spending.”2
A Fork in The Road Just Ahead
For those unconvinced that the healthcare law is valid – despite the tortured logic of the Supreme Court ruling – and those who believe that taking on this burden will bankrupt the United States, there are two remaining solutions: Pray and vote.
In November, the American people will register their view on the legitimacy of the healthcare law at the polls. History will record whether they prefer a return to fiscal sanity and limited government or fiscal ruin and a government-controlled society.
We will either turn back toward the Founders’ idea of the United States of America or complete our transformation into the socialist dream of the “United States of Europe.” Between now and then, Christians need to spend time on our knees asking for the Lord’s mercy on our nation. As Joel Rosenberg says in his latest book, Implosion, we need the Third Great Awakening.
Link to the Author of this Article: www.crown.org
For a full schedule of events click here
2012 Independence Day Parade – “Hometown Pride” 11:00 a.m. Children’s Bicycle Decorating Contest, First Reader’s Awards Ceremony, Educational Resources for Children Soap Box Derby Enfield High & Enrico Fermi High School Cheerleaders, Integrity Martial Arts Demonstration, Riley’s School of Dance Demonstration, High School Boy’s “Three on Three” Basketball Tournament, Farmer Rick, presented by Johnson Memorial Hospital, Pie Eating Contests presented by Miller Farms Family Markets, Maximum Velocity BMX Demonstration, L.A. Guns, 1K Kid’s Road Race – Enfield Firefighters vs. Enfield Athletic Hall of Fame Softball Game – Twilight 5K Road Race, Road Races Award’s Ceremony, Maximum Velocity BMX Demonstration, Teen Zone Opens – 2012 Battle of the Bands Competition, Volleyball, Maximum Velocity BMX Demonstration, Skid Row in Concert
10:30 a.m. Conference of Christian Churches‘ “A Celebration of Blessings” – “Family Ford Stage” Children’s Sidewalk Chalk Art Contest,Children’s Trike Races, Maximum Velocity BMX Demonstration, Villari’s Self Defense Studio Demonstration, Songwriting Clinic with State Troubadour Chuck Costa (pre-registration required), Enfield Police Department K-9 Demonstration on the Town Green, Calvary Puppet Revue, Junior High “Three on Three” Basketball Tournament, Riley’s School of Dance Demonstration, Spaghetti Eating Contests, Battle of the Bands Winner, Maximum Velocity BMX Demonstration, Chuck Costa – Connecticut State Troubadour, Presentation of the 2012 Patriot’s Award, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Maximum Velocity BMX Demonstration, Fireworks Spectacular
Taste of Enfield Concourse opens at 5:00 p.m. Friday and 11:00 a.m. Saturday & Sunday Enfield Expo – Craft Fair & Art Show and Community Organizations open at 10:00 a.m. Saturday & Sunday Children’s Activity Area opens at 11:00 a.m. Saturday & Sunday Maximum Velocity BMX Bike Demonstration – North Main Street – 2 Shows Friday, 3 Shows Saturday & 3 Shows Sunday
The law is being phased in over several years, culminating in major changes in 2014. Here’s a progress report on what’s already in effect and what’s to come.
In effect now
Cheaper drugs in Medicare
Seniors with Medicare Part D drug plans who have reached the “doughnut hole”—the point when they must start paying prescription-drug expenses themselves—get a 50 percent discount on covered brand-name drugs and a 7 percent discount on generic drugs (14 percent in 2012).
Insurers must allow young adults to stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26 unless they can get coverage through their own employer. An estimated 1.2 million people are taking advantage of that benefit in 2011.
Help for early retirees
Almost 6,000 companies have signed up to receive subsidies to help them retain their early-retiree (pre-65) health insurance programs. The government had dispensed $2.7 billion to the companies as of June 2011, preserving coverage for 4.5 million 55- to 64-year-olds and their family members.
Coverage for some with pre-existing conditions
About 27,000 previously uninsured adults with pre-existing medical conditions had gained coverage in state-based “high risk” insurance pools established by the law as of June 2011. And an estimated 162,000 children have gotten insurance under another provision that bars insurers from denying coverage to children younger than 19 because of a pre-existing condition.
Free preventive care
Some 18.9 million people on Medicare have now received one or more free preventive health services, such as screening tests for diabetes, heart disease, and breast or cervical cancer in women, prostate cancer in men, and colon cancer in people of either gender. New private-insurance plans must also cover the full cost of those preventive services.
Coming in 2012
Insurers will have to give rebates if they spend too much of their revenue on administrative or other business costs instead of actual medical expenses. For large job-based plans, medical expenses should total 85 percent; for small-business and individual plans, 80 percent. The Obama administration estimates that up to 9 million people could get rebates starting in 2012, totaling up to $1.4 billion.
Clear plan descriptions
Insurers will have to describe each plan using a standardized form. It will include information on premiums, co-pays, coinsurance, and deductibles, and estimates of out-of-pocket costs for typical medical situations, such as having a baby or treating diabetes.
2014—Major reforms go fully into effect
This “individual mandate” is the subject of legal challenges and will almost certainly end up before the Supreme Court. It requires you to have health insurance if you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident. People who don’t get insurance from work, on their own, or through a public program such as Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) will be subject to a tax penalty, starting at $95 per person in 2014 and increasing steadily after that. You’ll be able to appeal the penalty based on financial hardship, and other parts of the law will make it easier to obtain affordable coverage.
Access for all
Insurers will no longer be allowed to reject applicants or charge them higher premiums because of a pre-existing condition. That will be possible because the risk of high claims for those who are seriously ill will be spread among many more people, thanks to the millions of newly insured people brought in by the individual mandate.
“Pay or play” for large employers
Companies with more than 50 full-time workers will have to offer their employees affordable health insurance or pay a penalty.
States will create centralized insurance “exchanges,” marketplaces where individuals and small businesses can compare and buy private health plans. All plans that are sold in the exchanges must offer a comprehensive set of benefits.
Families and individuals who meet income requirements will get subsidies in the form of reduced premiums and out-of-pocket costs for coverage bought through the exchanges. The subsidies will be available for families who earn up to almost $90,000.
All individuals and families with an income of up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level will qualify for Medicaid. That will be a major expansion of coverage.
Where and how you buy your insurance policy matters more than you might think. If you do it wrong, the safety of your family, home, car or even your business can be at risk. So it pays to be cautious as you consider your buying options.
Nowadays, we have all come to expect instant answers and quick results. Online shopping feeds our need for speed. It encourages us to often accept a product that actually costs more than it needs to and provides less service and benefits than we could have had. Often, by the time we realize our mistake, it is too late to correct it.
Purchasing insurance is no exception. A few minutes online and you can receive instant quotes and instant applications from almost any insurance company. If you dodge that bullet, you might still be persuaded by an insurance company’s exclusive representative to accept a policy without researching other companies and comparing rates and coverages before you sign on the dotted line. If you have no insurance background, you will want to find an independent agent in your local area who will be glad to assist you, comparing rates and coverages from a number of insurance companies to find the right fit for you.
Online Instant Insurance Quotes You can fill out online insurance applications and get insurance quotes anytime around the clock. But you are on your own. The insurance company behind the online application makes it easy and quick to use, but there is hardly ever any professional advice or attention to your circumstances. So do you really know what you’re getting? Unless you have a background in insurance and know a rider from an exclusion and a deductible from a co-pay, you could be making a very important decision without having all the facts.
“Captive” Insurance Agents Some insurance agents are under exclusive contract with only one insurance carrier. The insurance policies they can offer from that company might very well not be the best that is available for your particular needs and might not offer the best prices available. They are not in a position to help you compare rates and coverages with those of other companies to arrive at the best policy for your own needs.
Independent Insurance Agents
So your independent insurance agent becomes the person who knows you, your family, your community and your needs and serves you and not the insurance company.
Baio Insurance Agency is located in East Windsor, CT and founded by Raymond Baiocchetti in 1994.
Ray was a very generous and giving man who loved his clients and his family. Ray looked forward to speaking with his clients everyday in the office or stopping by their place of business with donuts and coffee just talking about life.