A loyal reader asked me to comment on the dramatic rise in health-care premiums highlighted in an article, Soaring Health Premium Just Makes Me Feel Sick, from the Irish Independent. The author, Martina Devlin, writes of an individual in Ireland who just received her new health-care premium. Devlin offers:
I SERIOUSLY debated cancelling my private health insurance recently. When the renewal notice arrived in the post I did a double-take at the size of the bill, cross-checked the increase — which was almost 20pc — and gulped.
Value for money it wasn’t. In fact, it struck me as a hefty charge to cover what I regarded as an insubstantial risk. You can never discount the danger, but I’m still reasonably young and healthy (touch wood).
Reviewing the article immediately reminded me of a conversation that I had with my wife’s cousin, a doctor in a community hospital. I spoke with him over the holidays and asked him his take on the prospects for health care reform and legislation here in our country.
His take was as follows:
1. Insurance companies were bought off by the administration to support legislation without a public option.
2. Pharmaceutical companies were bought off by the administration.
3. 15 million uninsured (5 % of the American population) will clearly benefit.
4. Those with pre-existing conditions will benefit.
5. The elderly will suffer as health care is rationed.
6. Doctors and others in the health field will pay in terms of lower compensation (bending the cost curve).
7. The American Medical Association (AMA), which came out in support of Obamacare, only represents approximately 17% of the physicians in this country.
8. Who really pays for the costs associated with the health reform plan? Largely, middle income American taxpayers who will be forced to pay higher premiums as highlighted in Ms. Devlin’s article.
Ultimately, the reform as drafted is a massive redistribution program.
In summary, he said that for this legislation to work it must have a public option to force the insurance companies to lower costs. Without that, it does not work. But to get the insurance companies to call off their lobby, the administration has to accede to legislation without the public option.
I am much more comfortable and familiar with Wall Street than I am the world of health care. That said, my wife’s cousin is a great guy and extremely trustworthy. I’ll tell you what. I felt ill about the proposed health care reform after speaking with him. I am not surprised that the American populace at large is also overwhelmingly opposed to this so-called reform.
All opinions, especially from those in the health care industry, encouraged and appreciated.