Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cadillac Insurance Could Apply to Anyone Who Presently Has Insurance!

Okay, I'm being facetious, but as I discussed before, a Cadillac insurance plan is usually described as a high premium policy. Generally speaking, that means an insurance plan that is expensive coverage, and usually defined by the total cost of the insurance premiums, rather than what healthcare coverage the patient actually gets. Let's say some poor Joe was able to get healthcare coverage even with a pre-existing and had astronomically high premiums. Voila! He'd be in the Cadillac insurance category! How fair is that?
I have heard one individual say that it could depend upon what type of coverage you had; in other words, if you had insurance that covered dental and vision, that could be considered a Cadillac insurance plan.
When I was younger, I had insurance coverage based upon what I could afford to pay out of pocket in premiums, co-pays and deductibles. And it was sort of a balancing act between out of pocket expenses and how much coverage I could get. Just getting started in life, I didn't have a much extra cash on hand to pay for the occasional drugs and doctor visits and I certainly didn't have anything that I could save since I was just starting out. So, I had to have low deductibles and co-pays. I could also opt for a policy that would pay a higher percentage of the healthcare cost in the event of hospital visits, etc. - if I could afford it in the additional premium cost. Of course, all that meant was my payroll deducted premium would be somewhat higher than average. So, I guess I had a "Cadillac" policy and didn't know it.
So, just who is it that have these Cadillac plans in the government's estimation? Getting a straight and definitive answer is about the same as asking them if they can say with certainty what is and what is not included in the healthcare bills from the House and Senate... all five versions apparently say different things. And who the heck really knows since they're not reading the darn things???
Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Finance Committee, had set the threshold for most people at $8,000 in annual premiums for an individual and $21,000 for a family. However, the estimate is that only 2 or 3 percent of covered workers and families would hit that benchmark, so there are clearly not going to be enough people to "rob from" through taxes to cover the 40-million-some-odd people who supposedly don't have any coverage. In fact, the Baucus plan still leaves about 15 million without coverage.
So, besides taxing the very tiny percentage of people who fall into the rich category and robbing $500B from the old folks' Medicare Advantage plan (for which they pay extra to have!), there hasn't been any other revelation as to how this healthcare reform is going to be (1) deficit neutral and (2) not increase taxes on the middle and lower income people.
That presents a major problem. So, just how will the politicians decide what constitutes a Cadillac insurance plan? Oh, that's easy. They're going to review the majority of the plans that the 90% of Americans have now. They're going to determine the average coverage and then determine that anything above that average will be considered the "Cadillac".
As mentioned before, the BaucuSCARE bill isn't going to cover everyone. They're still saying that 15 million or more will not be covered. So, the arbitrary number of the 47 million, which had dropped down to something in the high 30 millions (you just pick any huge number) only about half of them will be covered under his plan. How is that so much better than what we have now? We will still have the lawyers skinning doctors and drug companies alive. We will still have drug companies gouging US citizens while practically giving drugs to other countries for pennies on the dollar. We will still have the Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse.... all of which will remain under HR3200 AND the Baucus' bill - as well as any of the others, I'm sure. So, ALL of the problems with our current US healthcare system we'll just carry those over to the next healthcare system, and for the switch we'll have less quality care, but add 15 million "to the rolls" who are basically getting free medical care now.... just check any hospital emergency room!
The other thing of great concern is the fact that when the new healthcare reform act is passed and signed by the president, the changes will not take effect immediately. Paying for the plan will begin immediately, but the actual plan itself will not be implemented until 2013. That means that we will be paying for a healthcare plan over three years before we can utilize its benefits. (Why don't I go buy a real Cadillac right now on a ten-year loan and wait for them to deliver it to me in three years. How smart is that?)
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last week which claimed the Baucus bill would not add to the national deficit. This was the "plain speak" version not the "political-speak" one with all the confusion - I mean - all the details, either! But this report assumes that those employers who had previously provided healthcare coverage for their employers and who would drop employee coverage in favor of the less costly non-coverage tax penalty as provided under the Baucus bill would increase their worker paychecks by an equal amount which they spent on the insurance coverage. (I'm not sure if this would be less the penalty they would have to pay!) This practice will take a nontaxable event for the employer (the health care provision) and replace it with a taxable one (employee wages). Proponents of the bill say this will produce $83 billion in government revenues. If this revenue doesn't come into the coffers, then the Baucus bill will add billions of dollars to the federal deficit in the next ten years.
So I'm asking, why would a company drop employee coverage just so it could pay more (in fines, taxes, and wages) than it did before? It does seem more likely they'd just drop the expensive insurance, pay the fine, and let the insurance part go! Sounds more logical, doesn't it?
Overall, it would be much more effective and much less expensive if politicians would just address the problems that presently exist in our current healthcare system rather than building a whole new system around those problems. It's like building a new house on a crumbling foundation. And that is exactly what the American people are trying to tell Congress - only they're not listening.
All I can say is any Democrats who supports any final bill of this type should be and will be held responsible for this healthcare mess when premiums rise, taxes increase, deficits skyrocket, and Big Government's power grab reaches farther and farther into the American's wallets and way of life.

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