By Richard Kirsch

The Next Big Obamacare Battle: The Low-Wage Workers Who Get Left Out

April 1, 2013 4:57 pm Category: Memo Pad, National News 67 Comments A+ / A-
The Next Big Obamacare Battle: The Low-Wage Workers Who Get Left Out

Reformers should start building a coalition to push for expanding the bill and making it more affordable.

The whining from some fast-food chains that they won’t be able to afford paying for their employees’ health coverage under Obamacare have gotten a lot of press. But what is more troubling is the recent news that some big chains are concluding that the costs won’t be nearly as high as they had projected. The reason: Their employees won’t be able to afford the health insurance and will instead pay a fine and remain uninsured. This fight is just the first battle in the coming war over Obamacare that will center around those who get left out. Big flaws in the bill will mean that many low-wage workers will be forced to choose between paying huge chunks of their income on premiums or on a penalty that leaves them with no coverage at all. Reformers should take note and get ready for the coming struggle.

Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that Wendy’s lowered its estimate of the cost of Obamacare for each of its restaurants by 80 percent, from $25,000 a store to $5,000. The hamburger chain figured that many of its full-time employees, who will be offered health insurance through the company, will turn down the coverage because, as the Journal reported, “they can get insurance through Medicaid or a family member, or because they prefer to pay the penalty for not having coverage.” That penalty starts at $95 a year, although it will go up to $695 by 2016.

Wendy’s isn’t alone. Several other fast-food chains have come up with similar estimates. One example is Popeyes, which figures that since only five percent of its employees have signed up for the high-deductible plan now offered at a price of only $2.50 a week, few workers will choose to pay an estimated $25 a week for the improved coverage it will offer under Obamacare. While the new coverage required under the law will be far superior to the plan Popeyes now offers, with a good list of benefits, it will still include a steep deductible, particularly for a low-wage worker.

The debate over fast-food chains and their workers is revealing one of the biggest flaws in the Affordable Care Act. Many low-wage workers will be put in a very difficult position: pay a big chunk of their limited wages for health insurance that is costly to use, or pay a fine for the privilege of remaining uninsured. This is an example of how the debate around Obamacare is about to take a huge turn. Instead of partisan opponents fearmongering about the theoretical impact of the law, the new struggle will be around the actual experience of those Americans whom the law was written to protect: people who are uninsured because they can not afford coverage or are locked out of the system because they have a pre-existing health condition.

Come January, 2014, millions of people will get affordable health coverage for the first time. These will mostly be working people who do not get insurance on the job now but will become newly eligible for Medicaid or income-based tax credits to buy insurance in the new health insurance marketplaces (“exchanges”). This will also include those who will no longer be turned down because of a pre-existing condition. The expansion of Medicaid – in states that give that the green light – and the income-based subsidies will create a huge new constituency for Obamacare that will oppose any attempts to roll back the law.

But due to problems written into the Affordable Care Act, the news won’t all be good for many people who can’t get affordable coverage now. There are some for whom the coverage in the marketplaces will still be too costly because the subsidies are too stingy. For example, a single person who earns just $33,500 will be required to pay $258 a month in premiums, which is more than nine percent of his or her gross income, for coverage. That’s a big chunk out of a moderate income and is more than twice as much as that person would pay under Massachusetts’ current, successful law. In fact, people who earn more than two times the federal poverty level would be required to pay premiums from 6.3 percent to 9.5 percent of their incomes. If those costs are out of their financial reach, the bleak alternative is to pay a fine for remaining uninsured. It’s true that the coverage will include good benefits, free preventive services, and a cap on out-of-pocket costs. But unless it is already paying high medical bills, that won’t help a working family pay a high premium. The millions who face this dilemma will not be happy to have to make the choice between premiums that will put a big squeeze on an already tight budget or paying a fine they can’t afford for no benefits at all.

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The Next Big Obamacare Battle: The Low-Wage Workers Who Get Left Out Reviewed by on . Reformers should start building a coalition to push for expanding the bill and making it more affordable. The whining from some fast-food chains that they won’t Reformers should start building a coalition to push for expanding the bill and making it more affordable. The whining from some fast-food chains that they won’t Rating:

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  • howdidisraelget200nukes

    Exactly what is “affordable health care”?

    As long as profit remains its sole purpose, it aint gonna happen.

    Thank Obama for forcing us all to buy into the failed republiCON health care bill of 1982 and then thank him for exposing the fact that “democrats” are just the same as republiCONs.

    Thats why they both have to go.

    • Allan Richardson

      Maybe the strategy is to get people to see the fact that insurance COMPANIES, not the government, is making the care unaffordable, so we can finally wise up enough to switch to a CIVILIZED health CARE, not health PROFIT, system.

      • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

        It would have been easier to sign an executive order that makes “for profit” health care ILLEGAL like it was before 1982.

        Once again………Sherman Act.

        Then again, I dont remember this much push back from Dems in 1982 so they were either in on it or they are taking bribes from the “for profit” health cabal.

  • sigrid28

    Fast food corporations and others that now hire workers part-time at a minimum wage much lower than a living wage are just stalling for time. They know that they have put their employees in an untenable situation, and there they will be, until employers are forced to hire workers full-time for a living wage. Only then will the advantages of lowered health care costs via insurance through the Affordable Care Act have any impact on their employees.

    • lana ward

      Employers can’t afford to pay for Ocare,and that’s what they have to do to full time workers. More and more people will be getting their hours cut too, but hey, at least that sucessful Mormon businessman didn’t win!!!

      • Eleanore Whitaker

        Or….the CEOs could take a nice pay cut….like in half. That way, 75% of their fast food profits in the hundred billions a year could pay American wages and not the wages people earn in China and they could then afford to pay for their employees healthcare. BS walks…and CEOs lie. They have since the days of the Robber Barons. Today’s Robber Barons are just more slimy about their lying. Know any fast food CEO living in a ghetto? Driving a jalopy? Most of their workers do.

      • Independent1

        Lana, did you not see the video of Elizabeth Warren making the point that for McDonald’s to cover the cost of ACA for their employees that they would have to raise the cost of a combo meal that costs $7.19 by 4 cents to $7.23?? Now tell me, are you not going to buy a combo meal from McDonald’s if they raised the price of it by 4 cents? Fast food corporations are totally blowing the costs of ACA out of proportions – it’s totally absurd!! All this just to bow to the nonsense of the GOP which they blindly support!!

        • BDC_57

          No she can’t listen to a smart person like Elizabeth Warren.She would rather listen to fox fake news.

          • WhutHeSaid

            She listens to Satan. He tells her what lies and hate rants are on the day’s menu, and she dutifully spews them forth. Satan couldn’t ask for a better imp.

          • BDC_57

            You got that right

      • Independent1

        Taking my previous post just a little further: do you realize that for Wal-Mart to cover ACA for their employees, they would probably only have to add ONE CENT to the price of 1/2 the products they sell?? You do realize that they sell millions of products and make billions upon billions in profits. Just like the fast food chains, they’re making a fuss about ACA only to bow to the nonsense GOP. Just keep up being clueless!!!!

        • lana ward

          Ocare is just another step in his killing our country

      • WhutHeSaid

        Say, Lana — with all of the crying you do about Obama, perhaps you should start a blues band. A lot of Republicans will be needing gainful employment in the very near future (judging by their failure to wise up to America’s wants). Health insurance could be optional, and you could always fall back on the Republican health plan:

        1. Don’t get sick.
        2. If you get sick, die quickly.

        • lana ward

          With Ocare–don’t get sick. If you get sick, die quickly

  • Sand_Cat

    “Faults” in the plan? Those are what Republicans call advantages.

    • Independent1

      Advantages for them to use to try and gut or repeal the law?? Finding fault is what the GOP is all about!! Except with finding the tons of fault about themselves of course!

  • Dominick Vila

    The fact that the draconian pre-existing condition and caps clauses have been eliminated is enough for me to support the Affordable Care Act. Add to it the fact that 40 million uninsured Americans will have access to preventive medical care is icing on the cake. ACA is far from being perfect, if nothing else because it does not eliminate the middle man and does little to contain abuses by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, but it is a step in the right direction. Like most government programs it will need to be modified as time goes by and we learn more about its strengths and witnesses, but what ought to be obvioous to everyone is that the former system was financially unsustainable and morally wrong.

    • Independent1

      When are people, like the author of this article, going to realize that Obamacare is a legislation in process? I’m really getting tired of people already trying to judge ACA before the legislation has been fully enacted and given a rightful amount of time to do what it’s suppose to do. I’m certain that when first enacted back in the 1930s that Social Security was not an instant success and every American embraced FDR signing the legislation. I’m fairly certain that business owners who had to start kicking in money to support people’s retirement were no happier about Social Security than many seem to be happy about their costs of covering ACA.

      Obamacare was implemented in reverse: the portion of Obamacare that would tend to drive up premiums enacted first, the benefits that you allluded to: keeping insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions, extending coverage to children up to the age of 26, gradually removing the costs of the doughnut hole for seniors, requiring that insurance companies cover preventive exams with no co-pays, and possibly some other benefits I’m not aware of. Actually the second part ACA that you mentioned, extending affordable coverage to 40 plus more currently uninsured Americans will not be implemented until next year, 2014. So companies and individuals ranting today about ACA’s costs is not only premature, it is totally unfair. It’s not until next year that insurance companies will have 40 plus more people to insure; more than 40 million more people to spread their coverage risks around which in and of itself should work to drive down premiums; But on top of that, healthcare providers will have potentially millions of less currently uninsured people coming to ERs with what they think are emergencies and getting sometimes very expensive healthcare that they can in no way pay for. Care that healthcare providers currently get shortlchanged for, and for which they have to significantly pad their charges in order to recoup their operating expenses. And when I say pad their charges, I mean pad their charges sometimes by 6-10 times their actual costs or more. So, provided that ACA also provides for the government monitoring healthcare providers to ensure that as fewer and fewer people being cared for are not able to pay for their care, that healthcare providers do in fact reduce their charges, insurance companies should then start reducing their premiums dramatically bringing down the costs of ACA. But that is not going to happen overnight, and with virtually anything that is worthwhile, it takes time to achieve the ultimate objective, when Bell invented the telephone, I’m fairly sure his attempts at making it work didn’t happen immediately – in a similar fashion, people have to stop expecting that ACA is going to bring immediate relief. A study done last year showed clearly that the single biggest reason why America’s healthcare system was the most expensive in the world was because of a law that Ronald Reagan signed into law requiring that Emergency Rooms provide healtcare for anyone who came in with an emergency even if they couldn’t afford to pay for it. Unfortunately, a bill intended to cover true emergencies, has turned into a haven for millions of Americans that although they could afford insurance have chosen not to, because they know that if they need healthcare, they can run to an ER and claim they’re illness or accident is an emergency, and hospitals will not turn them away fearing that those who they might turn away will sue them for negligence.

      • sigrid28

        An excellent post that puts a useful perspective on the difficult maturation of a government program, and how the good ones have a ripple effect on any society willing to let its benefits unfold. Before we decide to let Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act without even allowing it to be fully implemented (I know that is not what YOU propose), let’s just think about cars, as an analogy. One of my best friends from college could afford a car and knows how to drive, will borrow a car or rent one when he needs to, but has set up his life in such a way that he can shop and get to work on his bike. He keeps three bikes, actually, so he can swap out parts when necessary. Maybe like others who refuse to own cars, he’s waiting for them to work out the kinks in the system. Yet think about how cars have changed in the last forty years. Of course, we’d all be healthier and need fewer medical services if we all lived the way he does.

        • BDC_57

          Good point

        • charleo1

          Well, my friend. When obviously well rounded, and articulate
          individuals such as yourself, are having to look for work. We
          know this Country has a big problem. Good luck to you both!

      • republiCONsanddemsarebothsuck

        Here is a concept for “legislation in process”. Make FOR PROFIT health care ILLEGAL like it was prior to 1982.

        Perhaps you are not aware that Eisenhower actually created “not for profit health care” to get us out of a recession while he as president.

        As part of a “jobs creation plan” which Presidents supposedly cant do, he created our highway system and a construction program that funded county’s building health care facility’s that doctors RENTED based on rates set by the county.

        rayguns failed “for profit” health care bill of 1982 forced the sale of all of those county owned, taxpayer built facilities to the “for profit” health care industry for pennies on the dollar.

        Sort of like the scam pulled on us in 2008 where our “government” sold our houses to the banks for pennies on the dollar.

        If I remember, raygun said that “free market competition will keep costs down”.

        Come to think of it, bush said the same thing about our energy policy.

        Where were the democrats?

      • wma

        I’ve been a very strong supporter of health care reform for many years. And, I consider it an utter disgrace that the U.S. has only now taken the first steps to join every advanced nation on earth & finally address the terrible injustices of an unregulated health insurance system. I totally agree that the Affordable Care Act (like any very complicated piece of new legislation) must be seen for what it is- a work in progress. For the ACA be successful long term, changes will have to be made to correct oversights in the original legislation, unintended consequences caused by the law as they arise, and changes that become necessary because of changing conditions over time. These changes could successfully be made, & must be over time for the law to work. That fact (in a nutshell) is by far the biggest obstacle the ACA must overcome to be a lasting success.

        Every single Republican member of Congress remains rabidly opposed to any meaningful health insurance reform law-PERIOD !!They used to talk about “repealing & replacing” the ACA, now the only thing they talk about is “repeal” ! Opposition to health insurance reform has become a de facto litmus test for all Republicans in or seeking public office, & I don’t expect that opposition to change any time soon.Some of the adjustments needed to fix unforeseen problems that will surely arise because of the ACA can be done by executive order or by actions of individual government departments (such as the Dept.of Health & Human Services).

        However, many of these changes would have to be approved by both Houses of Congress. I don’t see how anybody can realistically expect the GOP members of Congress to do anything that will help this law succeed. They’re ALL hell-bent on bringing the law down. They all WANT it to fail, & will throw every roadblock at it that they can think of to try & make that happen.Republican obstruction in Congress is literally going to make it impossible for one letter of the original legislation to be changed for any reason on earth.Anybody who thinks the GOP will support any changes to actually make the ACA WORK BETTER is deeply delusional.In addition to this, every GOP member of Congress will use every legislative trick in the book to try & block the appropriation of any funding remotely related to the ACA.

        The only way around this certain GOP obstructionism would be for the American people to elect a Democratic majority in the U.S. House, and a “super majority” (60+ seats) in the U.S. Senate. I just don’t see that happening in the near future. Democrats will be lucky to simply hold onto the seats they occupy now in the 2014 elections. This hard political reality makes me worry about the ACA’s long-term survival.The heavy lifting required to make health insurance reform survive & be successful has yet to be done, & I don’t have a clue on how it can get done in the current political environment.

        • Independent1

          Thanks for your comments – I certainly can’t disagree with your conclusions. And as part of the obstructionism, the GOP even has many businesses today crying wolf about increases in healthcare costs that would be even higher today if ACA had not been enacted. In otherwords, if it’s costing them $1,000/yr/employee to provide healthcare coverage (and I’m just making up that figure), it’s quite possible that had ACA not been enacted, that the $1,000/emplyee could be say $1,100 or more. As I pointed out in another post, several studies have shown that the increases in healthcare costs for 2011 and 12, increased at the slowest rate in 15 years that healthcare costs have increased – which says to me that today’s healtcare costs would be even more out of hand had ACA not been enacted.
          What all this boils down to me is that businesses. in an effort to support the GOP (probably at the GOP’s prodding), are crying wolf and trying to scare the American public, simply to make it possible for the GOP to reach it’s objectives – repeal ACA which would prevent Obama from accomplishing something really worthwhile for America – which if ACA proves to be a really help, may make it even harder for the GOP to reclaim the White House in 2016. Are you getting the picture?
          Before the last election, Romney at a corporate fund raiser got a number of large corporation CEOS to try to intimidate their employees into voting for him by getting them to send out letters to their employees saying that employees may be laid off if Obama was reelected; and a number of CEOs did just that: the Koch Bros and the CEOs of GE, BofA & others. Now fast food companies are threatening to possibly lay off employees because of ACA, even though Elizabeth Warren proved in a Senate Hearing that all it would cost McDonald’s to cover their employees under ACA is raising the price of a combo meal by 4 cents. I rest my case!!!

        • neeceoooo

          You and me both, wma

      • BDC_57

        It will cut in to ther big profits that why they fighting it.

        • Independent1

          In a way you’ve got it, but what most people and companies are failing to realize, is that without ACA, the healthcare costs would be higher today than if ACA had not been enacted. As I pointed out earlier, I think, a couple recent studies have shown that the increase in healthcare costs for 2011 and 2012 that people and companies are complaining about, have actually increased at the lowest rate for rises in healthcare costs in the past 15 years – so without ACA people would be griping even more. It’s my sense that companies are making a ruckus about healthcare costs just in support of the GOP’s efforts to not only have a reason for repealing ACA, but also to ensure that Obama doesn’t get credit for doing something that is really worthwhile. I think that can be seen by the fuss that many fast food and other restaurants have made about possibly needing to let employees go, when Elizabeth Warren made it clear at a Senate hearing that all McDonald’s would have to do is raise the price of one of their Combo Meals by 4 cents to cover their costs for ACA. Kind of ridiculous isn’t it????

          • old_blu

            You my friend are absolutely right about that, I think the whole reason they don’t want it is because it is going to be something great that President Obama has done, and there is no way they can have that.

          • neeceoooo

            There only reason for blocking it is to have the healthcare reform fail which will fall under the President and they can come back 3 years from now and say how bad he failed.

          • old_blu

            Yep. The tea party republicans don’t care what is good for America only what will make the President and anyone that approves of the President look bad, that was shown to me by the way they treated Chris Christie. And hello to you.

          • neeceoooo

            and hello right back at ya

          • BDC_57

            Yeah out to get the black guy

          • angelsinca

            very dumb racist claim

          • BDC_57

            Did it go over your head out the back door.

          • angelsinca

            If you seriously believe Obama is criticized by HALF the population, and now much of the world, because of his race, you are seriously mistaken and deeply misinformed.

          • BDC_57

            You are right but that is commonsense witch they don’t have a lot of.

      • neeceoooo

        I get pretty passionate about the healthcare act for many reasons. I have worked in healthcare for many years and have seen many patients lose their coverage or denied for obscure reasons and yet I read where the CEO’s of these insurance plans are making millions.

        The fact that the insurance company has to spend at least 80% of the premiums on actual medical care and not administrative is a wonderful thing.

        The fact that we no longer have a co-pay for preventative services is a plus.

        The fact that they can no longer deny a pre-existing condition will help the patients with devastating illnesses.

        The fact that the children are allowed to stay on the plan for additional time will help tremendously and cut down on emergency room visits.

        • BDC_57

          Very well said my friend

        • Independent1

          I couldn’t agree more with all your points. I’m an Aetna retiree after 30 years, 10 of them in Group Health.

          • neeceoooo

            If you Google the salaries of these CEO I found that the Aetna CEO, Ronald Williams, compensated $72 million in 2010 which to me is just unfathomable.

          • Independent1

            One of my friends that was an actuary who worked closely with Ron Williams had told me a couple years back that Ron was one of the most hardworking people he’d ever seen, a true workaholic, but even that does not to me justify 72 million/year in compensation for the head of a publicly owned company. I have always felt that the SEC should have long ago established maximums that CEOs of publicly owned companies can earn based on the profit and stock performance of the company. To me, CEOs of companies that have a terrible year financially and on the stockmarket, simply should not be able to walk away with golden parachutes in the millions of dollars. The salary/bonus compensation packages that CEOs of publicly owned companies earn should have guidelines based on results – they should not be awarded huge compensation packages based on the whims of a corporate board who are often influenced by the CEO himself.

      • AdamMos

        Apperently the author of this article missed the news from Vermont. They have released estimates of the cost of insurance on that state exchange. They state a family of four with an income of $ 32,000 will pay $45 a month out of pocket for a plan. That sure sounds affordable to me. This author is just another hack with to much time on his hands or is covertly pushing us toward single payor which is fine with me.. And what about the red states who claim they do not know how to set up an exchange. How stupid are they or how stupid do they think we are?

        • Independent1

          Thanks for the information! $45/month sounds like an extremely reasonable premium to provide healthcare for a family of four. I’m not sure that it’s just that they think a lot of us are stupid, I think the GOP is scared to death that ACA is going to really turn things around for America’s healthcare and they know if that happens, Americans are smart enough today to ask: “Why did you guys fight so much against something that’s really a help for the 98%? And without a good answer, voters could keep the GOP out of the White House for next decade or more.

          • sigrid28

            Here and above you rightly stress the role of fear in the GOP’s efforts to derail the ACA, both its fear of what will happen if it succeeds and the fear it intends to instill in voters with respect to the effects of this legislation on their lives. FEAR CONVERSION has become the GOP’s weapon of choice, and when it comes to fear, with respect to health everyone of us couldn’t be more vulnerable. The Republican base, however, is like a well-tuned instrument when it comes to susceptibility to (what many have called before me) the GOP’s fear mongering techniques.

            The GOP has adopted the same approach to gun violence (don’t be afraid of being shot, be afraid of having your guns taken away); to immigration (don’t be afraid of losing the Latino vote, be afraid of these aliens taking your jobs and relying on your social programs); to foreign affairs (don’t be afraid of nuclear proliferation, be afraid of not being able to defend ourselves in case of attack); to voting (don’t be afraid of losing your voice in government, be afraid of “minority” voters flooding the ballot box); unfortunately, the list goes on and on.

            Why is fear such a potent motivation for voters in the Republican base, many of whom have claimed for years that their faith is the basis for their political orientation? My hunch is that their faith cannot succeed while their hearts are filled with hatred and prejudice, exemplified by the many forms of xenophobia with which the party has allowed itself to be identified.

            If faith is the bastion of hope in Christianity, hatred is the motor generating fear within the Republican base. Not love of country, but fear of our enemies. Not concern for fellow countrymen, but fear of those whose race or religion or sexual orientation is not the same as our own. Not trust in others to try to do the right thing, but fear of others coming to kill us outright or take away our things. To use Christian imagery, while family value Republicans deplore a society that seems out of step with their values (they see the speck in their brother’s eye), hatred has immobilized the force of their faith in their lives, leaving them fearful and selfish (they do not see the log in their own). This serves the purposes of the GOP to a tee.

          • Independent1

            What a great post!! Thanks for capturing so many aspects of the GOP’s fear mongering so eloquently!! It’s clear that the GOP knows that the only way it can sell it’s disasterous policies is through creating fear.

            What I find really disturbing is that you and I can see clearly that the GOP is anything but true Christian (no true Christian would use fear for personal gain), yet many organized religions are totally blind to that fact and actually strongly encourage their congregations to vote for the members of a party that I see as nothing but a purveyor of the Devil’s principles. Promoting Hate vs Love, promoting judging and intolerance vs mercy and understanding, promoting material gain (love of money and possessions) vs putting the needs of others above the needs of oneself (as Jesus tried so hard to teach us).

            Somehow, the message needs to get out to the poor souls who are putting their trusts in churches that are clearly leading them astray by asking them to align themselves with a political party whose policies are as anti-Christian as it gets, and which following can only lead them to Hell’s Fire.

            Again, thanks for your very eloquent post!!

          • sigrid28

            You are too kind and very welcome.

  • Lovefacts

    Once again big business wins at the cost of the worker. It’s important to remember history. This spiral of costly medical care and medical insurance began under Reagan when his administration succeeded in changing the laws and regulations thereby enabling medical insurance companies to change from non-profit status to big-time profit-making, while maintaining their state monopolies.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Actually, right now, HMOs are jacking the cost of healthcare because they know come 2014, they will be under more scrutiny for their unaffordable price gouging. No hospital administrator in the US needs to earn a hundred million a year. His talents and skills are NOT that “attractive.” Is that what these jerks want us to believe these days? That their skills and talents are so “attractive” that they and only they can do these jobs? Then, please do explain why several recent CEOs took jobs, worked in the top position for 18 months and then left with a couple of hundred million in severance pay…This is what these idiots call “attractive?” A herd of cattle doesn’t create this much BS in a hundred years.

    • Independent1

      I don’t disagree with your post, but I’m not sure all the jacking up of costs by healthcare providers is to feed their CEOs more money. I believe that with the Great Recession, more and more people have been forced to drop their health insurance which has just increased the number of people that are using Emergency Rooms as their doctor for virtually anything that ails them., And because hospitals and even doctors, who know that what a patient has come to them for isn’t a true emergency, they fear not providing the healthcare (for free) because of the potential for the people with nonemergency type ailments to sue them for negligence; should they be wrong with their diagnosis (or just because they don’t want to be involved in litigation). So it’s not until ACA encourages and supports more and more currently uninsureds to be covered by insurance, that we’ll likely see a decline in healthcare costs. But as I pointed out in another post, that’s really happening already – a recent study has showed that the rate of increase in healthcare costs has actually slowed to the lowest rate in 15 years.

    • elw

      They did the very same thing when Medicare was implemented.

      • Independent1

        And from what I understand (i had just been born), they did the same thing when FDR got Social Security legislation passed: the GOP has fought against everything that would benefit any American outside the 2% richest in the country. If the GOP had it’s way, not only would millions more people be homeless in Ameria because they would not have the Social Security safety net to keep them off the streets; Americans would also be dying younger because millions more would not be able to afford the healthcare that Medicare provides them and would die at a younger age. And as bad as all that is, if the GOP had its way, millions of people like me who have pension plans would never have gotten them (busnesses and the GOP were very resistive to having companies even provide pensions (they were a function of unions which the GOP is working on destroying), and the GOP and businesses weren’t even really in favor of the concept of 401ks; so guess where millions more of us would be today without pensions, 401ks, Social Security or Medicare??? Either out in the street or dead at a much younger age!!! (What I guess the GOP and many companies fail to realize, is that although those of us who are older are possibly not as big of spenthrifts as the younger, we do spend money, so without more of us around, their profits could be decidedly lower.) Actually, the more I think of it, I’ve probably spent more money over the past 15 years since I retired than I had spent in the previous 30.

        • elw

          Actually the Conservatives have been fighting Social Security and a single payer health care system since the very beginning of the 20th century when progressives here in the US first started talking about them. It took until the great depression to get Social Security when seniors were starving to death on the streets. They tried for a single payer health care system then, but couldn’t get it; they only got Medicare when Senior started dropping dead on their homes because none of the insurer in our employment based health insurance system would cover them. The most ironic thing about the history of both programs, in spite of their success, the Conservatives are still using the very same rhetoric and arguments about both programs that they have been using since the very beginning of the fight. They clearly lack creativity and imagination. In both cases it was the outcry from the public that made the Conservatives capitulate and allow the enactment of both programs.

  • R. DuFresne

    So fix the percentages to make more affordable to low paid workers OR novel idea, raise their pay to a rate that makes this affordable alternative. Its still in infancy stage, so time to work with rules, tweak what won’t work, make it more sound.

    • Independent1

      Don’t you think that all the fuss is a little ridiculous when Elizabeth Warren in a Senate hearing pointed out that for McDonald’s to cover their costs associated with implementing ACA all they would have to do is raise the price of a Combo Meal by 4 cents???

  • Silver Fang

    What we need is free health care like Canada, France and the Czech Republic have. As longas one is working and paying taxes, they ddon’t have to pay out of pocket for treatments or meds.

  • latebloomingrandma

    Once more and more people get integrated into a health care system and start getting preventive care, it will be interesting to see what happens to costs, especially costs of chronic disease care. With better prevention, costs may decrease if we have better “disease management” and less costly care due to devastating complications, such as kidney failure and strokes. I think this country will one day have single payer, probably in a hundered years when we are all dead. A whole mind set has to be changed, such as what happened with smoking. Of course the dilemma is how to pay for it. For one thing, we could call a tax a tax, instead of a fee or penalty or a benefit. If businesses pay many $$ added to their product/service to pay for employees’ benefit of healthcare, just turn it into a tax. Increase the payroll tax on employees to include health care for all. Remove the middle man of for-profit insurance companies, or keep them for your “supplemental.”. We already have the template. It’s called Medicare. Hospitals and health care workers are still independent and are not gov’t employees.

    • Independent1

      You made some good points at the beginning of your comment: in addition to ACA helping to drive down healthcare costs by drastically reducing the number of people who get healthcare and then can’t payfor it because they’re not insured, the expansion of benefits like covering preventive care without a copay, extending coverage to children through age 26 and making medications more affordable for seniors who enter the doughnut hole, all this should in time reduce illnesses that now cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and also help to drive down our overall healthcare costs; which it turn should result in much lower insurance premiums.

  • joeham1

    As usual Dominick speaks in 1/2 truths. The only good news about the ACA is the covering of pre-existing conditions. Everything else about the massive disaster will make health care worse. The relationship between doctor and patient will be now have the Government in the middle, and the costs which were predicted to be 900 billion are now over 2.8 trillion. Dominick was correct by saying it’s not perfect, but if Dominick would tell the whole truth, he would admit the ACA is a horrible bill that by design will drastically increase the cost of healthcare and reduce the quality. The bill did not include tort reform which has and will continue to cause a huge increase in costs and has forced many doctors to retire early because of the out of control costs of medical malpractice insurance. The left wing trial lawyers would not let Tort reform in the bill. The 2.8 trillion price tag as predicted by the CBO makes ACA a disaster for the country. The only cost containment provisions will force more doctors out of practice, and reduce the quality of care. Government involvement in healthcare can’t make it better. The only solution is a new bill that gives the states control of their healthcare, and increases competition and therefore lowers costs. As is typical this bill makes sure the special interests are covered and not the people!

    • Allan Richardson

      And it’s better to have an insurance company in the middle than government?

      • BDC_57

        Not when insurance company’s all they care about ther profits and not about the people that pay for insurance.

    • elw

      The quality of our healthcare has been in the garbage for over a decade. We now have health insurance companies standing between doctors and their patients with their interests more in their pocket than the patient’s health. The truth about cost
      is simple; no one knows what the true cost will be at this point. Any guess is
      just that a guess that is results of what numbers the guesser uses. As far as
      competition goes, outside of Medicare, that what we have now State controlled
      healthcare – now how well is that working?

    • Dana Es

      Health care without the changes had already gotten worse. For many of us a committee decides which medical tests and what prescriptions we can get. Our doctors aren’t deciding that– regular insurance companies are. Haven’t you been paying attention as premiums and deductibles have been continually rising as care decisions made by doctors and patients have been falling? Nothing to do with Obama.
      Some of the best things that could happen as far as the cost of healthcare would be doctors willing to work for salaries with part of their education expense paid for by the government and prescriptions available at the prices that other countries are paying. It’s already been determined that tort reform would make very little difference.

      Funny how there are some doctors willing to work for a lower income because they consider their practice a “calling,” while there are other doctors who always look at how much money they can make.

  • clarenceswinney

    You fight Min Wage at $10 just below poverty wage.
    You will not lift tax cut for top 2% who have income like 4000 Million , 3000 million, etc..
    You hate the Safety Nets. Do you profess to be a Christian yet Jesus hated greedy rich and helped the poor as his main priority.
    Why do you Means Test the poor on Medicaid yet allow my rich pals to get Social Security and Medicare.
    You allow redistribution of wealth to a few while 46 million need Food Stamps and 44 million get the minimum wage

  • elw

    Again the Republicans will display the ironic behavior of suddenly acting like they care
    about those people who they have made a habit of insulting with nasty, racist
    comments. Never forget the “47%” and “free Stuff” descriptions used to explain President Obama’s supporters. I hope when the time comes the Progressives make a strong point of reminding everyone how the Republicans have fought tooth and nail against any kind of health care reform that will help those that need it the most and to remind people of how many compromises were made just to get Obamacare. There is no doubt that Obamacare
    needs some modification, but it will make progress toward the ultimate goal of a single payer system and coverage for all. Considering the road blocks the Republicans have put in the way, Obamacare is a giant step forward in the right direction.

  • Budjob

    At the present time I have an issue regarding my prescription drugs.My gastroenterologist diagnosed me with ulcerative colitis.However the infamous United Healthcare has DENIED my prescription for either Asacol 800mg.or Lialda.Both of these medications are used in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis.I’m assuming that they would have me get very sick and be admitted to the hospital for an enormous cost rather than pay for the medication necessary to treat this malady.I am enrolled with United Healthcare through AARP.Don”t even go there folks!

  • Budjob

    One final comment.Why should individuals go to the Doctor when they are sick.The doctor will give you a prescription that is (1) too expensive and you can’t afford it or,(2) the insurance carrier will deny it! What a fucked up country!!!

  • 4sanity4all

    My daughter earns, like the single person in the example, about 33,500 per year. If she can get good health coverage for 238 per month, she would be happy to pay that. She pays more than that now for coverage that does not include basic health care. Also, in the other example, a fast food worker who would pay $25 for really good care, I have been there, and I would do that. I know $25 is a high percentage of a low wage, but if a fast food worker got a bad burn (as happens) and had excellent health coverage, it would be worth it to be able to get the health care without incurring a big bill. It sounds affordable, and I am looking forward to getting better health care which will cover my pre-existing condition. The projected cost will be about what I am paying now, for a very high deductable with exclusions, and no basic health care. Right now, I must pay for insurance which covers nothing, everything has been out of my pocket for the last few years. With the ACA, I will pay the same amount to insurers, but they will actually have to give me some health care.

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