Obamacare as Symptom

I am coming up on a choice to sign up for Medicare. I am healthy with no preexisting conditions requiring ongoing care and I don’t need ongoing drug prescriptions.

I have four choices for healthcare insurance and annual cost exposure in 2014 as follows:

  • Private Policy: If healthy $4,000 – If sick $17,000. (This choice goes away for 2015.)
  • Obamacare Policy: If healthy $7,800 – If sick $14,150.
  • Medicare & Supplement: If healthy $3,260 – If sick $3,260.
  • Medicare & Advantage Plan: If healthy $1,400 – If sick $6,700.

I am not an actuary but Medicare is like Santa Claus coming to town every day of the year. Not only is it the least expensive choice by far but Medicare with a Supplement policy offers universal access while the other choices have severely limited networks. Looking at the comparative numbers above a guess is that my Medicare coverage will be subsidized by other taxpayers to the tune of at least $7,500 a year.

Heck, even a typical obamacare subsidy recipient at my age making $30,000 in taxable income would pay $2,500 in premium with a $6,350 out of pocket max for a 2014 obamacare policy.

Ah, but you say I paid into Medicare my entire working life! Correct, but that money is almost gone. The Medicare Trust Fund for Part A Hospitalization will be broke in little more than 10 years and over 70% of Part B and Part D funding comes from current general and payroll tax revenues (not from premium payments made by those enrolled).

Obamacare is bad news but the real problem is much bigger. Most of the 155 million working Americans (“working” people) have employer based coverage for their family’s health insurance (covering a total of 170 million people) AND are paying most healthcare expenses for the other  140 million other Americans; roughly 66 million receiving $430 billion in Federal Medicaid support (“poor” people), 50 million receiving over $500 billion in Medicare support (“old” people), plus billions of dollars more available for Medicaid expansion and premium support under Obamacare (“uninsured” people constituting about 25 million people).

The real problem with Obamacare is that it adds to rather than resolves the actuarial problem of healthcare funding across generations and income groups as time goes by.

Mr. Obama and his progressive friends think this funding stress is a great thing because it sets up universal entitlement to healthcare and then forces somebody to pay for it, presuming “the rich” will  be “justly” soaked in the political process as a majority receiving subsidies vote to sustain their subsidies. This is just petty political manipulation that fails to address the real problem.

The real problem is that we have protected political constituents and politicians, both more interested in protecting their subsidies and their power than in solving the problem of funding reasonable healthcare across generations and income groups.

When I sign up for Medicare I become a political constituent with a vested financial interest in protecting my subsidy. Should I do it? Should my children pay to subsidize my healthcare with no assurance there will be any money left to pay for their healthcare in retirement? Is this a responsible way to run a country?

Can you help me with my questions?

Regards, Pete Weldon

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