Sun 10 May, 2015 04:30 pm
During the course of the last few decades an old but rather seductive concept has been written into our legislation in the US. The notion of purchasing insurance for financial security should "something bad" happen. Odd that this simple logic has failed to bring everyone into the market.
The vast funding of advertising to this end boggles the mind. I have no specific figures to place before you, no long tedious tables of data, nor do I have the decades of involvement on the "inside" of these companies. All I have is a perspective of an average American who has worked from the age of 12 to make ends meet.
During my lifetime I have held many jobs. I was exposed as a small child to the chemicals being produced at a local chemical plant during the Vietnam war. This led to my being introduced at an early age to health care at a very personal level.
As a young voting/working adult in Texas I watched our television and the flood of advertisements calling for mandatory auto insurance for 3 consecutive years. Paid for by political action groups who magically disappeared after the referendum passed in 1986, the law was finally put into effect. Claims were that if everybody had insurance, the individual cost would go down.
Boy were they wrong. The cost of mandatory liability doubled. Decades later we get to see our Congress spend years and countless hours of debate and deal making concessions to create a law that is so unclear nobody remembers what it's name is. And to what effect? We now have to buy insurance or pay a penalty in addition to our income taxes.
Here is the best or worst part as you may care to take it. I have been a Type 1 diabetic since the age of 8. 47 years have passed during which time I rarely had health insurance unless working for a corporation. I have worked and lived and loved and hoped the health care industry would actually seek a cure. I paid cash for the insulin and syringes and my doctor's visits. The cost was difficult but manageable. In 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was enacted, I priced a policy that had a $10k annual deductible and would cost a modest $12oo per month. At that time I was spending, including quarterly visits and blood work about $3k per year on this. I did not buy that policy.
What I did was ask the Canadian fellows I visited and worked with in a machine shop what they thought of their system. I was not surprised at the gross misleading statements we heard during the ACA debates.
In Canada you pay %25 of your income no matter how much you make. You want more take home cash than you're getting? Improve your value to the business. I asked "What do you like the least about your system?" and they all agreed the dentists won't prescribe pain medication is the worst thing. "How very odd" I thought. They also said if you wanted elective surgery or dental implants or goodies like that you had to buy a supplement plan but that it is based on your income. The cost to the bookkeeper single mother of one paid $57/month so her 9 year old daughter could get braces. Dental too?........
Okay so now back to the present. We are required by law to purchase health and auto liability insurance. Yet in the streets of Houston Texas alone are countless thousands of individuals who have and can afford neither. Some are even citizens. The cost of medication has in some cases has increased by orders of magnitude. The same insulin I paid $160 per vial 2 years ago is priced at over $500. Luckily I can still get blood pressure medicine at Wal-Mart for $4/month.......
All of this begs the question:
Is mandatory insurance a tax?
If it is mandated by law passed by the Congress regardless of State or Federal level and you have to pay out of pocket is it not a tax?
Miriam Webster defines tax as:
: to require (someone) to pay a tax
: to require someone to pay a tax on (something)
: to require a lot from (something or someone) : to put demands on (something or someone)
So if we are required to pay for something, are we not being taxed? And if so are we being taxed to provide for the profits of the corporations? Primarily the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. I see the statement of benefits for my visit to the endocrinologist and her office gets $5 more than my co-pay of $40. And they have to pay insurance as well.......
I have always worked. You may call me a socialist, or a liberal or pick your insult as you will. I am an independent contractor now. I pay an outrageous amount of money for a health care policy I have to do battle with each time I use it. I believe I am a reasonably intelligent fellow who knows when he's been had.
I have been hearing all these great bastions of our Congress (those who have "served" in office more than 2 terms) and countless others calling this Obamacare for several years now. Call it what you like, I choose to call it another tax on the working man. If our Congress mandates it, they are accountable for it.
Let's not call it Obamacare, let's call it the Federal Insurance Tax so we can all sleep better at night knowing the CEO's of United Health Care and Cigna will get to keep deciding what our health care needs are.
My family fought the British for the right of self-determination. I choose the pen as my weapon and will use it as long as I am able.