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Affordable Care Act: Is it affordable?

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  • Milt South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 9:43 p.m.

    to 2bits .... There is one thing that will work to control how the money is spent, if not the actual cost of healthcare services and products. If a for profit insurance company doesn't spend 80% (85% for non profit) of all the premiums on actual healthcare ..then they MUST refund the extra money collected back to the customers! Wow, to think that an insurance company can't direct huge amounts of the premiums on paying shareholders profits, executive bonuses and pushing sale pitches... but actual healthcare to humans -- what a concept. I believe it will help hold costs in check to the consumer.

    I think that healthcare is a basic societal right just like how we have determined access to electricity is a basic right... a regulated cost-managed public utility. Clear out the profit motive for insurance providers... let them live with a certain good return like they do in most every other developed nation on earth, and just like the public utilities companies do in this country.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 30, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    @Kinglore

    RE:
    "Jefferson

    Kalispell, MT

    Put me in the skeptics camp. Last year they also reported a "modest" increase in insurance premiums of around 5%. My company is insured through Aetna, one of the 3 largest providers in the country. Our premiums jumped over 50% and the other two largest providers followed suit.

    =======

    Tell me, did your health change?, did your costs to them suddenly go up 50% over nothing?
    They [insurance companies] are gouging you while they still can,
    because under ADA, the mean old nasty Government will regulate then and can and will limit their premiums at modest rates.
    [Like the mean old nasty Government does with your adjustable mortgage loan rates 1%+/- maximum per year, or your Utility rates must also get approval from the mean old nasty Government.]

    What you are witnessing is called greed - let the "free" market decide.

    i.e.,
    Gettin' 'while the gettin's good!

    They are giving you healthcare just to make you happy or healthy.
    They are a "BUSINESS"
    and healthcare is the widget they are selling you.

    It's what businesses are in business to do, make money - the more money, the better.

    Care about you?
    Only in their commercials.

  • Kinglore ,
    Aug. 30, 2013 8:13 a.m.

    RE:
    "Jefferson

    Kalispell, MT

    Put me in the skeptics camp. Last year they also reported a "modest" increase in insurance premiums of around 5%. My company is insured through Aetna, one of the 3 largest providers in the country. Our premiums jumped over 50% and the other two largest providers followed suit. Other insurers completely withdrew from the California market. My sister, employed in SLC at a health care provider firm had their rates jump a similar amount. So first, the numbers being reported are fiction. Second, look at all the news stories for the entire year about employee hours being cut and spouse benefits being eliminated, sweetheart deals for Unions (not sweet enough, they are screaming) and certain corporations and it is impossible to believe that health care is becoming more affordable and accessible. Finally, look to the quote from Senator Reid who basically said, "Of course it was designed to force a single-payer system." "

    If your coverage jumped up 50% that is insane!!! My company also uses Aetna and ours only went up 4%. Something doesn't seem right in your area of the country.

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 11:25 a.m.

    While it may be too early to judge how ACA will really affect us, to prepare, hours ARE being cut in the work places. Yes, this is done mostly to people who don't already qualify for health insurance (i.e. they work part-time). Under the old plan, employees who worked part-time had more flexibility in their work hours than they do now, collectively speaking.

    Under ACA, my employer has to scrutinize through extensive documentation and reporting how long each PT employee works and has to retain a record of it for auditing purposes - an administrative nightmare. If PT employees work anything over (even one minute over) 125 hours during a calendar month, they would immediately qualify for benefits and would have to be enrolled. From a business perspective, it's tedious to track and lethal to the pocketbook if a PT employee goes over. Therefore, cutting back hours makes business sense, but there is still great expense to set up the procedures and policies & there has to be accountability & training established to those who track time - the supervisors who sometimes think/feel they have better things to do. Is ACA affordable? From my arguments here, not for business.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    Aug. 29, 2013 12:34 a.m.

    You all are missing the upside of Obamacare. It will create millions of new jobs. 4,000,000 full-time jobs will become 6,000,000 part time jobs (without insurance).

    I know having the government take care of us sounds nice. However, ask any small business owner how likely they are to hire over the next few years. Most I know are sitting things out until they see just how bad things are going to be.

    UT BRIT - I visit Europe regularly and if I ever got sick in England - I would take the next train to France. Of course in France, they have started offering health insurance because the government cuts back on what they will cover each year.

    You cannot get something for nothing and, when the government is involved, your more likely to get nothing for a lot of something (new taxes).

  • NoBoxScot Salt Lake City, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2013 7:12 p.m.

    Whenever the government takes over something and gives it a name, you can be sure it means just the opposite. I don't care who comes up with a system - Obama, the Democrats, the Republicans, Libertarians, etc; our basic sick-care system is broken everywhere you turn. Our medical education system is outdated and under the control of the pharmaceutical industry. As is the FDA. There are few if any doctors who spend the time or have the skill to ferret out causes, they treat symptoms with drugs, surgery or radiation while less expensive more effective treatments are shunned.
    Then go to a typical grocery chain and the food is of such poor nutritional quality and so laden with pesticides, preservatives, dyes, and artificial ingredients they should put the ingredients list in a drawing of a test tube with noxious vapors bubbling out - then add a big question mark for what they are hiding.
    Then there is all the gene tweaking and monocropping by the megafarm$ leading to major destruction of our soil and food supply you've got to hope nature has a miracle recovery plan.
    Is the Affordable-Care-Act affordable?! WRONG question, wrong road.

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Aug. 28, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    Yes it is affordable... if you are rich or poor. Thats about it. the plan doesn't make sense - getting uninsurable people insurance is great, but making people do it if they don't want it is rediculous. It makes married people who both work pay twice the amount that 2 people living together but not married would pay. How is that fair?

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 28, 2013 4:16 p.m.

    To "Noodlekaboodle" here is some proof that Obamacare is not working:

    From National Review "Over 100K New Jersey Residents to Lose Their Affordable Health Plans under Obamacare" I think that making more uninsured people is not a stated goal of Obamacare.

    From CNBC "Companies sweating Obamacare tax—and acting on it: Study" There they found that over 80% of the businesses surveyed expect some icrease in the cost of insurance or else cuts in benefits.

    CBS news found that "Obamacare to raise claims cost 32 percent, study shows".

    So lets go over the goals of Obamacare. First, is to make it cheaper. Its second is to get everybody covered under insurance.

    The results of Obamacare has been to make it more expensive for both businesses and individuals. It has also made it so more people have lost their insurance coverage.

    It is a failure based on the goals that we were told about.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 3:32 p.m.

    pragmatist,
    you seem to be missing the point.

    thanks to Obamacare, MORE people will be pushed into part-time; more people will lose employer provided insurance. not only will fewer obtain it, but more will lose it.

    and we know from the failure in MA that universal insurance does NOT mean increased access to health care. Obamacare is, was, and always will be a lie!

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 2:37 p.m.

    @Jefferson
    No, that doesn't prove Obamacare doesn't work. Ancedotes don't prove that things are happening on a large scale. If there was a study that showed employer insurance increased, and there was proof it was Obamacare I would look at it, but it doesn't exist as of now. My guess is that one of the many other factors that can raise your premium occurred. From what you said it sounds like your employer has a group policy. A member or two of your group with high priced claims can cause an increase in premiums, similar to the way a claim on auto or home insurance increases premiums. Because you aren't buying an individual policy this can effect premiums for the whole group. The other thing that happens is many times people blame massive increases on an insurance company, when it's actually an employer cutting their premium contributions, so even if the total cost is similar the employee pays more. Finally, premiums have been increasing each year for decades, much longer than Obamacare has been around.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 28, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    Lost, that was the point generally people who pre ACA didn't have health care because they were part time employees are now still being classified as part time. Pre ACA part time was 32 hours or less. Post ACA is >30 hours. My expertise 40 years of senior HR work. Most of those losing an hour or two are not losing health care they once had.

    UPS isn't dropping family coverage. They are telling some employees that if their spouse has or is eligible for coverage else where they won't cover them. This is an old, old, old, corporate trick and has been around for a long time.

    Also if you can show where I called Howard a liar please do. I said he needs to be fully honest and admit that his friends who are losing some hours (probably one or two) were part time in the first place and not getting health care.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Aug. 28, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    The current trends without the ACA is obviously unsustainable. My insurance rates have increased faster than inflation for the last 15 years. And now, to boot they are cutting benefits.

    The regulation is absolutely HELPING the medical community right now make record profits. There is no place on Earth were the wages and profits are higher than in the US. It's time for the regulations to bring it back down to a global average among industrialized nations.

    There are NO market forces at all right now, or when was the last time you were offered a price list? When you ask, they can't even tell you the price. You have to literally sign a blank check when you sign the hospital admission papers of financial responsibility.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    Aug. 28, 2013 12:35 p.m.

    I can proudly report that even with Obamacare my insurance rates have not increase. I just wish that I could say that I had the same benefits.

    What people don't see or have not been commenting on is that the insurance companies have had to cut what they pay for down to a minimum. Just a year ago I could take a sick child into the doctor and have my child looked over and it only cost me $25. Now, I have to pay $5000 out of pocket first, then the insurance will start to pay 80% of the bill.

    Now that was before full implementation. I can only imagine how much more will be cut when it all comes online.

    So, in order to maintain a similar coverage that I had before Obamacare I now need to add a HSA to my medical plan.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    HVHeretic
    labor IS a commodity. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

    UPS is a poor business model? how long have they been around?

    Olive Garden is a poor business model? How many of those do you see in every town?

    yeah, poor business models may not be an excuse, but they have no bearing on the examples I cited.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    Neither, the exchanges, subsidies, and most of Obamacare hasn't gone into effect yet. Obamacare has had a trivial impact on costs in either direction the past couple years because only small pieces of it are in place right now. Ask the question again 3 years from now.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 28, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    @2 bits

    I was in the States last year, I saw plenty of people with messed up teeth. I can play the stereotype game too, shall we start with some classic American ones? No, because it is a very silly game to play.

    Statistics wise American kids have more rotten teeth than UK kids, in a 2006 OECD study, American 12 year olds on average will have 1 decayed, filled or missing tooth. In the UK it is 0.6.

    I was mainly pointing out that you in fact didnt know how the UK system worked while professing that you did.

  • Mike in Cedar City Cedar City, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Hospital charges out of line? No question about it. There is no effective competitive forces to keep health provider charges in line with real costs, especially now that so many hospitals are "for profit" institutions. But even the so called "non profits" charge based upon what they think they can get away with rather than actual costs.

    It is alao true that the ACA does not address that problem in any meaningful way, because it is essentially limited reform of the Health Insurance Industry, not the Health Provider Industry. But it does control costs somewhat by limiting the profit margin of the health insurers. And we do have one example of a payer system that does more to control provider costs, and that is the single payer Medicare system.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 9:50 a.m.

    Lost: Poor business models and greed are no way to run a business, if you look at companies who treat employees as an important resource instead of a replaceable commodity, they're doing great. I can only hope this trend that Costco uses will catch on, but probably not at walmart or hobby lobby.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 9:30 a.m.

    UT Brit,
    So why are so many Brits missing so many teeth? I noticed it a LOT more there than I do here. Especially the elderly.

    I don't know much detail about the medical system in the UK. But I do know about Medicare in the US, and if more than a filling is needed, extraction is all that's covered. Maybe that's why so many of the poor in America are missing so many teeth. I don't know, but there may be a connection.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 28, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    pragmatist,
    calling Howard a liar? what do you have to back that up other than baseless assumptions?

    Forever 21 - clothing store - is doing it; many Olive garden franchises are doing it. True, they may not now offer insurance, but Obamacare mandates they offer it to certain employees, so they are reducing the number of those employees. UPS is no longer offering family coverage directly because of Obamacare. Anyone who denies that companies are cutting back on hours and health insurance offerings as a direct result of Obamacare are being exactly what you accuse Howard of being.

  • Jefferson Kalispell, MT
    Aug. 28, 2013 7:55 a.m.

    Put me in the skeptics camp. Last year they also reported a "modest" increase in insurance premiums of around 5%. My company is insured through Aetna, one of the 3 largest providers in the country. Our premiums jumped over 50% and the other two largest providers followed suit. Other insurers completely withdrew from the California market. My sister, employed in SLC at a health care provider firm had their rates jump a similar amount. So first, the numbers being reported are fiction. Second, look at all the news stories for the entire year about employee hours being cut and spouse benefits being eliminated, sweetheart deals for Unions (not sweet enough, they are screaming) and certain corporations and it is impossible to believe that health care is becoming more affordable and accessible. Finally, look to the quote from Senator Reid who basically said, "Of course it was designed to force a single-payer system."

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 28, 2013 7:23 a.m.

    Howard Beal, be honest, if your friends are getting their hours cut at work in order to avoid health care premiums they didn't have health care in the first place and were all ready working part time jobs. It's rare (and absolutely immoral) for an employer to cut someone's hours who previously had health care so that they don't have to buy health care now. Again employer costs are pretty much constant. All the law did was define full time by a couple of hours lower than most businesses did previously.

  • UT Brit London, England
    Aug. 28, 2013 7:13 a.m.

    @2 bit

    "all that's covered is tooth extraction (just like on Medicare in the US"

    I love when Americans talk about a system they actually know nothing about.
    You have the option of going to an NHS dentist where there are 3 bands of payments. Band 1 (£15) will get you a check up, X-Rays, scale polish etc, band 2 (£49), fillings, root canal, tooth extraction, band 3 (£214), crowns, veneers, orthontics.
    Or you can go to a private dentist and pay up front or have a private insurance policy pay for it.

    If you are on a low income you can get cover for free. Kids up to 18 get cover for free and pregnant women get cover for free.

    My NHS dentist is fine, I do have a missing molar thanks to 3 Utah dentists who cant read an X-Ray though.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 9:59 p.m.

    A lot of my friends are getting their hours cut at their jobs. My initial take of the Affordable Care Act isn't good even as I truly try to stay open minded and hopeful...

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 8:30 p.m.

    Too much private enterprise. If it is repealed next step will be total governmental control. The conservatives will not go for the Republican plan. Similar to train wreck of the Bush years.

  • Bob K porland, OR
    Aug. 27, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    "How can I disrespect this President? ---- Let me count the ways"

    The healthcare issue should have been settled in the Nixon, Ford, Carter, or Reagan administrations, when costs could have been controlled better and before billions went to making hospital corporations and pill pushers rich.

    This is a good start -- but you can't expect a complete mess to be fixed on the first attempt, so refinement will follow.

    Shame on the House Republicans for taking 40 votes to repeal it, when they could have voted for jobs, for improvements to health care, and far more.

    For me, the present republican party borders on treasonous, because they do not care for helping America (except their contributors), only for winning by destructive means.

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 4:05 p.m.

    redshirt007,
    Ever been to the UK? Ever noticed how many people are missing teeth? It's not just lack of oral hygiene, it's because when you have a tooth problem, all that's covered is tooth extraction (just like on Medicare in the US).

    I cant wait till we are ALL on that system!

  • 1conservative WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:51 p.m.

    One (of many) of the problems with Obamacare is that many young people will choose to NOT purchase healthcare. As will many who could get subsidies. They will simply choose to pay the penalty.

    This, of course, will simply keep the rates for all the rest of us skyrocketing. Also, exactly WHO is subsidizing? The answer, obviously, is ALL of us who do purchase health insurance!

    Obamacare is a system designed to fail.
    Thats when the REAL problems will start.

  • redshirt007 tranquility base, 00
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:18 p.m.

    What's affordable is a single payer system that pays half as much like Canada's.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Aug. 27, 2013 3:10 p.m.

    Is Obamacare affordable? I am far less worried about the increasing health insurance premiums as I am about the inevitable fraud and abuses of Obamacare. Right now, anyone can sign up for taxpayer subsidized healthcare on the "honor system" according to Obama! No oversight, no system to catch the cheaters and millions of Americans and illegal aliens will cheat the system and that will NOT be affordable! Millions of employers are already struggling with the mandates which will only exacerbate the problem. Having the government in your doctor's office with you will be very expensive because there will be no limits or system to catch the overbilling the fraudulent claims which all together will cost taxpayers trillions! Some say Obamacare is designed to fail because Americans will demand a single payer system which will not solve the abuses at all, it just consolidates them. Does anyone think the food stamp program is full of abuses and fraud? You have not seen anything yet but you will!

  • Utah Health Policy Project Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    The closer we get to October 1st, when Utahns can start shopping for coverage on the new insurance marketplace (heathcare.gov), the more people will realize that Obamacare offers better options for getting insured.
    First, the private insurance available on Utah marketplace is going to be affordable. Last week the Utah Dept. of Insurance announced that at a 27 year-old resident of Salt Lake County will pay as little as $162/month for the middle-range private insurance on the new marketplace. A 40 year-old will pay as little as $173/month. This is private insurance offered by SelectHealth, Altius, Humana, etc. And those prices are before the premium subsidies that will make insurance more affordable for 270,000 Utahns.
    Second, the marketplace insurance will be high-quality--covering maternity care, hospitalization, and prescription drugs. Plus, after January 1st, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition, or charge women more than men. No more lifetime caps on benefits, and more free preventative care like flu shots and well-child checks.
    This is the real Obamacare.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 2:39 p.m.

    Well, first of all, Obamacare has hardly even begun, just let Mr. Marxism and the Democrats have a few years on this beast and the cost is goign to skyrocket. Only fools and the hopelessly naive believe healthcare costs are not going to go through the roof with this abominable piece of freedom and money stealing legislation. Obama should be put in jail for his lies about this law, and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and a herd of Democrats should go with him.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 2:17 p.m.

    Ernest T. Bass,

    RE: "Is $98 for a bag of saline affordable"?

    And what exactly in ObamaCare changes that? It doesn't! It only changes who pays for it. There's not one regulation in the bill that changes what something costs.

    When are you going to acknowledge that ObamaCare does NOTHING to change what anything costs?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:57 p.m.

    Is $98 for a bag of saline affordable? That is the standard hospital charge for a bag of saline, which is less than $1 to produce.
    Then there is the $127 fee the hospital charges to administer the bag of saline to the patient.
    The better question is how can we not afford republicare (if you're being honest you will acknowledge that 'Obamacare' was the republican's plan in the 90s)?

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:44 p.m.

    Obamacare was designed to fail from the outset. The Dear Leader's socialist agenda is loud and clear. He wants a one-payer health system that doesn't work.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:18 p.m.

    The headline poses an excellent question. One some seem to feel doesn't matter.

    We are on our way to a fiscal disaster, but nobody seems to care. As long as they get more free stuff, or a political win out of it.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 1:04 p.m.

    How affordable is health care when you can't afford insurance or have a pre existing condition?

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2013 12:56 p.m.

    Well considering barack said premiums would not increase at all for middle class americans...and they are