Letter: Tax subsidies

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  • Commodore West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 21, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    It's incredible to me when I review the many many sources of data and they all indicate that in America we spent a tremendous amount of money to pay for healthcare, yet other countries ( ahem single payer systems) pay significantly less and have equal or better health outcomes.

    Use google. Sure, a single payer is not perfect and has it flaws, but our current system is far worse. What do we currently have? We have healthcare feudalism.

    We, as Americans, can choose to do one of two things when it comes to regulating/managing our healthcare.
    1. We can use money as the mechanism for regulating demand of healthcare
    2. We can use time as the mechanism for regulating demand of healthcare

    A health policy expert once said, "You can treat some of the people all of the time, or you can treat all of the people some of the time, but you cannot treat all of the people all of the time". We must choose. I choose all people, rather than some people like our current system.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Nov. 19, 2013 7:31 p.m.

    Wendell Potter, former Cigna exec.
    "There are other reasons some folks are being told they'll have to change health plans next year. Many of them are having to switch plans not because of Obamacare but because their insurance companies want to move them into policies with higher profit margins."

    "What evil Republican States wouldn't develop their own exchange system or expand Medicaid"

    On May 10, 2013, in a letter to Governor Gary Herbert, HHS announced that it will operate a Federally-facilitated INDIVIDUAL Marketplace in Utah and will permit the state to operate the small business, or SHOP, Marketplace.

    There are 27 states which rely on the federal exchanges, 17 states which set up their own exchanges and 7 federal-state partnership states. Twenty-five states, including Utah, are not expanding Medicaid. (which will leave more people uninsured)
    (KaiserFamily Foundation)

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 3:13 p.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest

    Great! I'm happy for you. It sounds like you're one of the lucky ones who won't see a cancelation. Up to 69% of employer plans will, according to estimates made by the Obama administration in 2010. That is a far cry from "if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan." And it is a far cry from the line Obama has been feeding us about only 5% of Americans being affected by cancelations. (See "Obama's '5 Percent' Con Job", by Andrew McCarthy, Nov. 18, 2013.)

    Obamacare was designed to push most people off their current insurance and onto the exchanges. It is essential element of the scheme. Obama had no intention of allowing us to keep the health care plans we like.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 2:48 p.m.

    Sounds like you had what politicians refer to as a "Cadillac plan" (If it exceeded all the requirements imposed by the ACA). You know the ACA says the Government must start TAXING plans like that starting in 2018.

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010) imposes an annual 40% excise tax on Cadillac plans starting in 2018.

    Convenient of Obama to make this new tax start in 2018 (when he will be out of office and can't be blamed for the new tax). Then whoever is in the White House in 2018 will get blamed for what OBAMA did, and the new taxes he promised not to pass (at least not during HIS administration... but he didn't say anything about not adding new taxes that become effective in somebody ELSES administration).

    That's bogus if you ask me. Promising not to raise taxes on the middle-class.. but then writing laws for new taxes that only go into affect AFTER you leave office. Leaving some future administration to deal with the new taxes that were made law during YOUR administration.

  • LDS Libertarian Farmington, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Iz sawrs 'dis ladee on the T.B.,
    un - she'z in Luzy-anna,
    she got dis dar letter and stuff,
    suz, Obama canseeld herz insuranz polarzee.

    I heard it on Rush --
    and an it's happen'n all over this here's country,
    must've ben happen to 'er'ry body.
    so'sit musts be true!

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 2:11 p.m.

    So, Nate, what do you know about my insurance that I don't? We had a meeting with representatives from the insurance company. They laid out the specifics for next year, just like they do every year. The only change was a switch in an optional eyecare plan, but that was because it was a better plan at a lower premium. Everything else next year will be just as it has been this year and as it was last year. It was already a quality health-insurance plan, so it met or exceeded all of the requirements imposed by the ACA. So your 5% insinuation is meaningless.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:27 p.m.

    "I want solutions which show a proper regard for individual liberty."

    Care to name a president in your lifetime that did that?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 1:09 p.m.

    To "Open Minded Mormon" how does the ACA fix bankruptcies that are due to medical bills? The average person that files for bankruptcy due to medical bills has $17,000 of unpaid bills. Look at it this way. If you get cancer, you will pay about $12,000 and use up your out of pocket maximum. Typically with cancer treatments there are drugs that the Drs prescribe that are not covered, and can cost you $1000/month. That means that even with insurance you still could be going bankrupt. That also assumes that your finances have not already been crippled by the 32% or more increase to your insurance premiums.

    To "ugottabkidn" the solution is easy, but the politicians all hate it. Cut regulations and let the free market work. That is it.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:39 p.m.


    When the moderator won't post what you wrote... there's a reason.

    Re: "Republican-led states refusing to develop their own exchange system"...

    Utah is a "Republican State". We developed our own exchange system. What evil Republican States wouldn't develop their own exchange system or expand Medicaid?? What specific example did you have in mind when you said this?


    The cancelled plans were REQUIRED to be cancelled (by regulations in the ACA). Do you know any specific policies that were totally compliant with ACA regulations but were cancelled (risking loosing customers) just so the evil insurance company could put more expensive policies out there and risk customers saying, "NO it's too expensive, we're switching vendors".

    Currently people (even companies) aren't trapped or required to get their insurance from any specific vendor (that may change in a few years). But CURRENTLY we can all vote with our feet (company or individual) and move to another insurance policy or even a different insurance vendor IF we don't like their rates, or their coverages, or their customer service.

    What motivates them to improve and reduce cost IF all Americans are required to use the same vendor?

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    To 2 bits: You are correct, the ACA will not cover everyone. That is why I said I preferred Nixon's plan. But Nixon's plan was considered "too liberal" to get through even the Democratic controlled congress of 2009-10.

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:48 a.m.

    I, for one, am still waiting for the anti-Obamaites to detail a solution to the problems we have with our current system ie, it's the leading cause of bankruptcy (which costs us all). Taxes currently pay for 60% of all U.S. health spending (looks like I'm paying for a universal system and not getting the benefit). Administration costs are around 30-35% with insurance companies compared to 5% for Medicare (I wonder if your small business could survive that if you are competing). There are 45,000 deaths each year associated with the lack of health insurance(who needs a war?). And for you that advocate more competition in the healthcare system, costs have risen and are consistently higher with for profit hospitals compared to non profits. I have yet seen someone with the flu save money calling around to see what rates are, have you? This is the tip and until we see some real conversation rather than obstruction we will see more of the same. At least the ACA made an attempt so what's your excuse?

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:13 a.m.

    Who's moderating today? It seems some of my comments aren't getting posted.
    2nd try:

    Let us not overlook some factors impeding success of the ACA.

    Republican-led states refusing to develop their own exchange system, (ironic since Republicans demand states rights)
    Republican-led states refusing to expand Medicaid.

    Insurance companies cancelling ACA compliant health plans in order to sell more expensive plans--something largely unreported in the media.

    Overtime the kinks will be worked out, more people will sign up for ACA and will be pleasantly surprised.

    If not, we risk returning to the status quo--millions without insurance, medical bankruptcies, higher mortality rates.
    Single-payer which is what we should've done to begin with. Insurance companies continue to prove themsleves putting profit over people any way they can.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    Roland Kayser,
    I don't know how you get tax credits before you even pay your taxes... but it looks like you are right. I was going on how "tax credits" have worked in the past (they either reduce your tax liability, or if they exceed your tax liability you get a refund). But after doing more research I think you are right. The Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation website says "Premium tax credits would be refundable and advanceable". I think that means the subsidy can come in the form of a "refund" (as I said) OR they can be "advanceable", meaning you get them BEFORE you pay (the way you said). That would be very good for people who can't afford to pay the premium and wait for their tax refund check.

    But do you really think ALL Americans are going to have health insurance after the ACA? That's the point I was trying to expose. There will be people who fall between the cracks of the 2000 pages of regulations, and exceptions to regulations, and exceptions to the exceptions....

    If it turns out every American IS insured as a result of ACA... then I was wrong.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    @JoeBlow "Tell me Nate. Do you want solutions, or an opportunity to be partisan?"

    I want solutions which show a proper regard for individual liberty. Does this imply partisanship to you? If so, it's a sad commentary on the state of things. (For the record: I don't belong to a party, and I don't plan on joining one.)

    @airnaut "Did YOU personally loose [sic] your Healthcare plan?"

    Obama's unilateral decision to postpone the employer mandate gives me a year reprieve. Then I am likely to lose my plan. (It doesn't offer free contraceptives or abortifacients.) His own administration has estimated that between 39% to 69% of Americans will be forced to change plans. This probably means that I will be forced to get coverage for things I don't want or need, and pay more for it.

    @Kent C. DeForrest "...I am allowed to keep the insurance offered through my employer."

    Don't be so sure. The 5% lie is a lie. See above.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    "Finally I would have been more impressed had President Obama stated that our elected officials would be forced to use the same medical program as the people who elected them all into office."

    Personally, I think elected officials should be required to use the same program I am allowed to use. Basically, my health insurance was already a good product. It needed no tweaks to conform to the ACA. So I am allowed to keep the insurance offered through my employer. If we allowed Congress, for instance, to play by the rules I play by, they would be able to keep the insurance provided through their employer.

    This letter is just sour grapes.

  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    I much preferred the national healthcare plan proposed by Richard Nixon in 1974. Had Watergate not occurred e might well be going on 40 years of national healthcare tight now and no one would even think about it. Nixon's plan required all employers to provide insurance for their employees. Non exemptions for people who worked less tan 30 hours a week. No paying a small fine to get out of it. No exemptions for small employers. Anyone unemployed would be covered through their unemployment insurance, and there was an expanded Medicare/Medicaid system for everyone else. It was a far more comprehensive, and far simpler plan.

    President Obama considered proposing the same plan, but decided it was far too liberal to get through congress. That's a commentary about how far right our society has gone since Nixon's time. A plan proposed by a conservative Republican president is considered too liberal by a supposedly liberal Democratic president.

    @2bits: The taz credits for buying insurance are available immediately and used to pay the premiums. You don't understand how the law works.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    Pleasant Grove, UT
    @JoeBlow "...Congress already had a healthcare plan."

    So did we.

    8:07 a.m. Nov. 19, 2013


    I'm curious Nate...

    Did YOU personally loose your Healthcare plan?
    Are you one of the millions of the Americans (out of 350 Million of us = 0.4%) who were "lied" to?
    Are you just parroting non-sense?

    I know hundreds of people,
    and not a single person I know has been dropped now becasue of the ACA.
    [To the contary, I know of dozen who have been "denied" coverage due to a pre-exisitng conditon, jobs losses or moving from Sate to State -- myself being included.]

    There's an old saying --
    Speak for yourself.

    and I just did.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    You know Nate, our country has a lot of problems. Health care is just one of them.

    And I am very skeptical that the ACA will do anything to fix it.

    As a country, we can either play politics on every single issue or we can look for solutions that will benefit our country.

    There are many people on this board who take the partisan party line regardless of the issue. They are more intent on finding fault and a way to blame the other side than to work towards a solution that will be best for our country.

    Personally, I want good solutions to our problems. And I could care less where that solution comes from. I don't revel in the mistakes made by our leaders so my side (I dont have a side) can look better.

    We can all look for blame and revel in the problems cause by the other side, or we can work to find the best solution, no matter where it comes from.

    Until we begin to do that, our politicians wont.

    Tell me Nate. Do you want solutions, or an opportunity to be partisan?

  • 2 bit Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:24 a.m.

    The Obama worshipers bought the story that everybody would have insurance if we passed this law.

    Fact is... everybody is NOT going to have insurance as a result of this law.

    Some will be allowed to move to Medicaid, some will still have insurance through their employer, some will still be able to afford insurance from the private market. But there is a group in the middle that fall through the cracks. They don't qualify for Medicaid, but they can't afford to pay for 18 months of private insurance couldn't afford before.

    Just because the government promised you a refund check in 18 months doesn't mean you can afford to pay the premiums for those 18 months to qualify for the subsidy!

    If you couldn't afford insurance before, how can you afford one of the new policies (with higher premiums because they have to cover more now)... just hoping you will get a subsidy-check in 18 months to save you from bankruptcy? You can't! These people will opt to not buy insurance (because they still can't afford it). Even with the promise of a check in 18 months.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 8:07 a.m.

    @JoeBlow "...Congress already had a healthcare plan."

    So did we.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:46 a.m.

    "I would have been more impressed had President Obama stated that our elected officials would be forced to use the same medical program as the people who elected them all into office."

    Granted that Obama did not do that as Congress already had a healthcare plan.

    But, be assured, that Congress and their staff are the ONLY people in America that are forced by law to use the ACA exchanges. So, isn't that what you want?

    Here is the wording

    The only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are — (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:40 a.m.

    "To be clear I am not a supporter of the new Obamacare law."
    Great 1st line - and at least you were honest....

    As taxpayers,
    we are already paying taxes to subsides the uninsured through medicaid and higher premiums to those already with insurance,
    so this truly a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
    [there, I said it - and I'm a Liberal]

    What the ACA does address and try to solve is the issue of medical bankruptcies, Denial of cover when changing jobs or moving around the country, and everybody is on a level playing field, everybody now must put some skin in the game, and everybody is held accountable now.

    But I will agree --
    the schmucks in Congress once again playing by a different set of rules has widened the casam of "We the people" being the Government -- "for the people, and by the people".

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 19, 2013 6:22 a.m.

    And here I thought this letter would be complaint about the thousands of dollars in taxes I provide each year to corporations, or our bloated, corruption-saturated military budgets.

    Nope, it's just a gripe about the far smaller portion of my taxes that go to providing health care to poor people.