published Monday, September 30th, 2013

Smith: Socialized medicine is growing

By Robin Smith

The official “sign up” for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now known as Obamacare, begins tomorrow.

The stated goal for this law, signed in March of 2010, was to lower health care costs.

News accounts regale insurance premiums are “16 percent lower than originally projected” and that “nearly all consumers (about 95 percent) will have a choice of two or more health insurance issuers and nearly all consumers (about 95 percent) live in states with average premiums below earlier estimates,” says the White House’s final briefing on the marketplace premiums.

But how do those compare to existing premiums available?

Let’s look at a few facts that are critically important to individuals and businesses:

1. Tomorrow, every employer, regardless of size or benefit offerings is required by law to provide written notification about the state exchange. The initial fine was, like countless other requirements, changed. Yet, advice coming from folks like Tennessee’s National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Health Underwriters is to comply with these written notifications to avoid a retroactive penalty.

2. When the ACA program is operational on Jan. 1, 2014, individuals who remain uninsured will be fined at $95 or up to $285 per family by the IRS on your 2015 tax form, or 1 percent of your gross income, whichever is greater; $325 per individual and up to $975 per family, or 2 percent of your gross income in the second year; and at $695 per individual and up to $2,085 per family thereafter.

3. Twenty new taxes will be paid for by the American public over the next 10 years, totaling $514 billion in new revenue, with 16 of these taxes already being collected.

4. The Manhattan Institute reported: “Between 2014 and 2022, the increase in national health spending amounts to $7,450 per family of four” directly the result of the ACA.

5. A prospective analysis conducted by two fellows of the American Academy of Actuaries published in its January/February 2013 volume documented the funding of the ACA is through “age band compression.”

The “Contingencies” journal notes, “The essence of age band compression is that younger people pay more for their coverage so that older people can pay less…”

Senator Lamar Alexander took the current plans available in Tennessee comparing them to the ACA Exchange Plans and responded:

• “… A 27-year old woman in Nashville can buy a plan for as low as $58 a month. On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan is $114 a month – a 97% increase. With a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month…”

6. Premiums are not to be increased based on over-utilization or health of the insured individual. Unlike car insurance, when you have an accident, receive a ticket and have other high-risk behavior, your rates are higher while good drivers are incentivized with lower rates; the ACA allows increases to apply to all in a group, not individuals.

With all of this information, new government price control and regulation, have the drivers of cost been addressed in health care? The answer is absolutely not.

America’s health care market is not a free market able to respond to consumer choice, need and competitiveness.

Socialized medicine grows malignantly in America.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party, 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse business developmet and startegic planning firm and serves on Tennessee’s Economic Council on Women.

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nucanuck said...

If Ms Smith is concerned about socialization in the health care industry, she must be all the way apoplectic about the socialization in the US financial markets.

Big banks have had their bad loans socialized to the taxpayers. The Federal reserve issues bonds and then creates instant digital money and buys the same bonds they are supposedly trying to sell to others. The government council on market stability regularly intervenes in stock and futures markets and does this in concert with other central banks. There are no remaining free markets, they have all been socialized one way or another.

Our food is socialized through subsidies to rich agribusinesses. Everywhere we turn the government is pouring money into big business or giving away tax incentives.

Even Ms Smith's home mortgage interest deduction is socializing her home purchase. Tsk, tsk, shame on you Ms Smith.

September 30, 2013 at 1:08 a.m.
conservative said...

I always think of this quote credited to Fred Bastiat in 1848 when Socialists feign care and concern for others as they cry for new government programs which will benefit themselves:

"Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

September 30, 2013 at 6:51 a.m.
inquiringmind said...

Ms. Smith has a conflict of interest due to her former employment. This editorial should never had seen the light of day in this paper. She should pay to have it published as paid advertisement.

As for the" facts she presents," if you have an insurance plan that beats the exchange who on earth would you want to change? The argument makes no sense.

We pay almost twice as much as any other Western country for health care, I wonder why?

The more people who are insured the lower the premiums, it is simple math.

Why would you begrudge someone health care who cannot afford it?

Ms. Smith professes to be a Christian. There is a universal principle of Christian and Judaic belief that the young take care of the old. This is why she can quote "The “Contingencies” journal (whatever that is), 'The essence of age band compression is that younger people pay more for their coverage so that older people can pay less…'" Please explain what is wrong with this?

The greatest fear Ms. Smith and her pals have is that ACA will be successful in controlling costs and increasing overall health care, but...

underlying it all, there is an intense, pathological hatred of President Obama that goes beyond party politics, and forces them to pursue every opportunity to damage to stop programs he proposes. It is as intense as any racism I've experienced in my life in the South, and we always say "if it quacks like a duck..."

September 30, 2013 at 9:07 a.m.
Facts said...

As a business owner in Tennessee, I see VW embracing the UAW with our mayor, who was supported by many "Republican businessmen" applauding all the way. I see my employees who will pay more for their health plans due to increased costs passed on by our commercial insurer.

Both of these issues are being supported and pushed by Democrats who are destroying jobs and the rights to have prosperity. Returning to Texas is not out of the question if Andy Berke and his Democrats are successful with this UAW mess.

Haslam as stood against the excess of expanding TennCare back to the levels that existed when Gov Bredesen made cuts to save our budget. Haslam seems to be fighting against the union, but Democrats hold responsibility for both of these issues that is harming our Tennessee economy. Period.

September 30, 2013 at 9:34 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

I find it interesting that the people who profess to be Christians, as Ms. Smith supposedly does, are among the worst about showing any concern for the people who cannot afford our most basic necessities, such as food, housing, and health care. Apparently the God they worship is interested only in tough love - a deity who is more of a Marine drill sergeant than a Mother Theresa. They always make the argument that it is not the government's responsibility to provide those things or to help people in any way when they are down and out, and in fact they go so far as to insinuate that government is in league with the devil. Yet, our government is comprised of individuals that we have freely elected to represent us and to make decisions for us. Our government is, in essence, US. And that is the government that today's teabagging conservatives constantly vilify and denounce as useless at best and evil at worst.

As it stands now, most of our elected officials have been bought and sold to big business and the super-rich and they are unapologetically doing their bidding for them. If it is dysfunctional, and it is, it is for that very reason. We can either strive to set it back on track to serve the interests of the middle/working class, or we can allow it to go on serving only those at the top, to the detriment and eventual ruination of this country. To stay on our present course is not only unsustainable but immoral and in no way representative of what this nation could and should be. This land was blessed with an abundance of open space and riches and no person should be wanting in any way, but we have transformed it into a nation that places greed for the few above opportunity for the many.

As for you constant whiners about Obamacare...what is your alternative plan if it is repealed or defunded? I have yet to hear even ONE conservative critic offer anything in its place to bring relief to those tens of millions of Americans who presently have no health insurance whatsoever. Oh, I recall, some Republican at one of the debates in the last presidential election did indeed have an alternative: LET THEM DIE. And the conservative audience in attendance enthusiastically and unanimously applauded. I guess you do have an alternative plan on the table after all. My bad.

September 30, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Gather those poor unfortunates at the foot of those giant crosses so they can see the magnificence of Christian love for the needy.

These right-wing Christian wackos can feed them pages of the Bible to fill their bellies, say a prayer over their sick bodies instead of medical care, give them the cardboard boxes for shelter from the loving faithful's new big-screen TVs and grand pianos, and old choir robes for clothes after their church's purchase of new ones (God loves a spiffy singer).

After the last amen, dump trucks used for construction of the church's new gymnasium and fellowship hall can take the people to the edge of town where they can luxuriate under bridges with their new-found riches.

Then those Xians can feel good about helping the less fortunate, and thank their God for the chance to do Jesus' work.

Mission accomplished.

September 30, 2013 at 12:55 p.m.
gypsylady said...

I usually skip her pieces. I decided to give it one more try today, but I shouldn't have wasted my time. This was a jumbled blather of party talking points. Blah, blah, blah.

September 30, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
inquiringmind said...

Facts: If you can't afford to pay your employees a fair wage so they can live at least a minimum standard of living, you either are not a good businessman or your business isn't competitive and needs a government subsidy, like the liquor stores who fear the grocery stores.

Your argument is lame. If the insurers are passing on added costs that are substantiated as justified, then we are just paying the price for good medical care.

I can think of no better idea than encouraging all the tea party, anti-government folks moving to Texas and let us then let them secede from the Union, or widen the net to include Alabama and Mississippi. Then we wait a while and see how well they like their own medicine and come crying home.

September 30, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
nucanuck said...

The country has been overrun with Cafeteria Christians who pick and choose the tenets that best fit their sybaritic inward-focusing life expectations. The result: lots of disposable people.

September 30, 2013 at 3:11 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Inquiringmind, I couldn't agree more with what you just said. We are so polarized and divided ideologically that the libs and conservatives will never see eye to eye. Each side has stated and restated its opinions over and over and over again and no amount of civility or polite debate is going to change anyone's mind on either side. And name-calling, as I myself am often guilty of, doesn't accomplish anything either (sometimes it just feels good to vent that way, though!). But we cannot go on with this gridlock. We are stagnating in a cesspool of our own making and the only thing that will get us out of it is a unified, cohesive plan of action, set into motion by....the government. Yet, those who detest government in the first place will never allow a unified, forward thinking plan to be conceived of, let alone implemented. As long as they're not suffering themselves they're content to just wait around for the free market to work its "magic."

I seriously wish the teabaggers and fundies would go ahead and secede already. Give them Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi and let them live in their Wild West utopia of guns, God, no taxes, and no government - for as long as it lasts anyway. Yeah...I would love that. It puts a smile on my face just thinking about it.

September 30, 2013 at 3:15 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"The country has been overrun with Cafeteria Christians who pick and choose the tenets that best fit their sybaritic inward-focusing life expectations. The result: lots of disposable people." - nucanuck

So true. And thanks to today's prosperity gospel preached by most of the televangelists, their duped masses of followers justify the downtrodden as deserving their plight on account of sinful living or a lack of faith. It never ceases to amaze me, the countless tricks of the mind and cherry-picking of the Bible conservatives and fundamentalists use to justify their own excesses and to condemn the have-nots.

September 30, 2013 at 3:56 p.m.
MyGen said...

Doesn't matter what any of you say. Today, I lost my job.My employer had 54 employees.Let me take this time to thank each of you socialists who think businesses owe you hemp heads your insurance, daycare, hour for lunch, free parking,and any other thing you refuse to earn for yourself. I don't blame my boss. At least he was honest enough to tell us exactly why he had to cut.Don't bother offering any comments. You are the winners. There are five of us who lost today. Congratulations. I am now even more determined not to be a socialist wanting to live off of everyone else's back. I'm learning fast.

September 30, 2013 at 6:47 p.m.
daytonsdarwin said...

Sorry you lost your job. Apparently your boss thought there were 49 other employees better for him and his business.

Sorry you blame others. Good luck on finding another job.

September 30, 2013 at 7:11 p.m.
soakya said...

I'm afraid a lot of small business's are going to be surprised to learn the threshold to be considered a large business is 50 full time equivalent employees. That means if you have 63 part time employees who work 24 hrs a week you have 50 FTE employees.

check out the link below for info on ACA

September 30, 2013 at 7:18 p.m.
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