Monday, June 26th saw two significant updates to the Senate Healthcare Bill.
The Senate leadership released an updated version with a provision that anyone that goes for 63 days without insurance is blocked from signing up for six months. The goal is to stabilize insurance premiums by encouraging healthy people to sign up and maintain their policy.
Insurance works by cost sharing and spreading the risk. It can’t work if people can pick it up when they’re sick and drop it when they’re healthy. The insurance companies end up with only sick people and the premiums skyrocket (we’re seeing some of this with Obamacare now). Currently, Obamacare attempts this by adding an Income Tax surcharge to anyone uninsured. The tax penalty is enough to get some people ticked off, but not enough to convince most to purchase insurance.
The proposed changes do this differently. People can drop their insurance with no cost. The only penalty is a delay in being allowed back in. The problem is that a lot of our Senators live in a different world. They think that all of their constituents have enough money and brains to choose to pay their insurance premiums.
Hey, Mr. or Mrs. Senator
Many of your constituents are living on a tight budget. The IRS reports that 1 in 2 Americans earns less than $30,000 annually. As I write this, I’m watching an A/C technician work on a neighbor’s air conditioning. The average pay for his field is $22 an hour, or about $45,000 a year. How can these people afford a $1000 a month health insurance bill for a policy that only pays 60% of their medical bill? One injury, accident, or illness can put them in the hole and lead to a loss of insurance. What happens then?
The original motivation for Obamacare was to make healthcare more affordable and accessable. Somewhere along the way, it’s degenerated to an argument about insurance.
Monday also saw the release of a CBO report that estimated that the current bill would lead to an increase in the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026. That’s one out of every 16 individuals in the U.S.A. that have insurance now that will probably not have insurance in a few years.
It’s obvious that our Senators are trying to push a lousy bill through just to fill their campaign promises. We need to tell them to do their jobs, give us a healthcare bill that makes things for all of us.