Obamacare: Winners & Losers

By | October 5, 2013
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Image courtesy of Nirots via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I usually avoid politics, because it is a dirty business, and people tend to get way too emotional over it.  But considering current events, I thought I should weigh in on it.

I see a lot of emotional and philosophical arguments going on, and a lot of people going to extremes saying that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is either evil or salvation.   Supporters focus exclusively on the good, and the opposition focuses exclusively on the bad.  I personally have mixed emotions about it.  I do believe something needs to be done about health care in this country, but I also believe that Obamacare was not the best way to do it, and I especially do not like the way it was implemented.

The fact is that any law like this is going to benefit some people, while costing and even potentially harming others.  The promoters of Obamacare like to talk to people about how the government is going to subsidize their insurance costs, and chastising states that do not expand medicare coverage.  But what they always fail to tell you is where those subsidies come from: your own pocket in the form of taxes.  This is not free money.

Whether through a subsidy or the taxes paid to pay for the subsidy, we, as a people, are still paying full price for whatever is subsidized.

There is no way around that.  Some people get a discount while others pay for that discount through higher taxes.  So if a politician implies that subsidies are free money, it is not.  It is redistribution of wealth, and that means that some will pay less and some will pay more.  Whether you think that is a good thing or not depends largely on your political philosophy and whether it is costing you money or whether other people’s money is distributed to you.

Then we have the fact that health care costs in this country are out of control, and that healthy individuals cost almost nothing to insure, while the very sick cost millions to treat.  Unless costs are somehow significantly reduced, we are most likely going to see increased premiums across the board over time.  My insurance provider already announced it will increase premiums January 1st, and increase our deductibles.  They won’t say how much yet, but it’s coming.

I am really tired of people saying this is good for everyone or bad for everyone.  The reality is that the people with more money, including the middle class, will pay for the people who have less money, whether that be through taxes used to pay for medicare and subsidies, or through higher insurance premiums, or though government fines.  And any mandatory system like that is always going to be controversial.


Scott M. Stolz

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