Thursday, September 17, 2009

New health care bill in one sentence - "Age will now substitute for preexisting medical condition'.

Baucus's recently unveiled health care legislation is a piece of crap - here is why...

The good parts first:

  • The bill will require everybody to carry health insurance - good thing (if you do not have Medicare, Medicaid or a policy your employer, the law will say that you will need to go out and buy a policy)
  • If you does not buy the insurance, then there is a penalty ($3800 and upwards - adjusted based on your income)
  • In exchange, the insurance company will be required to give everyone a policy even if they are very sick or have a pre-existing condition.

Here comes the kick in the butt.

  • Even if you will be able to buy a policy, it really does not mean that the policy will be affordable. With the public option taken out of the bill, a government run insurance entity is out of question - which means that health care insurance companies (euphemistically dubbed not for profit health-care co-ops) can basically charge what they want…
  • Of course, these co-ops got a sweet deal – in a little noticed caveat called 'age rating', older people will now start to pay up to 5 times more per policy than younger people.
  • In effect, Baucus and his cohorts (not too sure at this point who they are) have essentially replaced one ill with another. Instead of looking at your medical condition and deciding upon your premiums, they are going to penalize all older people regardless of medical condition or not. In retrospect, it seems that the scenario where insurance companies looking for pre-existing medical condition seemed better - at least older people without any major medical conditions were not penalized for being old…

Looking at the bigger picture, this is just one more of the many insults that a society which basically glorifies 'youth' piles on the old people - just the way America works - glorify the young and screw the old. Anyways, the old are not too productive in the grand machinery of capitalism and bottom-line based economics - so why bother.

Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review led me to think about the issues above while listening to her on NPR…

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