Who will pay for Obamacare?


The varying costs of medical procedures, sometimes within the same city, keeps companies like Cadillac-based CIC Benefit Consulting busy by researching prices for client companies.

Washington’s talk about Obamacare is loaded with hidden messages. They all amount to the same thing: let the other guy pay. Unfortunately, the other guy continues to be the American consumer.

Let’s begin with a simple message. Obamacare — or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — will not be repealed.

Every parent knows why repeal is unlikely. You cannot offer a child candy and then ask for it back.

Guaranteed issuance of insurance policies. No added charge for wellness visits. Ability to carry children on your policy until they reach age 26. No cancellations of policies. Removal of annual or lifetime limits. State oversight of insurance rates. Forcing insurers to spend a majority of their money on health care.

These and other such items are the goodies that people already are enjoying.

They are the candy that would be hard for politicians to force people to give up. So let’s get real. We’re at the start of a new approach to health coverage — and turning back now to the “good old days” is not realistic.

The health care industry

So many of the dealmakers who constructed Obamacare in the first place are looking to get out of their concessions and let the other guys pay. The feeding frenzy is starting.

The medical device industry originally conceded a 2.3 percent excise tax on its products to help pay for the cost of the program. This was to add over $29 billion in the first decade.

Drug companies agreed to annual fees that would generate another $34 billion.

Insurers accepted annual premium fees that would provide another $101 billion.

Add the fees, taxes and other “concessions” to the pot and soon you get some serious money — even by Washington’s standards. This was some of the money intended to offset the cost of Obamacare.

End users

Well, Congress is responding to well-financed lobbyists who are arguing their way out of the concessions made just a few years ago.

If you accept the premise that Obamacare is here, who will pay?

Will providers willingly accept lower payments? They haven’t done so on other issues, and there is no confidence that they will reduce their incomes.

Who does that leave? The answer usually is the American consumer and taxpayer.

In the era of “no new taxes,” it is the employer and consumer who will get stuck.

Higher fees for health care and higher taxes to pay for them are the tools our politicians will rely on to get by.

Remember, even if you have relatively good health insurance, with co-pays and deductibles, you still are paying a good amount of the cost of care and increased costs will mean that you pay more.

Hang onto you pocketbooks. 

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