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The Real Crisis in Employer-Provided Health Insurance

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One of objections that opponents of Obamacare give against the landmark health care legislation is that employers will have an incentive to drop the health insurance coverage that millions of workers currently receive as employee benefits. Yet even before Obamacare became law, the trend among employers was to offer health insurance to fewer employees, leading to increased stress on families seeking to protect themselves against potentially catastrophic health care costs.

In particular, a recent study from the Employee Benefit Research Institute looked at the question of workplace-provided health insurance coverage. With its examination of trends in recent years, the EBRI confirmed what has long been a known fact: that the cost of health insurance is the key determining factor in whether employees choose coverage. Let's take a closer look at the study and its implications for your insurance coverage going forward.

2 key trends in health insurance
The EBRI study focused on two different measures of health insurance coverage. First, the study looked at the percentage of workers with employer-provided health benefits. Then, it turned to the reasons that those who weren't covered cited in explaining why they went without insurance coverage.

On the first topic, trends toward a smaller percentage of workers having employer-based health benefits have been in place for well over a decade. After peaking above 80% in 1999 and 2000, the percentage of people having any employer-based source of insurance coverage -- whether in their own name or by being a qualifying dependent on another person's policy -- has fallen steadily ever since, with levels declining to the low 70% range as of early last year. In particular, coverage in workers' own names has fallen dramatically in recent years, with the 60.4% in December 2007 falling to just 54.7% as of October 2011.

Those figures suggest that more employers have been pulling back on offering health insurance benefits to their workers. Yet in the second part of the survey, the experience of uninsured workers strongly contradicts that hypothesis, pointing instead to cost considerations as being paramount in the decision to go uncovered.

In particular, the EBRI found that as recently as 2001, roughly 40% of uninsured workers claimed that their employers didn't offer them health benefits. Yet by the end of 2011, that figure had declined almost in half, to 22%.

Access therefore might not be the issue. But what nearly 90% of uninsured workers say is that even if they're eligible for employer-provided health insurance, its cost is too high for them to accept it. Cost has always been a major consideration for those who go uninsured, with figures since 1995 routinely falling within the 70% to 90% range, but cost has been particularly important in the years since the 2008 recession.

Why the uninsured are so important
One big question that Obamacare proponents and opponents are wrestling with right now is the extent to which these uninsured workers will get coverage under new health care laws. On one hand, the individual mandate requires most people to obtain coverage. Yet if cost truly is the problem, Obamacare provides an exception to the mandate that exempts those for whom the cost of care is prohibitive.

That in turn could create a problem for hospital companies. Tenet Healthcare (NYSE: THC  ) , Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH  ) , and Health Management Associates (UNKNOWN: HMA.DL  ) have all seen their share prices jump sharply as investors grow increasingly excited about the prospects of uninsured Americans getting mandated coverage under Obamacare. The hope is that by having more people insured, these hospital companies will lose less in uncovered health care expenses they incur when they treat uninsured patients.

As a result, much will depend on government subsidies to help low-income workers bridge the gap between available coverage and affordable coverage. If subsidies don't succeed, then the real crisis in employer-provided health insurance could well continue -- and hospital stocks could give back much of their gains.

Still confused about how Obamacare might affect you and your portfolio? The Motley Fool's special report "Everything You Need to Know About Obamacare" takes a 360-degree look at how the law may impact your taxes, health insurance, and investments. Click here to grab your free copy today.

Tune in every Monday and Wednesday for Dan's columns on retirement, investing, and personal finance. You can follow him on Twitter @DanCaplinger.

Read/Post Comments (45) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:05 AM, animald wrote:

    CA opens Obamacare hotline costing MILLIONS all with part time employees. Kinda makes you warm knowing that Obamacare SUCKS.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:12 AM, GuitarJim wrote:

    There is no "mandate". Ask Chief Justice Roberts. He said that the law makes it perfectly legal for someone to "opt out". They'll just be liable to pay the tax they would otherwise be exempted from if they'd bought insurance. They could also just flat refuse to cooperate. The law doesn't allow the government to impose criminal or civil penalties for someone who doesn't buy insurance, and it doesn't allow the IRS to use it's considerable collection powers to collect the penalty - they can only keep tax refunds. If you don't have a refund coming then there's nothing they can do to you. That aspect of the law may change, but that's the current status. I expect large numbers of healthy young people to either opt to pay the tax, or refuse to cooperate entirely. Without young people subsidizing the old people, this will be a monumental train wreck.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:14 AM, cityperson wrote:

    Most palces in CA that did provide some type of health insurance is now gone. I can can not speak forthe rest of the country, but sure this is happening more and more with the large temp work force.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:17 AM, Snakepit456 wrote:

    The three most outright lies and scams in America:

    1) Carbon taxes will save us from global warming.

    2) Obamacare will lower the cost of healthcare.

    3) Whatever today's reason is for the increase in gas prices.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:22 AM, altha2008 wrote:

    I worked with the state of Florida. I had blue cross blue shield for 24 years with the state.

    I never used it for anything major, just office visits and stuff like that.

    I got parkinsons. they stop paying for everything saying it was parkinsons no cure for it so they refuse to pay for everything

    I had to go on SSDI. now I have Medicare. I still cannot afford my meds. one is $250.00 per month.

    I have to go to costa Rico and get a 6 month supply for $115.00

    I hate private health insurance companies. you thank you love them? wait until you get sick.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:26 AM, sabebrush6 wrote:

    Under ObamaCare, Criminals, A.C.O.R.N. Goons and Occupy Wall Street Thugs Will Have One-Touch Access To Your Private Financial and Medical Information.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:36 AM, warriorgeorge wrote:

    Blue cross blue shield and pacific care let my mother lie in a hospital bed for 3 weeks waiting on permission to do her hip surgery , and he hip was broken , then they left her off the kidney dialysis machine because they would not approve it right away and she died , this is exactly what the insurance companies want , they want your money but they don't want to approve anything , thats why the republicans back them , they can get away with murdering the old and the infirm and there is nothing we can do about it

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:39 AM, FoolishMark2855 wrote:

    I guess all of the investors raising the share price of those insurance companies are just suckers since President Obama has told us all they won't be making as much profit(hehe). Does anyone believe anything that comes out of that man's mouth anymore?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:41 AM, Firebloom wrote:

    I received a letter from my health insurance provider that reads:

    "As you may know, the Affordable Care Act was passed by the federal government several years ago. Many of its provisions will take effect in 2014 and could cause a significant increase to premiums."

    I'm still trying to understand how the AFFORDABLE Care Act is causing a "significant increase" to my premiums. What part of that sounds affordable? What about getting to keep my insurance plan if I want to? I guess Obama left out part of his plan. "You can keep your insurance if you want to...for double the current rate so you can subsidize everyone else."

    I guess it's only affordable for old and sick people that are going to be subsidized by the young, healthy groups. If it goes up too much next year, that'll be the first year I've ever gone without insurance. No, I won't pay the penalty either. I'll check the box on my tax return that says I'm part of one of the exempt religious groups. What are they going to do, check to see if I go to a mosque? If I get sick or injured, oh well. I'll just be like the illegals and go to the emergency room, then skip out on the bills. If they're going to screw me over with my premiums, I'll get the last laugh and simply stop paying all together. If I get some life threatening disease, then I can sign up for insurance after the diagnosis since the insurance companies cannot turn me away for preexisting conditions.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:45 AM, roger142 wrote:

    This is why I believe come Oct 1, the national registry web site will crash from all the people trying to sign up at once. Health care cost in America have gotten ridiculous.

    Hospitals have 5 levels they charge people by starting with Medicare being the least expensive, and the uninsured get charged at full retail.

    Trying to negotiate cost at a hospital is worse than trying to buy a used car, because they know you can't just go down the street to another hospital and get a rational quote there.

    It has become obvious that Congress will not deal with the soaring cost of health care thanks to the medical industry campaign contributions. Obama care might not be the best answer, but it is all Washington has offered us.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 11:53 AM, ElliotTeitelbaum wrote:

    @Guitar Jim,

    With all due respect, if a tax is being levied on specific individuals because of a failure to take a specific action that is required by the government, that constitutes a "mandate". Moreover, it constitutes a violation of the 14th Amendment in that it is a tax being levied in SOME people but not others. In order to get around this Constitutional violation, Roberts had to ignore the fact that Obama and his legal team were calling it a "tax" in their own legal arguments and instead call it a "fee". It was a ridiculous decision that required Roberts to bend and twist his logic and his legal opinion like a pretzel in order to make it work. But the result was a law that is, in every legal sense, a "mandate".

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:00 PM, ElliotTeitelbaum wrote:

    There is not and never has been a health care crisis in the USA. This crisis is invented.

    The liberals like to claim that there are 42 million people who are uninsured. But what they fail to tell you is that 12 million of those are illegal aliens, 11 million are people who are going to remain uninsured for a period of less than 6 months (transitory uninsured), which is a self-correcting problem, and 9 million are people who can afford their own insurance but choose not to purchase it for whatever reason.

    That leaves a total of 10 million people in the USA who are long-term uninsured through no choice of their own. THOSE are the people that need our help... and they constitute just 3% of the US population.

    Sorry, but 3% does not constitute a "crisis".

    Moreover, if we were to simply hand those 10 million uninsured people $500 per month to purchase their own health insurance from the insurance company of their choice, the total cost for getting all of those people insured would be $60 billion... which is $40 billion less than the projected annual cost of Obamacare.

    So not only do we have a made-up crisis... we also have a solution that is 67% more expensive than it needs to be to actually fix the problem.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:01 PM, Costanzawallet wrote:

    Remove the whole idea of health coverage as a benefit for people from employers, which is a really dumb anyhow, since health coverage should not be used as a benefit and should not be tied to current employment, and migrate to a single payer system. This would save companies millions, cover more people, and allow employers to increase wages. A healthier workforce is good for business, increases productivity and reduces sick time.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:05 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    @ warriorgeorge

    As a former hospital administrator I have a hard time believing your story about the insurance companies letting your mother lay for 3 weeks with a broken hip !

    In any case I ever worked with BC/BS or pacific care we had approval for a surgery within minutes worst case in a day or two and those worst case scanarios only applied in cases were the patient either had failed to pay premiums or just recently had signed up !

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:08 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    I am opposed to a single payer system IF the federal government is involved in it in any way , my concern - and if you look at SS you know its a legitimate one - is that our politicians will use the paid in money as their personal piggybank to fund pet projects !

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:09 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    There is nothing wrong with employers offering healthcare benefits to their employees !

    What is missing is a system that closes the gap for people that don't have a job , self employed and the poor

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:11 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    There are a few major problems with the ACA :

    1.) it does NOT address the root cause of rising insurance premiums which is the rising cost of provider costs

    2.) it provides a incentive for people who have insurance to cancel it and for uninsured not to sign up

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:17 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    I think there is going to be a very rude awakening come 2014 for many!

    You are talking about employers getting rid of coverage ? the real danger lies into millions of people who already have coverage cancelling their insurance , which is a scenario nobody has considered so far !

    The ACA has removed the major incentives for people to have or maintain their insurance policies , under the old system insurance companies could deny coverage, exclude pre existing conditions or raise premiums on sick people , this risk factor was enough to scare people into buying and maintaining insurance but now this is gone so why keep insurance ?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:23 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    another thing that is going to happen come 2014 , and this comes from a former co worker who works for a major health insurance company is that the insurance providers will cherry pick the young and healthy off the exchanges next year by offering low cost and low deductible plans while "discouraging" older people with much higher premiums !

    The way this will look is that a 18 year old will pay $50 per month for a $250 deductible plan and down to $5 per month for $2500 deductible , for a 40 year old the premiums already will be at $300 a month and for 50 and up $700 a month !

    the general idea is to dump all the people that are high risk and costly in the exchanges and let them holding the bag

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:33 PM, RFTECH3000 wrote:

    You wonder why they haven't addressed the high cost of healthcare !

    The insurance companies only pay a bill they get from a doctor or hospital , they don't tell them how much to charge !

    So why the focus on the insurance companies instead on the providers ?

    The answer is very easy to find if you look at the root cause and the structure of campaign donations to both parties !

    One of the Main cost factors for a physician or a hospital today is malpractice insurance which runs for a family practice from around $200k a year to over 1M a year !!!!

    The reason why the subject of malpractice reform hasn't been covered is because about 65% of campaign donations and lobbying money comes from trial lawyer associations , add the fact that the majority of congress man are ex lawyers themselves and you got the answer !

    And since we are at numbers : about 75% of all malpractice claims are settled out of court between the insurance and a lawyer ,all off them without any expert opinion , it is estimated that 80% of those cases are downright fraudulent or grossly exaggerated and without merit , yet the insurance pays rather than taking a chance with a jury !

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:49 PM, grumpf52 wrote:

    The reason people opt out of insurance offered by a lot of companies is because it is expensive and for the most part doesn't provide any real benefit. Deductibles and copays are high enough that the employee has to cover all their medical bills and unless they need something major done the insurance pays nothing. So why would you want to pay for insurance that does nothing for you and pay all of your medical expenses out of pocket anyway? All this coupled with a meager paycheck makes opting out a no brainer.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:50 PM, starfish36 wrote:

    Private health insurers frequently cancelled coverage when people got sick (e.g., the Parkinson's person in the comments); they frequently cited "previous existing conditions" in denying coverage; they discriminated against women and would not pay for many commonly used preventive care procedures or insisted that they be performed at inconvenient facilities, knowing that many would do without. They also disputed or delayed on claims (e.g., the broken hip example in the comments). They charged high and rising premiums and kept a disproportionate amount of them for their executives' wallets instead of paying claims. As long as profit drives our insurance coverage, we will suffer. Medicare does a far batter job, and it does it with a significantly lower proportion of premiums flowing to managers.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:53 PM, LiseBrown wrote:

    All of these people who say they cannot afford their employer health insurance probably own 2 cars, large flat screen TV's, purchase cable TV programming, go out to dinner several or more times a month, etc. You can afford what you have to and it is based on "priorities". Most of these people figure they will let the government, i.e. taxpayer, pay their health care bills.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 12:56 PM, starfish36 wrote:

    People who can afford insurance but elect not to buy it are essentially free riders, relying on the public to take care of them when they are injured or seriously sick. Of course, the law requires that the sick and injured not be abandoned or left on the street to die, but it is especially disturbing to watch those who could shoulder their own load (for example, by buying a minimal policy required by Obamacare for themselves and their families) just walk away. They lose and so does the public.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 1:00 PM, Scanner89 wrote:

    To the reader saying young people won't cooperate:

    It's possible.

    I think the first year, with the penalty only being $95.00, it's a real possibility. The second year, the penalty climbs to something like $500 (I can't recall). . .the third year the penalty climbs to over $1000. (I think $1200)

    I can imagine a young person hearing this, upon their annual visit to HR Block or other tax advisor starting to have an "interesting choice" to make, when they can't go out and blow it on a big screen TV..

    Yeah, sure. . .they could get all "anarchist" and just say, "Well, I refuse to work. . ." but that's not how it played out in Mass. People still want a job so they can buy things and want to maximize their refund/minimize their taxes. (and get healthcare).

    It's my prediction young people WILL buy health insurance vs. pay the penalty, at least in the second year.

    Of course, we will see and the Republicans may get their wish. . .that this "Train wrecks". I know that would delight many Republicans. . .to see Americans further suffer without healthcare.

    After all, it's about THAT, right?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 1:40 PM, dickfauth wrote:

    Finally an article that recognizes that our healthcare is driven by our employers! So- instead of the problems concerning healthcare being adressed; which are:

    1.It costs too much

    2.Too many people arent paying their fair share

    3. Nobody really knows what their healthcare benefits buy them until they need them and then are told-it is'nt covered.

    We have a silly argument concerning which crook we trust the least- the government (I.E. democrats) who plan on spending everybody elses money to solve the wrong problems.


    Our employers and their oligopolists health care benefit providers-who own the market (hello main street what is it you didn't get?) and have demonstrated already how poor a job they do at solving the problems mentioned above,

    Does anyone remember when we had real insurance and reasonable and customary coverage?

    When will our society recognize the unreasonable burden placed on the parents of special needs children-to do what doctors have prescribed when it isnt covered-but the summary plan description pretends it is?

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 1:43 PM, Stevegarry22 wrote:

    Here is the facts. My BC&BS went up within 6 months of odumbocare being signed into law. The next year BC&BS raised our rates again, and then increased our CO-Pays. We went from $500.00 per year for the family, to $4000.00 per year per person in the family, and then they don't even pay for many tests as they did before.

    This odumbocare must be repealed before it breaks Americas back completely. This is nothing but a bad plan to force people to accept socialized single payer health care. No Thanks!

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 2:03 PM, Firebloom wrote:

    Scanner89: Luckily there are enough loopholes to avoid paying the tax. The easiest way to get around it will be to fill out the affidavit that gives you religious exemption from Obamacare.

    What will the IRS do? Follow you around to make sure you are visiting the proper church/mosque to verify you are truly exempt? Yeah, that'll be interesting.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 2:24 PM, luannewolf wrote:

    I've never understood why Republicans don't want socialized medicine. How can American companies that provide health-care benefits compete with companies located in countries where the government provides healthcare and it is not an expense for those companies while it is an expense for an American company? i.e GM

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 2:30 PM, Wasatcher wrote:

    The problem with health care in America IS insurance companies, who are all about profits and lining the pockets of rich CEOs. They are nothing more than a middle man who stands in the way of doctors treating patients and they should be removed from the equation altogether!

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:11 PM, renshen1957 wrote:

    Do you think this is new? Back in the early 1980's, the major Banks stopped filling full time positions for tellers and went to part time employees (no benefits such as health insurance). Public Schools followed suit, as did many business such as Supermarkets. Health insurance rates were raised at multi-double digit rates when inflation was low.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:13 PM, renshen1957 wrote:

    When Health Net of California started out decades ago, the company aggressively offered insurance, collected millions but rationed the care provided. The HMO rewarded (bonuses) to doctors who decreased patient access to care or Rx medicine.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:16 PM, renshen1957 wrote:

    The State of California disability insurance fund had raised 74 million dollars but only paid out 2 million in the mid 1970's. No one had written into the law that the had to pay out. Does anyone see a pattern.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:22 PM, renshen1957 wrote:

    @luannewolf Republicans are against anything that is socialized as the money will be taken away from pork barrel, tax credits, grants for large corporations, banks, and tax loop holes for minority of the US citizens (the rich) they serve. GOP equals Greedy Old Plutocrats.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:25 PM, Costanzawallet wrote:

    I'd like to know how many people here have actually lived in a country with single payer and experienced the difference. Many people like to talk but have no idea what they are talking about and just regurgitate fear propaganda. Believe me, I have, and knowing that if you need a appendectomy or have a heart attack or get in an accident God forbid (Boston bombing anyone?) you don't have to worry about getting a whopping bill that may cause you to liquidate your 401k or take a second mortgage out on your house. It's all dandy when you are healthy, sure, but just wait until you get sick or get old.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:31 PM, renshen1957 wrote:

    I am surprised that anyone (outside of Unions and Government employees) has employer insurance if at all. The company I worked for discontinued it in 1984 as to expensive, and the majority of the employees quit, leaving for jobs that did have healthcare. After six months of Cobra, privately purchased insurance from $500 per quarter to $2,220 in less than half a year. A call to the state Capital and the insurance Commissioner yield the his reply to the 400%+ increase, "it was approved." A comment that the state office was a captured agency in the pocket of the insurance companies yielded a fast disconnection from the state.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:51 PM, doco177 wrote:

    Google "Obamacare Flowchart" to see a visual representation of the mess this really is

    1. Millions are losing the insurance Obama promised they could keep. Because ObamaCare forces employers to offer expensive Cadillac plans but also offers the option of paying a fine for not providing health insurance that can be cheaper than providing it, between seven and twenty million Americans are likely to lose their health insurance coverage according to the Congressional Budget Office. The original estimate was closer to four million.

    2. The cost of healthcare premiums is about to further skyrocket. Premium costs have already exploded, but that is a slow-motion explosion. In the near future, we could see costs double or worse. Naturally, these costs will hit an already burdened middle class hardest.

    3. Lost jobs. Lost jobs.

    The Federal Reserve's March beige book on economic activity noted that businesses "cited the unknown effects of the Affordable Care Act as reasons for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire more staff."

    Consulting firm Adecco found that half of the small businesses it surveyed in January either plan to cut their workforce, not hire new workers, or shift to part-time or temporary help because of ObamaCare.

    4. Doctor shortages that will mean rationing: The healthcare industry is already a bureaucratic quagmire. ObamaCare is about to add steroids. As the profession becomes tyrannized by government, the talented people currently practicing medicine plan to get out sooner than expected. Who knows how many will choose not to get in. Doctor shortages are what lead to the nightmare known as rationed care.

    5. Somewhere around $800 billion in tax increases will hit America's middle class. This added burden will not only further oppress a middle class already reeling from a drop in wages over the last few years, but could damage the overall economy.

    6. Inflation, the cruelest tax on the poor. When businesses get socked with added costs brought about by higher taxes and burdensome government mandates, they pass those cost along to the consumer in the form of higher prices.

    7. Added bureaucracy. Even those Obama lapdogs over at the Washington Post's Wonk Blog are admitting that applying for health care is about to get more burdensome than the byzantine paperwork involved in buying a home.

    8. To cut costs or to avoid having to provide insurance, workers on the economic margins are already losing hours, which means a lower paycheck. There are a million sad stories in ObamaVille; here are just a few of them.

    9. ObamaCare is projected to add $6.2 TRILLION to a deficit the GAO has already declared "unsustainable." That's "trillion" with a "t".

    10. More taxes than currently estimated are likely to hit because of situations like this one.

    11.Muslims, Amish, Native Americans, Congress are exempt from mandate and penalties under Obamacare that the rest of us have to pay.

    The govt becoming more involved in health care is the reason the costs have increased. So Govt creates a crisis, then provides a solution that comes at the expense of liberty and freedom, costs trillions, and by most accounts won't solve the problem but in fact make it far worse.Corruption, incompetence, disregard of the Constitution, and lying are integral to the way that this country is being run.

    Three years ago, Obama, Democrats, and his media lied to us about cutting the cost of health care, being able to keep our insurance, and not taxing the middle class. Today, those lies and what ObamaCare is and will do to the working and middle class are the biggest untold story in America.

    Boycott and Repeal Obamacare...If only a mere 20% of the over 300 million population of the USA boycott Obamacare the government would be overwhelmed to even think they could penalize or mandate every citizen that refused to participate in the most corrupt and unlawful ways which it was passed that circumvented the constitution of the United States.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:53 PM, freedomwriter wrote:

    The problem with nothing but giant corporations running things is the only way to continually increase profits is to raise prices or cut costs. Which is a symptom of the brainwashing that a corp must ALWAYS increase profits from year to year. And we no longer accept modest increases.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 3:58 PM, freedomwriter wrote:

    A for profit health care system is a disgrace to human life.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 4:52 PM, Costanzawallet wrote:

    Funny how our military is government run and everyone thinks it is the best in the world. Anyone who mentions that it is wasteful and that there is a lot of fat to be cut has their patriotism questioned. However, mention a single payer health system (much like we already have with the VA I might add - not perfect but much lauded) and people think you are socialist. Go figure. Capitalism is great, but a for-profit system is the antithesis to a cost effective healthy population.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 6:05 PM, Fight4Justice wrote:

    America's health care system is nothing short of criminal. Hospitals charge what they want and may or may not treat you, depending on your insurance. My mother was not treated for pulmonary embolism for 8 hours, she died as a result. Why, because she was on Medicare and 72 years old, they let her die purposely. Insurance will take your money if your under 50 with no pre-existing conditions, no health issues that run in your family, etc, but get sick and they will find a way to dump you. Big Pharma is gutting everybody in the US while the rest of the world pays a fraction of our costs. Employers are cutting costs by cutting health care and just wait when the exchanges open, they will drop everyone except the execs. At 53 I have to settle for a temporary policy from a no name insurer with a $10,000 deductible which I had to buy coverage for the deductible, all major medical only. If I ever get sick, I won't even be able to get that, game over. So, don't tell me to leave what we have as is.

  • Report this Comment On July 29, 2013, at 9:38 PM, foolishlymeek wrote:

    Wow! Just reading all the comments to this article shows how complex the health insurance issue is!

    My biggest concerns are:

    1) The IRS controlling premiums/rebates for insurance;

    2) My healthcare and financial records being available to insurance companies, government agencies, and anyone else the government gives this privilege to (what happened to HIPAA?);

    3) Insurance costs/taxes going through the roof;

    4) Lack of doctors/hospitals because of government interference.

    The government has less than 90 days to get everything in place for people to start using the exchanges for health care insurance. In Pennsylvania, the state has opted out of providing their own exchange and from accepting additional funds for Medicaid. Therefore, the federal exchanges are the only ones available to anyone in Pennsylvania.

    I have gone to and basically I got no information. Most of the answers were stated in forms such as "you MAY be eligible for," "you MAY qualify for," and "you MAY have to pay a fee." My favorite lines are, "Plans and prices will be available October 1, 2013. You will learn your exact costs and savings when you apply."

    Firebloom makes a great point that we can all just take a religious exemption to avoid the penalty/tax/fee (whatever you want to call it!) for not having insurance.

    I would love to see health care provided to everyone (not just the poor and very rich) in this country. Having friends in Canada and England, they are always surprised that the United States does not provide universal health coverage for all citizens.

    I just don't think our current Congress can get anything done or has the welfare of the average citizen at heart. I also don't think Obama knew how complex just finding uninsured/uninformed people would be. Millions of dollars are currently being spent to inform people, especially the young and uninsured, of the benefits of Obamacare.

    Unfortunately, I think we are going to experience a very expensive train wreck with all sides pointing to someone else as the cause, and middle-class America paying the bill and suffering the consequences.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2013, at 7:38 AM, thunderbolt7 wrote:

    Why are employers expected to provide health care in the first place? At its basic level, the employer - employee relationship is simply pay for work.

    It is a carry-over perk from the 1940s when wage & price controls were in place.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2013, at 9:17 AM, bjcoleman3507 wrote:

    1. Health Insurance was already expensive.

    2. Obamacare now makes companies purchase health insurance for their employees.

    This will result it lower pay, fewer hours (so you are not full time, then your employer does not have to provide health insurance for you)

    Nationalized healthcare is not the option.. you might say it works in other countries, that is because it is the only option. Talk to a few people from Canada, Germany or Austria and ask them how "awesome" it is.

  • Report this Comment On July 30, 2013, at 11:25 PM, malclave wrote:

    I really think that Obamacare was designed to be a failure. It's a stopgap measure to make people accept single-payer.

    My insurance premiums haven't gone up since it was passed, but I'm spending a couple thousand more a year for the same treatments. Mostly increased rental fees for sleep apnea equipment above what my insurance pays. Hey, someone's got to pay the medical device tax.

    The Obama administration is delaying implementation of the part of the law that most threatens Democrat success at the polls until after the midterm elections. The individual mandate goes into effect next year, but a lot of people probably won't notice until they file their taxes for 2014 and have the penalty reduce their refund. Employers won't face the mandate until 2015, so that's when they'll really have to cut back.

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