Posted by: patenttranslator | October 28, 2013

So Called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” Is a Cruel Joke

The unavailability of affordable health insurance for freelance translators such as myself was the main reason why I voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

Ever since 1987, the only medical insurance plan that I was able to afford as a freelance translator was a bare bones policy with a high deductible (3 thousand dollars out of my pocket before the insurance kicks in, per person, for a family of four, was the only sort of affordable option available to me).

Medical insurance plans sold to freelance workers by private health insurance corporations are based on the premise that foreseeable medical care needs must be excluded from coverage in order to maximize the profit for the private insurance corporations. For example, when my wife became pregnant almost 23 years ago, I found a clause buried in tiny font in the contract that said that pregnancy is excluded from coverage.

The cheapest place to have my child born in San Francisco in 1991 was in Chinatown Hospital. It cost me five thousand dollars in Chinatown although on paper I had “medical insurance”. In any other hospital it would have been much more.

Back in 2008, candidate Obama made so many wonderful promises to people like me that nobody seems to remember anymore. Am I the only one who remembers that he said for example this? (paraphrased):

We have to learn from the mistakes that Clintons made when they tried to reform health insurance in 1993. The biggest mistake they made was that they did not discuss their proposal with the people. That is why their plan ultimately failed. I will make sure that discussions about the plan for new insurance will be televised on C-Span so that all viewpoints could be considered and evaluated and the best plan could be adopted.

That was what candidate Obama said in 2008. Fools like myself believed him and voted for him.

But when he became president Obama, he made sure that only representatives of the private insurance industry who had so much to gain or lose from a new law would be meeting, behind closed doors, with Democrats who would receive very generous or not so generous financial contributions from the lobbyists working for private insurance corporations depending on how new laws are crafted.

There was one attempt by a group of medical doctors who wanted to discuss a single payer plan as a superior alternative to the plan that the private health insurance was creating, behind closed doors, with enthusiastic assistance from a few Democrats selected by president Obama, while nobody else was allowed to participate.

Obama and Democrats who depend the most on generous contributions from the private health insurance mafia had these doctors arrested. That was the extent of the participation of general public during the preparation of the new healthcare law.

That is why the result was “a mandate” to buy a product for people who are forced to buy this product from a private business, whether the product works, or not. If they can’t afford the onerous premiums, the cost will be shifted onto other participants in the plan. Instead of using the power of the government to guarantee affordable premiums by negotiating the prices with hospitals and Big Pharma, the power of the government is used to guarantee enormous profits for private health insurance companies by delivering a huge captive market to the predatory private insurance industry.

In the long run, there can be only one result of such a such a sweetheart deal between the corporate-owned government and the private health insurance mafia: a few people will be helped, but most of us will be paying more, probably much more, for less, because that has been the guiding principle of private insurance in this country for decades.

In other words, there was no health insurance reform. After the bailout of Wall Street, the so called “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is a bailout of Big Pharma and private health insurance industry.

Imagine that everybody would be forced by law to purchase our translations at prices that we would be able to set in secret negotiations with corrupt politicians who are in our pocket. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful world for translators?

Well, it can be done! (Yes, we can! Si, se puede!). All translators need to do is create their own lobby giving a lot of money to Ds and Rs in Washington DC.

The new law has no chance of working for the general public because it is not designed to provide the best possible medical care for most people at the lowest possible cost. It is designed to extract as much money as possible from as many people as possible in the most expensive system of medical care in the world.That is the primary objective of the new law.

Because providing medical care for the people who pay the premiums is expensive, the new insurance law will work very well only for people who are healthy and thus do not need any medical care.

Nobody seems to have noticed that the much celebrated removal of “preexisting condition” from new insurance policies is for the most part just an illusion.

Age, for example, is still a preexisting condition according to the new law. People in their fifties will be charged three times as much for their insurance as people in their twenties.

And the low premiums paid by healthy people in the beginning will not last because the private health insurance corporations are free under the new law to gouge their customers with impunity. Should insurance policy holders get sick, they will be charged double, and then triple of what they were paying when they did not need medical care, until they are forced to stop paying the premiums.

In any case, it is very easy for the private insurance corporations to simply ignore the law and pay a penalty if the penalty is less than what medical treatment would cost them. It’s not personal for them, it’s business.

And if they need to change something in the law, all they have to do is give the politicians more money, and the law will be promptly changed. In fact, they already did that, and the “mandate” (duty to purchase insurance) for employers was “postponed” by one year, while it is still “the law” for the rest us.

In other words, it is “a law” that is applicable to some, but not to others.

Ironically, it is very easy for Republicans, who have no plan for a working health insurance system either, to make fun of Obama’s “signature achievement” now since after almost a month, the HealthCare.gov website is still not working. (I went to the site three times so far to test it, each time I was told to come back later. What a joke!).

“The president made promises that this was going to be cheaper than your cellphone bill, easier to use than Amazon and you can keep your doctor”, said according to today’s Washington Post Senator John Barasso on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” yesterday. “People all across the country, George, are seeing that that’s just not true”.

Even when the website and the new law start working, medical expenses will still remain the number one reason for bankruptcy in the United States of America.

It will just take longer for the private insurance mafia to bankrupt its customers and the entire country now that based on the new law, onerous premiums will be distributed among millions of new health insurance policy holders, who will now be able to enjoy very good, although very expensive, health insurance.

Their new health insurance will work very well for people who can afford the rates … unless they get sick, of course.

UPDATE

On my third try I was able to find out some information from the Obamacare website.

Below are the rates that I was offered today as coverage for only 1 person (myself).

On what planet are these monthly premiums, “deductibles”, and “out-of-pocket expenses  of the incredibly named “Patient Protection Affordable Care Act” affordable when even lawyers in New York City can’t afford it?

Even according to the cheapest plant, I would have to spend 18 thousand dollars first before the private insurance company would pay 1 red cent.

A mafia legbreaker might be ashamed to demand this kind of protection money from a bar owner, and of course it would be illegal for the legbreaker to try to do that.

But in the US of A, the only advanced country on this planet without some kind of a single payer system, what the private health insurance mafia is doing is not only legal, but if you refuse to pay the protection money to the health insurance mafia, thanks to the new Obamacare laws, the mafia will simply add the amount to your tax bill.

Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze DirectAccess w/HSA – caas
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Monthly premium

$467/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$6,000/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,350/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: 15% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 15% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 15% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 15% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze DirectAccess – caam
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Monthly premium

$482/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$5,500/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,350/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: $40 Copay and 25% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 25% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 25% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 35% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze DirectAccess – cabw
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Monthly premium

$491/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$4,500/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,350/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: $35 Copay and 35% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 35% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 35% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 45% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze DirectAccess w/HSA – cacd
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Monthly premium

$509/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$3,750/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,200/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: 25% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 25% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 25% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 35% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Vantage Equity 4750
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Optima Health
Monthly premium

$513/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$4,750/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,250/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: 10% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 10% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 50% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 10% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Vantage Equity 4250
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Optima Health
Monthly premium

$527/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$4,250/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,250/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: 20% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 20% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 50% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 20% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Vantage Equity 3750
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Optima Health
Monthly premium

$541/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$3,750/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,250/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: 30% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 30% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 50% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 30% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Anthem HealthKeepers Bronze DirectAccess w/Child Dental – cdbw
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Monthly premium

$550/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$4,500/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,350/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: $35 Copay and 35% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: 35% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 35% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 45% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Vantage 3500 60%
<p>Bronze plans cover 60% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Bronze
Optima Health
Monthly premium

$550/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$3,500/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,250/yr

Per individual maximum

Primary Doctor: $25 Copay and 40% Coinsurance after deductible
Specialist Doctor: $25 Copay and 40% Coinsurance after deductible
Generic Prescription: 50% Coinsurance after deductible
ER Visit: 40% Coinsurance after deductible
Prices will be lower if you qualify for help paying for coverage. Read more.
Vantage FourSight 3500 80%
<p>Silver plans cover 70% of the total average cost of care.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>The category you choose affects how much your premium costs each month and what portion of the bill you pay for things like hospital visits or prescription drugs.</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>It also affects your total out-of-pocket costs – the total amount you’ll spend for the year if you need lots of care.”> Silver
Optima Health
Monthly premium

$597/mo

One enrollee
Deductible

$3,500/yr

Per individual

Out-of-pocket

$6,250/yr

Per individual maximum


Responses

  1. To be absolutely honest I must admit that what I liked the very most was the “Slavonic Dance” at the end – especially the overhead perspective when their little fingers crossed with each other on the same key :). Its been too hard and long a day to be able to appreciate serious problems with the health system.. Ours is far from perfect in the Czech Republic but I’ve been a huge recipient of the benefits of our insurance system – they’ve been keeping me alive, literally.

    Like

  2. Well Steve, you do live in the ‘home of the brave’.
    It is slowly dawning on me why one needs to be brave to live in the US.
    On the plus side, I understand that the health care ‘business’ in the US is very profitable! Is this not a admirable achievement in a ‘free market’ society? :-)

    Like

  3. This probably used to be home of the brave, until they turned it into home of the spied on, brainwashed, and pitiful.

    Like

  4. I have been reading a lot of books (history and academic analyses) about the US and I’ve been watching events closely for a number of years now.
    I cannot help but get alarmed at what I see and hear, and how it may spill over on the rest of world the way the collapse of the Wall Street Casino resulted in another GFC. Empires are not known for giving up gracefully.

    As far as Washington is concerned, the whole situation seems analogous of the frog slowly brought to boil without noticing it.
    Glen Greenwald appears to provide the most plausible and articulate analysis so far.

    Perhaps a general but acute sense of foreboding explains why the citizens feel it necessary to arm themselves with assault weapons.
    I fear for your future Steve, ever thought of migrating to Aus?

    Like

    • Are Taiwanese or Chinese welcome in Australia, Louis?

      The situation here in the Isla Formosa is about the same in the US, suffocating. I hope you have plenty of space for us Formosanos.

      @Steve: I tend to be in accord with 1stclasstranslation to admit my preference to Slavonic Dance.

      Like

      • :)

        Like

      • Well, Wenjer, If I knew the answer, I’d give it to you. Like the US, information provided by government officials and politicians is so convoluted and confused that nobody really understands any more.
        I’m sure its just a temporary thing and they will eventually tell us exactly what we want to know……..

        Like

  5. “I fear for your future Steve, ever thought of migrating to Aus?”

    Yes, I did. In 1981, when I was a resident of Germany, I applied for emigration to US, Australia and Canada.

    US responded first, they interviewed me in Frankfurt and by the time I received a response from Australia and Canada, I already had a US visa.

    So I could have been an Aussie or Canadian, but it was my fate to become an American.

    At this point, I am too old to emigrate again, unless the situation becomes unbearable here, which is always a possibility.

    Like

  6. Health and sanitary assistance belong to basic needs and rights of people which preservation ought to be a value and direct concern of government action. I mean state managing and organisational task, financed through taxation income. Health care and assistance cannot be entrusted to profit-focused companies. Insurance, pharma & Co. want to make as much money as possible who use the fairy tale of “their care for customers and attention to their needs” as marketing slogan only.

    Like

  7. “Health care and assistance cannot be entrusted to profit-focused companies. Insurance, pharma & Co. want to make as much money as possible who use the fairy tale of “their care for customers and attention to their needs” as marketing slogan only.”

    Unfortunately, at this point, most Americans are so brainwashed by corporate propaganda that they don’t realize this simple truth.

    Like

  8. […] here as in Germany, and most bankruptcies in US are in fact to do inability to pay medical bills. Obamacare did not solve any of these problems as it only pushed the healthcare costs even higher whe…. If you add it all together, the tax burden here is at least as high as in Holland, while the […]

    Like

  9. […] forced to bail out the banking industry in 2008 and the private health insurance insurance industry (with Obamacare in 2010). They simply don’t have the kind of money needed to buy politicians these […]

    Like


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