healthcare reform


Using published data, imagine how excited you’ll be to keep your current insurance, that’s part of your compensation package with your employer, when you get hit with a new, higher payroll deduction!

As reported by MedScape

Under the bill, employers that do not pay for at least 60% of the cost of the monthly premium for their employees’ insurance will be assessed an annual fee of $750 for each uncovered family, and $375 for each uncovered individual. The provisions wouldn’t apply to businesses with fewer than 25 employees.

From Wikipedia we learn that,

“[i]n 2008 the average employee contribution was 16% of the cost of single coverage and 27% of the cost of family coverage…[a]verage premiums, including both the employer and employee portions, were $4,704 for single coverage and $12,680 for family coverage in 2008.”

Basically, using the above averages, this means that where right now an employee averages:

Individual

$4,704 annual premium
Average cost to employee = 16% of total
Cost toward premium = $753

Family

$12,608 annual premium
Average cost to employee = 27%
Cost toward premium = $3,424

So, when employers are mandated to pay at least 60% of the total premiums, how much are you now going to pay as an employee?

Individual

$4,704 annual premium
Average cost to employee = 40% of total
Cost toward premium = $1,882
$1,129 MORE annually

Family

$12,608 annual premium
Average cost to employee = 40%
Cost toward premium = $5,072
$1,648 MORE annually

But hey, your income taxes didn’t increase, did they?  Oh, wait – taxing your health insurance value is also on the table, so that too might happen too!

Anyone still scratching their head as to why Wal-Mart is endorsing the inclusion of a public-plan in healthcare reform, you can stop scratching!

On MedScape we learn, “[u]nder the bill, employers that do not pay for at least 60% of the cost of the monthly premium for their employees’ insurance will be assessed an annual fee of $750 for each uncovered family, and $375 for each uncovered individual. The provisions wouldn’t apply to businesses with fewer than 25 employees.”

This is really interesting because, “[i]n 2008 the average employee contribution was 16% of the cost of single coverage and 27% of the cost of family coverage…[a]verage premiums, including both the employer and employee portions, were $4,704 for single coverage and $12,680 for family coverage in 2008.”

Now I don’t know exactly what Wal-Mart’s current contribution toward employee health insurance is, but if they’re within the range of the national average, Wal-Mart is going to make out fat if they just suck it up and pay the fines instead of a portion of the premiums.

If you’re Wal-Mart and you’re currently paying the average 27% toward the premiums for family coverage – $3,424 annually toward the total for an employee with family coverage – what would you do with the new regulations?

A) Suck it up and pay 60% of the premium now – $7,608
B) Cut the employees loose to pay the total themselves or go to the public plan and you pay the fine – $750

Any questions?

When I first launched this blog, I intended to write often and present various perspectives on the state of healthcare in the US.  Since February I simply haven’t had time to write, nor the inclination to make the time. 

Now, however, with the debate over healthcare reform heating up, I’m rethinking my time commitments and feel it’s important to step up and add to the discussion.

Why exactly do I think I have something to add? 

To put it simply, few seem to be willing to go beyond the talking points to dig deeper into the issues – as the wife of a doctor, I have an up-close and personal perspective that, while some will see as conflict-of-interest, might lend a different perspective than that which we’re presented with in the mainstream media. 

While some will consider my relationship to my husband a conflict-of-interest as an excuse to dismiss my thoughts, let’s not forget I also have a self-interest in the outcome of any healthcare reform for me, alone, the individual….an interest in the outcome for our son, who will likely be most affected long-term by any “reform”, as well as friends and family.  It may be easy to dismiss my thoughts because I’m married to a doctor, but don’t forget, I’m also an individual, a mom, sister, daughter and friend – so my concern isn’t simply my husband’s practice of medicine!

All of that said, I do have big concerns about how the debate is being framed, what issues are in focus while others are ignored, and how things are going to play out no matter what since there are so many players in the mix with vested interests to bargain and negotiate with.  It’s these things I plan to write about most.

I hope you’ll return to engage and comment, leave your own ideas and perspectives – if healthcare reform is open to debate, all opinions are welcome!  I won’t tolerate attacks on others – stick to the issues and express your thoughts without ad hominem, OK?

The word “profit” comes from the Latin, to make progress. 

Profit is the difference between the price something sells for and the cost of bringing to market whatever is sold, be it a product or service. 

Within the healthcare debate, we’re told profit is bad, it is a dirty word, it must be eliminated from our healthcare system so that we can deliver quality healthcare to all Americans.

The problem is one of semantics; any business endeavor, whether it is classifed as “for-profit” or “non-profit,” must generate enough revenue to meet its financial obligations like operating expenses and salaries. 

In the for-profit business model, revenues that exceed the cost of doing business are “profits”, whereas the same excess in the non-profit sector is termed “surplus”. 

No matter what you call it, it’s the same thing, more money in than money going out. 

The damning of profit however is an extremely effective way to terminate any discussion of alternatives or options to the current system we have because no one from within the healthcare system is going to step up and say “but profits are good” or anything related to money.

It’s manipulation pure and simple – carefully crafted and designed, then repeatedly executed well, by those who wish to keep the focus on establishing a single-payer universal healthcare system in the United States.

How can anyone have a meaningful discussion of the state of our healthcare system if you don’t talk money?

There is indeed much discussion on the demand side of the equation, that is the cost to those who need healthcare and virtually no discussion about the supply side of the equation, the costs to those delivering healthcare.

We absolutely must open the discussion up, take it beyond its cost to patients, and look at all sides if we are going to fix the areas in our healthcare system that need fixing and address the issues that are important to us all – the quality of our healthcare, how and where to better manage costs, and how to reach out to and provide affordable coverage to those uninsured among us.

Share your thoughts on this matter in the comments!