I'm opposed to Obamacare but I always kind of thought it wouldn't impinge on me personally for a few years. I know, that's a naive thought but I did think it...until today. Today I got what I think is a small taste of Obamacare.
Today at work we learned that some changes are taking place in our company health benefits. To put it simply, our health insurance is getting more expensive. Our premiums are going up, new surcharges will apply under certain conditions and, worst of all to me, the co-pay system has been abolished. Instead, we will have to pay the contract cost for doctor's visits and procedures until our deductible is paid. After that we will pay 20% of the cost of visits and procedures. Like I said, our health care is getting more expensive. Didn't Obama promise Americans just the opposite?
The costly changes that my company is making to its health benefits is an example of the unintended(?) consequences of government intervention in health care and the free market. Two Obamacare policies appear to be driving my company's health benefits shake up. Those policies are the requirements for health insurance companies to provide free preventative care and to let parents carry their children on their health plans until those children are 26 years old (and there are no restrictions on these adult kids; they can be married and have kids of their own and still be eligible for their parents' health coverage).
On the surface these policies seem compassionate. What's wrong with free preventative care? What's wrong with letting parents keep their twenty-something kids on their health insurance plan? What's wrong is that somebody has to pay for these "reforms". "Free" preventative care is free only to the patient; it still costs money to the doctors, clinics, and hospitals who deliver that care, and that costs money to the insurance company. Likewise, forcing insurers to take on droves of new customers will raise their cost of doing business. How will insurance companies pay for these new expenses? By passing them onto consumers in the form of higher premiums, new charges, and/or reduced services. Nothing very compassionate about that.
The Founding Fathers were right not to make social welfare the responsibility of the federal government. In almost every instance, government "help" winds up creating more problems than it solves. In the case of Obamacare, federal "compassion" means that my co-workers and I will end up a bit poorer and possibly a bit less healthy. And all because Barak Obama cares.
I really wish he didn't.