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Saturday, November 07, 2009

This is what you want, this is what you get...

According to this report fresh from the congressional budget office, you can expect to pay a premium of about $440/month ($5300/year) for your new bottom-of-the-line government-approved individual health care plan ($15k/year for a famliy).

That's a private plan, like through Blue Cross. If you are currently paying less than that, your plan almost certainly won't qualify, which means you will either have to "upgrade" to a more expensive plan or owe an additional 2.5% income tax henceforth. Any conscientious objectors can look forward to up to $250,000 in fines and 5 years in jail.

The way they determined this level of coverage is by surveying current employer-provided health care plans, and declaring that individual plans must meet similar standards. Employer-provided plans, as I eluded to in a prior entry, are biased toward being high-premium, low-deductible, because of tax incentives. The new health care bill passes this madness on to individual plans, eliminating the last remaining price-conscious health care consumer, and effectively makes health insurance a thing of the past.

There is some vague wording in the bill about grandfathering in of existing plans, provided you have them before the end of the year. So, if you have a plan you like now, hold on tight and cross your fingers. And if you don't, you might want to try to get one before the end of the year if you can. (But I make no promises here -- I have no idea how this clause will manifest in practice. Somehow I suspect if I am able to keep my plan at all, it will be short lived.)

There is also a complete exemption for "certified" members of qualifying religions (presumably ones that don't allow health care at all), but I was unable to locate the section which was supposed to elaborate on this (1402(g)(1)). If one day I inexplicably become a Quaker...

Another interesting tidbit is that qualifying plans are not allowed to have any cap on benefits, which alone disqualifies essentially all existing plans because no sane plan would be that way. If it's costing tens of millions of dollars to keep you alive, chances are pretty good you'd rather be dead. But now we'll all be paying to dump hoards of money into people's misserably extended last few days or weeks -- that is until the rationing starts.

The best comment I happened upon while researching this today was "Please folks, do not over react. It is American Dollars were are talking about here, not real money."* Yes, my best hope for our future is that something new and wonderful will sprout up from the ashes of the comming Obamageddon. (For anyone new here, no, I was not a Bush fan either. I consider them two sides of the same coin...)

Brazil, where hearts were entertaining june
We stood beneath an amber moon
And softly murmured "someday soon" ...

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com