How’s that health care working out for you?

I heard two different stories on the “health care reform” yesterday. I had lunch with an old friend. He has his own small business and with the downturn in the economy he is slowing sinking. He is looking for a contract job writing software and may end up leaving the Seattle area for a few weeks to “go do some coding in Iowa”. The new health care regulations aren’t helping him any either. He pulled out his Group Health identification card and told me, “I was paying $1000/month for this until they passed the bill. Almost immediately it went to $1500/month.”

That evening I had dinner with some other friends. One of them told me about explaining to one of his employees just yesterday that he is now required to offer her health insurance. He told her, “I’m required to offer you health insurance. So I’m doing that now. But if you accept I’m going to have to cut your hours back to 20 per week. At that point I no longer have to pay your insurance. If you sign this other piece of paper saying you don’t want the coverage you can continue to work 40 hours per week.

She clarified, “So I could work 20 hours per week and not have health insurance or I could continue to work 40 hours per week and not have health insurance, right?” “That’s right”, he said. “Unless you can talk Ruth out of her raise. We just don’t have the budget for any additional expenses.”

As Sebastian rhetorically asks on a slightly different topic, “Who could have predicted this?”


5 thoughts on “How’s that health care working out for you?

  1. Yeah, I retired last year and started paying for my own healthcare immediately. This year my premium went from $260/month to $340/month. Welcome to the obumble’s healthcare.

  2. My plan jumped 15% this year. Hooray for free healthcare! (And if you believe it’s free, I need to sell you a bridge in Arizona…)

  3. Even before they passed healthcare reform, insurance premiums in California were going up 50%+ — so I don’t think healthcare reform had anything to do with the increase in price. More uninsured (due to the high unemployment rate) means that more insured people have to pay for the uninsured.

    Note that healthcare remains one of the few growing economic sectors contributing to the GDP. Why? Because everybody needs it and there is no limit to how much they can charge you for it. People I know working in healthcare are still getting very nice raises.

    ” U.S. health care spending growth decelerated in 2008, increasing 4.4 percent compared to 6.0 percent in 2007, as spending growth slowed for nearly all health care goods and services, particularly for hospitals. Health spending growth for state and local and private sources of funds also slowed while federal health spending growth accelerated in 2008. Total health expenditures reached $2.3 trillion in 2008, which translates to $7,681 per person and 16.2 percent of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Despite slower growth in overall health expenditures, the share of GDP devoted to health care increased from 15.9 percent in 2007.”

  4. I really hate it when someone says “there’s no limit to the price of something”. Oh, really? Then why not charge an even greater price?

    There are all sorts of reasons health insurance and health care are the prices they are: the cost of providing the service being one, and the amount people are willing to pay being another.

    The goal of any sale is to maximize profit, and to maximize the number of customers. The first “force” pushes the price up, while the second “force” pushes prices down. Other things can change the price, too–such as taxes, increases in expenses, and compliance with burdensome regulation–which is why, in the end, government intervention in health care has been such a bad thing!

  5. Ubu,

    You might want to look at the CALIFORNIA changes to what policy issurers are required to cover.

    It’s remarkable — it’s almost as if, when the legislature waves it’s magic wand and forces businesses to pay out more money, the businesses increase what they charge their customers. . .

    You also might want to consider that SMART businessmen do not WAIT for the law to prohibit them from increasing their price to cover what they have figured is going to be an automatic increase in their cost.

    Sure, we JUST got Obama’s healthcare passed. But the INSTANT he won election in 2008, everyone in the business knew it was coming.

    Given how Democrats like to hammer business for trying to make a profit, and they tend to pass laws that punish businesses for “exploitation”, it was pretty reasonable to expect that any health care “reform” bill would include penalties for anyone who increased their policy costs AFTER the bill was made public (even before it passed).

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