As you’re no doubt aware, the Supreme Court spent the last week debating the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) — specifically, the individual mandate, which requires everyone of legal age to buy health insurance (though subsidized to some extent for those who can’t afford it) or be penalized. The mandate’s purpose is to broaden the risk pool and remunerate the health-insurance companies (whether they really need is another matter) for new costs generated by one of the ACA’s chief selling points: that pre-existing conditions won’t disqualify Americans from health-care coverage.

Coverage for pre-existing conditions would be cause for celebration were it part of a bill that actually did provide affordable care for all. You may be one of those lucky few whose employer pays the bulk of your premium, but that’s increasingly rare for the middle-class. Currently, for most of us, if your employer is providing you with healthcare insurance, you’re likely paying around $850 a month (pre-tax), and at least a couple hundred more if you’re self-insured. In our household that’s known as Second Rent.

In fact, the ACA is intended to “moderate premium hikes.” Never mind the future cost of premiums: many of us can scarcely pay our premiums today. How, one wonders, can the ACA be considered major legislation when it fails to deal with the central issue (deductibles and medical care that insurers won’t cover aside for the moment) — the cost of healthcare insurance this very minute.

On March 29 CNN Money reported:

… health care costs are continuing to eat away at consumers’ budgets. The cost to cover the typical family of four under an employer plan is expected to top $20,000 on health care this year, up more than 7% from last year, according to early projections by independent actuarial and health care consulting firm Milliman Inc. In 2002, the cost was just $9,235, the firm said.

In fact …

… even if the Affordable Care Act goes through, it will do little to lessen the financial burden for those who are already insured, Mayne said. “It will take other changes to really bend the cost curve and make substantial changes in health care costs,” she said.

Even though rejecting the individual mandate effectively amounts to “live free and die,” Americans don’t like to think they’re being coerced. Between that and the failure to address the cost of premiums, middle-class Americans wonder about the ACA: “Huh? What’s in it for me?”

Cross-posted from Scholars & Rogues.

One Response to It’s Not the Mandate That’s the Fatal Flaw in the Affordable Care Act

  1. Twom says:




    We will never get costs down without the ridiculous sums that are paid out for liability.

    An OB/GYN can pay over 1 million a year(!) for liability insurance. It is not the doctors fault that a kid is born with any number of birth defects – that are the parents fault due to heredity, or irresponsible pre-natal care – or lack thereof – AND smoking, drinking, inproper diet,… Then to blame the doctors, and sue them, is ridiculous. But, when you have some low-life that is to ignorant to take care of themselves, and their unborn child, and an equal low-life attorney tells them to sue the doctor… THAT is what is contributing to the insane costs of health-care.

    BTW my opinion: If someone is on welfare, and they have a child, they should lose ALL the disposable part of their welfare. Give them food and shelter, BUT they should not have money for a single cigarette, drink, movie, … for 18 years. If they choose to be irresponsible with OUR money, they have made their decision, andf their entire life is now that child they chose to bring into the world. If a mother is not wed, the father need to contribute ALL of his income or benefits.

    A DNA should be mandatory to investigate and determine responsibility for a children and make record of BOTH parents.

    If a man thinks he can not use protection, get a woman pregnant, and have a child, and we will pay for that child – he needs to be held responsible.

    If a woman thinks she can get pregnant, not use any protection, and we will pay for that child – she needs to be held responsible.

.tags { display: none; }

Switch to our mobile site