Pro/con: Will some young Americans opt out of health-care coverage?No: Though single-payer plan would be better
By: Wayne Madsen, Tribune Media Services
What’s generally termed Obamacare wasn’t the brainstorm of President Obama, but an Alice in Wonderland “witches brew” concocted in 2010 by Senate Majority Harry Reid and then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with generous advice from Big Pharma, Big Insurance and the AARP.
All three groups stood to make billions off a convoluted bill that added 19 million potential new customers to the nation’s health-care system, but hardly anyone in the Democratic majorities that rammed the bill through Congress had any idea what the legislation actually contained.
Now Democrats are finding out key sections of the law may contain the seeds of its own destruction.
One of the most glaring examples is the requirement that uninsured Americans younger than 40 — who currently constitute some two-thirds of the nation’s uninsured — must enroll in the new program paying annual amounts averaging $3,000 or more depending on income for a full range of services that most don’t want and very few need.
Why would mostly healthy younger Americans pay thousands of dollars more for health insurance loaded with coverage they don’t need when they can opt out of the system by paying a $95 fine and then — if needed — purchase catastrophic insurance for 1/10 the price of ACA coverage?
If Obama can’t persuade enough younger Americans to sign up, the so-called signature legislation of his first term may collapse.
If that happens, progressive Democrats should step forward and make their case for single-payer system to the American people.
Much of the waste in our current health-care system comes from higher administrative costs and the exorbitantly higher prices Americans pay for prescription drugs.
One study estimates that the U.S. pays 31 percent for administrative costs compared to the 16.7 percent that Canada pays to run its highly popular universal, single-payer system.
It would be foolhardy to rule out the possibility that large numbers of Obama’s younger supporters will step forward and enroll in the Affordable Care Act.
If they don’t, however, other enticing alternatives are available — ones like Vermont’s pending single insurer system that covers everyone.
According to a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Vermont’s program will save a whopping $122 million in administrative costs by 2017. That is a huge saving for a very small state and savings obviously would be much greater for larger states.
Wayne Madsen is a contributing writer to www.onlinejournal.com.