First, kudos to the President and Congressional leaders for trying to fix the biggest public policy issue we have in America. Healthcare costs are up 131% over the past decade, while wages and CPI are up 28% to 31%. Thats a big problem. And with 78 million seniors getting ready to hit the Medicare sysyem, the problems will continue to worsen.
Their motivations to control cost, for the most part, are well intentioned and welcomed. Or at least welcomed, for sure.
But like all things “health reform”, the devil is in the details. And it is in these details that lurk the unintended consequences.
My beef today is with the fact that both the House and Senate bills shift enormous burdens on the younger generations. I’m not talking about taxes or deficits right now–that’s the down the line burden-I am talking about key provisions that limit the amount insurance companies can charge older Americans, and the ensuing cost shift to younger people. Consider the 2 following provisions:
1. Both bills outlaw “preferred underwriting”; that is premium discounts for the young and healthy.
2. Both bills put limits on the premium ratio between age and demographic groups. In the House it’s capped at 2 to 1, meaning a 64 year old can never be charged more than double what an 18 year old can be charged. Actuarial estimates would put the actual cost differential at 5 or more to 1.
A study conducted by an evil insurance carrier (Blue Cross) calculated the premium effect to be more than 100% for younger healthier people.
Is it fair to shift this burden to the young in our workforce? And how will this regulations make our older Americans feel? And what about businesses-is it fair to shift the burden from a restaurant owner with employees who average 30 years old to a machine shop that averages 55? HOW MUCH OF YOUR PROBLEM IS MY PROBLEM?
If people–whether young or old—understood the impact of these regulations, they would be angry (young) and embarassed (old), I think.
What do you think about this? And what do you think your parents would have to say about it?