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Can the Working-Poor Afford Obamacare?
Over the last many years I have thought that the greatest problems to the social fabric of this nation is the complex and costly means to pay for legal and healthcare costs.
Both systems, are at times, out of reach of the people that need them the most.
The Affordable Care Act in many ways is affordable in name only. I'm no Obama fan but at least I applaud his initiative to at least try something to fix the health care mess we find ourselves in.
I'm afraid though that “Obamcare” will actually make things worse for a large segment of the population and specifically the working-poor.
The facts I have found would make those that work full time but only have an income in the low to mid $20,000s would in many cases only see this law as a close yet unattainable prize. Almost like a tantalizing gift just out of reach.
The first hurdle is that only companies that have 50 full-time employees or more are required to offer insurance under this law. Problem is many of the biggest companies in the United States try everything they can to not hire full-time employees.
After being unemployed I noticed that almost all the jobs at places such as Walmart, Lowe's, Menard's, Home depot, etc make up their workforce largely of part time employees. These companies would rather have multiple part-time employees then handing out full-time positions.
Another problem is some large companies that do have good employee insurance could drop that coverage and offer insurance under the Affordable Care Act which could be less costly to the company and put more obligations on the employee.
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What kind of insurance exactly is the company required to provide? Let's look at some math. The Affordable Health Care law centers around the number 9.5%. That is the maximum percentage of an employee's annual salary which would pay for insurance premiums. It gets much worse.
After the premium there could be a deductible which would have to be paid before the insurance even kicks in. Once the deductible and premium is paid what is the percentage that the insurance company would pay while more money comes out of the employees pocket?
Here is an example. Say your making $21,000 dollars. Under this law your annual premium could be as high as $1,995.00 at 9.5%. After you pay just about $2,000 dollars there could be a deductible as high as $3,000 under the basic plan. All this before the insurance companies pay a dime. Then when the insurance does kick in what percentage does the insurance pay and what more is the employee responsible for?
The individual making $21,000 could possibly pay $5,000 before insurance kicks in which would reduce his annual income to $16,000. Who would but this insurance at this cost.
Here's another twist. Under law the companies offering this type of insurance are in perfect legal standing under the law and because of this individuals would not be allowed tax credits to buy cheaper private insurance.
See, if insurance in the above example is too expensive and the employee can't afford the company insurance the employee would still be on the hook to buy insurance through other means or risk a fine.
If this wasn't bad enough those individuals making over $15,900 wont be able to take advantage of the law's Medicaid expansion.
Do I have an answer to the healthcare mess? No I'm afraid not. I call myself a republican but I don't see my party offering anything substantial either.
I'm also not too optimistic on any kind of bipartisan agreement in this polarizing political environment we live in now on healthcare. Neither party wants the other party to find a solution to this problem.
They fight like two Prima Donnas that don't want the other to succeed so face won't be lost. All the while the people they are supposed to represent suffer.
Know who the people are with the best health insurance coverage? Those same people that we have elected to vote for our health insurance.
Right now after 25 years of being at one company I was laid off. I have some medical issues I need looked at but have no health insurance. If I would have spent 25 years as an elected official this wouldn't be one problem I would have to worry about.