Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 21, 2014

A Redistribution of Wealth Under Obamacare

James Oliphant contends that Obamacare technical glitches have revealed deeper, more structural problems: “The curtain has been yanked back to expose the ungainly reality that lies at the very heart of the program: Very simply, under the Affordable Care Act, there are winners and there are losers. And there were always going to be. That fact, even more than the star-crossed rollout, may be the more enduring political threat to Obamacare.”

“In the traditional entitlements, just about every taxpayer eventually becomes a “winner,” but under the ACA that may never happen. In that way, the law is more of a direct wealth transfer.”

Politically, the Obama administration can’t admit that the only way for the program to be successful is “that there would need to be a transfer of wealth—from the young to the old, from men to women, from the healthy to the sick. That to raise the floor, you had to lower the ceiling.”

Oliphant warns: “The simple truth is that the Affordable Care Act is, from a certain point of view, either a finely tuned machine whose parts have to work in an almost orchestral fashion for it to produce the wellspring of results that have been promised, or an infernal, jury-rigged contraption that could collapse from the smallest series of stresses.”

  • http://mulderc.blogspot.com/ Cameron Mulder

    Our current healthcare policy also produces winners and losers. Best example is people in the individual market vs the employer paid market. Essentially the tax code subsides employers to cover their employees but that same benefit is not given to individuals.

    Virtually any policy change has winners and losers,

    • Alun Palmer

      Although even despite that subsidy the cost of family coverage would be four times as much through my employer as on the individual market. Granted for many people it is the other way around, but not for us.

  • http://liberalvaluesblog.com Ron Chusid

    I am supposedly a loser under Obamacare. I don’t qualify for subsidies and my insurance will cost more. However I am guaranteed that I will never lose insurance due to developing a medical problem. In addition, I save by being able to include my college-age daughter until age 26. I also potentially save money as it is less likely my tax money will have to go to cover the uninsured.

    So, yes, in a way he is right that there is a degree of redistribution of the wealth. Regardless, even if some benefit more, we all benefit from getting rid of the old, dysfunctional, individual market.

    • Alun Palmer

      For my family, bronze Obamacare is double what the individual market would have charged, but the latter would have only covered 3 out of 4 of my family (different ones depending on the insurer)

  • Gregory Williams

    “… from the young to the old, from men to women, from the healthy to the sick…” WTF?

    This very partisan idiot assumes that the old do not pay premiums, that women will not pay premiums, that the sick will not be paying premiums, that the young will never get sick or old – he further proves his idiocy with a rather ignorant implied belief that the healthy will never be the sick, that men will not get breast cancer or get sick, that the sick will not become healthy, etc.etc.etc…

    He also ignores the fact that as more people get treatment they need earlier when it costs less and solves problems before you ever would have to go to an emergency room will reduce the burden on tax payers and the medical care system over all and especially at the point when emergency care should be used as exactly that EMERGENCY CARE – so wait times and outcomes improve and the mistakes, stress and waste of over crowded and over worked ERs will fall drastically… that is a GREAT THING and helps drive costs down even more.

    Then he admits that insurance companies raised rates only to generate more profits and ignores the fact that those same insurers will have to REFUND money to people who did not get sick or use medical/health services – that is like getting a second tax refund and in the following year the insurance companies will REDUCE premiums so they do not have to give money back – and that is also GREAT for the system and consumers.

    HE asserts that in a year or two people will be singing a different tune … in his extremist partisan beliefs he implies it will be lamentations and complaints – he is wrong as wrong can be – the tune people will be singing will be joyous and celebratory and they will demand that the unemployed & indigent be pooled and funded by a small tax (1/2 of 1%) on all incomes so coverage continues during times of adversity and need for those in need and that is also a GREAT THING since it will ensure they get care when it is cheap rather than ERs when it is the most expensive and the most likely time to be too late or forcing a long term burden on the system to make up for not getting care when it was easily treatable and much much cheaper with better outcomes.

    He needs to grow up and stop his conservative lamentations of DOOM and MISERY and to stop the childish tantrums spawned by ignorance and hate – the future is better for all with PPACA (Obamacare) and even he would know that if he was not invested in a conservative future of un-needed death and misery – lets make plans to add comprehensive dental care to the package NOW when it is an area that needs just as much attention as standard health/medical care because good dental health improves over all health across the board and further reduces costs from treating problems before some one ends up in an ER with sepsis or infected bones – that is also a way to reduce overall costs on the medical care system by preventing dental needs from turning into medical/health care needs.

    • easton

      great post

      • Gregory Williams

        Thank You.

  • Alun Palmer

    My premiums via my employer would have been huge, too much even though my salary is fairly high, because their plan is essentially too good in terms of benefits, and also because of the high average age of employees. On the individual market, the premiums would have been much lower, but no-one would cover all of my family, although they rejected different people, and they did that despite the state law already theoretically protecting pre-existing conditions. The premiums through Obamacare look to be half way inbetween, even though I earn too much for a subsidy, but at least they will be forced to cover us, although doubtless the bronze coverage is poor. Single payer would be better.

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