The Billings Outpost

Obamacare working

I just received a rebate check in the mail. Why?

Because the 80/20 rule in the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, requires that health insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on health care services. Since my insurance company spent only 77 percent in 2011, it must rebate 3 percent of its $26 million of collected premiums back to its customers. The headline for this pleasant surprise should be “Act Already Actually Acting!”

This 80/20 “Medical Loss Ratio” rule is one component of many in the health reform law that earns a high public approval rating. The more that people learn about this legislation, the higher the approval ratings go.  A friend just received a preventative care procedure at next to no cost. A neighbor’s daughter, a recent college graduate, can stay on her parents’ plan for a few more years. People with preexisting conditions cannot be turned away, and insurance companies cannot arbitrarily set upper limits on coverage. Millions of people are getting help with their prescription drug expenses. The list goes on.

Eight times as much money was spent demonizing the ACA than was spent promoting it. However, now that we are getting past “death panels,” “socialism,” and “unconstitutional” nonsense, the poll numbers are shifting dramatically. Dennis Rehberg’s claim that the ACA is a threat to Medicare is absurd! His claim is a ruse to deceive senior citizens. Indeed, if he and his ilk had their way, Medicare, Social Security, and every progressive advance of the past two centuries would be compromised – if not eliminated – along with the ACA.

The individual mandate aspect of the ACA was originally a conservative think-tank idea designed to promote personal responsibility. It is the centerpiece of Romneycare in Massachusetts. Now conservatives are railing against it as “a massive tax hike on the middle class.” What hypocrisy!

First of all, the tax is not massive. Second, it’s a payment for which people will receive decent health care coverage. Third, very few citizens will have to pay the so-called tax at all. Finally, tax credits and federal assistance will offset the cost of coverage for those who desperately need help.

The Republican slogan to “repeal and replace” is hollow. THE GOP has no replacement plan. Never did. Never will. Without the ACA, the costs to provide many millions of uninsured with medical treatment would just continue to trickle down to everyone else. So, I’ll toss this bone to the GOP: YOUR TRICKLE-DOWN THEORY DOES WORK – IN THIS CASE.

Dave Klarich

Billings

 

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