Hope Springs Eternalâ€¦Even After Obamacare Has “Passed” by Brian Fricke
By: Guest Authors
By: Brian Fricke
Copyright (c) 2010
In case you’re wondering, I’m not a fan of Obamacare. Even though it’s gone through, I’m still the eternal optimist. Here’s why.
Some of you may remember over 10 years ago, Congress pushed through a tax that was referred to as the “Medicare Sur-Tax”. It affected people who were already receiving Medicare benefits and whose incomes were above a certain threshold amount – the number escapes me right now — but basically it was going to tax any retiree who had done a decent job of saving and accumulating a nice nest egg.
Nobody really understood the impact of this tax until after the tax law had gone into effect. When people started to realize what the effect was, the Congressman who was the sponsor of the bill, a guy named Dan Rostenkowski, couldn’t go anywhere in public or private without a huge crowd of retirees showing up and – very vocally – shared their thoughts on this tax law. And their thoughts were not kind to say the least.
Most of the time the Senator couldn’t go out in public without bodyguards. He actually had to wear a flak jacket, it got so bad. But here’s the good part. In less than 90 days that tax law got repealed.
It’s amazing what can happen when the public outcry is vocal and significant. So, I’m still hopeful that once the average American understands the impact “Obamacare” has on them, the nitwits in Washington will have a change of heart and modify things to get it closer to something that makes sense. Or better yet, they’ll let their “voices” be heard in the upcoming November elections.
Don’t get me wrong, I agree that we need to reform the health care system; I just don’t like the idea of a government health care system. I wonder why we don’t just allow the free market system to take effect. In my opinion, the health care system is different than almost any other commerce that goes on in America today because you rarely know what the true cost of anything is — and there is little incentive for us to pay attention or care that much.
Where else do you buy anything where you aren’t aware of the cost? If you’re going to buy a car, you know what the car is going to cost before you buy the car. When you go to the grocery store, you at least have an idea of what your bill is going to be before you go through the checkout line.
That doesn’t exist in our current health care system. Part of the reason is because you and I as consumers don’t have easy access to this information and aren’t motivated to get it, because our perception of cost is whatever our co-payment and deductable is.
I think the simple solution is to let people know and understand what the actual health care costs are. Why not just let you and I fill out our health insurance forms? After all, we fill out our own auto or homeowner insurance claim forms. When a bunch of people see what they’re actually being charged for and start complaining, companies take note things change – including simple to file claim forms – because they have to satisfy the customer, or the customer goes somewhere else.
Well today in healthcare, you and I as health care recipients aren’t really the customer. The customer is the insurance company. So the doctors and hospitals have to keep the insurance companies happy. This just isn’t right!
If you and I were responsible for filling out our own claim forms, we’d have a better understanding of the true cost of our own healthcare. Which would probably lead to lots of tough questions (and complaints). Which would lead to better pricing and service.
The bottom line is, I think the free market enterprise system that America has in place is the greatest economic system in the world. It will work miracles for our healthcare woes if we – and our government – will let it.
Brian Fricke is the Author of “Worry Free Retirement, Do What You Want, When you Want, Where You Want”. For the last 6 years in a row Brian and his company – Financial Management Concepts – have been named one of America’s Top Wealth Managers. For more information, please visit http://www.BrianFricke.com