Health Care – You can’t afford it and you can’t afford to go without it. That sounds a bit like what we used to (jokingly) say about living with members of the opposite sex.

2015-12-28 Health care Costs

Obamacare ostensibly was supposed to fix skyrocketing health care costs. I knew that wasn’t going to be the case. Now I have the data to prove it. Worse yet, more and more of the cost increases are being passed off to the consumer (see chart from the recent Kaiser EHBS Survey).

Health Care Pain

As painful as this is for the low and middle class (who can least afford it), it’s actually healthy for the whole system. Health care isn’t free just because you don’t pay for it directly – but most folks don’t pay the premiums. Their employer does. Until the masses really feel the pain of higher prices, insurance companies, doctors and hospitals will keep charging whatever they can get.

Obamacare DID accomplish two other important objectives. More people carry some form of health care coverage and thanks to the elimination of pre-existing condition exclusions, there is now protection against catastrophic losses for those with the greatest need.

This is NOT Insurance

For those who have been able to get the surgeries and specialty drugs that would have forever bankrupted them in the past (because of preexisting conditions), their health care coverage performs like insurance should. They pay a relatively small premium to eliminate catastrophic losses.

For the rest of us what we have isn’t health care “insurance.” It’s more like a very expensive pre-paid health care plan which sticks a bureaucrat’s nose between yours and your doctor’s business. The insurance companies manage costs through negotiated rates, in-network and out-of-network schemes and the like. That is a grossly inefficient process that will only continue to push prices higher and create frustration for patients and doctors alike.