A Shameful Aspect of Obamacare
On May 27th, the New York Times ran a story in the Business Section highlighting a truly shameful aspect of the ACA, aka Obama Care. Employers are now trying to avoid the so-called Cadillac Tax on what are considered to be high-end benefits, but which are really union negotiated benefits that everyone should have (and which all enjoy in countries with national health plans). Author Reed Adelson focused on a woman named Abbey Bruce who works as a nursing assistant and who, to make ends meet, has a second job as a cleaner. Casey, Abbey’s husband, has cystic fibrosis. He obviously wasn’t a responsible reproductive consumer and didn’t choose his parents well. Before the new law, Abbey and her husband had an annual limit of $3000 to pay out of pocket on their medical expenses and $2000 on their pharmaceutical bills. Now, thanks to Obamacare, they will have to pay $6,600 out of pocket annually. To pay for their relentless bills, Abbey has had to quit school. Which makes great economic sense!! Keep people from improving their lives because they have to pay for health care.
And there is no relief to come. Cynthia Weidner, a benefits consultant (one of the endless cadres of consultants who are making a killing off of this version of reform) informs us in the article that,”the consumer should continue to expect that their plan will be more expensive, and that they will have less benefits.”
Am I missing something? The premise behind this bill is that we will no longer be “patients” but will rather “consumers,” making rational economic choices when it comes to health care. In what economic universe do consumers continue to pay more and more and get less and less? What this reveals is that patients like Abbey and her husband Casey are not “consumers.” Rather they are prisoners of their employers’ desire to pay less for health care. Abbey and her husband are not the “consumer,” their employer is. The final irony here is that Abbey is represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which uncritically championed the ACA, helped to scuttle the public option, and refused to join other unions in opposing taxes on decent union negotiated health plans. Congrats SEIU — you have just helped another worker to lose decent benefits in your efforts to become the best company union ever!!!