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Paul Krugman’s latest column is about the mess of our national health care system.  He makes a good point about how social insurance programs make us freer people, allowing us to change jobs and start new enterprises without the fear of economic catastrophe.  But I’m not sure the so-called “jahb creators” care about economic catastrophes that happen to ordinary people.  To them, the only thing that counts is success.

I’ve got to admire Paul’s sunny optimism about Obamacare but, frankly, I think it’s a pretty fricking bad piece of legislation that didn’t rein in health care costs, locked us into a decidedly UN-free marketplace  with zero competition, and was only achieved by throwing women’s right to an abortion under a bus.  So, you know, there’s that.  I don’t particularly like Obama’s method of getting universal healthcare.

It beats me why he didn’t take his own state of Hawaii as a model for healthcare where employers can choose from several tiers of coverage for their employees, from basic coverage to more swank.  Oh, wait, that sounds more like what Hillary proposed during the 90s.  You know, the system that everyone whined was too complicated?

At this point, I would take even a basic plan.  My COBRA coverage runs out at the end of this month. I can’t complain about my insurance provider, except for the outrageous premium, even with group rates.  The coverage was superb. That’s what my French company negotiated for us. But getting insurance on the open market is fairly terrifying.  I will be looking into CHIP programs for the kid.  It’s going to be an adventure.  Spending hours and days trying to justify my need after the decades I spent as a hard-working taxpayer is not how I want to spend my time.

13 Responses

  1. !!! At the new house, trash removal is included in my property taxes!!! And they take curbside pickup of stuff that they don’t take in NJ. It’s so civilized. I will have a tidy garage.
    I’m all verklempt. Talk amongst yourselves.

  2. RD,

    sorry to hear about your having to deal with the health care insurance oligopoly cartel (NOT a free competitive market).

    Did you watch the Michael Moore documentary “Sicko”? 1 of the stories included was that of a family, with a wife nurse & a ~40yo husband who died, due to not having ~$200K to pay out-of-pocket for the illness that her insurance refused to cover. It was cruely ironic how those who work in healthcare were not allowed healthcare as a human right in our non-civilized nation USA.

    Your story sounds similar, as a pharma researcher, you were likely among the most innovative/productive working in healthcare.

    Some US physician apologist editorialist cry in BigMedia that US physicians must keep receiving 2X pay of other rich nations’ physicians like Canada (aka 1 of the Biggest Corporate Welfare Queenery sectors in the US), otherwise “nobody smart would do the job” or some such nonsense drivel.

    Meanwhile no hack editorialists are even mentioning/fighting for healthcare-related research scientists/engineers deserve to work a living wage job with healthcare coverage until retirement age.

  3. When my Cobra expired, Blue Cross on the individual market had to take me IF I had no break in coverage between COBRA and Blue Cross. It was state law, maybe even HIPPA (fed law). You may want to see what the laws are in your state, whatever state that is at the moment.

    Insurance on the individual market will be cheaper than COBRA (at least until O-Care kicks in. Of course, the benefits won’t be as good, but that’s what INSURANCE is all about. Insurance that you have to buy yourself should NOT cover the everyday expenses, it should cover only emergencies. Otherwise it’s not cost effective to have. (Which is a primary problem with Obamacare. It’s no longer really insurance, rather it’s prepayment of everyday expenses with a 20% markup for insurance companies.)

    • If I’m not mistaken, you live in Penn???? Here’s the info about COBRA conversion: http://www.pahealthoptions.com/docs/ContinuingCoverCOBRA.pdf

      You’re going to want to apply within 63 days of the lapse of your COBRA. If I’m not mistaken, your new company will have to take you regardless of pre-existing conditions. As I said, you will welcome the premiums. You may have more out of pocket costs, but unless you get REALLY sick, it’s better to have high deductible insurance, thus lower premiums, so you aren’t “prepaying” for healthcare you may or may not use.

      • Yes, the high deductible but you will get the insurance negotiated fees for services. If you self-pay, the doctors and clinics will charge a different fee for services that is way higher.

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  4. When I was in college and grad school in the 1970s, the tuition, etc. included health insurance which extended into the summer. I don’t know if that is still true but it is likely . Your daughter could benefit from this.

    Some insurance coverage is available that includes hospitalization and internists and not much else at a pretty cheap rate. You may want to look at all the alternatives as this could be better than a high deductible (if healthy). Rates for people who are actually sick , even with a chronic illness that is not life threatening, may be a lot higher.

    Somebody with asthma, for example, would want more than a basic policy that excludes specialists never mind a more life threatening condition. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary. Ever since the US abandoned the community rating system and let the insurance companies cherry pick their customers, things have generally been worse.

    The Hawaii system, closer to the original insurance, provided huge overall savings for the public. Of course Obama would not consider it or anything like it.

  5. Hillary had the Big Three auto makers on her side, they loved the idea of being out from under the costs of administering a health care plan. Then somebody reminded them if the employee was responsible for their own health costs at a reduced rate they could stay out on strike longer. They dropped Hillary like a hot potato never seeing the cost increases coming. Covering those costs for retired workers is part of the problem they face today.

    Had Obama, Pelosi and Reid passed legislation expanding CHIPs and Medicare eligibility for the un/under employed and removed the constraints put in place by Bush the Lesser , like no negotiating drug prices, I wonder how it would look today?

    I say the HCR dog and pony show was a distraction for not doing anything to Wall Street for wrecking the economy.

    Canadians pay for basic health care coverage with payroll taxes and buy their own vision and dental insurance out of pocket or a work benefit.

    The Robber Barons had the company store to keep workers in debt and unable to leave. Obama has his Health Insurance Reform law to do the same to the American people.

    • She killed off Gore and Hillary. No wonder her tripe is still published: it serves the 1%ers quite artfully. Other than Paul Krugman the Times has little reason to read it but then again Krugman is about all I now read from it anyway.

  6. Just when you thought things were already too precarious, here’s another push down the slippery slope to penury, compliments of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreements being worked out quietly and out of sight.

    “the TPP “would ban government health services from negotiating prices with pharmaceutical companies.” Given that many countries already do this and the U.S. ought to do it to help rein in health costs, if these provisions stay in the final agreement it will be a very bad development.”


    That way, we can share our scintillating American crop-lien model of healthcare insecurity with the rest of the world. I’m sure they will want to thank us one day.

    • [1] Either our masters think Communism was some sort of mental contagion, not connected in any way to the crimes and follies of their predecessors,

      [2] Or they think they can divide us and keep us conquered indefinitely.

      Given how many alleged liberals still sing the praises of Preznit Judas Goat, I can understand why they might think #2.

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