# Do the math.....

cj
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Do the math.....

Jiggering the numbers to justify a juicy story ....

It's an interesting blog, btw.

## The 9th Grade Class Does Obamacare Math (Can Journalists Do the Same?)

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Welcome, students, to our special combined 9th grade math and civics class. Today, we’re going to look at the “Cadillac tax” in the Affordable Care Act.

Yes, Mitt, you have a question already? No, no, “Cadillac tax” is just an expression. No one is going to tax your family’s cars, Mitt, I promise.

Paul, you also have a question? I’m sorry, Paul, but if you had done the reading, you would know that the “Affordable Care Act” and “Obamacare” are the same thing. And yes, it is still the law, as I must have told you and your friends 40 times. Now can we get on with the class?

As those of you who did do the reading know, most American workers get their health insurance through their employer. The company, in turn, is allowed to deduct the cost of that insurance from its taxes. If the insurance for workers is very generous, it can encourage people to use too much medical care. This not only drives up costs, but we all pay for it a second time through the tax code. The Affordable Care Act addresses that problem by placing an excise tax on rich benefit plans starting in 2018, which is informally known as the “Cadillac tax.”

Economists of all viewpoints generally agree that an open-ended tax deduction for health insurance encourages overconsumption. What do we call that kind of agreement? Michelle?

No, Michelle, I’m afraid, “liberal conspiracy” is not the answer I was looking for. “Bipartisan consensus” was the correct response.

Rand, you seem quite agitated. Yes? “Government intervention in markets is never the right answer.” OK. Well, Rand, let’s talk about that another time and move on from civics to the mathematics part of today’s lesson. We’ll start with a word problem from the New York Times.

The Times quoted a study from a health policy journal as saying that 75 percent of health plans could be affected by the Cadillac tax over the next decade. That’s a big number, isn’t it?  And the tax itself is 40 percent – another big number. No wonder the story was on the first page of the Business section.

But here are a few other numbers from the same study: just 16 percent of plans are likely be affected by the tax when it starts in 2018 ­– a much smaller number. And the “next decade” the study is talking about starts in 2018. What the study actually says is that by 2029 the tax could reduce benefits for affected plans by 3.1 percent. That’s an even smaller number and even further away.

Class, why would the New York Times emphasize the biggest numbers they could find?

No, Michelle, I’m afraid “liberal conspiracy” is not the right answer here, either. Chuck? “That was the only news fit to print” is also not correct. The answer I was looking for is, “Some people did not pay close enough attention in math class.”

Now that all of you are paying close attention, let’s move on. This problem is a little tougher. A big consulting firm called Towers Watson released a survey showing that “more than 60 percent of employers believe that they will trigger the excise tax in 2018 if they don’t make adjustments.” But the study we just talked said the real number was 16 percent. Who can tell me what “16 over 60” is without a calculator? Anyone?

I’m sorry, class, I couldn’t understand you because Harry and Mitch were talking very loudly again. The correct answer is that sixteen is a little over one-fourth of sixty.

Why do you think Towers Watson got a number four times larger than the authors of the study in a health policy journal? Nancy? “Because businesspeople are stupid.” No, I’m afraid that is not a good answer, Nancy. Michelle? Michelle, I cannot keep calling on you if all you’re going to say is, “It’s a liberal conspiracy.” Rand? No, the government was not involved in either number.

The answer, class, is to remember what you learned when you first studied fractions back in elementary school: look at the denominator. The study in the health policy journal analyzed the actual benefits offered by 4,000 employers responding to a randomized national survey over two years. The consulting firm results are based on the opinions of 420 customers turning in a questionnaire in July.

Chuck? “Was the Towers Watson number in the New York Times?” I don’t know, Chuck.

Harry and Mitch! I told you to stop talking, and I meant it!

One last question. This one isn’t about the Cadillac tax, but it has something in common with both of the other questions. Here goes:

A study done on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans concluded that the average family’s health insurance premiums could go up \$5,080 over ten years because of a tax on certain health insurers in the Affordable Care Act. What do we need to know about that number?

Paul? “A ten-year estimate is enough; you don’t need any more detail.” No, Paul, I’m afraid that’s not right. Mitt? No, Mitt I don’t know if 47 percent of the people won’t pay the tax, anyway.

Here’s a hint: what’s missing? That’s right: a numerical denominator to go with the \$5,080.

If you look at the average family premium in 2013, it was almost \$16,400, and it went up 4 percent from the year before even without the Affordable Care Act. When you know that information, adding \$508 to, say, a \$17,000 premium in 2014 doesn’t look quite as awful, does it?

Now remember our first problem, where we discussed making numbers look bigger or smaller? \$5,080 over ten years becomes \$508 over one year and less than \$10 every week. Why do you think the insurance industry didn’t say the new tax would cost the average family less than \$1.50 a day while providing billions of dollars to help other Americans with no insurance at all?

Nancy? “Because businesspeople are stupid.” No, Nancy, that’s not the right answer at all.

Chuck? “Because they wanted to fool reporters from the New York Times.” Closer. Here’s a hint: let’s go back to civics, not math.

“Because the insurance companies want Congress to repeal the premium tax in the name of helping consumers, even though their real reason is making sure the companies make a lot more money.” Thank you, Joe. I didn’t see you sitting behind Barack over there in the back of the room.

OK, class, we’re just about out of time, and – Mitch and Harry, how many times do I have to tell you to stop talking?! What’s that? “You don’t have the votes to make us shut up?” I’m afraid you young men are very confused. Why don’t you try telling that to the principal when you get to his office.

Michael L. Millenson is president of Health Quality Advisors LLC in Highland Park, IL; the Mervin Shalowitz, MD Visiting Scholar at the Kellogg School of Management; and a board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

Beyond Saving
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There are a few problems

There are a few problems with Millenson's math, particularly on averages. The financial effects of Bamacare are not spread equally. Why, many people won't see any change in their health insurance expenses at all and some might even see a small cut by the time subsidies are included. In general, those on large group plans are not going to see any significant changes except for those that qualify as "Cadillac Plans" which are mostly unions. Those plans will probably just cut benefits because no one in their right mind is going to pay a 40% excise tax. If you work for a large corporation you might lose a few extra bucks but not enough to really notice.

The people who bear the greatest burden are those who work for small companies that are not large enough for group plans. About 17% of the current insurance market. So when you have an average of \$5,000 per family, it doesn't seem so bad if it were equally distributed. The fact is, that it is not equally distributed. Some people will see no change, others will see their health insurance rates double.

Although, IMO the real damage isn't the cost of insurance policies. Money can always be made to cover higher than expected costs. The real damage comes in the large number of young people getting completely fucked over because they will have trouble finding jobs that will give them full time work. Already, low paying employers are dramatically cutting working hours because they are not going to pay for health insurance. It simply doesn't make sense for them to do so. Those who work in the restaurant industry are completely fucked. No one is going to give them full time work and their managers will outright fire them if they commit the cardinal sin of working too many hours. \$700 a year they have to pay for the individual mandate penalty is nothing compared to the amount of money they will lose from not getting enough hours unless they get two jobs at separate employers. When I see how much my friends in the restaurant industry are being hurt by this it makes me absolutely furious.

Obamacare redistributes healthcare costs from the old people who actually use healthcare regularly (and are the richest segment of our population) and puts it squarely on those in their 20's and 30's who are trying to get a start in life and raise families and use fewer healthcare services. Fuck you baby boomers you greedy bastards.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Brian37
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Do me a favor, when it

Do me a favor, when it starts working please shut your trap.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

Beyond Saving
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Brian37 wrote:Do me a favor,

Brian37 wrote:

Do me a favor, when it starts working please shut your trap.

Define "working", obviously it will work. A lot of really bad things work.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Brian37
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Beyond Saving wrote:Brian37

Beyond Saving wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Do me a favor, when it starts working please shut your trap.

Define "working", obviously it will work. A lot of really bad things work.

Same shit was said about medicare and social security.

Bad for who? Greedy people who put profit over people? Yea, fuck em.

You are like the car companies when Nader blasted their designs and called them unsafe. When they were forced by government to implement better safe designs and seat belts cars got better and safer and car companies learned to market those things rather than fight those things.

I am sure it will be bad for bad players, but it will be much better for society AND business. Only asshole businesses will fight it, ethical ones will work with it.

I am sure for example assholes like Papa Johns who bitched about 14 cents, it will hurt his ego, but he'd be lying his ass of if any cost he has to eat because of such would  cause him to end up on the street eating cat food. Fuck him. He'll hurt workers, not because he has to, he'll hurt them just to be a bully. 600,000,000 and you'd expect me to feel sorry for him?

Whatever cost is added can be absorbed by the owners, and on top of that whatever they think they might lose will be compensated for by MORE people in the pool. Same with higher wages. More money in workers pockets will mean more people spending money.

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37

Beyond Saving
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Brian37 wrote:Beyond Saving

Brian37 wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

Brian37 wrote:

Do me a favor, when it starts working please shut your trap.

Define "working", obviously it will work. A lot of really bad things work.

Same shit was said about medicare and social security.

And the people who were pointing out the problems were exactly right. Both programs are on pace to run out of money and both have been modified several times since they were passed in an attempt to make them solvent. The initial tax rates for the programs were 2% (including the employer contribution) on a maximum taxable income of \$3,000 (About \$48,000 in today's money). It is now 15.3% on \$113,700 having been raised several times. And now, if we continue to provide the same level of benefits we will have to increase the tax rate again. Just like the opposition argued, the program was a lot more expensive than originally predicted. And ultimately, that is all the real opposition to Bamacare is arguing outside of the people who say all the hospitals will close and we will all die. Which is hyperbole. Imagine that, hyperbole in politics. Not a thing that you would ever engage in I'm sure....

Brian37 wrote:

Bad for who? Greedy people who put profit over people? Yea, fuck em.

Speaking of hyperbole.

Brian37 wrote:

I am sure it will be bad for bad players, but it will be much better for society AND business. Only asshole businesses will fight it, ethical ones will work with it.

Uh huh. Sure.

Brian37 wrote:

I am sure for example assholes like Papa Johns who bitched about 14 cents, it will hurt his ego, but he'd be lying his ass of if any cost he has to eat because of such would  cause him to end up on the street eating cat food. Fuck him. He'll hurt workers, not because he has to, he'll hurt them just to be a bully. 600,000,000 and you'd expect me to feel sorry for him?

I don't expect you to feel sorry for anyone. You are the one who frequently bitches about the rising cost of living. Well, your cost of living just increased 14 cents a pizza. Who is going to notice it most? Probably the pizza delivery kid who is going to get 14 cents a pizza less when I hand him a \$20 and say keep the change. I'm probably not going to pull out a quarter because to me the 14 cents is insignificant. Say a pizza delivery driver delivers 15 pizzas a day (I have no idea how many pizzas an average driver delivers) that is \$2.10 a day. That is \$10.50 a week that the driver is missing out on because people don't think of the extra 14 cents the pizza costs. If that driver works 50 weeks a year, that is \$525. Well now you are talking a good chunk of money.

And is the pizza delivery driver going to get health insurance in exchange? Nope. Because drivers probably won't be working enough hours to qualify and will have to go buy insurance through the exchange anyway or pay an additional \$695 fine to the government- which is ridiculous because Pizza delivery drivers probably don't need health insurance. They are young, healthy, usually don't have families and have no assets worth protecting from bankruptcy. If the worst happens, it makes perfect sense for them to declare bankruptcy because they have nothing to lose. You have just dropped the poor delivery drivers take home income \$1,000 a year give or take. That is a lot of money to someone who probably makes \$15-16,000. Meanwhile, Papa John is going to be sitting just fine.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

cj
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Sigh...

In case you haven't noticed, people are having problems finding anything but part time jobs. If you are over 50, good luck finding any job - let alone part time.

As for affording health care - most in the restaurant business don't have health insurance now. No benefits of any kind. No full time work. It was that way back in the late 70s early 80s when I was working in the restaurant business, and it hasn't changed. (One of my daughters-in-law is working in a restaurant. She keeps me up to date.)

Most restaurants are exempt from the law. If there are fewer than 50 employees, the business is exempt from providing insurance and exempt from any fines. There are darn few restaurants that will not be exempt. Since franchise restaurants are counted as independent from the main office, they will also be exempt.

Young people get injured and ill, too. It isn't just the old farts like me. And yes, I am more expensive than most young people health care wise. But there are young people much more expensive than I am, just there are fewer of them than there are of older people.

It is exactly like auto insurance. The good drivers, the defensive drivers, pay for the inattentive, drunk, stoned, reckless drivers. Why should health insurance be any different? Unless you die young, you, too, will be old one day with disgusting chronic diseases you tried your best to avoid and you got them anyway. Why shouldn't you pay into insurance while young to cover your costs when old?

Edit: minor correction

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

Beyond Saving
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cj wrote:In case you haven't

cj wrote:

In case you haven't noticed, people are having problems finding anything but part time jobs. If you are over 50, good luck finding any job - let alone part time.

Yes, and this exacerbates the problem.

cj wrote:

As for affording health care - most in the restaurant business don't have health insurance now. No benefits of any kind. No full time work. It was that way back in the late 70s early 80s when I was working in the restaurant business, and it hasn't changed. (One of my daughters-in-law is working in a restaurant. She keeps me up to date.)

Exactly. Paying for benefits is not built into the business model, so in order to remain profitable either they need to raise prices to make up for the new costs, or they need to avoid the new cost.

cj wrote:

Most restaurants are exempt from the law. If there are fewer than 50 employees, the business is exempt from providing insurance and exempt from any fines. There are darn few restaurants that will not be exempt. Since franchise restaurants are counted as independent from the main office, they will also be exempt.

Franchises are not exempt. Many franchises are owned by corporations that have multiple locations, many if not most of those corporations have more than 50 employees. Less than half of franchises are owned by people who only own one franchise, and that is across all industries. The restaurant industry is not that profitable on an individual franchise level, so the majority of them increase their income by expanding locations and often having franchises of multiple brands.

Odds are that the large franchises in your area like Applebees, Olive Garden, Papa Johns, Subway, McDonalds etc. are owned by people who own (or will own) multiple locations and exceed 50 workers. Does that make up most of the workers in the restaurant industry? I don't know, but it does make up a lot of people who are being hurt. I don't really give a shit if it is a majority or not. I think hurting a minority is just as wrong, and the particular minority being hurt happen to be people I consider personal friends and that pisses me off.

cj wrote:

Young people get injured and ill, too. It isn't just the old farts like me. And yes, I am more expensive than most young people health care wise. But there are young people much more expensive than I am, just there are fewer of them than there are of older people.

So what? When you are young and poor you have no assets to protect. You go to the doctor, pay what you can, get charitable help or declare bankruptcy. The purpose of insurance is to protect your finances, it doesn't protect your health and it isn't meant to.

cj wrote:

It is exactly like auto insurance. The good drivers, the defensive drivers, pay for the inattentive, drunk, stoned, reckless drivers. Why should health insurance be any different?

The only auto insurance you are required to carry is to cover damage to another person caused by you. You are not required to carry insurance to protect your own car. Health insurance only covers damage to you that is a rather large difference.

cj wrote:

Unless you die young, you, too, will be old one day with disgusting chronic diseases you tried your best to avoid and you got them anyway. Why shouldn't you pay into insurance while young to cover your costs when old?

Because insurance isn't a prepayment plan. The money doesn't go sit in a pile to be used in the future. Obamacare actually makes that process illegal, if an insurance company takes in more than they need they have to refund it to the customer. The most logical plan for a young person is a Health Savings Account where they pay very little for insurance with an extremely high deductible and then add money to a savings account that builds up over time. Those plans are now outlawed.

The way insurance works is it only covers your risk right now. You can pay into it for 30 years, but if you drop your coverage and get sick next month the last 30 years of payments are simply gone. The cost of premiums is based on your risk right now, you don't get lower premiums for paying for 30 years, they keep increasing because your risk increases.

There is no reason to pay for coverage until your risk reaches a point where you have financial assets to protect and the amount of risk you carry justifies it. A wise young person, having nothing to protect, would save money on insurance and build up a significant fund in a savings account. Only after they have significant funds worth protecting would they purchase an insurance plan. What Obamacare does is it seeks to lower/restrain the growth of insurance costs on old people by making young people pay more. Basically, making your kids and grandkids subsidize you. The main reason is because people who are 50+ vote more and politicians are smart enough to subsidize the people that vote.

Will they get subsidized when they get older? Maybe. The problem with politics is that things can change. Anyone who is in their 20's or 30's now is an absolute fool if they think they are going to get subsidized to the same extent with Social Security as the people they are paying to support now. It is quite possible that all these kids are going to pay health insurance companies for 30 years and when they reach the age that it is actually a good deal for them the rules are changed. I think it is wrong to shift the costs onto people who are trying to get started in life. I remember those days, and to me \$50 a month was a lot of money, I had to scrap every penny I could together and cut as many corners as I could so I could save up the meager funds that made my first successful investment possible and changed my life. Someone trying to do the same thing I did under Obamacare has an additional obstacle that makes it harder.

Excuse me for thinking that kids today should have the same opportunity I had.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

cj
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Beyond Saving wrote: cj

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

In case you haven't noticed, people are having problems finding anything but part time jobs. If you are over 50, good luck finding any job - let alone part time.

Yes, and this exacerbates the problem.

How is the problem exacerbated? Those part time jobs are part time now, they will be part time later. Small business will not be required to purchase insurance. Health care jobs are opening because there will be more demand. How many people do you know that are putting off getting a problem treated because they don't have insurance? I know a number who are just waiting for medicare to kick in because they can't afford a doctor visit now.

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

As for affording health care - most in the restaurant business don't have health insurance now. No benefits of any kind. No full time work. It was that way back in the late 70s early 80s when I was working in the restaurant business, and it hasn't changed. (One of my daughters-in-law is working in a restaurant. She keeps me up to date.)

Exactly. Paying for benefits is not built into the business model, so in order to remain profitable either they need to raise prices to make up for the new costs, or they need to avoid the new cost.

If a company offers benefits, the benefits are already built into the business models. If a company does not offer benefits, the end result is usually higher costs for SNAP, medicaid, and other social programs. Pay it now or pay it later.

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

Most restaurants are exempt from the law. If there are fewer than 50 employees, the business is exempt from providing insurance and exempt from any fines. There are darn few restaurants that will not be exempt. Since franchise restaurants are counted as independent from the main office, they will also be exempt.

Franchises are not exempt. Many franchises are owned by corporations that have multiple locations, many if not most of those corporations have more than 50 employees. Less than half of franchises are owned by people who only own one franchise, and that is across all industries. The restaurant industry is not that profitable on an individual franchise level, so the majority of them increase their income by expanding locations and often having franchises of multiple brands.

Odds are that the large franchises in your area like Applebees, Olive Garden, Papa Johns, Subway, McDonalds etc. are owned by people who own (or will own) multiple locations and exceed 50 workers. Does that make up most of the workers in the restaurant industry? I don't know, but it does make up a lot of people who are being hurt. I don't really give a shit if it is a majority or not. I think hurting a minority is just as wrong, and the particular minority being hurt happen to be people I consider personal friends and that pisses me off.

Who is being hurt? The employees will have to purchase health insurance. If their only source of income is from restaurant wages, they will likely qualify for subsidies. Many people who did not qualify for medicaid - Oregon used to only cover children and disallowed adults unless disabled - will now have to be covered. This is not a bad thing. Better to be seen by a doctor before you wind up in a hospital with triple bypass surgery. A doctor visit and a couple of prescriptions, maybe a visit or two to a dietician is a lot less expensive. And the rest of us will pay for that triple bypass in the form of higher hospital costs for everyone, you included.

Will the employees be laid off? Not if the restaurant is still open. You need the employees to cook, serve, clean, etc. That isn't going away. If the prices are raised, will there be fewer diners? Hard to say. I can remember getting burgers from Sandy's (later purchased by a larger chain) for 25 cents. People have not stopped buying burgers now that they cost a lot more.

So who is being hurt? The owners who hired all those employees. Maybe they had better review their business plan and figure out how they want to deal with the new law. All business owners have to deal with the laws of the local municipality, the state, and the feds. If you can't deal with laws, maybe you should get out of business. What is the cost of offering health insurance to everyone and what is the probable fine if you decide not to? You might want to consider hidden costs such as lost days due to employee or dependent illness.

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

Young people get injured and ill, too. It isn't just the old farts like me. And yes, I am more expensive than most young people health care wise. But there are young people much more expensive than I am, just there are fewer of them than there are of older people.

So what? When you are young and poor you have no assets to protect. You go to the doctor, pay what you can, get charitable help or declare bankruptcy. The purpose of insurance is to protect your finances, it doesn't protect your health and it isn't meant to.

Haven't been to the doctor lately? Almost all of them insist on being paid in full, up front. The only way you can get health care without paying up front in most places is to hit the hospital emergency room. They have to treat you regardless of ability to pay. Well, mostly. They can insist that their facilities are full up and you have to go elsewhere. Hard to prove discrimination based on ability to pay. I agree insurance does not protect your health, but if you can pay the doctor, you are much more likely to make an appointment rather than go to emergency which is much more expensive.

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

It is exactly like auto insurance. The good drivers, the defensive drivers, pay for the inattentive, drunk, stoned, reckless drivers. Why should health insurance be any different?

The only auto insurance you are required to carry is to cover damage to another person caused by you. You are not required to carry insurance to protect your own car. Health insurance only covers damage to you that is a rather large difference.

Um, depends on where you live and who (if anyone) is holding the loan on your car. The bank is perfectly capable of requiring that their investment in your new car is covered. If you paid cash, fine, you can get away with only paying the minimums. But the bank may insist on more.

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:

Unless you die young, you, too, will be old one day with disgusting chronic diseases you tried your best to avoid and you got them anyway. Why shouldn't you pay into insurance while young to cover your costs when old?

Because insurance isn't a prepayment plan. The money doesn't go sit in a pile to be used in the future. Obamacare actually makes that process illegal, if an insurance company takes in more than they need they have to refund it to the customer. The most logical plan for a young person is a Health Savings Account where they pay very little for insurance with an extremely high deductible and then add money to a savings account that builds up over time. Those plans are now outlawed.

The way insurance works is it only covers your risk right now. You can pay into it for 30 years, but if you drop your coverage and get sick next month the last 30 years of payments are simply gone. The cost of premiums is based on your risk right now, you don't get lower premiums for paying for 30 years, they keep increasing because your risk increases.

There is no reason to pay for coverage until your risk reaches a point where you have financial assets to protect and the amount of risk you carry justifies it. A wise young person, having nothing to protect, would save money on insurance and build up a significant fund in a savings account. Only after they have significant funds worth protecting would they purchase an insurance plan. What Obamacare does is it seeks to lower/restrain the growth of insurance costs on old people by making young people pay more. Basically, making your kids and grandkids subsidize you. The main reason is because people who are 50+ vote more and politicians are smart enough to subsidize the people that vote.

Will they get subsidized when they get older? Maybe. The problem with politics is that things can change. Anyone who is in their 20's or 30's now is an absolute fool if they think they are going to get subsidized to the same extent with Social Security as the people they are paying to support now. It is quite possible that all these kids are going to pay health insurance companies for 30 years and when they reach the age that it is actually a good deal for them the rules are changed. I think it is wrong to shift the costs onto people who are trying to get started in life. I remember those days, and to me \$50 a month was a lot of money, I had to scrap every penny I could together and cut as many corners as I could so I could save up the meager funds that made my first successful investment possible and changed my life. Someone trying to do the same thing I did under Obamacare has an additional obstacle that makes it harder.

Excuse me for thinking that kids today should have the same opportunity I had.

Sweet suffering Pete. Dude, you were lucky. You also didn't have a family and little children who can suck up health care costs at an astounding rate. (You are a responsible person, unlike people like me.) Yes, things could change but I don't think the law is likely to be repealed any time soon. Most people like major parts of the law. And they will not be happy to go back to denial of claims because of "pre-existing conditions," or "life-time limits," or children not being covered up to age 26, or birth control not covered, and so on.

Shit, \$50 a month is a big deal to me now. The change has already taken place in Oregon. They started charging us \$40 a month for health insurance about a year ago. I rearranged my budget to cope. It is a lot, lot, lot less than buying through a private company. Even for the way less than Cadillac coverage we get.

Those who wish to and have the drive to save in order to make investments, who put off having a family, who really work for it - will do so. \$50 a month isn't going to get in their way. The rest of them - won't. Those that won't, \$50 wouldn't make a difference.

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

Beyond Saving
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cj wrote:Beyond Saving

cj wrote:
Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:
In case you haven't noticed, people are having problems finding anything but part time jobs. If you are over 50, good luck finding any job - let alone part time.
Yes, and this exacerbates the problem.
How is the problem exacerbated? Those part time jobs are part time now, they will be part time later. Small business will not be required to purchase insurance. Health care jobs are opening because there will be more demand. How many people do you know that are putting off getting a problem treated because they don't have insurance? I know a number who are just waiting for medicare to kick in because they can't afford a doctor visit now.
Obamacare changed the definition of full time to 30 hours per week. Jobs that used to be part time are now considered full time. How are part time employers responding? Reducing hours. It doesn't make a dramatic difference to them if they have two employees working 16 hours a week or one working 32 since these types of jobs tend to have high turnover and are constantly hiring anyway. How much of a difference does it make to the employee who worked 35 hours a week and now looses a day? Pretty significant.
cj wrote:
If a company offers benefits, the benefits are already built into the business models. If a company does not offer benefits, the end result is usually higher costs for SNAP, medicaid, and other social programs. Pay it now or pay it later.
Except it isn't the same people paying. Who pays for SNAP, medicaid and other social programs? People who pay income taxes, which is mostly people who are in the top 20%. My point is that Obamacare shifts that cost onto younger people who typically don't make enough to pay significant income taxes. People who don't purchase health insurance because odds are, they won't use it. There is a reason health insurance is much cheaper when you are 20 than when you are 60. That changes under the new law. Young people will no longer pay rates that are calculated based on their actual risk of becoming ill. The rates under the new law have to be computed as a "community rating" and the premiums for young people cannot be as significantly lower than premiums for old people as they are now. The result is that premiums for old people drop a small percentage while premiums for young people skyrocket. Young people are being coerced to buy something that previously was of questionable value imo, and has been made an even worse value. It would be like an car insurance company charging the same rate to insure a junker as they charge to insure a Lamborghini. Not very fair to the junker owner is it? (to insure a Lamborghini you are looking at about \$3,000/year for liability alone)
cj wrote:
Who is being hurt? The employees will have to purchase health insurance. If their only source of income is from restaurant wages, they will likely qualify for subsidies. Many people who did not qualify for medicaid - Oregon used to only cover children and disallowed adults unless disabled - will now have to be covered. This is not a bad thing. Better to be seen by a doctor before you wind up in a hospital with triple bypass surgery. A doctor visit and a couple of prescriptions, maybe a visit or two to a dietician is a lot less expensive. And the rest of us will pay for that triple bypass in the form of higher hospital costs for everyone, you included.
Except a 20 or 30 something is extremely unlikely to ever need a triple bypass. They are people who typically do not use the health system at a significant level. Sure, occasionally shit happens and they rack up huge bills, but it is not common. Nor is it the huge problem it has been made out to be.  5.8% of hospital bills go unpaid, which really isn't the big deal that political rhetoric has been trying to make it out to be. Cable companies, utility companies, credit cards and other companies face similar or often higher rates. Every retail store has a certain amount of loss from theft or damage built into the price of what they sell. It is simply reality that some people are dishonest or some people end up in a position where they are unable to pay. And with all these things, who pays the extra costs? The people who use that service/store. If you don't, there is no reason for you to pay it. With hospitals, a good portion of that 5.8% is made up through voluntary charitable donations. Obamacare is making some changes to that too. Non-profit hospitals will be subject to taxation if the government isn't happy with the standards they have to determine whether or not a person qualifies for charity. While I doubt that the government is actually going to punish a hospitals for giving away too much charity (it would be politically unpopular), the amount of paperwork and new government forms they have to fill out costs money. More time from current employees, or even new employees to fill out government paperwork means that employee is spending time providing healthcare. Then every 3 years a hospital has to submit a "Community Health Needs Assessment" to justify their existence. All that paperwork requires hospitals to hire more CPA's. Furthermore, it also requires them to charge uninsured people less even if that person is capable of paying (wait a minute, I thought the point of the ACA was that there would be no more uninsured people), so what will hospitals do? Charge people with insurance even more. So what will insurance companies do? Charge higher premiums. When premiums get higher what will consumers do? More of them will pay the fine and skip insurance. This particular brilliant section of the law was put in by that genius Chuck Grassley. The same imbecile who authored a law to ban strawberry flavored meth, a drug that doesn't exist. Isn't it wonderful that we have complete uneducated idiots writing our laws?
cj wrote:
Will the employees be laid off? Not if the restaurant is still open. You need the employees to cook, serve, clean, etc. That isn't going away. If the prices are raised, will there be fewer diners? Hard to say. I can remember getting burgers from Sandy's (later purchased by a larger chain) for 25 cents. People have not stopped buying burgers now that they cost a lot more.
No, they will have their hours cut and make less money. For some, it won't be a big deal. For others, they will need to seek a second job.
cj wrote:
So who is being hurt? The owners who hired all those employees. Maybe they had better review their business plan and figure out how they want to deal with the new law. All business owners have to deal with the laws of the local municipality, the state, and the feds. If you can't deal with laws, maybe you should get out of business. What is the cost of offering health insurance to everyone and what is the probable fine if you decide not to? You might want to consider hidden costs such as lost days due to employee or dependent illness.
Owners are dealing with the law. And the primary way the restaurant industry has been reacting is by cutting hours. Papa Johns is raising prices. In neither case are the owners going to be hurt. People will pay an extra 14 cents a pizza, Papa John is still going to be a multi-millionaire. This whole idea that the people being hurt are the top 1% is ridiculous. Business owners deal with ridiculous regulations all the time. The people who get hurt are the employees who lose their hours or get a 14 cent smaller tip.  People like me who self-insure and boycott health insurance on pure principle get hurt a little by having a new government fine. It is irritating but isn't going to cause me any real harm. As the cost of the health insurance plans I offer my employees continues to skyrocket I will probably stop offering it as a benefit. Again, no skin off my nose outside of the risk that my employees might get so upset they quit, but I will hardly be the only employer saying "hey, it is too expensive you have to go to the exchange". Shit rolls downhill, it is incredibly naive to think that the top is going to suffer any significant harm, even if they are the ones who are the most vocal in bitching about what little harm they have.    My largest fear is that my doctor will say "fuck it" and retire early. Then I have to go through the effort to find another good doctor and I went through a significant amount of work to find this one. The only thing that would be more irritating than losing my doctor would be losing my favorite bartender. Ironically, Bamacare has managed to put both at risk of quitting.
cj wrote:
Haven't been to the doctor lately? Almost all of them insist on being paid in full, up front. The only way you can get health care without paying up front in most places is to hit the hospital emergency room. They have to treat you regardless of ability to pay. Well, mostly. They can insist that their facilities are full up and you have to go elsewhere. Hard to prove discrimination based on ability to pay. I agree insurance does not protect your health, but if you can pay the doctor, you are much more likely to make an appointment rather than go to emergency which is much more expensive.
The more you pay, the better care you get. Absolutely nothing is going to change that. When I was hospitalized young and broke they threw me in a shared room and I got to be a test patient for med students. I had to sit there while groups of med students poked and prodded me, the newest and least skilled nurses drew my blood and I was at the bottom of everyone's priority list until they discovered I had a drug resistant strain of pneumonia that had never been observed before. Then I got to be treated like a lab rat and got way more attention from doctors that were fascinated by my phlegm than I wanted. I couldn't really complain because I wasn't paying.  Last time I had an overnight at a hospital I got a private room, immediate service from the nurses when I pushed the button, a decent tv screen and a better experience in general (the food still sucked though). Paying cash has its perks. That is hardly limited to the healthcare industry. If I was uber-rich I could hire a private doctor to care for me and only me, follow me around the world and dope me up with fun medications whenever I wanted.
cj wrote:

Beyond Saving wrote:

cj wrote:
It is exactly like auto insurance. The good drivers, the defensive drivers, pay for the inattentive, drunk, stoned, reckless drivers. Why should health insurance be any different?
The only auto insurance you are required to carry is to cover damage to another person caused by you. You are not required to carry insurance to protect your own car. Health insurance only covers damage to you that is a rather large difference.
Um, depends on where you live and who (if anyone) is holding the loan on your car. The bank is perfectly capable of requiring that their investment in your new car is covered. If you paid cash, fine, you can get away with only paying the minimums. But the bank may insist on more.
That is between you and the bank. Huge difference between a bank requiring insurance on a vehicle they have a lien against and the government forcing you to have insurance. If a doctor wants to require that everyone has to have insurance to be treated, I don't really have a problem with that. I don't know why they would, it is cheaper for them if you pay cash.
cj wrote:
Sweet suffering Pete. Dude, you were lucky. You also didn't have a family and little children who can suck up health care costs at an astounding rate. (You are a responsible person, unlike people like me.) Yes, things could change but I don't think the law is likely to be repealed any time soon. Most people like major parts of the law. And they will not be happy to go back to denial of claims because of "pre-existing conditions," or "life-time limits," or children not being covered up to age 26, or birth control not covered, and so on. Shit, \$50 a month is a big deal to me now. The change has already taken place in Oregon. They started charging us \$40 a month for health insurance about a year ago. I rearranged my budget to cope. It is a lot, lot, lot less than buying through a private company. Even for the way less than Cadillac coverage we get. Those who wish to and have the drive to save in order to make investments, who put off having a family, who really work for it - will do so. \$50 a month isn't going to get in their way. The rest of them - won't. Those that won't, \$50 wouldn't make a difference.
Yeah I was lucky, I was young pre-Obamacare. The only old people subsidizing I had to do was social security and medicare. An amount of money that would have shortened the lean years considerably.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Vastet
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"Because insurance isn't a

"Because insurance isn't a prepayment plan. The money doesn't go sit in a pile to be used in the future."

This really stuck out at me, because that's exactly how the entire insurance industry was designed to work. Insurance IS a prepayment plan. Always was, always will be. With one difference: even if you've paid them more than you've claimed, your premiums will still increase if you make a claim.

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Beyond Saving
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Vastet wrote:"Because

Vastet wrote:
"Because insurance isn't a prepayment plan. The money doesn't go sit in a pile to be used in the future." This really stuck out at me, because that's exactly how the entire insurance industry was designed to work. Insurance IS a prepayment plan. Always was, always will be. With one difference: even if you've paid them more than you've claimed, your premiums will still increase if you make a claim.

There is a huge difference between prepayment and insurance. Insurance operates by spreading risk among a large group of people. Each person in that group may or may not have a claim and in that group there will be several who make larger claims than the premium they paid and several who don't make any claim at all. You buy insurance to protect yourself from a relatively large expense that might or might not happen and the premium you pay is based on a specific time period for when that expense might happen. If that expense never occurs, your premiums are going to pay someone that expense did occur to.

Prepayment, is paying for a service that you will use at an unknown time in the future. When you use that service, you get exactly what you paid for and nothing more. The money you pay belongs to you and will only be used to cover your expenses, not someone else.

If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that's brotherhood. But if you - if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that's not brotherhood, that's hypocrisy.- Malcolm X

Vastet
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The only distinction is that

The only distinction is that an insurance company gets to decide if your claim has merit, while in theory, a prepaid service does not. That distinction is not sufficient to say that insurance isn't a prepaid service, because it operates as a prepaid service. If you haven't paid any premiums, you aren't entitled to make a claim. If you have made payments, you are entitled to make a claim. By the definition of prepaid services, insurance is a prepaid service.

Furthermore, insurance operates primarily under the supposition that claims will never exceed premiums, thus it operates as any prepaid service does. You pay in advance to get a service if and when you need it. If a customer claims more than they pay regularly, their payments are refused, their service is denied, and they are not entitled to make further claims.

By every possible measure, insurance is a prepaid service.

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EXC
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Vastet wrote:"Because

Vastet wrote:
"Because insurance isn't a prepayment plan. The money doesn't go sit in a pile to be used in the future." This really stuck out at me, because that's exactly how the entire insurance industry was designed to work. Insurance IS a prepayment plan. Always was, always will be. With one difference: even if you've paid them more than you've claimed, your premiums will still increase if you make a claim.

Where the hell do you get that insurance is prepayment? Insurance companies are no different than Casinos, they make bets when they believe the odds are in their favor. The don't have a huge stash of cash that they keep in reserve to pay out long term bets that lose. When they lose a bet they payout using current premiums and then payout shareholders any profit.

What do you think the whole financial crisis was about? The root cause was AIG making bets when they didn't have cash to payout if they lost. The mortgage lenders and government regulators were like you and assumed insurance was a prepayment and not a casino bet.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

EXC
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cj wrote:  Why shouldn't

cj wrote:

Why shouldn't you pay into insurance while young to cover your costs when old?

Why shouldn't someone living in rural Outer Mongolia cover the costs of your health care? Why just because you're young and happen to have been born in the same political borders does that mean one should pay for your overpriced and largely ineffective healthcare? Any rational human relationship must be based on mutual benefit. There is no benifit for the young funding the healthcare of the aging baby boomers.

Unfortunately, your generation screwed up in electing politicians that never dealt with the aging crisis they've been warned about for 60 years. Just kicked the can down the road. Did your generation train enough doctors and nurses or did you all let the schools produce graduates with no job skills? Did you all create competion to drive down drug and biomedical equipment costs or did you allow big pharma to bribe the politicians to create monopolies?

Seems to me your generation didn't hold up your end of any social contract.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

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EXC wrote:Where the hell do

EXC wrote:
Where the hell do you get that insurance is prepayment?

From the fact that it is exactly that. Where the hell do you get the idea that it isn't?

EXC wrote:
Insurance companies are no different than Casinos

Bullshit. Insurance companies operate like banks. Casino's don't make bets, they use a system that guarantees them massive profits and guarantees the occasional person to win what seems significant to them but is only a fraction of the casinos daily income.

"The don't have a huge stash of cash that they keep in reserve to pay out long term bets that lose"

Yes they do. They are required by law to have a certain amount of liquidity.

Insurance Companies Act (S.C. 1991, c. 47)
PART X
ADEQUACY OF CAPITAL AND LIQUIDITY AND ASSETS
Marginal note:Adequacy of capital and liquidity — companies and societies

515. (1) A company and society shall, in relation to its operations, maintain adequate capital and adequate and appropriate forms of liquidity and shall comply with.. etc.

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608. (1) A foreign company

608. (1) A foreign company shall maintain in Canada an adequate margin of assets over liabilities in respect of its insurance business in Canada as shown in the records it is required to maintain under section 647, and adequate and appropriate forms of liquidity, and shall comply with any regulations in relation to an adequate margin of assets over liabilities and adequate and appropriate forms of liquidity... etc.

You're just as dumb on this subject as any other.

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Vastet wrote: Bullshit.

Vastet wrote:
Bullshit. Insurance companies operate like banks.

All the actuarials they hire are just for window dressing? They are making terms of a bet that the premiums they collect will on averge be greater than the benefits paid out.

Vastet wrote:
Casino's don't make bets, they use a system that guarantees them massive profits and guarantees the occasional person to win what seems significant to them but is only a fraction of the casinos daily income.

When you bet black on roulette, the casino is betting red(and green). You have an 18 in 38 change of winning the bet. The casino has a 20 in 38 chance of winning the bet. Is this too difficult for you to understand?

Vastet wrote:
"The don't have a huge stash of cash that they keep in reserve to pay out long term bets that lose" Yes they do.

Well we see how that worked out at AIG.

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

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EXC wrote:All the actuarials

EXC wrote:
All the actuarials they hire are just for window dressing? They are making terms of a bet that the premiums they collect will on averge be greater than the benefits paid out.

Where did I say insurance companies don't make bets? I said that casinos don't make bets.

EXC wrote:
When you bet black on roulette, the casino is betting red(and green). You have an 18 in 38 change of winning the bet. The casino has a 20 in 38 chance of winning the bet. Is this too difficult for you to understand?

Roulette is only one game at a casino. And as you point out, the house always has the advantage. Except your understanding of Roulette is as flawed as everything else. Betting on black or red are not the only options. To have a good payout you need to bet on numbers, in which the house gets a 35 out of 36 probability of winning. But I know you're too dumb to understand.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.

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EXC wrote:Well we see how

EXC wrote:
Well we see how that worked out at AIG.

I neither know nor care about all of what happened at AIG. I do know that no single company bears full responsibility for any financial crises.

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Vastet wrote:Betting on

Vastet wrote:
Betting on black or red are not the only options.

JFC. Did I ever say that was the only option? You made the claim that "Casinos don't make bets".

Taxation is the price we pay for failing to build a civilized society. The higher the tax level, the greater the failure. A centrally planned totalitarian state represents a complete defeat for the civilized world, while a totally voluntary society represents its ultimate success. --Mark Skousen

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You implied it by laying out

You implied it by laying out probabilities for that bet and only that bet (and only once, as if the majority all go into a casino and bet all their money on the Roulette wheel, and then leave), instead of laying out the overall probability of winning at Roulette or any other games. Probably because even you aren't dumb enough to argue against the fact that casinos use a tried and true and mathematically sound system guaranteed to increase their profits.

Casino's don't make bets. Even the owners of casinos make only a single bet, and that is to bet that people show up to bet.

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digitalbeachbum wrote:Off

digitalbeachbum wrote:

Off topic here Digital, but that Khana Academy dude has some GREAT videos on youtube for educational purposes. Already, I feel that I am beginning to get some basic fundamentals of physics by watching some of them. Great stuff. There website is pretty cool as well.

EDIT : Don't know why the damned video about Obamacare or PPC did not post. But I thought the guy broke it all down quite well.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno

Sage_Override
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Emergency rooms are like

Emergency rooms are like bookies that hound you if you don't pay the bill.

Doctors are under bosses that take care of your health for a small fee under the assumption that you pay into the mafia; if not they charge you double or more.

Pharmaceutical companies are the capos that take care of the under bosses' needs and make sure they're getting their cut every month.

The system/government itself would be the godfather that keeps the diluted forms of healthcare moving right along so that each sector of the mafia can receive it's monthly tribute.

Whether "Obamacare" is a good thing or bad thing makes no difference; there will still be massive corruption, loop holes and ways for people to get screwed over.  I just see it as another tool for these organized manipulative despots to screw us further.

"When the majority believes in what is false, the truth becomes a quest." - Me