By Tom Quiner
I had surgery yesterday.
I knew it was coming. I went into my general practitioner in October for a physical. He referred me to a specialist for my particular situation.
I was able to get into the specialist/surgeon for an exam in 14 days.
We scheduled the surgery for yesterday. I could have had the surgery performed even quicker, but I deferred it to calendar year 2013 for the sake of my health savings account (HSA). I have a $5700 deductible, so I’m loading up medical tests and procedures for this year since I maxed out my deductible yesterday.
Everything went like clockwork, in fact, even better than clockwork.
My surgery was scheduled for 12:30 PM. They told me to arrive at 10:30 AM. Paperwork was quickly handled, and I was on my way to surgery an hour early, by 11:30 AM.
Surgery went well. I feel lousy, and will for awhile, but will be good as new in a month or so.
I couldn’t help but think about the impact Obamacare could have on procedures like this years down the road.
The immediate impact is that my surgery will cost me more because of Obamacare. Formerly, I could deduct the first $5000 on my HSA. Obamacare sliced the deduction to $2500.
The ultimate goal of Obamacare is to morph into a single payer system. I saw in the morning paper that my health insurance premiums are going to go up another 13% this year. Policy holders are screaming.
It is only going to get worse, because of the perverse incentives built into Obamacare.
You are required by law to purchase health insurance or be fined. But the fines are far less than the price of the insurance. If you’re healthy, you may choose to forgo health insurance until you need it.
In other words, it makes more economic sense to wait and purchase health insurance when you get sick.
At that point, Obamacare forces the insurance company to cover you. Even more, Obamacare forces insurance companies to charge the same for sick people as healthy people. Once you’re well, you can simply drop your coverage until you get sick again.
√ It is cheaper to NOT buy insurance if you’re healthy.
√ There’s no incentive to buy insurance UNTIL you get sick.
√ Insurance companies HAVE to cover you, even if you’re sick.
√ Insurance companies HAVE to charge the same premiums to people with terminal cancer as world-class triathlon champions who have never been sick a day in their life.
What will happen? Only sick people will have health insurance. To survive, health insurance companies will have to charge dramatically higher premiums.
The Obamacare objective of lowering the cost of health insurance will have been turned on its head.
The risk of health insurance becoming totally unaffordable is very real, thanks to Obamacare. This year’s 13% increase may look good compared to future years.
When this happens, liberals will explain it is the fault of the marketplace, that we need a single payer system. How will that affect people like me who need to see a specialist? Let’s look at Canada and Great Britain who have the single payer system to which liberals aspire. Let’s compare the percentage of patients referred to a medical specialist who actually saw one within one month:
√ 77% U.S.
I was taken care of quickly. We won’t be able to count on this type of service in the future. Inevitably, government-run programs are forced to ration healthcare, which slows things down. Here are two more examples:
What is the percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months?
√ 93% U.S.
What is the percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months?
√ 90% U.S.
Obamacare may surprise us. Maybe for the first time in history, the laws of supply and demand can be cheated.
As for me, I’m glad I got this surgery over and done with now rather than a few years down the road.
Time for a pain pill. Thinking about Obamacare hurts more than my incisions.