Sweet, sweet schadenfreude: Harvard faculty who championed #Obamacare angry for being subject to Obamacare

January 5, 2015
"Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth."

“Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth.”

Via Charles Cooke, this is too delicious for words:

For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.

The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees? If employees have to bear more of the cost, will they skimp on medically necessary care, curtail the use of less valuable services, or both?

What’s the old saying? “Be careful what you wish for; you might get it!”

Thomas Sowell has observed that the problem with letting government regulate so much is that the regulators seldom have to live with the consequences of their decisions. It’s the ordinary people who suffer. The same can be said for academics at Harvard (and other universities): state-run healthcare sounds great in theory –the libraries are full of books and articles endorsing it, as well as the conversation in faculty lounges– but make them live by the rules they advocated and they scream “UNFAIR!!”

What they’re being asked to do, of course, is what many of us already do: pay an increased but still small portion of their healthcare costs, which are going up for the university. This, in turn has caused a ruckus, though Harvard argues that provisions of the Affordable Care Act for them to take these steps:

In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it “must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,” otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.

The quoted complaints are a treat, too:

Richard F. Thomas, a Harvard professor of classics and one of the world’s leading authorities on Virgil, called the changes “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.”

Mary D. Lewis, a professor who specializes in the history of modern France and has led opposition to the benefit changes, said they were tantamount to a pay cut. “Moreover,” she said, “this pay cut will be timed to come at precisely the moment when you are sick, stressed or facing the challenges of being a new parent.”

You should take them seriously, because PhD’s in Classics and History are experts in the economics of health care. Apparently they need a refresher in one of the basic rules of economics: When you increase a business or other institution’s cost, it will deal with it in one of four ways. It will cease operation, deciding the expenses are too great; it will absorb the cost; it offset the cost by reducing other expenses; or it will offset the cost by passing all or a portion of it to the consumer. Harvard has chosen this last option. What, really, did these degree-bearing men and women expect?

I know, I know. A continued ride on the gravy train, because they’re educators, damn it!

On the other hand, Professor Lewis is right: this is tantamount to a pay cut, something many of us have experienced thanks to the skyrocketing premiums and massively increased deductibles under our new “affordable” system.

Why should Ivy League academics be exempt?

Congratulations, folks! You got what you asked for!

smiley popcorn

 

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Shocker: #Obamacare not shielding consumers from costs

December 1, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

There’s an interesting article at Hot Air in which Ed Morrissey interprets the results of a Gallup survey that, contra the intentions of Obamacare’s author’s, many people are still putting off medical care, including for serious conditions, because of cost. Bear in mind that one of the goals of the new system was to keep people from having to make choices about their care based on cost. Instead, in some demographics, the numbers of those putting off care has gone up:

However, the percentage of those who put off care due to cost issues actually rose among those with private insurance — by almost double digits, in fact:

“Among Americans with varying types of medical coverage (including no coverage), uninsured Americans are still the most likely to report having put off medical treatment because of cost. More than half of the uninsured (57%) have put off treatment, compared with 34% with private insurance and 22% with Medicare or Medicaid. However, the percentage of Americans with private health insurance who report putting off medical treatment because of cost has increased from 25% in 2013 to 34% in 2014.”

(Emphasis added)

Now, why is this? Ed offers some speculations:

There are a few possible reasons, with the truth probably in combination of some:

  • The so-called recovery isn’t actually boosting workers the way Democrats claim.
  • Forced carriage of health insurance takes too big of a bite out of workers’ disposable income.
  • The health insurance that consumers get has too large of a deductible for the affordable premiums, or …
  • … it has inadequate coverage for the conditions, while the premiums make it impossible to get treatment on their own.
  • Reimbursement rates and narrowed provider choices make it difficult to get treatment.

I’d say the third and fifth in the list are the big reasons for people who already have private insurance are putting off care. Search through the Obamacare archives here and you’ll find reports of sky-high deductibles that make the “affordable” premiums laughable, and newly-limited networks forcing people to pay through the nose if they want to get treatment that used to be covered, or to see the doctor they preferred (1), who now isn’t in their network. (If they’ll take your insurance at all.)

This is another example of why, assuming they can come up with a workable replacement, the Republicans will be able to repeal Obamacare in 2017, unlike other entitlements: it has become a giant pain in the tuchus for millions of people (most of whom never wanted it anyway), and they will demand that the Republican congress and new Republican (I hope) president make that pain go away.

Footnote:
(1) Per the President’s promise, repeated ad nauseam over the course of several years. People remember that, just as they remember the senators who helped sell them that bill of goods. Just ask the (former) Democrat senators who had to run for reelection in the last midterms.


“Save money??” Data shows premiums soar under #Obamacare

March 18, 2014
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All is going according to plan.

We’ve seen plenty of anecdotal evidence about that before (for example), but eHealthinsurance.com has done what I think is the first systematic study of rate increases, now that we’ve experienced about six months of our glorious new health care regime.

And the results, to put it nicely, are fugly:

Americans buying health insurance outside the new Obamacare exchanges are being forced to swallow premiums up to 56 percent higher than before the health law took effect because insurers have jumped the cost to cover all the added features of the new Affordable Care Act.

According to a cost report from eHealthInsurance, a nationwide online private insurance exchange, families are paying an average of $663 a month and singles $274 a month, far more than before Obamacare kicked in. What’s more, to save money, most buyers are choosing the lowest level of coverage, the so-called “bronze” plans.

The firm provided the costs to Secrets through their new online price index, which gives the averages of what people are paying for insurance sold through their system. In California, for example, some families are paying a high of $2,604 a month and in New York, $1,845.

The shocking surge in prices show what Americans not in Obamacare or covered by their employer are paying as they seek lower premiums. Typically, they are not eligible for the subsidies Obamacare offers those with low incomes.

Before some apologist shouts “But they weren’t shopping on the exchange!”, it doesn’t matter. All health insurance has to meet the new lollipops- and-unicorns standards, whether it’s vended by Covered California, the federal exchange, or a private broker.

What this study reveals quite clearly, however, is the true cost of an Obamacare policy (and most are choosing the lowest, Bronze policy, per the article) without subsidies. This is the Left’s intended wealth transfer from the middle class to those lower on the economic scale laid bare before the world.

But, hey, don’t worry. I’m sure it’s only a “glitch.” After all, didn’t the president just promise, in his latest version of that ever-changing promise, that you might not be able to keep your doctor, but you’ll be able to save money?

Why, yes. Yes, he did.

If you’re one of those paying more, remember that lie in November.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)