December 3, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Single-payer system can standardize medical costs (call this writer)
Regarding the costs of health care, Paul Krugman need only repeat the indisputable facts about single-payer systems. Single Payer systems all around the world average 10 percent of GDP while we spend 20 percent of GDP anually in the U.S. on health care [“Obamacare’s secret success,” Opinion, Dec. 1].
Statistics show how only a single-payer system can control costs best into the future. That’s the only reason we’re all talking about health care in the first place.
These facts prove that the Affordable Care Act is nothing but a shameful continuation of the massively corrupt health-care mess in this country. At least 30 of the authors of the ACA are now “consultants,” helping corporations navigate the dizzying law.
November 18, 2013 at 7:03 AM
Obamacare justification should not be political
State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler made a valiant attempt to justify the seriously flawed Affordable Care Act in his column [“Your health plan and Obamacare,” Opinion, Nov. 13].
Sticking entirely to his party line, he listed the reasons why we all should embrace Obamacare. However, commissioner, the dilemma of policy cancellations to the middle class is not about politics. It is seriously affecting nearly 300,000 residents in the state of Washington.
Sure, policy criteria premiums change annually, but never to the extent we are currently witnessing. Does it really make sense that those of us fortunate enough to be healthy and have incomes above the government subsidized threshold should incur the brunt of making this plan work? My wife and I currently have a perfectly good plan, not one referenced as “inadequate.” Yet, Regence has advised us the premiums will nearly double. In addition, along with the privilege of contributing more to support those “in need,” our deductible and out-of-pocket limits will actually increase.
And of course, the commissioner’s office has apparently blessed the new plans presented by Regence. I have to believe that many of the 300,000 affected Washington residents are in situations similar to ours.
Wes Pitman, Woodinville
November 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM
Employers won’t be able to cope
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler understates not only the impact on those who are losing their health plans under Obamacare, but also the number of people affected [“Your health plan and Obamacare,” Opinion, Nov. 13].
Kreidler states health plans have often canceled coverage. No, they discontinued plans for new sale and his office required the older plans be maintained for current subscribers. His regulators used to be aggressive against filed rate increases. Now, in the face of a 100 percent increase for a higher deductible, he sheepishly offers that we’ll get more. He says no one could afford coverage if you could buy maternity coverage only when you need it — but that is exactly what happened here 15 years ago, which led to the total collapse of the individual market. Kreidler supported easy sign-up then, and now he fears returns for those “checking in” during open enrollment.
The 290,000 residents cited as losing individual coverage is just the beginning. As a health-insurance broker, I know some employers just can’t cope with the added cost and overregulation. So they contemplate reducing hours below the eligibility threshold, or dropping group plans entirely. Some employees will find their way into the exchanges, many others won’t.
But the worst loss of coverage, which Kreidler doesn’t even mention, is in the small group market. We have had a thriving association market, serving hundreds of thousands of Washington residents. This is being virtually obliterated by Obamacare’s regulation. Many employers are forced off this market. Most of the association health plans will actually have to shut down in 2014. Sorry, you can’t keep your health plan after all.
There is no smiley face Kreidler can put on the rate increases, loss of coverage for so many and the decimation of our health-insurance market. Forget the bumpy rollout of exchange plans. This is truly ugly.
Hugh Hendrickson, Renton
November 7, 2013 at 7:37 AM
Notions that prior plans were substandard is a lie
I want to add to the many voices of people on the individual insurance market who say their health insurance plans were pretty much ruined by Obamacare [“Canceled health insurance plans add to angst of change,” page one, Nov. 3]
Our plans in the past covered our risks very well. In 2014, my insurance premiums will balloon to cover conditions that are non-risks for me. I will pay all costs out of pocket unless I am hospitalized.
Only exchange plans are subsidized, but they all have greatly reduced doctor and hospital networks. The plans might help with some upfront coverage, but without in-network access to specialty centers and research hospitals, they do not insure against financial hardship for the most catastrophic conditions. Regence is now the only provider that offers a broad doctor/hospital network.
Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner, believes that our plans were substandard because they didn’t cover our non-risks. I wonder if Stephanie’s homeowner policy covers tornadoes and hurricanes — her non-risks. The state had its own mandates to ensure that our plans were adequate.
I am all for helping people in need, but we should do so as a country, rather than disproportionately foisting the expense onto people in the individual market.
The bottom line is that a law that you have to lie about is a bad law — and yes, the blanket notion that our plans were substandard is a lie.
Teresa Atkinson, Sammamish
November 2, 2013 at 7:01 AM
Delay implementation and fix the legislation
The president’s repeated claims about his signature health-care reform law have proved to be more than the usual exaggerations and spin we expect from politicians; they are outright lies [“Your health plan is canceled: Q & A on a growing headache,” page one, Oct. 30].
Dozens of times during the past three years he has claimed that if you like your current policy, you can keep it. For the millions of Americans who purchase individual plans, that is simply not true, and the president has known it all along. The truth is that all Americans will have enhanced coverage, whether they want it, need it or can afford it.
Health-care reform is a must, but this is a bad law poorly implemented, and we simply can’t afford it. Delay implementation and fix the legislation while you fix the website.
Mark Stratton, Bothell
October 25, 2013 at 7:07 AM
Individuals states should focus to remedy health-care glitch
Contrasting the two articles in The Seattle Times about the states that are successfully signing up enrollees in the Affordable Care Act and those that cannot sign up using the national website, it seems to me the solution to this problem is hiding in plain sight [“Obama concedes tech glitches but defends health-care law,” page one, Oct. 22].
Why doesn’t the federal government simply take the best of the state-developed, working health-care-enrollment websites (California, Kentucky, or Washington state for example) and use those? As government funding has already paid for those software solutions, it seems to me that you should be able to simply plug in the datasets from another state and quickly get each state up and rolling in quick order. A well-designed software solution would make it easy to plug in new data and new connections without disrupting the underlying code since these state solutions already have anticipated the need for annual changes.
If we break the problem down into a smaller steps and apply a proven solution, we should be able to bring states online one at a time.
Instead of trying to have one humongous solution for those states that dumped this responsibility on the federal government, focus on getting one state up each day and enrolling people. Microsoft and Google, among others, already have server space available in their server farms that could be used to house these state-specific solutions in quick order.
Dennis McClellan, Kent
October 24, 2013 at 7:26 PM
Why not change Obamacare? That’s the way our democracy is designed to work
The Republican Party is obsessed with repealing Obamacare, as the House of Representatives has voted 40 plus times for repeal. The Republican-controlled House was willing to partially shut down our government for 16 days, and tried to hold our country hostage by not raising the debt ceiling [“Obama concedes tech glitches but defends health-care law,” page one, Oct. 22].
It is estimated that $24 billion was lost from our economy during those 16 days, and the gross domestic product for the year was lowered from 3 percent to 2.4 percent during this manufactured crisis, which was completely avoidable.
The Affordable Care Act was passed into law by the House, the Senate, signed by the president and upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court. In the 2012 election, one of Mitt Romney’s campaign promises was that if elected president he would repeal Obamacare, and he was soundly defeated.
Why not change Obamacare? That’s the way our democracy is designed to work.
Go out and work hard to elect members of Congress and a president who can make that change. Members of the House are up for re-election in 2014, Sen. Patty Murray in 2016, Sen. Maria Cantwell in 2018 and the president in 2016. But until you elect a Congress and president who would repeal Obamacare, why not work to improve it? And maybe by the time that ever happens, you will come to like Obamacare.
Lee Bowen, Sequim
October 23, 2013 at 7:27 PM
Your article “Obama taps experts to fix online snags in care plan” [page one, Oct. 21] is interesting to me.
As a college student in my mid-20s, I am finding myself needing to sign up for my own health insurance at the same time as President Obama’s health-care reforms are taking effect.
I had previously heard about the frozen computer screens and other software glitches that other people were experiencing as they attempted to sign up for health insurance, and was concerned about using the software myself. It is good to know that President Obama and his staff are doing the best they can to fix the health-care sign-up software as more and more people are looking to get signed up for the health-care exchange.
Kristin Ford, Auburn
October 8, 2013 at 7:31 PM
Hikes in price do not look promising
As tragic as it is, Paul Krugman’s column is most likely correct. ["Health-care reform is here to stay," opinion, Oct 6].
It is a sad day for many, even though several are still learning that truth Krugman used an already tired line regarding the Republicans and their fear of Obamacare’s success or failure. To this, it really is more a point of view rather than anything else. From the point of view of people I know, it’s a horrible failure.
People have lost huge amounts of working hours due to companies cutting back to avoid paying insurance for their employees. Some have lost jobs entirely. Others who already have insurance have seen their monthly amounts go up to unreasonable amounts. One person I know went from $250 to more than $1100 per month. She checked the exchanges and found nothing she could afford there either; We are told there are good rates on the exchanges, but I have talked to many people and haven’t heard of one yet.
So if Obamacare’s point of view was to have people earn less money, be mandated to purchase something they can’t afford or face the IRS over penalties, then by all means it’s a great success.
Eric Vane, Seattle
October 7, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Congress should take the hit
Members of Congress who have caused the partial shutdown of the government should take the hit too. I would like to see their pay withheld until they agree on a budget. [“Obama, GOP meet; no one budges,” page one, Oct. 3].
Of course this would be symbolic, as many of them are wealthy, but still it should be done. Less symbolic would be the furloughing of their employees-all of them. Also, I would stop funding for their “pork barrel” projects. This would cause them some real pain, which they deserve, as they are causing pain to so many people.
Ted Coskey, Seattle
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