Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

Why the Healthy Should Buy Health Insurance

I’m the daughter and sister of insurance agents. I understand that an insurance program is an agreement to provide buyers of insurance with funds to overcome some kind of misfortune. Examples include automobile accidents, house fires, and illnesses, to name a few.

For the insurance provider not to go broke, payments into the insurance program must be enough to accumulate funds needed to pay out for the misfortunes.

A provider of automobile accident insurance would soon go broke if the provider allowed people to begin the insurance after having an accident. Likewise, so would a company providing house insurance if people were allowed to begin fire insurance after having a fire and expecting to receive funds.

In a sense, insurance programs are community programs. Some are profit driven. Others, like social security for the elderly, are not. Even with social security, however, workers are required pay into social security whether they know they will live to old age or not.

Popular sections of the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) include the provisions covering preexisting conditions and those guaranteeing people’s continued coverage even if they get sick.

Highly unpopular, however, is the mandate that all must purchase health insurance or pay a penalty.

Unfortunately, adopting a plan with the first two requirements is most likely impossible unless all people are required to have a policy or pay a penalty. Health insurance, no more than car or house insurance, needs regular payments over a long period of time to balance the outgoing.

Otherwise, it becomes too expensive. The cost of caring for sick people is too expensive unless a large group of people pay for coverage.

Of course, people with health insurance are more likely to enjoy good health than people without it.

If their insurance covers doctor visits, they are more likely to have regular checkups. They are more likely to visit a doctor when they first have symptoms of an illness rather than later when the illness may require longer and more expensive treatment.

The term”health” insurance is instructive. The primary goal is better health, rather than paying to correct ill health. It’s also less expensive in the long run.

The Cost of Saving Money on Health Care

Grays Harbor County, in my home state of Washington, cast the majority of its votes for Donald Trump in the recent presidential election. According to Danny Westneat, columnist for The Seattle Times, it’s the first time in almost a century that the county voted Republican instead of Democratic.

According to state unemployment rates for October, 2016, Grays Harbor County had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, considerably higher than the state rate of 5.4 percent. So perhaps high unemployment encouraged a Trump vote, as it appears to have done in other parts of the nation.

Westneat quoted some interesting facts about Grays Harbor County. Several years ago nineteen percent of the population had no health insurance. Today, mainly because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the rate of uninsured dropped to nine percent. One in five adults in the country signed up for it.

If the Trump administration abolishes the ACA, as Trump has said it will do on several occasions, what will happen to those people who have gained coverage?

In a more recent column (The Seattle Times, December 12, 2016), Westneat chronicles the case of a young woman with diabetes and fibromyalgia, which causes severe muscle and joint pains. Before the ACA, she often lacked money for medications to treat the pain and missed work.

When the ACA became law, the woman, no longer barred by her previous medical conditions, signed up. She was able to afford the payments because of the subsidy that came with the plan. Eventually, with her chronic conditions treated, she returned to school and received a graduate degree from Seattle Pacific University. She’s now interning in her chosen field.

What happens if this woman and others lose their medical coverage? What if their chronic conditions go untreated?

Saving money by abolishing continuing health care will cost more in the long run. And that’s only the financial cost.

Working Less In Order to Work More?


A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicts that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) may result in some Americans choosing to work less. According to the report, they may choose to work less (meaning, presumably, in paid employment) because they don’t have to remain in a job solely to gain health insurance. The report raises interesting questions.

First, why have we allowed health insurance to be tied to jobs? This results in unenthusiastic workers who can’t change to jobs more suitable to their interests. Corporations also must compete on the world market with corporations from Europe and other countries who don’t need to pay for this insurance because their governments provide it.

Second, why is health care so expensive in the United States? Canada and other advanced countries have, studies indicate, healthier populations than the U.S., but at less cost. Apparently, many Americans could afford to work less at paying jobs if they were guaranteed insurance for unexpected medical expenses.(Obviously, the working poor need all the work they can find.)

Third, why will workers supposedly work less? Do they plan to watch more TV in their extra hours? Or do some wish to spend more time with their children? Or take care of elderly parents? Or engage in civic or charitable work? Or experiment with a business of their own? Or write a novel?

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, work has narrowed to fit one pattern for men and eventually for women who entered the labor force in increasing numbers. Everyone works a certain number of hours per week, period. Special arrangements have to be made for sickness, family emergencies, time off to explore other interests, or extreme weather.

The changes in health insurance could present an opportunity to define new work patterns. Such patterns might allow Americans flexible work schedules and hours more suited to individual goals and the unpredictable world they live in.