Poor need public option


To the editor:

According to a June 2 article on 2A: “Insurance rates going up: New concerns for Obamacare,” President Obama’s insurance overhaul has not eliminated price hikes.

Of course it hasn’t, and it never will! What market lowers prices, save for brief periods during competitive price wars? Obamacare is neither a reasonably priced public option nor a European styled single payer plan. Obamacare is simply an expansion of the for-profit insurance industry in which citizens are now fined by their own government for not doing business with private companies.

Why?

Because “…millions of customers will be shielded from price hikes by government subsidies, which typically cover more than 70 percent of the premiums.” So who benefits more? The newly insured under Obamacare, or the insurance companies collecting subsidized payments?

The original Affordable Care Act proposal was an attempt to create a non-profit public option to insure the working poor; no one else would have been affected. Healthcare for the working poor would have been affordable because workers would have paid non-subsidized premiums through payroll deduction into federally regulated, but not federally funded health insurance coverage. Premiums would have been based on policy holders ability to pay rather than corporate profitability. If end-of-year deficits occurred, premiums could be raised for the next year. In the event of surpluses, premiums could be lowered. Because most are healthy most of the time, reasonable premiums would cover the cost of healthcare for the working poor as long as private insurance industry CEOs are not collecting $millions in salaries and bonuses, and stockholders collecting $millions in dividends.

According to the article, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is seeking to raise its rates almost 60% because it lost $416 million in 2014 and $592 million in 2015. Now I’m just a simple under-educated country boy, but common sense tells me that a business losing an approximate average of $500 million per year should already be out of business. Still, if they are losing that kind of money, how much is due to health coverage, and how much is due to excessive salaries, bonuses and dividends? The simple solution to our nation’s health care dilemma is to allow all who can afford for-profit health insurance to purchase whatever they can afford, and allow an affordable non-profit public option for the working poor, based on the same principle as Social Security.

Robert C. Currie Jr.

Laurinburg

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