With all the Presidential hopefuls and their supporters saying on TV that Obamacare is a complete and total disaster, you, like me, have probably wondered what Obamacare actually is. Many who fear it don’t know what it is at all. Jonathan Gruber, the M.I.T economics professor who created Obamacare explains it fully in his book, Health Care Reform. The first few chapters tell “what it is,” “How it works,” and “why it’s necessary.” Lets look at what he says.
In this book Professor Gruber introduces Anthony, Betty, Carlos, and Dinah, and follows them through the healthcare system after they have a heart attack. Anthony works for a medium sized company that provides him with a health care plan that pays the entire cost of his treatment. His heart attack cost him nothing out of pocket. Betty, a retired senior citizen, has Medicare, the universal coverage program she enjoys with about 1/6 of the U.S. Population, and winds up paying about $1,000 out of pocket for her heart attack treatment. “Carlos,” though, “is a little more than taken aback. He and his family are in the minority: They aren’t offered insurance by their employer, and therefore buy insurance in the smaller Nongroup Market, which covers about 12 million Americans.” Carlos’ heart attack cost him $2,500 out of pocket costs in spite of his very high premiums, and afterwords his insurance company raised his premiums sky high and canceled his coverage when he could not pay. Then there is Dinah, who has no health care coverage at all. Her bill for her heart attack treatment came to $50,000. When she couldn’t pay, the cost was passed on to the companies that provide full coverage for their employees, and when Carlos needs medical attention his only option is the Emergency Room, and the cost of his treatment will wind up adding more cost to the businesses who provide full coverage for employees. Because these employees have only so much money to pay for employees they take the extra charges out of pay raises, institute company wide pay cuts, and let employees go, who become uninsured instantly, adding to the upward spiral of health care cost. What can be done? That is where Obamacare comes in.
Professor Gruber’s heath care plan, enacted by Congress as the Affordable Health Care Act, is designed to address this issue of spiraling healthcare costs caused the lack of coverage of many people. It requires by law that all Americans have affordable health care insurance, whether paid for by employers or by the those insured with Obamacare and/or the U.S. Government. This way there are no uninsured citizens passing their unpaid bills onto the private insurers, thus nipping the spiraling cost problem in the bud. Those who refuse to obtain health care insurance will be required to pay a special tax that will go into Obamacare. This way no one can game the system by paying only when they are sick. That would crash the power of this plan.
Health Care Reform, by Jonathan Gruber, also addresses common objections to Obamacare. It points out, for example, that the requirement of auto insurance has not caused America to become socialists and has not ruined the American people in any other way. Other points of contention are also addressed.
The book by Jonathan Gruber, the main author of the new Act, is in a user friendly comic book art form. It is short, clear and to the point and takes only a very short while to read. For this reason, and because of Mr. Gruber’s roll in this health care plan, I recommend it to anyone wanting to understand “What it is,” Why it’s necessary,” and “How it works,” when it comes to The Affordable Health Care Act.