I was up early this morning reading the LA Times online, getting my news before Los Angelinos have probably gone to bed. One of the headline stories which jumped out at me was that more and more small businesses out there are curtailing hiring new employees and laying off more workers because of double-digit hikes on the cost of their employee health insurance. Welcome to health coverage in the Age of Obama, or the Land of Oz, same thing, isn’t it? (Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!)
I am a solo practitioner. My health insurance soared by 30% last year. Further, I was facing another 20% hike this year if I stayed with the same plan. Instead, now being forced to pick a plan or risk no coverage, I chose a plan where I am still paying a whopping monthly bill but my deductible is $3,000 in network and another $3,000 out of network. Can I qualify for state assistance? No. Thank you, Mr. Obama.
America’s small businesses and middle class are bleeding thanks to this pass-the-buck mentality. It’s drive-through surgery on a massive tumor. We, the middle class, can no longer afford to carry the weight of the lower income earners, the Greek debt, the ongoing war against terrorism, bank bailouts, health care for illegal immigrants, food stamps for people who keep having kids and no way to pay for them (oh, I’m sure that will bring a lot of hate mail my way – family planning people, ever heard of it?) and the list goes on.
The middle class, especially small business owners who work for themselves, pay enormous taxes. We pay into the unemployment and health care systems to support those who can reap the benefits. However, when they have finally broken the back of middle America, as they have done now, where can we turn for help? Nowhere.
We need to go back to paying for health care the way they did 50 or even a hundred years ago. Bring the doc an apple pie or a chicken. See if he accepts that for a shot of penicilln. My doc probably won’t since he tried to bill me for an emergency visit while being treated for a cold. Really? Can you see lawyers getting away with that?
Seriously, though, let’s back up to the days of “Marcus Welby.” He made housecalls and he was NEVER sued. Did you hear that, my colleagues at the malpractice and personal injury bar? NEVER sued. Sure, major medical errors are a cause for action but not every bump on the head is worthy of a summons and complaint.
Let’s get rid of the damn HMOs, PPOs and toss in SUVs while we’re at it, and return to the days of small premiums and high deductibles. Each American who works should pay a monthly premium and know that after the first $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000 out of pocket they will get coverage. Simple, black and white. No in and out of network. No referrals needed for a specialist. No government threats and penalties if you can’t afford health insurance. This is America, people, are you fed up yet?