Next week's Show features a debate between Ryan Ripley, co-host of The Shill Report on Indiana Talks, and me. We shall debate whether the Affordable Care Act---a/k/a Obamacare---is constitutional.
October 1, 2013, is a date on which I shall rejoice. As many of you know from my past blogs, I have Multiple Sclerosis. That means I cannot obtain regular health insurance. I have to go through Indiana's high-risk pool. That ran me one grand per month---even though I have not had an exacerbation (the term used for an attack or flare-up of MS) since the initial exacerbation I suffered in January, 1994. If anything, since my diagnosis, I am in better shape. I exercise (walk and lift weights) and watch my diet (for the most part). Therefore, only on paper am I an increased risk for an actuarial writer who works up rates on, or recommends rejection of, applicants for insurance policies.
Two aspects of Obamacare---and when the President began to call the plan that, I was glad---that are very good are (1) insurance companies must spend a significant amount of premiums taken in on medical care and (2) individuals cannot be turned down for insurance because of a prior existing condition. The former is quite important because, in recent years, we have seen CEOs of insurance companies paid eight-figure bonuses simply for their positions as they swallow up competition. Elimination of competition does not serve to keep prices down. My libertarian friends would agree with that assessment. When I shopped for alternative insurance policies last summer, I discovered the Anthem policy for which I paid $1k per month through Indiana's "pool" was offered---to me, at my age and with my pre-existing condition taken into consideration---at under $400 per month. There was one catch: I could not apply (since I already was with Anthem, the insurance company that had won the contract for Indiana's "pool") until October 1, 2014.
Once we hit that magical date in about a month-and-a-half, I expect to obtain a new policy of insurance at a greatly-reduced price. Until then, I am covered by a PPO.
Just because something is a good idea---requirement that insurance companies pay out 80% or more of the money they make from premiums for actual health care---does not necessarily make it constitutional. Ryan and I shall discuss these points and others next week. I am pretty sure he will disagree with me about prices, too. But hey---that's the point of a debate.