Forum Thread

The "Poverty Threshold" for Obamacare

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  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    Under Obamacare, to nationally qualify for Medicaid, you simply need to make no more than 133% of the national poverty threshold. But states and local insurance companies can still be more strict and deny coverage. A similar situation exists for CHIP (Children's Health Insurance Program); CHIP allows additional health coverage for kids in households that make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but still bring home a very small annual salary. As the 2014 "poverty threshold" is $11,670 a year (and then you add $4,060 a person after that per household) you can see that making even just marginally more than that is still very hard to live off of, especially while trying to afford health insurance for multiple people in a single household.

    Millions of citizens have been positively helped through these two social safety nets, being Medicaid and CHIP. A lot of people likely have had their lives literally saved through these programs actually. But, they are quite expensive and many argue that our country doesn't have the money to continue to fund, let alone expand these programs. In light of our current situation where millions of people are covered through Medicaid/CHIP, and yet millions more fall through the cracks by very strict and specific guidelines, what do you think the qualifications should be? Do you think it should be left up to the states to be able to have their own specific guidelines, or should Obamacare's poverty threshold qualifier be good enough for every state? Should we expand Medicaid and CHIP, or should we reign in spending?

    I'm very curious about all this. Health insurance is so confusing to me. I inherently think that health coverage should be available to all, no matter your income level; it should be a basic right and privilege for living in this rich and prosperous country of ours. We should take care of our people, with a combination of preventative and medical care, at little to zero cost. But, I also am not blind to expenses and tax increases. I realize this is a loaded question, as many factors from all kinds of directions should be considered.... all that said, what are your thoughts? What would YOU do, given the power to run the show???
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    As a social worker and someone who has worked with inner city and poor children for much of my adult life, I firmly believe that Medicaid and CHIP are valuable and important programs. While it is my life's dream to see a Single-Payer system in this country, I am smart enough to know that it's not going to be happening in this country anytime soon. Medicaid and CHIP are a good start to cover some of the people that need health care the most. I stress some because there are many Republican states who are refusing to make sure their citizens have quality health care. This is an absolute shame because these Republican states happen to be some of the poorest in the nation and their citizens are the ones who would stand to benefit the most from programs like these.

    I believe the qualifications for CHIP should be a sliding scale that the Federal Government comes up with. I fully understand that $15,000 in New York City goes a little further than $15,000 in the heart of the Midwest. It shouldn't be that difficult to use taxing information from the IRS to determine what an average person in a state makes. Then figure out fifty different poverty thresholds based off of that information.

    Your question about reigning in spending makes my blood boil. We have big businesses hoarding trillions of dollars sitting in offshore accounts because they don't want to pay taxes to the country that has provided so much for them. We also have one of the lowest tax rates our country has seen in nearly 100 years. It's time to reign in both of these things. If America wants things, we do have to pay for them. Everyone paying a little extra--rich and poor--for the overall good of society is something I think is truly patriotic. Having a "me me me" society that wants everything without having to pay for it is a recipe for disaster.

    You are spot on about investing in preventative care programs. What ever happened to health class in school? What ever happened to teaching young children how to live in a healthy way? How did something like that ever become politicized? The smarter people are about their health, the less they will need to rely on our healthcare system for purely preventable procedures.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Charlotte, NC
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    "health coverage should be available to all, no matter your income level; it should be a basic right and privilege for living in this rich and prosperous country of ours. We should take care of our people, with a combination of preventative and medical care, at little to zero cost."

    This is what should happen... But unfortunately it never will.
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    ClayTaylorNC Wrote: "health coverage should be available to all, no matter your income level; it should be a basic right and privilege for living in this rich and prosperous country of ours. We should take care of our people, with a combination of preventative and medical care, at little to zero cost."

    This is what should happen... But unfortunately it never will.
    Its the 'little to zero cost' that gives me problems... If the 'government' pays for health coverage, who really pays?
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: Its the 'little to zero cost' that gives me problems... If the 'government' pays for health coverage, who really pays?
    We the people will. We the people shouild ensure that every citizen regardless of income, disability, or preexisting condition should all have the same coverage. Just as every other industrialized nation in the world does. If our healthcare system is so great, then why are our mortality rates some of the worst in the industrialized world?

    I would encourage you to study the numbers. We spend more per person on healthcare than any other nation, yet we have some of the worst access to care in the industrialized world. Why is that? Could it possibly be because a for profit healthcare model is a complete and utter disaster that was destined to fail from the beginning?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    I have to find health care coverage tomorrow. We've had employment covered health care for 32 years but my wife lost her job last month because her job was sent to Indiana. The ACA said we would qualify for Medicaid. I'm told that we won't because we own our house and you can't have any asset worth 2500.00 or more. So, I'm shopping tonight and tomorrow. So far it looks like the best available rates are between 510.00 - 600.00 per month or 6,000.00 - 7,000.00 per year with deductibles of 10,000.00 per person Outrageous if you ask me.
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    RanmaMOJ Wrote: Its the 'little to zero cost' that gives me problems... If the 'government' pays for health coverage, who really pays?
    We the people will. We the people shouild ensure that every citizen regardless of income, disability, or preexisting condition should all have the same coverage. Just as every other industrialized nation in the world does. If our healthcare system is so great, then why are our mortality rates some of the worst in the industrialized world?
    See, I don't agree. If someone can't get health care due to their disability I see no problem with paying for it, but why should WE THE PEOPLE pay for someone who can afford health care and wants to have us foot the bill so they can get a PS4 (or whatever they spend the money on) I will agree that people should not be denied health care due to pre-existing condition or disability, but that's regardless of who pays for the health care. As for mortality rates... Lets look at the first country that had a single payer healthcare system and that had it longer than any country that currently has one... Remember the USSR? Remember their mortality rates? THAT is the long term single payer system at work. They started off with a mortality rate similar to the rest of the world, experienced a drop in mortality rate, then wound up with the worst mortality rate of any industrialized nation.

    Wait a minute... Did you just basically claim that "every other industrialized nation in the world" essentially has a single payer healthcare system?
    jaredsxtn Wrote:
    I would encourage you to study the numbers. We spend more per person on healthcare than any other nation, yet we have some of the worst access to care in the industrialized world. Why is that? Could it possibly be because a for profit healthcare model is a complete and utter disaster that was destined to fail from the beginning?
    So change the system so they can't exclude based on pre-existing conditions or existing disability. That does not lead to a single payer system. If you can pay for health care yourself, you should. What's next? A single payer system for auto insurance?
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: See, I don't agree. If someone can't get health care due to their disability I see no problem with paying for it, but why should WE THE PEOPLE pay for someone who can afford health care and wants to have us foot the bill so they can get a PS4 (or whatever they spend the money on) I will agree that people should not be denied health care due to pre-existing condition or disability, but that's regardless of who pays for the health care.
    This statement is so loaded with inaccuracies that I just don't know where to start. For starters, before Obamacare was enacted people were denied care for any reason under the sun. Depression? Sorry--no can do. High blood pressure? Nope--you'll cost the insurance company too much money. The list goes on and on. So if you agree that everyone should have access to care and not be denied services because of the insurance companies whim, then what would you do that still makes sure the private, for profit insurance companies still make a profit? How can you force insurance companies to accept everyone without forcing everyone to put into the system?

    Secondly--your statement about We The People footing the bill so someone can buy a PS4 is a blatant and unfounded lie. Where are you getting this information that poor people who have no access to health care are refusing to get covered because they are too busy buying electronics? Every piece of information I've read comes to a completely different conclusion. Poor people don't have coverage because they are poor. Not because they are too busy buying the latest gaming system.

    And We The People already are paying for this dog eat dog health care system we have. The current fee for service system pays a doctor or hospital for each and every service they perform, which encourages a litany of procedures that are not needed. Obamacare mandates that certain things are done at a flat rate for a specific condition and throughout a patients "entire episode of care." Not just that, but people who didn't have coverage went to the ER for basic care before Obamacare became law. This drove up every single insured American's out of pocket costs on a yearly basis. To blame poor people for our nations health woes is wrong and I will fight tooth and nail to make sure everyone understands the facts and not hearsay.

    RanmaMOJ Wrote: As for mortality rates... Lets look at the first country that had a single payer healthcare system and that had it longer than any country that currently has one... Remember the USSR? Remember their mortality rates? THAT is the long term single payer system at work. They started off with a mortality rate similar to the rest of the world, experienced a drop in mortality rate, then wound up with the worst mortality rate of any industrialized nation.
    Are you saying that countries who currently have universal care for their citizens are destined to wind up like the USSR? That defies all logic and is an argument I have never heard before.

    RanmaMOJ Wrote:Wait a minute... Did you just basically claim that "every other industrialized nation in the world" essentially has a single payer healthcare system?
    Read my statement. I did not say that at all. "We the people should ensure that every citizen regardless of income, disability, or preexisting condition should all have the same coverage. Just as every other industrialized nation in the world does." Where do I claim that every other industrialized nation in the world has a single payer system? I said it is my dream to see a single payer system in America, but I did not claim that every country has a single payer system. Maybe I should have said "it's my dream to have Medicare for all in this country." It means the same exact thing.

    What I did say is that every other industrialized nation in the world ensures every single one of their citizens has access to health care. They look at it as a fundamental right for all citizens. They are also able to do this while paying far less per capita than the United States currently does with its for profit model.

    RanmaMOJ Wrote:So change the system so they can't exclude based on pre-existing conditions or existing disability. That does not lead to a single payer system. If you can pay for health care yourself, you should. What's next? A single payer system for auto insurance?
    See my response above. How do you propose to force a private company to cover everyone without forcing everyone to buy into the system?
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    First off... Universal Health care (everyone has the right to health care regardless of income, disability, or pre-existing condition) is NOT the same as a single payer system. How do I propose to force a private company to cover everyone without forcing everyone to buy into the system? Simple... Pass a law saying that health care companies cannot deny health care coverage to those with pre-existing conditions or disabilities. Within the same law provide funds to pay for those WHO CAN'T afford it. A single payer system says the government pays for everyone REGARDLESS of income, meaning the government would pay for the VERY RICH and the VERY POOR.
  • Strongly Liberal
    Independent
    Seattle, WA
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    In 1948 The United Nations adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 25 states the following:

    "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control."

    Canada and many countries in Europe have come a fairly long way in trying to ensure those human rights, but even though the United States was a key influence in writing and adopting that Declaration in 1948, in the last 30 years the United States has been going backward in that regard.

    In fact, the U.S. is one of the biggest failures in the world in failing to secure those rights and ensure that everyone can enjoy a decent standard of living with income adequate for their health and well being.

    America has failed so badly that it has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the industrialized world, to the extent that, as the latest UNICEF report on child poverty showed, 23.1 percent of American children live in poverty, giving the United States the second highest rate of child poverty out of 35 developed countries. Only Romania ranked higher in child poverty. And, in recent years, 20.5 million Americans were living on less than half of the federal poverty level (which is based on an outdated and inaccurate formula to calculate data).

    This is disgraceful, since children in poverty become malnourished and prone to illnesses and diseases, and it's especially disgraceful since America has failed in spite of the fact that it has the knowledge, the technology and the means to be one of the most successful in serving in the interests of all the people.

    The cry by Republicans, Libertarians and some fiscally conservative Democrats that "We cannot afford" the human services government now provides, let alone provide more, is simply misleading right-wing propaganda. The actual problem is that during the last 30 years the wealthiest few and their giant corporations and banks have been enabled to hoard 95 percent of the nation's wealth, and pay little or no taxes.

    That's why America still has the most costly for profit system of health care in the world. Even its supposedly non-profit hospitals and insurance companies rake in huge profits and pay their top executives as much as huge profit-making corporations do. And the health care the system does provide ranks relatively low in the world.

    Why is that?

    Mainly it's for the same reason that America has such a huge income gap and income disparity between the wealthiest few and the working poor. The government and its political economic system is rigged to ensure that the wealthiest few keep getting wealthier, that incomes and profits are unlimited, that rich investors are very richly rewarded, and that the tax burden is shifted from the wealthy and placed on the middle class and working poor.

    (The above is from the Introduction to an article titled Health Care In America.)
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    I should clarify that when I said, "little to zero cost", I meant that we should re-align our national spending priorities (more tax dollar by percentage should to go toward covering everyone, say over national defense spending), as well as reign in the out of control nature of greedy healthcare institutions who set prices of procedures and equipment arbitrarily with little to no regulation. That combination should allow for everyone's collective tax dollars to pay for most, if not all of what healthcare costs in this country would therefore become. That coupled with focusing a lot more energy and funds into true preventative healthcare ...I should have further clarified. Does that make more sense?
  • Independent
    Widefield, CO
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    Guy, saying someone has a right to something does not mean it should be given to them for free by the government. Yes, everyone has a right to health care, and if you can't afford it the government should pay for it, but that does not mean that the government should pay for those who can afford it. If you are refused health care because of pre-existing conditions or disabilities then the government should change the laws, but the ACA doesn't stop at that, it says everyone has to have health care. What about my right to choose? (Granted I can't afford health insurance even if I wanted it...)

    sbfriedman, as for redirecting our defense budget... I seem to recall the US doing that at one time, in an effort to rebuild from a war and come out of a depression... You don't think December 1, 1941 was a direct result of cut backs in defense spending?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Charlotte, NC
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    RanmaMOJ Wrote: . Yes, everyone has a right to health care, and if you can't afford it the government should pay for it, but that does not mean that the government should pay for those who can afford it.
    What? That seems to be a direct contradiction of itself.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
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    ClayTaylorNC Wrote:
    RanmaMOJ Wrote: . Yes, everyone has a right to health care, and if you can't afford it the government should pay for it, but that does not mean that the government should pay for those who can afford it.
    What? That seems to be a direct contradiction of itself.
    Agreed. The government doesn't generate money itself (well, at least not on the books, discounting the fact that they do literally print money). What I'm saying is that the government is funded by taxpayer's dollars; we ARE the "government". It's funded by our collective taxes. To say that the government should or should not pay to make healthcare free is silly, to me. It wouldn't be free, we would have already paid for it. Its more a conversation of how those funds should be allocated. What I believe you are referring to is who should pay what taxes and how much, which is not the same conversation, but for sure a conversation still worth having. No doubt along with a flawed healthcare system, our tax code and ethic needs a massive overhaul as well. I would like to a flat tax, with zero loopholes. Make taxes simple enough to do with a few clicks of a calculator. Also, provide a tax bill to every citizen so they surely know where each and every dollar goes.
  • Democrat
    Missouri
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    The Affordable Care Act (Obama-Care...if you prefer) is just a start toward Universal Health Care. There is huge obstacles to overcome with Politics being lobbied by the AMA and Obama antagonists. The AMA (American Medical Association) has enjoyed their physician base for too long and cater to a rich take all mentality of the poor and health needs of America. Of course, their are Physicians that are above this character and provide care at the best and least cost to needy patients. However, these physicians that do not follow the majority are few, thus making it harder to pursue help in developing a system in America that provides Universal Health Care.

    America is not in the group of wealthy nations in the world that offers Universal Health Care. Why is that?

    I conducted a search on Google/Bing: "world universal health care costs", which had links on True Costs, Cost of Health Care by Country, and Health Care in U.S. (Wikipedia). One I liked was defining Universal Health Care as everyone (all children, all adults...everyone) in a nation as fully covered with health care. This is the health care challenge. All wealthy nations, except America and neighbor Mexico, have Universal Health Care. Why?

    http://www.globalissues.org/article/774/health-care-around-the-world

    I continued my search on costs: "doctor costs compared by country". Spending on America physicians per capita is 5 times higher than peer countries. One link found is "List of countries by total health expenditure (PPP) per capita - Wikipedia" My favorite found provided incite to what the world pays physicians:

    http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/physician-fees-and-salaries-in-the-US-and-other-countries/

    America has produced the most greedy bunch of rich capitalists in the medical fields and cater to other rich greedy capitalists, because they pay at any price. For that reason, the poor, needy, and those that struggle in life all get left out of health care. Free clinics are great, but free comes with a price, overworked physicians and inadequate supplies of medicine and equipment.

    America needs to continue with the ACA and evolve into an improved Universal Health Care system. The rest of the world is leaving America in the dust.