1. Insurance companies can charge people up to 50% more for having any condition the insurance companies determine to be a relevant pre-existing condition, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, anything at all as they decide.
2. Insurance companies can set whatever maximum annual limit they wish on providing benefits, as low as they choose.
3. Older people can be forced to pay up to 4x more than young people.
4. Insurance companies will continue to enjoy an exemption to antitrust laws.
5. Insurance companies will be able to sell across state lines and thus can base themselves in states with the weakest consumer protection laws that other states couldn’t override.
6. A middle class family of four making $54,000 will be paying 17% of gross annual household income (before taxes) for insurance, in the case of severe health issues, that could rise to 22% of annual household income.
7. There are no cost controls, insurance companies can raise premiums and deductibles whenever and to whatever they choose.
As Howard Dean said and as KO expressed in his Special Comment tonight, this bill represents an enormous, ongoing and permanent transfer of wealth from taxpayers to insurance companies, out of their own pockets and from the U.S. Treasury.
Since there are no cost controls, insurance companies can eventually raise rates so that the government subsidy portion is absorbed and you could be paying out of pocket as much or more than you’re paying right now.
And we still don’t know specifically how much of a premium the government will cover though we do know if your household income is above $60,000, it will be $0.
And the most appalling part of this is that without any public option, citizens of this nation would be forced to pay whatever unregulated prices the insurance companies demand or they would be breaking the law of the United States and be fined.
I don’t find this an easy decision to make, considering all the people who can’t afford health insurance who would gain it. On the other hand, can we support a democratic process that legislates the serfdom of Americans to a cold, greed-ridden industry?
Keeping in mind that any bill that passes the Senate will go into conference with the House bill and could change, if the mandate is kept in the bill for every American to bow before insurance corporations and give a tithing of 17% of all they earn to them, I will oppose it and lobby all of my representatives to oppose this bill. It represents a very real danger to maintaining a middle class in this nation and would be heavy burden that would become overwhelming as rates go up year after year.
If the bill passes, there must be and there will be civil disobedience of such an unjust law until or unless it is repealed.
It is disgusting that we are forced into a Sophie’s Choice of either opposing health care for many of the poorest among us or sanction a form of slavery to insurance companies for ourselves, our children and future generations.
Previous generations made much harder sacrifices for the future of this nation, we can’t willingly saddle future generations with such corporate oppression and domination for their entire lives.
Here is KO’s Special Comment on opposing any bill or law containing a mandate for all Americans to purchase insurance from the Insurance corporations. I think you’ll find it very effective: