Why Doesn’t Rachel Zubay Know That Most Provisions of Obamacare Won’t Start Until 2014?
Rachel Zubay, 32, works as a waitress at Abdalla’s Steak House, in the shadow of a recently idled coal-fired power plant. She’s got two kids, is in the middle of a divorce, has no medical insurance and is paying $50 a month on a $15,000 surgical bill after she injured her ankle and foot in a nasty fall. She figures she’ll have it paid off in five or 10 years.
She’ll probably vote for Romney. What about the president’s health-care plan, which is supposed to help people afford medical insurance? “Obviously it hasn’t helped me at all,” Zubay says. “I’d be better off moving to Canada.”
— In Ohio county, electorate is hardened and fractured, Joel Achenbach, Washington Post, today
Michelle Obama gave a lovely, effective speech earlier this month at the Democratic convention. But in my opinion, her best moment came two days later, while making a particular comment during a taped clip that was part of the little film played before her husband delivered his acceptance speech. In one seemingly unscripted moment, at the end of brief comments about Obamacare, she said something about hospitals and physicians sending bills for hundreds of thousands of dollars to, say, a single mothers with hourly-wage jobs—and doing so “with a straight face.” What was most effective were not even her words but the spontaneous, pained, incredulous look on her face as she said “with a straight face.”
I’d love to see the Obama campaign use that clip in an ad that also makes clear that the part of Obamacare that will help Ms. Zubay by the time she’s 34, and her young children, and millions of others too, won’t start until 2014. If it starts at all. Which, Romney/Ryan, if elected, will do their best to keep it from doing.
Seriously. It probably didn’t occur to Obama that some people think that Obamacare’s main provisions have started but have just failed to help them. But now, he knows. And Ms. Zubay probably isn’t the only one who’s planning to vote for Romney, in part because of that evil Obamacare, who recognizes the benefits, healthcare-wise, of living in Canada. Or Germany. Or Taiwan. Or Israel.
What some of them don’t recognize, I guess, is that if they injure a foot two years from now, they won’t have to pay $50 a month for the next several decades. They’ll be able instead to use that $50 a month for other things.
“What some of them don’t recognize, I guess, is that if they injure a foot two years from now, they won’t have to pay $50 a month for the next several decades. They’ll be able instead to use that $50 a month for other things.”
Entirely true. They’ll just have to pay $50 a month for health care insurance. Or if a single payer system $50 a month in more taxes.
Because no one at all is offering “free health care”. It does have to be paid for somehow. Through insurance premiums, through taxes or through out of pocket payments.
So the example somewhat fails really. Especially as absolutely no one at all is saying that Obamacare is going to cost as little as $50 a month. Nor that single payer would cost that little in taxation.
Ah, memory tells me federal regulations require the hospital to send the bill to the single mother and requires a reasonable collection effort unless and until the hospital makes a detailed determination the single mother is unable to pay the bill.
Otherwise, the feds expect the same “discount” for every Medicare billings.
Beyond that, if I remember correctly Mrs. Obama had a do nothing $300,000 a year job with a Chicago area hospital, and that hospital no doubt sent bills to single mothers.
Just wondering, Tim: How much a month will this woman have to pay under the current system if she needs medical care costing, say, $50,000? Or $100,000? Y’know, in addition to that $50 a month she’s paying for her $15,000 medical bill?
Also wondering, Tim, how she’ll pay off her current bill, and any additional medical bills, if she loses her job and is unemployed for any length of time?
Oh, and whether under Obamacare—much less under a single-payer system—she actually WOULD be paying $50 a month, or more than that, as you claim?
In any event, since this woman thinks (as I do) that she would be better off if she moved to Canada and could use that country’s healthcare system while paying that country’s taxes, she disagrees with your conclusion about her finances.
As for rustbelt’s comments, they’re so incoherent and beside-the-point that they’re not worth responding to. Some non sequiturs are more veiled than others. These are among the others.
Whether Michelle had a $300,000 opportunity or not is a non sequitor remark to the topic of billing. As you probably from your own occupation, Uof M, St. Josephs, etc. hospitals and clinics have a bevy of relentless collection agencies which stop at nothing to collect the “non-negotiated rate” from patients. The determination you mentioned comes after the collection agency efforts in which case her credit is destroyed by the hospital and the agencies.
What can I say??? Is your alternative to the PPACA is for her to toss herself upon the mercy of the current healthcare industry? In any case she would be paying the negotiated rate which is ~60% of list and sjhe would still have her credit intact. For the Silver Plan, she would pay $1200 per year starting in 2014, be responsible for a maximum of a maximum of ~$4100 after premium in 2014 if we assume she is making ~$32,000 annually. There are some assumptions I made as the calculator does not allow for a family of 3 and she is just outside of Medicaid range. http://healthreform.kff.org/SubsidyCalculator.aspx#incomeAgeTables
Certainly the waitress would be better protected un the PPACA and could pay off much sooner.
PS: Yes, Tim, the other thing she might be spending that $50 a month on is actual health insurance—so that, as I already pointed out, if she needs additional healthcare, especially major healthcare, she won’t have to file for bankruptcy in order to keep her home. And then have to worry that now that she’s already filed for bankruptcy, what happens if she gets sick again?
This woman is 32 years old. She won’t get Medicare for another 33 years.
i got confused in all the shouting. i think Tim makes a valid point. Health care is not going to be free. Someone has to pay for it.
I think it would be better to pay for it 50 dollars a month as insurance… insurance you can’t lose if you are out of a job or just get older or become “high risk.”
to me that says “Medicare for all” or the universal insurance we should have gotten instead of Obamacare.
This may be a non sequitur to the point you all thought you were making, but it is the point it occurs to me to make, this is not a logic colloquium, and all of us need to learn that what seems “incoherent and beside the point and unworthy to be replied to” may actually be the core of the problem. I wouldn’t know.
oh, and just to separate the consequential from the not consequential:
if the monthly cost of government paid healthcare turned out to be 150 dollars a month… say 5% of that 36000 dollar a year income…i would expect wages to be adjusted (by the market) so that it would be “affordable.” Or people would start paying a hell of a lot more attention to costs that hey do when “someone else is paying for it,” or the can when they don’t have the “leverage” of government.
yes, and it ought to be capped so the rich don’t think they are paying an obscene amount of money for someone else’s healthcare, and the tax ought to be “flat” (like Social SEcurity) up to the cap, so that is VERY progressive (whatever liberal professors of economics think) in that poor people pay less for what they get than rich people, and the rich people can rationalize that the “extra” they pay is just insurance against the possibility that they might one day be too poor to pay the strictly the “health insurance” part of the cost.
but hell, that would have been too simple. better to send the people out “shopping” for plans from the people who have lied to them and cheated them all these years.
No, she won’t have to pay $50 a month for health insurance. She’ll have to pay $500-1000 a month. Obamacare requires health insurance companies to enroll anyone, but it doesn’t help them pay for it. Obama says that the government will subsidize poor people, but there’s no money in the budget for that. It’s a red herring.
And, by the way, this woman will STILL have to pay off her $15000. Old debts aren’t going away. They still have to be paid and will continue to accrue interest. Zubay’s math is way off. $50/month for 15 years is $9000. And she’s not calculating the interest. The reality is that she’s pretty much in hock for the rest of her life. Taking into account the interest there’s a good chance that in 15 years she’ll owe MORE than $15000. That’s the reality of Obamacare, which is simply a plan to transfer money from poor people to rich ones. That’s all it is. It has little to do with health care, and the people who claim it does so are lying through their teeth.
Wrong in the first paragraph as I pointed out in my post. Her payments will be far less and is dependent on what she makes and reports. I figured ~$32,000 annually for a waitress which in 2014 and using the Kaiser chart she would pay ~3.21% of her salary for healthcare insurance and a max of $4,100 out of pocket.
In the 2nd paragraph, the $15,000 is the result of “no-insurance” and being charged list price with no insurance as opposed to negotiated price with insurance.
Actually as a waitress she likely would get subsidies on the insurance, which is why the new tax on unearned income over 250k is in place. (Assuming her income is less than 4x the poverty rate). The other question is why not bankruptcy to pay off the debt, since likley she has few assets otherwise and 401k/IRA’s are exempt property.
Please explain, Anonymous, how, exactly, her $15,000 medical bill is the fault of Obamacare. I mean, really. You’ve said it is. Please explain how.
Also, Obamacare would provide her with a subsidy for the insurance. But if she isn’t interested, she would just pay the infamous penalty for not having insurance. The maximum penalty is something like $670 a YEAR, if I recall correctly. For someone in her income bracket, with two dependent kids, it would be much less than that.
But judging from her statement that she would be better off moving to Canada, it sounds like she would jump at the chance to be covered under Obamacare. She just doesn’t know that it hasn’t kicked in yet, and that once it does, it will cover her and her kids (if they have no coverage through their father).
I have another question for you, though: Why are so many Republicans unable to figure things like this stuff out? Why is someone dumb enough to think that Obamacare caused this woman to owe $15,000 in medical bills a Republican?
The amount I posted above is the ~ amount she would pay in 2014 with subsidies from the Gov considering she is a $32,000 employee/year and with two kids.
trying to be fair here. Anonymous said “there is no money in the budget” for the promised subsidies, so he is expecting the lady will pay the full price for insurance.. 500 dollars a month?
that could be considered the “fault” of Obamacare if Anonymous thinks there was a better way to reform healthcare.
IF the lady does not buy insurance and pays the penalty… she still gets stuck with the medical bill.
I don’t know if that helps, but you have demonstrated an amazing readiness to call people who don’t agree with you “too dumb to deserve an answer.” I am aware I reach that point myself with people I think i have answered carefully and they keep coming back with what sounds to me like dishonest or idiot responses. but if it’s your FIRST reaction it does not argue well for your ability to think calmly and just possibly learn something from someone you don’t agree with.
after all, even I came around to your point of view re Romneys “I wouldn’t deserve to be president if i paid more than i absolutely had to with the best lawyers and lobbyists money can buy.”
i say this to you because i believe we are ultimately on the same side, but your rhetoric if not your thought processes are off-putting and counterproductive.
you don’t seem to have noticed that anonymous complained about obamacare because it “transfers money from the poor to the rich.” that does not sound like a “Republican” to me.
Nonsense, how does it transfer money from poor to the rich in income when those >$250,000 are taxed and those with luxury healthcare plans are taxed also? Have you read the PPACA and its tenants? You are muddying the water and really do not know.
I would not challenge you on SS; but in this case, Coberly you are off base.
Actually, coberly, I did notice that this guy said Obamacare transfers money from the poor to the rich. He probably says that the earth is flat, too.
He’s probably more on the poor side than the rich side, so in order to justify his indoctrination on Obamacare, and on Obama, he says that Obamacare has nothing to do with healthcare and that it transfers money from the poor to the rich. But as Rachel Zubay’s story illustrates, it has everything to do with healthcare insurance. And since there’s nothing in it that even conceivably transfers money from the poor to the rich, and the claim is simply fabricated as justification to denounce it and Obama, it sounds very Republican indeed to me.
And please don’t say that the penalty for having no insurance transfers money from the poor to the rich. The purpose of the penalty is to encourage everyone to have insurance—and the penalty money will be used toward paying the premium assistance for those who qualify for it. Those people aren’t rich.
This guy’s a Republican. And he’s either stupid or thinks we are.
i tried to indicate how anonymous saw the issue: the poor will pay for health insurance transferring their money to rich insurance executives.
they could have had a Medicare style singer payer and paid a lower price.
don’t be in such a hurry to fight with me that you don’t hear what i am actually saying.
i tried to help. maybe my note to run above will help you understand what i think anonymous meant.
i am sorry you think anyone who doesn’t parse the world the way you do is stupid.
Is this coberly trying for mello?
maybe it sounds worse to me when i hear it from Bev than when I do it myself. I believe…perhaps wrongly… that i usually wait until i have been severely provoked by half a hundred comments from someone who is not trying to be honest but just making up bogus “arguments” to waste my time and send the readers to a more interesting blog.
but maybe it is also helping me to “see ourselves as others see us.”