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Numbers show Obama plan won't work

Some numbers today to show you how big the health gap is in America.

Democrat Barack Obama has proposed a 50% tax credit to help employers afford health insurance. His opponent, Sen. John McCain, calls this a vague and expensive mandate with a "devastating impact" on small businesses.

Maybe. But the real problem is the numbers don't add up.

The National Coalition on Health Care estimated the health insurance premium for a family of four, in 2007, at $12,100. This was up 6.1% from the year before, and is likely up again, but we'll stick with that number for now.

The minimum wage is going up a week from now, to a whopping $6.55 per hour. Earn that for 40 hours every week, 50 weeks a year, and your total pay is $13,100.

There's your problem. For lower wage workers health insurance doubles costs. Were you to give a minimum wage worker health insurance, that $6.55/hour would immediately become $13/hour. And that's something most businesses can't afford.

You can argue that health insurance should cost less, that health care should cost less, but costs are rising worldwide, regardless of the economic system, whether it's single payer, private insurance, or a mix.

Changing the system does not change cost trends. Costs are now exceeding wages employers can afford. (Remember the fight over getting the minimum wage to where it is now?)

Even if your salary is twice the minimum, health insurance is a 50% bump on your pay. Give the employer a 50% tax credit and it's still a 25% bump, so you're costing your employer $30,000 in real dollars, for salary and health care.

Increasing numbers of employers can't bear this. It is making them uncompetitive in international markets. The tax credit won't change that.

This is why we need a more basic discussion on health care. Honest numbers and real straight talk about who will pay those costs have yet to come from either side in this debate.


  • I can't believe I'm saying this, but I agree with you. I just think Obama might be the lesser of 2 evils. Since I've sold Health Insurance, I'm aware of the costs, so I can't imagine the quality of care we'd get with a national health plan or if this credit to employers would work. Most employers around here don't even offer health insurance. So what's the alternative? I definitely want affordable insurance where someone isn't discriminated against because of age or past conditions. It doesn't exist. I'm one of those people who is too young for Medicare but too old to get affordable health coverage on her own. When I feel a lump, I don't have the luxury of running to the doctor for a test. I just say "I'll wait to see if it gets worse." Early detection is the key which is why the American Cancer Society said someone without insurance is 60% more likely to die after being diagnosed!! On the other hand, we need accountability. I know that word has been tossed around a lot lately, but should a smoker or alcoholic pay the same as a non-smoker who exercises regularly and doesn't drink? One way to lower the cost would be to increase the deductible, passing on more responsibility to the insured. But then there is an even larger problem - people won't seek medical attention when they need it if they need to buy food with their paychecks. I agree we need "real straight talk" but don't blame Obama. If any candidate stood up and preached how lousy things are going to be and that any solution to a problem is questionable & speculative at best, who would vote for him?   ;-)

    By justxploring, at 2:44 PM

  • Someone who flip-flops on every issue (OBAMA), and cannot provide a good policy because he does not have a core set of principles guiding his decisions is not the "lesser of two evils". He's the "single evil", and he is definitely to be avoided at all costs. (No, he's not "evil", I'm just using your terminology.)

    People like you previously agreed with practically every McCain position, and despite what the liberals in the media are trying to put forth, McCain is not a flip-flopper. You just want a liberal in the White House. If you stuck with your previous positions, you'd be for McCain.

    I've said many times that I disagree with McCain on many things. That's because those things I disagreed with were liberal causes, like "global warming". I still disagree with him on those things. His positions have not changed, and neither have mine. He is just a lot closer to my core values than Obama, who is off the map.

    Are you saying that Obama is closer to your core values? Wow.

    By Todd, at 2:54 PM

  • Lesser of two lessers is more like it. That is why I have a "special new bumper sticker" I got the idea from the "01-20-09" crowd, my new sticker is "01-20-13". I'll post a pic of it in blog later.

    P.S. I dont think the world will end in '12.

    By jarasan, at 3:50 PM

  • To help lower health care costs there should be reasonable liability caps for law suits against drug companies, hospitals, physicians, etc. Also a plaintiff should have to pay the defendants court costs and legal fees if they lose their case. Let's face it, health care is not an exact science and mistakes are going to be made, but none of us are worth ten million bucks.

    Re: flip-flops from the two "candidates".......reminds me of a crowded Japanese beach!

    By Rick G, at 6:44 PM

  • @Rick: I agree with you on the litigation costs and frivolous lawsuits. In my view they are one leg of a three-legged stool that is killing us with high health care costs. The other two are hospitals and clinics being forced to care for illegal aliens, none of whom ever pay for the care, and fraud that rips off insurance companies, forcing them to raise prices for both patients and doctors to a ridiculous point.

    By Todd, at 11:27 PM

  • Rick, I pray to God you never wake up from a simple procedure and look like this:

    By justxploring, at 11:45 PM

  • Jarasan I agree the world won't end in 2012 .... that would be too easy on us all.

    There was a news story in Georgia about people negotiating their own doctor fees by telling the doctor they're self pay rather than insurance. Doctors don't have to wait or argue with insurance companies, they're reducing prices for self-pay in lieu of insurance. If people in other states do this at the time of making their appointments then medical costs may go down. Same with hospital tests, etc. ... we have to be pro-active asking lots of questions instead of assuming someone else is looking out for our best interest.

    Obama .... he's sounding just like John Kerry, a bs artist promising anything to get votes.

    I don't agree with McCain with many of his extremely liberal (IMHO) RINO sponsored legislation in the past but as Todd said he's steady and you know what to expect.

    Justx, "She was told she had streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, and toxic shock syndrome, but no further explanation was given."     

    Many stories regarding those super bugs (don't forget the staph family of germs too) running rampant through hospitals. My opinion they need to remove carpeting and go back to tile floors which can be disinfected along with surface cleaning procedures they used many years back which worked. That would at least help minimize numbers of those super bugs.

    By konane, at 10:14 AM

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