We continue with the last installment of our posts on what is in Obamacare for you. This makes it urgent for you to act now.
Temporary nature of law. It is obvious from even this abbreviated list of benefits that health insurers are not going to fall in love with this law (or its perpetrator). They think it is positively evil because with the weight of the law on the side of the consumer, the balance of power is already starting to swing in the opposite direction. The industry is losing its heavyweight status, losing its clout, gradually becoming the poorer cousin, hanging in the air and hating it. We love it but do not have time to gloat because even as the politicians are threatening fire and brimstone on the law and scheduling votes to end its life, healthcare providers and insurers have been busy, chipping away at it in hopes that it will become so hollow that it will no longer serve any useful purpose. As that happens, they are hoping to become the heavy weight partner once more, tip the balance in their favor and leave you hanging at their mercy. You are probably finding it hard to think that the industry will do such a dastardly thing but if we take a cue from how the banking industry shredded of the Wall Street Reform aka known popularly as Dodd-Frank, you know that action to get off the se-saw is quite urgent. The Wall Street Reform, through its Protection of American Families From Unfair, Abusive Financial Practices section, tried to rein in the excesses of banks in their dealings with individual and family consumers of their services, in the same way that the PPACA is trying to curb the healthcare industry’s excesses. Dodd - Frank worked - temporarily; because as soon as bank CEOs saw their bonuses disappearing down the Dodd-Frank drain, they countered by introducing a slew of products and services not covered by the regulation but which will leave the customer in a deeper financial hole than before Dodd-Frank was enacted. Forbes reported a bank customer who claimed that going to the bank during which visit they bombarded him with these new products that would by-pass the reform and yet reinstate the bank’s profit margin; he likened it to going to a loan shark’s office. I got into one such discussion myself and in spite of my being retired and an essentially cash customer, the experience was still brutal. Never again. The consumer is deftly caught in the middle of bankers by-passing the law and the politicians who want to do away with regulations.
By now, you are obviously asking yourself why the banking industry is so heartless and I give you the short answer. A bank is set up not to have a heart but to make profit for their officers as well as their shareholders and if you are a bank shareholder, you will be glad that they are completely without feeling. It is totally legal and our capitalist economy encourages you to go out and make as much profit as you can, regardless of whose ox is gored. If you are rooted in biblical morals, you may think that doing business heartlessly is immoral and you might be correct but that does not make it illegal. Unfortunately for us, you can not legislate morality as is evidenced by the number of legislators who are caught with their pants down or their hands dirtied by unwarranted gains. I recall my head of office asking me to develop a curriculum for teaching ethics in my capacity as chair of human resources development. I hated to disappoint him but had to come right out and let him know that you cannot teach ethics - you can impart it by example but you cannot teach it by a curriculum; he agreed with me and that was that; the same way it we should agree that you cannot legislate morality.
So don’t kid yourself, what the banks have done to Dodd-Frank, the healthcare is going to do to the PPACA because as any industry is quick to point out, they are created to make profit. Keep that in mind - the whole purpose of the healthcare industry, is to make profit, just like any other industry. It is a business, with staff top pay and shareholders expecting a healthy dividend at the end of each trading year. Next time when you hear the American Treatment Centers claiming that you are at the center of all they do, remember that their shareholder, not you, is at the center of all their care. If you doubt me, try showing up there without a solid healthcare insurance and you will find out that their shareholder is at the center of all they do. But that is fine, we run a capitalist economy and that makes it great for you to make profit no matter whose ox is gored. Judeo/Christian morality is the only armor against making profit that way because somewhere in the Christian conservative law book, there is a verse that says if your ox gores another ox, you are to pay but capitalism is not based on that book - it is based on making as much profit as you can both for yourself and for your shareholders. And if you try to have a heart as you run the business and thereby reduce your bottom line, the shareholders will vote you out within a year. On the other hand, if you create a healthy bottom line by adding ammonia to cartilage, labeling it Pink Slime and passing it off as ground beef, your shareholders hail you even as it makes school children sick. It is absolutely legal but is there anything you can do to free yourself from such industrial hegemony?
The answer is that there is a lot you can do. The Duggards (parents of 18 children who now spend cash for everything from detergent to housing) have not been affected by Dodd-Frank or by the shredding of Dodd-Frank. That is because they are cash customers; they are what I can financially healthy. I am financially healthy too and I escaped the banks aggressive marketing methods because by being financially healthy, I can call their bluff. By the same token if you are physically healthy, you can call the healthcare industry bluff.