Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Romney's healthy care plan

Posted by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM
  • 51 Replies

Analysis: Romney would send consumers healthcare bill, with benefits

Reuters/Reuters - U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Denver, Colorado October 1, 2012 ahead of his first debate with U.S. President â€Śmore 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has a prescription for controlling soaring costs within the $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare system, partly by making consumers pay more of their own medical bills.

Romney's vow to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul has played prominently in the campaign, even as Romney has offered few details about his alternative.

But as he prepares to face Obama in their first presidential debate on Wednesday, Romney is giving a few hints. The former Massachusetts governor's advisers say he would accelerate the use of high-deductible insurance plans that offer lower premiums but require beneficiaries to pay thousands of dollars more in out-of-pocket expenses than they would face under conventional coverage.

[Related: Romney renews foreign policy criticism]

Romney's overriding aim is to create a much bigger retail market in healthcare, with transparency on pricing and services, more flexible insurance pools and interstate insurance markets.

That would allow consumers to choose up front what products and services to buy and from whom, according to the Romney campaign. But consumers would cover most routine medical expenses themselves, including annual check-ups, with assistance from health savings accounts and new tax breaks intended to align the private markets for group and individual insurance that cover more than 160 million people.

"The result," Romney wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine, "will be patients who can confidently choose the coverage that is right for them, who know and care what healthcare costs."

The Romney campaign says its series of changes differ dramatically from Obama's 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires most Americans to buy health coverage and seeks to make it easier to do that by creating state-based insurance exchanges. Medicaid, the national program for the poor, would be expanded to accommodate those with low incomes.

Romney's approach is a political departure for him.

In Massachusetts, he oversaw the passage of comprehensive state healthcare changes that later became the model for "Obamacare," the president's federal program.

Romney's role in creating the Massachusetts plan made many conservatives wary of him, and in seeking the Republican nomination for president Romney made a point of rejecting Obama's plan as an illegal overreach by the federal government.

Since winning the Republican nomination, however, Romney has said he would support some Obamacare provisions. More recently, Romney has been criticized for describing emergency rooms as a way to cover the uninsured - the type of expensive treatment that programs such as Obamacare and his Massachusetts plan seek to avoid.

HOW MUCH IS IT?

Romney's new incentive-based strategy also could hold pitfalls for consumers.

Analysts say the use of heath savings accounts favors the affluent, while statistics indicate that high-deductible plans can mean big out-of-pocket costs for people with lower wages and little disposable income.

"It remains a very significant tax shelter, and with all tax shelters, it means a lot to people in high (income) brackets," said Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution.

But Romney advisers say the approach strikes at two major contributors to spiraling medical prices: a federal tax exclusion on employer-sponsored health plans and conventional benefit packages that insulate consumers from the true cost of healthcare through co-payments and limited deductibles.

[Related: Candidates prep for debate while No. 2s campaign]

The idea would be to provide new tax breaks for consumers who now have employer-sponsored plans, which are exempt from federal income tax. But it's unclear whether those breaks would equal the value of the current tax benefits.

Conservative analysts say plans with high deductibles make consumers more responsible because they eliminate co-payments and require the patient to see more of the bill.

"Healthcare is the only service in the United States that you buy and use without knowing what the price is," said Dr. Scott Atlas, a Romney adviser with Stanford University's Hoover Institution. "If you're paying out of a health savings account, you actually see the bill. It really does reduce prices."

But Obama supporters and some independent analysts say the Romney strategy could backfire, leaving consumers with higher costs and tax assistance that favors the more affluent.

[Related: Colorado attack victim wants debates to address to gun violence]

"What he's really talking about is shifting more and more of the cost onto the individual," said Christen Linke Young, Obama campaign associate policy director. "That's what he means when he says 'patient centered.' It's really troubling."

HEALTH INFLATION'S ENGINE

Critics also say the patient-centered approach would do little to help the chronically ill, whose needs account for the lion's share of annual medical costs but who often are unable to change providers or forego expenses.

The Romney campaign said people with high medical expenses would still be able to rely on more conventional plans with co-payments and limited deductibles, adding that high-deductible plans can provide catastrophic coverage.

Growing numbers of U.S. employers have embraced high-deductible plans in recent years to try to guard against rising costs that outpace growth in the economy, inflation and wages.

About 19 percent of Americans with employer-sponsored health coverage now are enrolled in high-deductible plans, up from 4 percent in 2006, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies healthcare trends.

Deductibles average about $2,200 for individuals and $4,000 for families, while premium savings for beneficiaries average $350 for an individual and $1,000 for a family, according to Kaiser. Annual out-of-pocket liabilities are capped at about $6,000 for single coverage and $12,000 for family coverage.

To help consumers, Romney would enhance the attractiveness of health savings accounts, tax-deferred instruments funded by employer and individual contributions. Options include higher contribution limits and a wider range of covered costs.

The Romney camp believes those kinds of changes could shift the $800 billion private health insurance market toward high-deductible plans that health savings accounts support.

Employer contributions to health savings accounts now average $600 for individuals and $1,000 for families, according to Kaiser.

"When you make them easier for people to access, that number gets bigger and bigger. And as that number gets bigger and bigger, the market shifts dramatically," said a Romney campaign official, referring to the higher-deductible plans. "We're on our way. The idea is to continue that trend."

A Romney administration also would usher in new tax benefits to help consumers meet their medical bills, possibly including deductions for health expenses and tax credits for those who would not benefit from deductions because they pay little or no income taxes.

Those new tax breaks could replace some or all of the current tax code exclusion that exempts employer-sponsored healthcare benefits from federal income taxes. The tax exclusion costs the U.S. Treasury about $100 billion to $200 billion a year in lost revenue.

"The current tax treatment of health insurance is the engine that fuels our health inflation costs. There are myriad ways of solving that. But until we solve it, we do not have health reform," the Romney campaign official said.

(Editing by Michele Gershberg, David Lindsey and Lisa Shumaker)


Let the assumptions begin!

by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 9:46 AM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
meriana
by Platinum Member on Oct. 2, 2012 at 3:45 PM

BUMP   for later

Sat.Wed
by Bronze Member on Oct. 2, 2012 at 4:18 PM
So lets just stick it to the patient even more HDHP dont work for everyone when it covers zlitch, I had a HDHP before I got the insurance I have now, it was NOT cheaper and was a waste because I couldnt USE it for anything, I forgoed going to the doctor because I would NEVER meet the decutable before the insurance even started to pay, Not that I actually go very often anyways, My childern go when needed.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM
1 mom liked this
Quoting Sat.Wed:

So lets just stick it to the patient even more HDHP dont work for everyone when it covers zlitch, I had a HDHP before I got the insurance I have now, it was NOT cheaper and was a waste because I couldnt USE it for anything, I forgoed going to the doctor because I would NEVER meet the decutable before the insurance even started to pay, Not that I actually go very often anyways, My childern go when needed.



So what's the point oh having insurance if it covers nothing?

GLWerth
by Gina on Oct. 2, 2012 at 4:52 PM
8 moms liked this

For less affluent people, a high deductible policy is the same thing as no insurance, except you pay a monthly premium for the service you can't afford to use.

But then, I suppose those who are poor should simply plan better and never get sick or injured, those are luxuries reserved for the wealthy.

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Oct. 2, 2012 at 4:54 PM

We have this kind of insurance now, but the hourly employees do not.

My husband's employer did it the right way- The Execs have the less affordable insurance.


_Kissy_
by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 6:09 PM
1 mom liked this
Our HDHP is 10,400 for a family plan. And 80/20 afterwards. Needless to say we hardly use it except the free preventive.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
meriana
by Platinum Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 7:56 AM

But Romney advisers say the approach strikes at two major contributors to spiraling medical prices: a federal tax exclusion on employer-sponsored health plans and conventional benefit packages that insulate consumers from the true cost of healthcare through co-payments and limited deductibles

The cost of health care is rising because consumers are insulated from the true cost of healthcare?  What a joke. People are very aware of the "true" cost of health care, that's why when they see the bill they take a very deep breath and thank the stars they have a fairly low deductible and copays.

Conservative analysts say plans with high deductibles make consumers more responsible because they eliminate co-payments and require the patient to see more of the bill.

LOL. That doesn't make consumers more responsible, it just makes them less likely to see a dr. because they can't afford the bill.  With a high deductible policy, unless their is chronic illness in the family or a hospital stay, most people would never meet the deductible. Want to see the cost of health care sky rocket...make all plans high deductible. Fewer people going to the dr. because they can't afford the out of pocket expense and health care providers will be forced to raise prices just to meet their over-head.

 

Aslen
by Silver Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 7:57 AM
Ask the people of MA how Romneycare worked for them...
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
Tea4Tas
by on Oct. 3, 2012 at 8:03 AM
1 mom liked this

I have an HDHP. It's dirt cheap. I pay about 250 a month to cover all of us. It pays for all well check ups. It would be a great plan-except for

1) I had a freaking bloody nose that cost me $300

2) My oldest has UC and we always spend about $6000 on her.

My total yearly cost since about 2003 is $9,000 a year. since when is that affordable? Or even reasonable?

yourspecialkid
by Platinum Member on Oct. 3, 2012 at 8:32 AM

 In reading the answers the common theme seems to be "I pay more for my insurance than what it is worth."  Why then, would any of you be happy with Obamacare which very foundation is forcing you to buy insurance or be fined/taxed?

We pay a lot of money every year for our insurance and it is fantastic...but most useful if one of us has a catastrophic incident. 

All of this is insurance working as it should.  Look at your car insurance, how much do you pay every year that you likely never use...what about homeowners?  That is the way insurance is designed...pools a lot of low risk together and is then able to make the payouts when the needs occur.  Insurance can't really work properly when it is used all the time by the insured.

I would like to see a move to catastrophic policies...with the regular care coming out of my pocket from the doctor I want to see....who has posted his prices.  I would much rather pay $300 for a couple of sinus infection visits than I would $18,000 for them...which is basically what I am doing now.

Insurance is never going to be affordable if it can't sell across state lines..it is made more expensive because the different states have their own rules for it.  Whatever happened to pay x amount of dollars...and we will cover 1, 2, 3, 4...Period?

Paul Ryan had been working with Ron Wyden (D) from Oregon.  Wyden was a ruluctant supporter of Obamacare...his own plan was much better.  It involves insurance exchanges and selling across state lines.

Some of what Romney is saying will be very helpful.  I would like to see us look at some measures that should reduce costs...if they don't well what the heck have we lost with it already going up every year?  Requiring people to have insurance they already can't afford is not an answer.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)