This affordable healthcare act is just the tip of an iceberg. The rest of the iceberg has been ignored for years, maybe even decades.
As far back as I can remember my health insurance premiums have gone up every year. Even has my wages stagnated for 20 years my health insurance has gone up.
When I was working for Kingwood cablevision I would get the yearly review around August, and the usual BS excuse that all the company could afford was a 2% raise. But at the same time the stockholders would get a nice dividend.
During my review I told my supervisor that the raise would not cover the rise in health insurance premiums. My supervisor asked how I knew our healthcare premiums were going up? I told him they go up every January.
Fast forward to January, and sure enough the health insurance company sent out letters telling everyone our premiums were going up. The next day after receiving the letter I told my supervisor, “see, I told you health insurance premiums were going up. And my raise was not enough to cover the cost. So I am bringing home less money now than I was a year ago.” My supervisor just kinda rolled his shoulders (and his eyes) and said there was nothing he could do.
There has to be a tipping point, or a bubble, of when the middle class can no longer afford health insurance.
With my wife on my plan my rates went up to $599 every month. I had to drop my wife off my insurance just to make ends meet. Thank goodness my wife has health insurance through her job.
How can a middle class family afford $600 for insurance, house note, car, note, electric bill, car insurance, water bill, fuel, food, clothes,,,, and have a little extra money left over to pay for unexpected bills.
What I see is a massive amount of people who are going to be facing an IRS penalty for not being able to afford healthcare, or being driven into poverty due to the cost of healthcare.
As with the housing bubble a few years ago there has to be a point where the middle class can no longer afford to buy a home. The manufacturing jobs that supported the middle class have been shipped to China. The majority of new jobs are low wage retail jobs that offer almost no benefits.
Without going to college for 6 years and getting a degree in a high demand field, how is the middle class supposed to afford to even live?
There used to be a time when $100 could buy a buggy full of groceries. Now, a $100 barely covers the bottom of the buggy, if that.
The middle class is struggling against a wave of stagnated wages and higher cost of living, and with no relief in sight. Rather than helping the working class, the government is working to ensure wall street turns a nice profit. But that profit and that money has to come from somewhere.
We are being squeezed at every turn, and at every corner. Whether it is food, power, and now the recent spike in health insurance, the middle class is being driven into poverty.
When the middle class can no longer afford to buy health insurance, who is going to buy it? When people can no longer afford to buy a product, the bubble burst and everything comes crashing down.
Taxpayer Funded Clinics
Here in Jasper Texas we have what is called a “hospital district.” Everyone in the county pays a few cents in taxes to help support the hospital.
And then the hospital is ran by the catholic charities, which helps provide healthcare to the needy.
There is no way a for-profit hospital could operate here and turn a profit. There are just too many people who do not have health insurance for the hospital to rely on insurance as a source of income.
The problem is, for-profit hospitals would throw a fit if hospitals were funded through taxes and ran by nonprofits.
For real change to happen in our healthcare system maybe we need to abandon the for-profit hospital system. Why should a hospital make a profit off someones pain and misery?
In Beaumont Texas a few years ago there was a company that wanted to build a new hospital in an under served area. If memory serves me right, the administrators of the current hospitals threw a fit and objected to city council about the new hospital. It boiled down to money. With increased competition comes lower prices.
As long as hospitals are driven by profits rather than providing a service at a reasonable price, nothing will change.
Driven Into Poverty
The honest truth is the middle class is being driven into poverty.
Lets take a divorced man who pays 20% of his income for child support. If he had two children that would be 25% of his income.
By the time he pays child support, income tax, medicare/medicaid, social security, house note (or rent), electric bill, food, gas for the car or truck and buys food, there is not much left over.
The middle class is being a class of working poor. We work the best years of our life away, and for what? To barely get by.
If my wife ever lost her job and I had to put her back on my plan, our finances would take a serious hit. My wife and I live debt free; we have our bills so we can live off one income if need be. With the increases in our healthcare, living off one income is now just about impossible.
How is the working middle class supposed to get ahead when the cost of living is outpacing wages? We are not talking about the cost of living outpacing wages by a little bit. We are talking about wages being stagnated since the early 1980s, and the cost of living going up at least 3% every year.
As the cost of living continues to outpace wages, sooner or later the day will come when the middle class has to make a choice. A choice whether to buy food and pay rent, or buy healthcare insurance.