Why ObamaCare is bad for American health care

2013-01-22T03:05:00Z Why ObamaCare is bad for American health careDr. Dale Buchberger, Special to The Citizen Auburn Citizen

At first, most of us were relieved that Congress averted the so-called “fiscal cliff." That was, of course, until we all got our first paycheck of 2013 and found out that it was on the “light” side. Since the members of the Supreme Court decided to leave the human race and become jellyfish, President Obama was able to sign into law the regulation that has adopted his name: ObamaCare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of us are growing increasingly tired of hearing about it, but nonetheless it is here to stay in some form. It will unquestionably affect everyone either positively or negatively, but it will affect all of us. To follow are a few notes to try and simplify a few aspects of ObamaCare. It is impossible to reduce 900 pages to 800 words, but here goes nothing!

According to The Washington Post, the average household pays $15,000 or more for what some people continue to refer to as “health insurance.” In fact, this number would dictate that almost 20 percent of household income is dedicated to health insurance. New York state ranks as the state with the fourth-highest health insurance premiums.

One thing the Affordable Care Act did immediately was require health insurance companies to cover preventive care at no additional cost, allow parents to keep their kids on their plans up to age 26, and prevent denial of patients with preexisting conditions. Sounds good, right? Well, as my dad once said, “there is no free lunch.” He was right. We all pay anywhere from 5 to 15 percent extra in premiums. You see, the insurance industry just passes the cost on to us. I think the term in sales is called “bait and switch.” But the Supreme Court calls it “shared responsibility”.

Once ObamaCare was signed into law in March of 2010, a timetable of sorts went into affect. In 2011, the Medicare prescription “doughnut hole” began to close, but won’t fully disappear until 2020. Over-the-counter medications can no longer be purchased with your HSA or FSA funds. Starting in 2013, the income tax deduction threshold for medical expenses rises from 7.5 to 10 percent. Looking ahead to 2014, for people who can't afford health insurance, the federal government will pay the states to add them to Medicaid. The income requirement is expanded up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level — roughly $29,000 for a family of four. Those who don't qualify for the expanded Medicaid will receive tax credits if their income is below 400 percent of the poverty level ($88,000 for a family of four). States will be required to set up insurance exchanges to make it easier to shop for private health insurance coverage.

Those who don't purchase insurance, and don't qualify for Medicaid or subsidies, will be assessed a tax of $95 (or 1 percent of income, whichever is higher) in 2014. It increases to $325 (or 2 percent of income) in 2015, and $695 (or 2.5 percent of income) in 2016. About 4 million people, or 1.2 percent of the population, will wind up paying the tax rather than purchasing health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office estimates this will total $54 billion. Pharmaceutical companies will pay an extra $84.8 billion in fees over the next 10 years to pay for closing the "doughnut hole" in Medicare Part D. This will most likely raise drug costs as the pharmaceutical industry passes the additional cost onto the backs of consumers.

This is merely a list of ObamaCare regulations by timetable. Over the next four years, the “winners” and “losers” in ObamaCare will be dictated by which group you fall into and how you define winning and losing. Generally speaking, most people will define it by how much more they pay versus how much more or less they receive in benefits. If ObamaCare stays as it is, the biggest winners are the uninsured, who receive a benefit with little or no cost. The biggest losers are Medicare recipients, who are on the receiving end of approximately $455 billion in spending cuts.

For Medicare recipients, ObamaCare has renamed the term "health maintenance organization" from the 1990s and now calls it an accountable care organization, whose main purpose is to “cut costs,” which in the 1990s was accomplished by rejecting claims and services for patients who needed testing or treatment. The ACO will be coupled with an independent payment advisory board that will have absolute power to cut Medicare spending. This in and of itself sets health care back 20 years.

In the past, The Citizen has published my three-part series regarding health care. In the series, I provided thoughts and ideas on health care that are far more cost-effective than ObamaCare. I still believe that. To access the series, you can go to the following link

Dr. Dale Buchberger is a licensed chiropractor, physical therapist, certified strength and conditioning specialist and a diplomate, American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians, with 24 years of clinical sports injury experience. He can be contacted at 515-3117 or

Copyright 2015 Auburn Citizen. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(9) Comments

  1. movedsouth
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    movedsouth - February 15, 2013 2:40 pm
    A lot more truth than fiction. The middle class taxes will surely be felt by all. Too bad that there's not media coverage of all the new costs, especially on the federal deficit/debt.
  2. Joe Fitzgerald
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    Joe Fitzgerald - February 10, 2013 3:02 pm
    Obamacare violates our Constitutional principles/rights. The Declaration says. "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it."
    Wrote a poem some months ago, stapled it in my pocketsize Constitution for ready reference. Well rec'd. Serious but fun effort. Each line is a factual reason "to alter or to abolish" Obamacare. Now on you tube, see "Dad on Obamacare"
    Go to
  3. movedsouth
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    movedsouth - January 24, 2013 8:36 am
    From today's NewsObserver:

    "Yes, repeal Obamacare

    I am appalled by the lack of business acumen demonstrated by your editorial staff. The Jan. 11 editorial “’Til it hurts” is typical of the media’s one-sided view of Obamacare.

    Some of the facts: Obamacare was designed to bankrupt the health care industry. How? By systematically strangling the ability of health care companies to make a profit. You cite the increase in premiums, then address that health care companies are held to spending 80 percent of their income on services, leaving only 20 percent for expense. Very few businesses can survive under these kinds of restraints.

    An Indiana financial periodical cites the increasing number of health care companies pulling out of states where they have higher than average claim histories. As this was designed, limit consumer choice forcing them to go to government-provided health care. Keep your health care plan, keep your doctor, another blatant lie.

    Businesses are going to shed health care in large numbers starting this year. Many doctors have plans to retire rather than have their fees cut any more. Doctors are selling practices to hospitals. Unfortunately, the media never addresses the many shortcomings. This is a bad law and needs to be repealed and replaced.

    George Toth


    Businesses ARE shedding health care NOW, I can attest to that. Doctors are selling their practices to hospitals and fewer Doctors are taking Medicare patients. It's only going to get worse.
  4. movedsouth
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    movedsouth - January 23, 2013 10:14 am
    It's nice to see a Senator give his knowledge to the issue of health care. Typical Liberal response, criticism with nothing to back it up.
  5. news reader 13021
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    news reader 13021 - January 22, 2013 3:32 pm
    Any licensed health care practitioner is entitled to his opinion. Dr. B sees what works and what doesn't work. You can watch the health of people get worse! There is no kind of health financing organization that will overcome the problem of poor lifestyle decisions. More coverage won't help. In fact, it makes people get lazier and take risks because they assume they will be taken care of. Here's the rub: being taken care of doesn't make you healthy.
  6. Dale Buchberger
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    Dale Buchberger - January 22, 2013 3:17 pm
    Dear Ack: When you are ready to debate fact without insult I will be happy to engage you.
    Dr. Dale Buchberger
  7. Dale Buchberger
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    Dale Buchberger - January 22, 2013 2:59 pm
    I want to thank my esteemed classmate Senator Wisniewski for his succinct response. This is still the USA and while we apparently disagree on this topic we are both entitled to our opinion. While our opinions actually come from different perspectives his from a political office and mine from working in healthcare for almost 25 years. Mine certainly would cost less while we know the estimated cost of Obamacare. The good senator did omit that he is a Democrat by party affiliation while I am an Independent because I believe the two party system has failed.
    Senator I hope you are well. We are united in our differences. And while we disagree on this topic I believe as a whole you have served your constituents well. All my best to you and your family.
  8. Ack
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    Ack - January 22, 2013 4:52 am
    This article, written by a so-called "doctor", is misleading because it doesn't tell you any of the consequences of not having the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As a real medical doctor with a considerably broader perspective on health care than this chirotherapist, I have been involved in assuring that primary care, specialty care, and emergency care remains available in communities across the country, and for keeping hospitals and emergency rooms open. For all you insured people: immense amounts of your money have been siphoned off into the pockets of for-profit insurors, who have been holding entire communities and large sectors of society hostage, and profiting whenever they deny medical care to those who pay monthly premiums. They had a strangle-hold on the system before the ACA. Moreover, don't think you haven't been paying for the uninsured up to this point. You have been ... indirectly, but in a big way. Obamacare isn't perfect, but it will be far better than nothing.
  9. John Wisniewski
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    John Wisniewski - January 22, 2013 3:30 am
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