Obamacare hits home

Discussion in 'Online & DL Teaching' started by graymatter, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    I know we've had other threads like this... its just that none of them have ever applied to me before.

    Until I received this just now:

    "Due to the Affordable Healthcare Act, we are having to restrict the number of courses that a facilitator teaches to 1 workshop per week, with no overlap. This policy has just been given to us this week and it is not on the web yet. There should be an official notification going out to all of the facilitators soon but we are having to make our adjustments now. Therefore, we will be working to get back-to-back courses for our faculty rather than letting them overlap at all."

    I facilitated 14 courses for this university last year. If I delete the ones that overlap, I would have had 6. That's $10k out of my pocket.

    And do I get free healthcare as a result? No I do not.

    UOP has already made this change (at least it appears that way to me since I no longer have overlapping classes).

    If the others do as well, I'm in trouble.
  2. rebel100

    rebel100 New Member

    But just imagine how mediocre your health care you get to buy will be! Look at the bright side!
  3. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Whiney racist white people. Gobgillions of children lay dying in the streets before Obamacare. Everythings all good now, so get back in line.

    "Never be the first to stop clapping".
  4. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Look on the bright side: now you KNOW your employer thinks you're expendable. They'd gladly pay for your healthcare, regardless of legal requirements, if they thought they couldn't easily replace you when you got sick or injured.
  5. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Obama is not refusing to pay for your healthcare, your employers are. Universal healthcare was such a bad thing for the poor in the USA so I guess this employers mandate is better for the poor. In Canada, there is universal healthcare. I can't see that ever changing.

    Anyway, I will not support any university with my tuition if it tries to cheat its employees out of healthcare.
  6. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    UoP has never had its priorities straight when it comes to spending. They spend more on sales and marketing than teaching and classroom expenses. I know they probably have some financial concerns right now, but they're related to decreasing enrollment.
  7. RFValve

    RFValve Well-Known Member

    In Canada, even adjuncts get health, pension benefits, decent wages, etc. These are the good news, the bad news is that is almost impossible to get an adjunct faculty position because unions, protectionism, etc.
  8. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    How is it cheating? The process is:
    I apply for an adjunct job
    They interview me
    I like the position
    They offer it and say, "This is $X,XXX per course, no guarantee of future classes and no benefits, want it?"
    I say, "Yes, I understand the conditions" or "Hell no, I want benefits"

    How is it cheating when everyones eyes are wide open to what they get?
  9. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    My concern is that 2 schools who assigned me a total of 29 courses last year just told me that because of nothing I've done wrong (and no enrollment issues in my program), my courses are being cut. Not because I'm demanding healthcare - I don't need them to provide healthcare for me or my family (we are already covered) - but because the government says so.

    There should be some sort of "I'm already covered" waiver or something. Can I lose 3 positions (or be significantly cut) because all 3 think they'll be required to provide me with healthcare?!?

    And for that matter, I totally disagree with the university's math. If the issue is that we can't work more than 30 hours a week, how does a limit of 1 class at a time make any sense? If they think we're working 30 hours per week on a course, we're making minimum wage. I guess technically if we're working 16 hours per course, then we couldn't have 2 without going over. But that works out (at this school) to $15 an hour for a PhD-level faculty member.

    Just doesn't make sense all around. I don't WANT them to pay for my healthcare because I don't need them to. And now I'm going to lose significant income because of it.
  10. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator

    I agree with you...someone voted for him...
  11. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    You display a gift for understatement. UoP's target level for education-related expenses is 8% of revenues. Yes, you read that right.
  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There is no such thing as "free."

    Healthcare expenses are incurred by all, for all. It's simply a matter of how they are managed and how they are distributed. Insurance, public or private, is designed to bring some sense to both. It is no different that auto insurance, which is compulsory, too.

    Bringing the currently uninsured into the insurance pool lowers costs for those already in it. That's a good thing.

    The current design is a Republican one--or was, until the Democrat in the White House embraced it.

    If you don't get these people ensured, they will continue to be a drain on the healthcare system in two significant ways. First, they won't be paying into it, yet will draw from it. (Either by being non-paying customers--yes, they still get help--or by being on public assistance.) Second, their care won't be managed at low levels and will result in higher costs associated with catastrophic care. (Think diabetes not managed resulting in heart attacks, etc.)

    Finally, the real problem here isn't "Obamacare." It's the practice of pushing our healthcare management through both our employers and the insurance companies. What an incredible drain on the system for something that is universally consumed. The private sector, in this case, has no competitive incentive to drive down your costs, just theirs.

    Universal healthcare would benefit all of us, just as education and infrastructure does. But we don't want to pay for those things anymore, either. Just the military; we can't seem to touch that. Well, guess what? I have almost-free health care for life because of the military. Thanks, everyone, for picking up my tab. I do appreciate it. :smile:
  13. instant000

    instant000 Member

    To what Rich just said: "ditto".

    (Except for the part about almost free health care for life.)

    I can totally comprehend that insuring people who didn't have insurance before would cause increased costs. We have to consider now that some people who struggled to get coverage before were people with pre-existing conditions which made them more likely to be ill or die. Let's consider that coverage for an unemployed person is usually quite expensive without the employer subsidy.

    The issues that muddy it is that healthcare got tied into employment, to the point where people stick with jobs they don't even want to work because of healthcare concerns. People with a deceased military spouse don't remarry because they'd lose their healthcare (while this speaks to their priorities, it also speaks to conditions in this country where healthcare costs are bankruptcy-generating).

    People can go bankrupt in this country because of a single health event. If this new system alleviates the bankruptcy risk and manages to reduce costs, that would be awesome. Maybe it only helps to alleviate the bankruptcy risk, and the cost has to increase, as we're going to be insuring more of people who found the coverage too expensive before.

    I'd prefer a system whereby health insurance wasnt' tied to employment, we'd get rid of the insurance company middle men, and prices were controlled because all the physicians worked for the government.

    If you can't change costs directly, you change them indirectly, by decreasing reimbursement rates.

    But, we all know, that's not the entire story. I know several doctors from a past job, and they have to pay 1/3 of their wages into malpractice insurance. It's a tough thing, so when people talk about legal reform, they refer to the fact that if compensation to doctors is decreased, without also decreasing their legal obligations, then there are definitely going to be issues as people choose to leave the medical field rather than put through all those years of schooling to not be rewarded.

    The true difficulty with passing reform is that our pols are heavily influenced by industries. How many in the health industry are put out of work if the house of cards for health insurance is eliminated?

    For example, it would be a simple matter to reform the tax code and greatly reduce tax collection staff by concentrating enforcement on businesses and borders, and only taking taxes at the point of sale, and never again. This frees up individuals from worrying about the burden, but it also places a lot of income tax professionals and companies out of work.
  14. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    Insurance is tied to employment largely because of distortions from tax policy, so I'm with you there. If it were a service like any other, and if providers were allowed to innovate, then we might see more sense in healthcare pricing, e.g., where most people pay normal costs out of pocket and only insure against catastrophes. I also wouldn't mind seeing a stronger mutual insurance sector -- credit unions don't screw people like banks do, and the concept is analogous.

    Controlling prices by making healthcare providers work for the government flies in the face of basic economics, though, because it assumes that you can set whatever price for labor you wish and physicians have to accept it. Unfortunately, though, you can't make things better by screwing the doctors.
  15. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Wouldn't universal healthcare be beneficial to everybody, including the people who would pay more in taxes to make it happen?

    I'm apolitical and just throwing this idea out there for discussion, so there's no reason I can perceive that anyone should jump down my throat or call me names for suggesting this.

    I understand the conservative view, that people need to take responsibility for their own health and suffer the consequences of their own decisions. In principle, I agree. However, bad decisions don't just affect the individual making them, but even the people who are entirely innocent. Take as an analogy: people are more likely to wear seatbelts if there is a law requiring it. It saves lives, yes, but it also saves money. Even if you wanted to argue that people should be allowed to die bloody deaths if they so choose, you forget that it is not the deceased who will be paying for the cleanup, the coroner's report, the extra traffic delays, etc- it's you.

    Applying that analogy here, if everyone was insured, then infections and diseases would get treated rather than ignored and they would be less likely to spread and make YOU sick. Chronic diseases can be addressed on a nation-wide level, lessening the need for expensive accommodations, emergency care, nursing homes, you name it. Less sick passengers holding up trains. Less heart attacks on the road. Less people crippled in medical bills becoming desperate and resorting to crime.

    Even if you think that there are plenty of people who don't deserve the benefits of your tax dollars going into their healthcare, you might just get more bang for your buck in such a system anyway. Two of the benefits of capitalism are the "economy of scale" and product customization which both require more people in the economy to buy into. More healthy people means more workers means more people buying into the economy, allowing Walmart to sell cheaper lawn mowers as well as allowing the government to collect tax from more people.

    Any of this make sense? :no1:
  16. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I realize some conservatives and libertarians feel that way, but I'm not one of them. I don't want to see someone bankrupt, homeless, or dead because they can't afford healthcare. That doesn't mean, however, that a public program is necessarily the way to prevent that, particularly a massive federal one.

    The problem with that line of reasoning is that once something is paid for by taxpayers, it gives government a seemingly unlimited license to mandate behavior in all walks of life to minimize that expense. For example, with taxpayer funded healthcare, the same logic would justify rules like, "Sorry, fatso, you can't eat that sugary snack!" or, "Okay everyone, time for our mandatory exercise period!"

    On the one hand, in the U.S. everyone can get healthcare, if by no other means then by showing up at the emergency room, which is not allowed to turn people away. On the other hand, this has led to people using the emergency room as their primary care physician, which is an incredibly wasteful way to do things. Better to have free clinics to handle those sorts of "I have the sniffles, is it serious?" visits, and that's something that can be a community initiative, it doesn't take the federal government to do it.

    Meh, economy of scale is important, but it's not a magic straight line where things just keep getting noticeably better forever no matter how big things get.
  17. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    All of this actually started as a result of wage restrictions that were put in place during WWII. Prior to WWII most people either bought their own insurance or they simply didn't have insurance (mostly the latter). Healthcare in those days was not insanely expensive and most people simply paid for their healthcare as they needed it.

    With wage restrictions in place companies needed some sort of incentive to attract workers so many of them started offering health insurance as a way to get around the wage restrictions. The competition for workers was strong during this time period with many able bodies fighting in the Europe or Pacific theaters. The few companies that started offering health insurance quickly ballooned and in no time at all, employer-funded health insurance was the norm.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2013
  18. AV8R

    AV8R Active Member

    I have first-person experience with Obamacare and can say with authority that it is a complete disaster. The Obamacare customer service was so shockingly bad, it made Comcast customer service look world-class.

    Most people don't realize that parts of Obamacare have already been implemented. The part of Obamacare that I have personal experience with is known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP). PCIP is part of Obamacare that was supposed to offer health insurance coverage to people who have pre-existing conditions who have been denied coverage because of these health issues (like me).

    I hadn't had health insurance in over a year because I was denied for having a pre-existing condition. I learned about PCIP and thought "what the heck," I'll sign up for it. It's important to point out that PCIP is not a hand-out. In fact, it's a very expensive health insurance policy...but I was willing to pay for it if it meant I had coverage.

    I did get accepted to PCIP but had nothing but problems with it.

    I won't get into every little detail that I dealt with but I had billing problems, customer service people hanging up on me, failure to return my phone calls when they were supposed to, failure to set up auto-draft from my bank account, and others.

    Funny thing...after a couple of months I decided that PCIP/Obamacare was so hopeless that I decided to cancel it. It was just one big headache after another. I called customer service to cancel the account and faxed in a letter of cancellation, just as requested. Apparently, no one ever bothered to process it because I received a letter in the mail about six weeks later stating that they were dropping me for non-payment. (Oy vey!)

    Yes, it's possible that the customer service with Obamacare might improve in the future; but for now it's truly terrible. Avoid it if you can.
  19. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I'm shocked, shocked to hear that a federal bureaucracy provides poor customer service!
  20. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Sadly, this isn't even hypothetical. This doesn't happen to me often, but I'm actually offended by NYC Mayor Bloomberg's attempt at regulating soft drink size.

    Hey, I read that book!

    I look forward to the day that I can open up an introductory economics textbook and come across the subheading "Meh."
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2013

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