John McJunkin produces and rides shotgun on KFYI's Sharpe In The Morning and sits in as guest host when Jim's not around. He's a Platinum award-winning audio engineer / multi-media producer with nearly 30 years of experience, and serves as the principal pro audio reviewer for both Church Production and Sound & Video Contractor magazines and is the published author of over 200 reviews and features in other publications like Remix and Mix Magazine. He has also consulted with manufacturers in the development of pro audio technology. McJunkin lectured at the 2007 and 2008 New Media Expos and the 2009 Worship Facilities Expo on the topic of advanced editing and mixing techniques for quality podcast production. He has served as a consultant and provided broadcast voice production for political candidates for US Senate, Congress, governor, and state legislature. He describes his political identity as a "defense-hawk small-L libertarian". He's an avid aviation buff who writes and records music and plays drums with the worship team at his church, and loves to spend every spare moment with his family.
Suzanne Sharer is a native of Arizona, born and raised in Conservatism. She is married and a mother to 3 fantastic children. Suzanne is in real estate working as an agent for a top National builder, Taylor Morrison Homes and is an avid political junkie. Her passion for America has led her to speaking her mind on political issues through blogs, Facebook and twitter as well as becoming active in the local political scene where she believes she can do her part to help turn our country around one opinion at a time. Suzanne's concern for the direction of America has led her to co-founding Conservative Patriot Revolution , a new media company that includes CPR: ConservativePatriotRevolution.com and the online Conservative Patriot Radio. Suzanne is also a contributor, aka a Politichick for Politichicks.tv.
Tom was born in Yonkers, NY and in 1968 was the youngest member of Mensa in the country at that time- and is to date, the highest tested individual in Mensa at that age. Educated at the University of California, Tom moved to Arizona after college in 1994, and went into the insurance business. After being a successful agent for NY Life Insurance, he decided to become an independent broker in 2005 and is now a successful entrepreneur and author of the column 'Conservative Issues from the Desert'. He calls Surprise, AZ his home, where he does volunteer work for various issues around the state, and writes for his local newspaper, The Glendale/Peoria Today. He also has been a guest Political analyst on various radio and talk shows. Conservative, funny and a candidly frank speaker, Tom is available for consultation and speaking engagements on subjects from politics to marketing. Tom writes in the style of William Buckley and George Will-- intellectual discussions about today's political topics. His complete collection of essays is now available on Amazon-- "The Conservative Chronicles" as well as various other books on modern American political thought.
Katie is a native Arizonan. She earned a degree in Communications from Grand Canyon University and worked at a resort in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where she became fluent in Spanish. She is a staunch advocate for the unborn, volunteers for pro-life organizations and currently serves in children’s ministry at her church. She served as the Arizona state coordinator for the Rick Santorum Presidential campaign and is currently the Arizona chairwoman for Rick Santorum’s Patriot Voices. Katie has an extensive background in television/media and was recently the Communications Director for a U.S. Congressional candidate. She writes on issues foreign and domestic on her website The Conservative Cut. She holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys singing jazz and the standards.
Exurban Kevin Creighton
Kevin Creighton (aka ExurbanKevin) is the self-described physical embodiment of NAFTA: He’s a Canadian living in the U.S. who speaks fluent Spanish. He’s also, (in ascending order of importance), a former professional photographer, recovering nerd, online marketing guru, father to two adorable boys, husband to a wonderful woman and a servant of the King. Kevin blogs about politics at Exurban League and his self-defense and gunblog is Misfires And Light Strikes. When he's not blogging (which isn't all that often...), he's probably playing with his sons or cooking a meal for his family or listening to 80's alternative music or off at a shooting range somewheres.
I recently posted a graph showing the relationship between premiums and the insured’s out of pocket costs (OOP) in regards to Obamacare (posted here). It was taken partially from the Washington Post’s article that was trying to show how premiums have leveled a bit since Affordable Health Care Act became the law of land. While it’s true that premium increases have eased compared to historical averages, people are paying more than ever for their health care, as can be seen in the top orange line. When you factor in deductible and changes to policies in the last three years, the black line represents where we would be if Obamacare had not been instituted, and percentages of OOP were still paid by premiums/deductibles.
That’s the problem when government involves itself in the free market, we become focused on the price of things instead of the real cost of things.
What the article fails to mention is that deductibles have risen dramatically in the last three years. Deductibles continue to grow because companies are trying to hold down premiums, according to a Kaiser brief prepared for the American Medical Association. The average deductible for individual coverage went up from $991 in 2011 to $1,097 in 2012, a total that has nearly doubled since 2006. The chart projections reflect that change, and as companies try to hold down premium costs, their employees continue to pay higher deductibles to make up the difference. The net result is that the OOP for most employees has gone from $473 a year to over $733 (the orange line), with high deductible and HSA plans increasing from 10% of the marketplace to over 34% of the market- an astonishing jump.
The real pain is that employers are absorbing high premiums too. Those HSA plans are becoming commonplace as employers struggle to make the bottom line shifting increasing costs of health care while employees don’t feel that pain as their health care begins to enact all those ‘free’ services.
Bottom line, we are all paying more for less health care , even though it isn’t immediately obvious. As a result the Department of Health and Human Services will make the ultimate ruling on HSAs when it decides how to calculate the actuarial value of the high-deductible health insurance policies that must accompany HSAs. That actuarial value will be based on employees claims on all those new ‘free’ services that are provided under Obamacare, minus employee costs.
The health law requires that all insurance policies provide a minimum actuarial value of at least 60% for the benefits covered. If the HHS allows contributions by individuals and employers to health savings accounts to "count" as part of the actuarial value, then HSAs and other account-based plans would likely meet the test. But if contributions are not included, the plans likely would not qualify, removing an important tool to hold health costs down—and with the increased contributions to health insurance that seems likely.
What this means is that HSA plans will no doubt be ruled that they are not true health insurance. At that point, everyone will have to switch to more expensive HMO’s and PPO’s and that hidden cost will suddenly be shifted to the premium.
It’s a bombshell waiting to explode in 2014.
That’s why it’s important what this chart is showing—that we are all paying more for our health care, and have dramatically increased the COST of health care, being focused on PRICE instead.
One of two things will happen in 2014. HSA’s will be found to be not health insurance and rolled back, or the deductibles will have to be dramatically decreased, thus raising premiums. Most employers in either case will drop these plans forcing many on them into government pools, suckered into it by lower premiums and hidden costs.
That is what may have been intended all along.