Archived Story

‘Obamacare’ is happening

Published 9:35am Friday, July 12, 2013

Whether you like “Obamacare” or not, every indicator is that the program is a “done deal” and will remain the law of the land and the basis of all future health care changes.

And yet, one can admire the efforts of the loyal, but failing opposition.

Republicans hated Obamacare from Day One, some for it being from Obama their sworn enemy and planned for one term president; some from a concern about “Big Government” though they had no problem with defense spending doubling in a decade or voting for Medicare part D; and some because they were shut out of the process by virtue of rejecting any contribution, even if it was a previous Republican argument, like individual responsibility.

Regardless of their individual reasons, virtually every Republican has united in condemning Obamacare, and in 2010 it may have been an excellent issue for Republicans recapturing the House of Representatives.

So many Republicans hope Obamacare will be a gift that keeps on giving, at least giving opportunities to stay in opposition.

Yet that can sometimes result in laughable ironies, like last week’s Republican outrage that the Obama administration postponed implementation of the business mandate to require coverage for companies with more than 50 employees.

Some Republicans called it communism, ignoring the constitution with dictator like power. An interesting claim by those who want the entire law repealed. Sort of “Kill Obamacare but how dare you delay it” logic.

But beyond Republican angst about all things Obama have Republican criticisms and claims about Obamacare been substantiated since its passage in 2010?

Claims included that Obamacare would cause health care costs to rise far faster than current costs; Obamacare would result in employers dropping coverage for their workers; Republicans had better ideas for solving the serious issues with healthcare; voters did not like Obamacare in polls.

On the prediction of healthcare rising costs, so far at least Obamacare has had the opposite effect, reducing healthcare inflation. In May of 2013 healthcare costs fell 0.1 percent and costs for the last two years have been less than inflation. In California, where the healthcare exchanges have started, the policy costs are significantly lower than before Obamacare and far lower than conservative estimates.

This claim seems without merit.

In terms of employers dropping coverage, statistically, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 94 percent of employers with over 50 employees offer healthcare insurance, and they do so as an incentive to hire and retain.

Some have suggested that employer penalties are lower than healthcare coverage costs which may be a disincentive to continue coverage. Yet in Massachusetts, a Republican forerunner to Obamacare, with much smaller penalties, employer coverage actually rose after the program began. Again, no evidence here to support the claim of dropping coverage.

As for Republican ideas on healthcare we need look no farther than Majority leader Kantor’s bill this spring to help families pay for pre-existing condition insurance; this popular idea was widely rejected by his own party.

Finally, polling does still show a majority of the public opposing Obamacare, but liking the many provisions already in place like the shrinking Part D donut hole; no pre-existing conditions refusals; no more cancellations for being sick; and keeping children covered until age 26.

Obamacare does still have issues to be solved, like the 30 hour work rule which is, at best, an idea that will encourage business to cut work hours; states not cooperating in setting up health exchanges; states refusing to expand Medicaid; and Republicans in congress refusing to tweak Obamacare to fix these issues.

The goal of Obamacare was two-fold; first to expand access to insurance; second to lower the rate of inflation in healthcare. Today both goals look to be on target to be attained.

Obamacare is here to stay even when the House votes for the 40th or 100th time to repeal it.

 

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.

 

  • mikehaney

    Deeply distressing’

    Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “We hope the actions we have taken today will reassure patients and their families that everyone coming to the end of their life is getting the best possible care and that concerns are being dealt with swiftly.

    “I have personally heard families describe staff slavishly following a process without care or compassion and leaving people suffering at the end of their lives. This is something we cannot allow to go on.——-Socialized medicine is the answer—–

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Each time I visit the U.K. I read about NHS horror stories. The Scottish Daily Mail reported on three brutal killings that might have been prevented were it not for a “catalogue of failings by a (NHS-operated) mental health trust.” One of the men had been refused treatment for failing to register with a local doctor.

    An investigation by the U.K. Daily Telegraph found that some patients are forced to wait up to eight hours inside ambulances because there are not enough beds inside hospitals.

    Senior NHS doctors and managers say up to 20 hospitals across the country may close to avoid financial ruin.

    If you are sick on a weekend, fewer doctors are available.

    The Telegraph quotes senior officials as saying 4,000 lives a year are lost because of poor weekend care. These officials call the current trend in the NHS “unsustainable.”

    One health minister referred to scandals and cover-ups in patient deaths at two hospitals as part of a “rotten culture” in the NHS.

    In March, the Daily Mail reported “Nearly 1,200 people have starved to death in NHS hospitals” because “nurses are too busy to feed patients.”

    At Stafford Hospital, police are investigating the deaths of 300 patients over a four-year period. They suspect neglect, even criminality, may have contributed to their deaths.

    In February, the Telegraph reported “More than 3,000 people may have died unnecessarily at five NHS trusts.”

    Why isn’t this a lesson for the U.S.? Why do people believe government is more competent than the private sector, despite numerous examples to the contrary?

    The Obama administration is pressing ahead with implementing America’s version of the NHS, no doubt expecting different results.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Obama administration officials are illegally delaying enforcement of a central provision in the president’s namesake legislation in a desperate attempt to manipulate the 2014 midterm elections and swell the ranks of those who look to government for healthcare.

    The White House is beginning to sense that when Americans realize the price of “free” healthcare, they’re likely to take swift vengeance on those responsible.

    (Report comment)

  • keta

    The big news on ObamaCare these past two weeks is the administration’s announcement that it will delay by one year the requirement on businesses to provide health insurance
    ———————————————————-

    Crawford addresses your point in this article: republicans who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act are also outraged by the delay. Weird. And as always, nobody’s disputing the facts here. Good call.

    (Report comment)

  • Geronimo

    Lets give it all to insurance companies , wait and see if they love all Americans or just those with the means to purchase their low priced insurance.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Obamacare is a feeble, confusing attempt at medical care reform but at least an attempt. Medical Care is a service not a business. Socialized Medicine is the answer. The United States is the only major country in the world that fails to recognize this fact. The Medical and Pharmaceutical conglomerate put profit ahead of care and concern for the people and their lobbyists with bottomless pockets have an undue impact on influencing the opinions of the populace.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Not for me Mick. No way I want to go to a doctor with the attitude of the local license bureau. Nor government hired nurses for that matter. You can keep your socialized medicine.

      (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    The big news on ObamaCare these past two weeks has been the administration’s announcement that it will delay by one year the requirement on businesses to provide health insurance.

    Nancy Pelosi, though, had a curious take on the whole thing. Actually, she instructed reporters, “The mandate was not delayed.”
    —————————–
    Crawford-‘Obamacare’ is happening.
    ————————————-
    Good to see long time buddies, Crawford and Pelosi agree with each other. Heart warming. :)

    (Report comment)

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