Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May, 2017, Part 2: Obama Care's Big Lie About Uninsured Americans

Every month for years now we have had to discuss how bad Obama Care is turning out to be under the continuing theme, “the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care.” This month is no different. As the legislation continues to march through America, driving up health care and health insurance prices as it serves as dead weight on economic growth, it cements its rightful place as the worst piece of legislation Washington has ever produced.

It never had a chance to be successful since it really never addressed the underlying root causes of our ever increasing health costs in the country:

  • Americans eat too much of the wrong kind of food, resulting in obscenely high obesity rates for the country.
  • Our food chain is infested with overdoses of high fructose corn syrup, salt, sugar, and other unhealthy additives.
  • Americans smoke too much.
  • Americans do not exercise enough.
  • The country is in serious need of health care tort reform.
  • Barriers to insurance company competition across state lines need to come down.
  • Obama Care never “followed the money” to find out who is actually profiting from the ever escalating healthcare costs in this country and how to get those factors under control.
  • Obama Care never got the immense amount of fraud and abuse in current government healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, under control in order to save money to efficiently fund other government health care initiatives.
  • Obama Care never put serious research money towards curing the major diseases that drive high healthcare costs such as high frequency cancers and dementia type diseases.
You cannot resolve any problem unless you understand and address the underlying root causes. No difference here: Obama Care legislation never addressed these listed root causes and thus, has no chance of ever being successful.

But it is not just missing the root causes of our healthcare costs that makes Obama Care so horrible. It resulted in millions of Americans losing access to their favored doctors, hospitals, and insurance policies. It has caused insurance premiums, deductibles and copays to escalate substantially. It will likely add trillions of dollars to the national debt. It has exposed millions of Americans to higher than necessary identity theft chances. It has created government bureaucracies that are wastefully spending taxpayer wealth and being exploited by criminal elements. It has stifled economic growth and job creation.

These are just a sample of the types of idiocy that we have been reviewing for the past several years in this blog relative to Obama Care., To read those past posts, just enter the phrase, “the unfolding disaster,” in the search box above.

1) If you listened to Obama and supporters of Obama Care in the run up to enacting the Obama Care legislation, you would have thought that there were millions and millions of sick and crippled Americans wandering the streets that had pre-existing medical conditions that prevented them from getting health insurance coverage. That these poor souls were at the mercy of heartless insurance companies who did not want to put out the extra money that would be needed to cover the medical costs incurred because of these pre-existing health conditions.

As a result, the Obama Care legislation was set up in a very elaborate and clumsy way to take care of these millions and millions of uninsured people with pre-existing health problems:

  • The legislation tried to force tens of millions of younger, healthier Americans to buy insurance, whether they wanted to or not, in order to subsidize the costs of insurance companies coverage of people with pre-existing health conditions.
  • The Federal government would collect new fees and taxes and feed billions of dollars to the insurance companies to offset their additional costs of insuring millions of Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
  • The legislation changed the so-called community rating rules and processes that raised insurance costs for everyone in the insurance market to subsidize the insurance companies and those with pre-existing conditions.
  • In turn, the insurance companies would be forced by the government and Obama administration to take on any customer that walked through the door even if that customer was not profitable, probably the first time in the history of the country that Washington bureaucrats and politicians forced private businesses to take on any customer.
This elaborate scheme was probably one of the reasons while the legislation was thousands of pages long. It certainly had to be in order to set up a massive government bureaucracy to collect and redistribute fees, taxes, and fines, a bureaucracy that turned out to be a massive Rube Goldberg contraption that never worked well from Day One. Millions of younger Americans did not sign up for health insurance, the insurance companies never got the government financial support it was promised, and Obama Care enrollment ended up at only half of what was promised.

But wait? Were there really millions and millions of sick and ailing Americans walking around the country who could not get health insurance coverage because of their conditions? Or was it just hot air, intentional deception, or pure ignorance on Obama and his supporters part when it came to counting how many Americans who actually had pre-existing health conditions? Consider some findings by Jeffrey Singer, writing for U.S. News and World Report, an article that appeared on the Cato website on May 2, 2017:

  • Prior to Obama Care, employer sponsored group health insurance plans covered everyone in the group including those that had pre-existing health conditions.
  • Prior to Obama Care, Medicaid covered people with pre-existing health conditions.
  • Prior to Obama Care, Medicare covered everyone with pre-existing health conditions.
  • Insurance policies in the individual health insurance market were “guaranteed renewable” which means that the policy could not be dropped or premiums allowed to skyrocket as long as the policyholder kept up with the regular premium payments even after they developed a “pre-existing condition.
Given these realities, Mr. Singer identifies sources and research that put the actual number of Americans with pre-existing health conditions, that did not fall into any of the categories above, at less than a million people, far less than the hysterics put out by the Obama administration would lead you to believe.

Thus, rather than take this very, very small subpopulation aside and come up with something simple yet effective for them, the Obama Care legislation set up this elaborate and failure of a bureaucracy that forced Americans to buy insurance against their will, forced companies to accept customers against their will, and forced all Americans to cough up more money and freedom against their will to address this nit of a problem. 

And in reality, even Obama Care did not have to do anything with this nit of a problem:

  • Prior to Obama Care, states such as Wisconsin and Maine had set up independent high risk programs for state citizens that had pre-existing health conditions and who could not get affordable regular health insurance and they did it without all of the negative fallout that Obama Care caused for others in the state.
  • The free market was also responding with such innovations as the deployment of health status insurance policies that allowed younger people to buy health insurance when they were younger and healthier but guaranteed they would get affordable insurance protection down the road if they should ever get very, very sick and developed a pre-existing health condition.
  • In some states, people were allowed to form association health plans that allowed them to get group coverage for those in their associations at a much reduced fee than individual insurance and which covered association members with pre-existing health conditions.
But as Mr. Singer writes, “Obamacare made those solutions irrelevant and unavailable.” Instead, it replaced these efficient, logical, common sense, and workable approaches and solutions with a one size fits all and one size screws all approach as a top down, out of touch Washington approach, an approach that rarely works when it comes to problem solving.

One of the outcomes of Obama Care forcing insurance companies to accept anyone who walks in the door and provide them affordable insurance rates that guarantee that certain customers will be a big drain on profitability is that the insurance companies made sure that Obama Care policies were tailored to doctor and hospital networks that were very narrow in scope. These skinny networks often excluded the medical specialists and particular hospital facilities that would be needed to serve the most common, and expensive, pre-existing conditions.

This gets back to one of the unexpected and sad consequences of Obama Care: the good news is that you have health insurance, the bad news is that you cannot use your health insurance. If you have a certain cancer for example, and your Obama Care carrier does not want any customers that have your type of cancer, then according to Mr. Singer, that insurance carrier would structure the medical network of doctors and hospitals to ensure that the best medical capabilities for treating your cancer were not available to your policy and for your use, making your Obama Care policy useless or forcing you to go elsewhere for insurance.

Another day, another unfolding disaster from Obama Care. We only covered one disaster today but it was a big one: a big lie about how many uninsured Americans were walking around without access to health insurance and a big solution that failed miserably to address this very, very small problem. More disasters to follow.

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