Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January, 2018, Part 2, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: More Single Payer Horror Stories and a Rarity - Good News Relative to Obama Care

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) We have been uncovering Obama Care disasters for years so it is good news when something good comes out of the whole mess. According to Katie Pavlich, writing for the Townhall website on January 4, 2018:
  • Trump’s Labor Department recently announced a new rule proposal that would allow insurance companies to more easily sell health insurance plans across state lines.
  • This is one of the root causes of high insurance costs we discussed above.
  • This proposal should help increase competition and subsequently reduce the cost of health insurance.
  • This rule would also make it easier for small businesses to band together to get better insurance rates from insurance companies.
  • According to the article, small business would “Allow employers to form a Small Business Health Plan on the basis of geography or industry. A plan could serve employers in a state, city, county, or a multi-state metro area, or it could serve all the businesses in a particular industry nationwide and allow sole proprietors to join Small Business Health Plans, clearing a path to access health insurance for the millions of uninsured Americans who are sole proprietors or the family of sole proprietors."
Attacking root causes of high health insurance costs, a strategy that Obama Care’s creators never understood.

2) There is also another good piece of news out of the Trump administration regarding the failure of Obama Care. A provision of the tax cut legislation that was recently passed eliminates the need/requirement that all Americans purchase health insurance as required by Obama Care (the “individual mandate”) even if an American does not want any insurance to or does not want to buy the mandatory, expensive policies Obama Care requires.

Let’s take a moment to review what the mandatory purchase of insurance under Obama Care was supposed to do. Under Obama Care, insurers were required to accept anyone looking for insurance coverage even if they had a pre-existing condition. Obviously, this made it more expensive for insurance companies since these new customers with pre-existing conditions would likely be very expensive to serve. 

As a way to appease the insurers, Obama Care promised them that the Federal government would force generally younger and healthier people to purchase insurance in order for the insurance companies to get a windfall to offset their increase costs of serving others with pre-existing conditions, customers that were generally older and less healthy. And Obama Care forced these younger and healthier customers to purchase policies that were loaded with features and coverages that many people did not need or want, further increasing the windfall profits to insurance companies.

To anyone who values freedom and freedom of choice, this blunt force imposition of the government to force people to buy a product or a service is obnoxious. And it was also a failure, as Jay Cost, writing for the National Review website on December 26 2017, points out: “The truth is that the individual mandate was too modest to have any major impact. For starters, there were many exemptions — for instance, the hardship provision. Relatedly, Obamacare also allowed adults up to the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance, thereby giving certain healthy, young people no reason to enroll for themselves. Beyond that, the penalty is incredibly weak, capped at 2.5 percent of income. Finally, payment of the penalty is through the annual tax-filing process, meaning that it is up to the IRS to catch those who simply do not pay it.”

Thus, as with most components of Obama Care, it was a bad idea in theory to begin with and it failed miserably in reality. With the terminations of it via the Trump tax cut legislation, now people will be free to purchase, or not purchase, health insurance that fits their needs and financial abilities without an overbearing Federal government dictating what insurance they must purchase or be considered a criminal.

3) In our previous post in this recurring theme, we discussed how bad single payer insurance systems work around the world. High costs, health care rationing, long delays in seeing a doctor, long delays for treatment, etc. The Conservative Zone website recently reviewed the latest statistics from the Canadian single payer health insurance system and it is not good, which is probably why tens of thousands of Canadians leave that country every year in order to get timely, quality healthcare:
  • Lead times to get a doctor’s appointment in Canada has led to the creation of a popular Twitter account, #CanadaWAITS.
  • Canadians go to the hashtag to relate their nightmares in trying to get an appointment to see a doctor or get a medical test done.
  • Words used to the wait to get an appointment include frustration, insane, and excruciating.
  • Angela Burgela paid $18,000 out of her pocket to get a hip replacement done in the Cayman Islands since her pain was so bad and the wait to get the procedure done in Canada was so long.
  • A recent survey of waiting times by the Canadian Institute for Health Information found that Canada was dead last out of eleven developed countries when it came to wait times for non-emergency surgeries and seeing specialists.
  • The survey found that Canadians also have the longest average wait times for emergency room care at over four hours.
  • The average wait time to see a medical specialist in Canada is just over nine weeks which means whatever medical condition you may have that requires specialized care could be nine weeks worse on average before you even see an expert.
  • These delays and long waits, according to a 2016 study by the Fraser Institute found that this type of inefficient healthcare leads “to many negative consequences such as increased suffering, mental anguish and pain. It also results in poorer medical outcomes for chronic diseases and turns reversible illnesses into irreversible conditions.”
Obama Care is bad, it is expensive and getting more expensive every day, and it rations out medical care via very narrow doctor and hospital networks. But going the route of Canada and England via a single payer system would be even worse, something that even I thought was not possible given the continual unfolding disasters of Obama Care.

More disasters to come.

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Steve Anders said...

You've failed to point out to your readers that the Canadian and British systems run on half the funding that Americans spend on health care. If these systems were funded at the same level as what America spend, then wait times would be completely eliminated because funding would double. Single Payer systems are not the problem, the problem is greed, profit and a lack of empathy in the American system.

Bruno Korschek said...

Steve, Thanks for reading this post and responding. Let me offer a few comments:

1) Regardless of the current funding level of single payer systems in Canada and England, I think we can agree that as currently set up, single payer health care systems have been less than effective and efficient.

2) Given politicians' and government bureaucrats' records of doing less with more, I am not convinced that even increasing the funding of single payer systems would result in any improvement at all.

3) The Federal government's record of operating healthcare systems and processes in this country has been less than stellar and that is being kind. Medicare is infested with inefficiencies and extensive criminal fraud and his quickly hurtling towards fiscal insolvency.

Medicaid is also infested with inefficiencies and criminal fraud, it is also hurtling towards fiscal insolvency, it is busting the budgets of many states with Medicaid costs already equal to more than 30% of state government budgets in at least four states, and worse of all, university study after university study (Harvard, Yale, George Mason) have shown that Medicaid generally does not improve the health of Medicaid customers vs. the health of those with no insurance.

And we could go on for days talking about how the single payer system known as the Veterans Administration has been an absolute failure in providing timely and effective health care for our veterans.

4) None of these efforts address the root causes of our skyrocketing healthcare costs. Years ago I read a paper put out by the head of the Cleveland Clinic, a world renowned healthcare facility (I can get that reference if you want it). He stated that based on research and experience he had, that if we could eliminate obesity, smoking, and poor diets of Americans we could wipe out 75% of the health care costs in this country. If we could wipe out 75% of the health care costs, you would see the cost of medical care and health insurance drop significantly.

We do not have a health insurance problem in this country, we have a public health problem in this country. Obama Care,single payer systems, Medicare, etc. are health insurance solutions, they do not address the real root causes of high healthcare costs. They mop up the problem of those root causes after the fact. Focus on public health solutions and the insurance problems go away.

Have a great day!