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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Obamacare or Bust


In my last blog ‘When is a lie a lie?’ I said that the president should probably go around the country and apologize for misleading the country. I’ve had a slight change of heart since then after listening to some pundits tell their version of what “if you’d like your health plan and your doctor, you can keep them” meant.

I saw a clip of President Clinton at the State of the Union where he lobbied for health care reform. The former president told young people that their insurance premiums would more than likely go up but because they were paying for people who were using the system at a much higher rate. He said that they would benefit in the long run because they would eventually be in that category but healthcare premiums would be less expensive. As we know, Hillarycare never got an up or down vote.

When President Obama went around the country saying that people could keep their insurance and doctor, people had to know that he couldn’t tell the insurance companies, not to cancel people, nor did he have control of a doctor leaving the profession, or what economic decisions their employer were going to make. Insurance companies cancel policies routinely. The president wasn’t speaking to recipients of Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefits or those whose company provided health care policies. The president was speaking to people who were going to purchase their insurance on the individual market. These people made up 5 %( ~14 million) of the healthcare market.

It’s reasonable to assume that the healthcare insurance companies knew that their current policies would not meet the basic requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act. These are the same companies who would go over a customer’s health information to find reasons to cancel them. Why weren’t they upfront with their customers?

I see where some prominent Democrats are running scared and are introducing proposals to reverse the Obamacare’s cancellations. Most of those Democrats represent red states. Senator Mary Landrieu’s bill would grandfather any plan that was, in effect, in January of 2013. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Congress can make the insurance companies accept everyone back in. The companies would probably take the young healthy ones and leave the more sickly ones in the ACA market. I still don’t see where it would help the overall practice of reducing costs by allowing insurance companies to sell junk policies. Bill Clinton didn’t help much by saying that the president should allow the canceled policies to be reinstated. Oh well, the “Big Dog” is entitled to his opinion.

The House of Representatives will vote on a bill Friday to allow those who were canceled to keep the policies they had. I’m not sure whether house Democrats will vote for it or if Harry Reid will take up the legislation. The White House will likely veto the bill because it will cause more problems than it will fix.

Republicans may be digging themselves a hole because if Obamacare fails, the GOP will have to come up with a viable option. They can’t go back and say, “those proposals we opposed will work now that we are responsible for health care. “ The GOP will not use the public option or a single payer system, so they too will have to implement the individual mandate that they have demonized up to now. The negativity is driving potential customers away, so don’t think they will come back just because it’s a Republican driven plan. The GOP prescription drug plan had a disastrous rollout but Democrats worked with the opposition party to make it work.

Where was Congress when healthcare costs were skyrocketing in 2002? There was a report by the American Medical Association that the high cost of health care is attributed to the cost of medicine and hospital charges and not so much elderly care. Healthcare costs are not rising as fast but most of that was due to the recession and about a third of it was due to health care reforms in the Affordable Care Act.

I don't think the president has any other option but to plow straight ahead and not even consider a delay for now. Many who advising delay are known opponents of the law and are overjoyed over the failures so far. They will continue asking for delays until the mid-term elections

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