COMMENTARY: The Case For Killing Obamacare

Posted: September 24, 2013 at 5 a.m.

At the risk of trivializing the task before the federal government, allow me to quote Tracy Marrow, the bard of rap and the gritty street cop of “Law and Order: SVU,” better known as Ice-T : “The truth is, everybody I’ve ever met who’s successful is a workaholic.” So now I ask you: When it comes to Congress and the Obama administration, does the word “workaholic” immediately leap to mind?

This story is only available from our archives.

Opinion, Pages 5 on 09/24/2013

If Obamacare is so bad why do opponent have to resort to lies and misinformation in order to make their case. This guy has misrepresented Warren Buffett's position on this topic. You would think that a former "editor" would check his facts before printing something. But, perhaps that is why he is a former editor. If you care to see what Buffett actually thinks, see this,

Posted by: Chigger2008

September 24, 2013 at 3:51 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

"There's a cold logic behind the willingness of some conservatives to risk everything to stop Obamacare. But it's not that Obamacare will fail. After all, if the law will just be a debacle, Republicans should let it take effect, ride the catastrophe to overwhelming victory in the 2014 midterms, and then use their massive congressional majorities to repeal it.

"Rather, as EJ Dionne writes, the real fear is that the law will succeed. Once Obamacare begins delivering health insurance to millions of Americans it will become effectively impossible to repeal. That's what's happened in every other country that's introduced a national health-care system. That's why the right needs to stop Obamacare before it begins."

Posted by: AlphaCat

September 24, 2013 at 4:24 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

When I saw the title I thought we might have something worth unpacking. Then I saw who wrote it and laughed. If this is in any way the best "case for killing Obamacare," it's hardly worth responding to. What a vapid article. Other than lying about Buffett, there's just nothing there. Let's look at four claims he made in one sentence:

SH: "Obamacare will damage the private insurance market,">>

Good. 90% of the private insurance market's job was finding pre-existing conditions so they could exclude them. That is, exclude you from being covered for what you are most likely to need to be covered for. That's pure insanity, and it's gone now. Thanks Obama.

SH: "incentivize the end of employer-based health coverage,">>

One could wish that was true, but it isn't true. Maybe in the long run. Good. Employer based health coverage is stupid, but it's what we've got until we go for something big like single payer or medicare for all.

SH: "make part-time work the new normal">>

This is a Sherman Frederick article so, as usual, it's wrong:

"Survey: Part-Time Work Growing More Due to Economy Than Obamacare"

Key survey results:

SH: "and generally lessen the quality of health care in America.">>

No evidence, just an assertion. Since this is a Sherman article, as usual he has his facts exactly upside down. The ACA requires and incentivizes improved quality of healthcare. The exact opposite of what we've been doing with disastrous results.

There maybe someone capable of putting together a good case against the ACA, but it isn't going to be someone as incompetent, simple and dishonest as this Frederick fellow.

"Plans purchased through the Obamacare marketplaces will be significantly more robust than current individual policies, which often skimp on essential coverage to bring down their prices and have been dismissed by consumer advocates as “junk insurance.” Obamacare marketplace plans must cover 10 broad categories of “essential health benefits,” including for prescription drug coverage, mental health services, and maternity care."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 24, 2013 at 7:22 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

WASHINGTON — Opponents of the 2010 health care law have out-spent supporters by nearly 5-1 on the airwaves — as conservatives seek to cast doubts about its effects and pledge to keep it at the forefront of federal, state and local races, an analysis shows.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act spent at least $385 million from March 2010, when Congress enacted the sweeping health care measure, through the end of last month, according to an analysis of TV advertising nationwide by Kantar Media.

Posted by: cdawg

September 24, 2013 at 8:34 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Who's gonna pay for it? Sebelius tells us what it is going to cost:

Before tax credits that work like an upfront discount for most consumers, sticker-price premiums for a mid-range benchmark plan will average $328 a month nationally for an individual, comparable to payments for a new car.

For example, the average individual premium for a benchmark policy known as the "second-lowest cost silver plan" ranges from a low of $192 in Minnesota to a high of $516 in Wyoming. That's the sticker price, before tax credits.

In the three states with the highest uninsured population, the benchmark plan will average $373 in California, $305 in Texas, and $328 in Florida. Differences between states can be due to the number of insurers competing and other factors.

The administration report found that factoring in tax credits, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year would see the premium for the benchmark silver plan drop to $145 in nearly every state. But if that hypothetical young adult used the tax credit to buy the cheapest bronze plan, he or she could cut the monthly premium to $74 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, $102 in Orlando, and $119 in Pittsburgh.

For a family of four making $50,000, the tax credit would cut the monthly premium for the benchmark silver plan to $282. But if the family used its tax credit to buy the cheapest bronze plan, the premium would be $26 a month in Dallas-Fort Worth, $126 in Orlando, and $209 in Pittsburgh.

Government subsidies make it nearly "affordable" for some, but who pays the difference? Would that be taxpayers or will they just print some more money?

If people in need had hopes of saving up a down payment to get a car, they just took your monthly payments to pay for health care. You're going to need cash and what little you have you'll probably need for groceries. But wait, if you act now we'll throw in SNAP for free! Maybe you will still have a little left over for chips and beer when you watch the "big game" unfold.

I know a lot of people where $25 or 50 a month makes or breaks their budget. Guess they'll need another part time job just to make up for healthcare. Otherwise it is not affordable for them at all. At least there will probably be a lot of part time jobs around as employers react. Good luck folks.

Posted by: jeffieboy

September 25, 2013 at 11:42 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

I hope everyone can see that Jeffie fails to comprehend even his own unreferenced source.

The ACA lowers costs and saves the country a couple hundred billion over a decade. It does this while vastly improving healthcare access and quality. We already pay twice the OCED average of 30 peer nations. We couldn't be doing it worse.

“The bottom line is that the government has consistently reported that Obamacare will raise national health spending by about 1 to 2 percent.” “This is a small fraction of the typical 5 to 7 percent annual growth rate in health care – and is a small price to pay for insuring 30 million or more Americans.”

"Major New Study On Obamacare Premiums Should End The ‘Rate Shock’ Hysteria Once And For All"

"Strikingly, in every city analyzed, a family of four with two 40-year-old adults and a household income of $60,000 per year would pay $409 per month for the second-cheapest Silver plan after receiving subsidies. That’s more or less in line with the average $4,565 per year that workers currently contribute towards their employer-sponsored health insurance plans.
While the KFF researchers emphasized that there will be significant variation in Obamacare premiums depending on geographic location, they concluded that premiums would be lower than what the government expected, writing, “the latest projections from the Congressional Budget Office imply that the premium for a 40-year-old in the second lowest cost silver plan would average $320 per month nationally. Fifteen of the eighteen rating areas we examined have premiums below this level, suggesting that the cost of coverage for consumers and the federal budgetary cost for tax credits will be lower than anticipated.”
Plans purchased through the Obamacare marketplaces will be significantly more robust than current individual policies, which often skimp on essential coverage to bring down their prices and have been dismissed by consumer advocates as “junk insurance.” Obamacare marketplace plans must cover 10 broad categories of “essential health benefits,” including for prescription drug coverage, mental health services, and maternity care."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 25, 2013 at 2:41 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

The people of Massachusetts like their version of the ACA quite well.
"Romney said "The people of the state like it by about three to one. We consider it very different than Obama Care.”
Others disagree about the differences.
“The federal reform is simply a more ambitious version of the Massachusetts reform,” said Jon Gruber, a professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge who helped policy makers write both laws."

Posted by: Coralie

September 25, 2013 at 2:45 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

From Romney himself--
"what RomneyCare has accomplished after 5 years of being in affect:

1 - Nearly every Massachusetts citizen is covered.
2 - Many more businesses are offering medical insurance to their employees. Now 76% of employers of medical insurance to their employees, compared with 70% just five years ago. The national rate remained at 60%.
3 - The overall costs of the program to the state have not exceeded expectations. [1-1.5%]
4 - The cost of health care premiums for individuals who buy insurance without the help of an employer have gone down dramatically.
5 -RomneyCare remains exceptionally popular among state residents. Studies repeatedly confirm that 67-84% of Massachusetts residents are happy with the plan."

Posted by: Coralie

September 25, 2013 at 2:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Mass had the among the highest insurance costs in the nation when they started. That is not the case in all states. "Romneycare" is also not Obamacare.

States that are similar may see "savings" but those with lower costs will see increases, often significant. In Arkansas our costs will go up while in the crazy states like Calipornia, people may benefit. In those cases Arkansas is one of the states that will be paying for other states. Before you get froggy, I know .... not directly, but through the federal tax and spend and deficit spend system.

To measure one by the other is dumb because the states are different, the demographics of the state, tax bases, level of industry, average incomes, etc., all very different. Romneycare is one state, not all 50. There is no guarantee that what works in one state will work in others. Making that assumption is not only a strech, it is dumb.

Posted by: jeffieboy

September 25, 2013 at 3:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Jeff: "costs will... [blah blah blah]">>

Let's check:

"Government Releases Obamacare Premium Levels for 36 More States"

"...In general, the news was pretty good. As with most of the state exchanges, the premiums are coming in below the predictions of the Congressional Budget Office:

"Individuals will have an average of 53 qualified health plan choices in states where HHS will fully or partially run the Marketplace.

…Premiums before tax credits will be more than 16 percent lower than projected. The weighted average second lowest cost silver plan for 48 states (including DC) is 16 percent below projections based on the ASPE-derived Congressional Budget Office premiums.

…Tax credits will make premiums even more affordable for individuals and families. For example, in Texas, an average 27-year-old with income of $25,000 could pay $145 per month for the second lowest cost silver plan, $133 for the lowest cost silver plan, and $83 for the lowest cost bronze plan after tax credits. For a family of four in Texas with income of $50,000, they could pay $282 per month for the second lowest cost silver plan, $239 for the lowest silver plan, and $57 per month for the lowest bronze plan after tax credits."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 25, 2013 at 3:53 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

All you talk about are the premiums. There is a lot more to insurance than that. We have all these levels of plans to contend with. The main difference between plans is cost-sharing. Obamacare Bronze plans cover 60% of expected medical costs, more expensive silver plans will cover 70%, gold will cover 80% and the very expensive platinum plans will pay 90%. Choose wisely but most folks that need this stuff can probably only afford the bronze ones.

While inexpensive preventative care is covered 100% you will pay a percentage of the bill until you reach your "cap" on total out-of-pocket costs. What fun, you get a free checkup once in a while but what happens if they actually treat you or find something serious?

Regardless of what you pay in premiums you still have to come up with whatever percent the plan you choose requires. Someone on a limited income and on a bronze plan may pay a relatively small premium but if they need $100,000 worth of care for an accident or more for a cardiac treatment they are still stuck with 40% of the bill or $60,000.

They will help you with that but before they do you have to come up with the cash for your "cap". At a reported $6,350 for individuals, $12,700 for a family policy you are going to pay that up first. If you are on a very limited income and don't have money you are still going bankrupt babycakes.

When I carried private insurance as a single person with Blue Cross a year ago I paid less than $120 a month. For that I got routine in system care at the company clinic free, paid a $35 copay if I went to an outside doctor, had a $1000 deductible and a $5000 cap on out of pocket expense where the insurance took over and paid 100% of everything above it for the remainder of the calendar year. It sure beat Obamacare for a lot less money.

Posted by: jeffieboy

September 25, 2013 at 7:07 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

J: "if they need $100,000 worth of care for an accident or more for a cardiac treatment they are still stuck with 40% of the bill or $60,000.">>

Dear god in heaven, is it really possible that a person could be this GD stupid? I mean really. Jeffie needs to remember to open the garage door when he's revving his Harley. Those monoxide fumes aren't helping.

Incidentally, speaking of bankruptcies:

"Medical Bills Are the Biggest Cause of US Bankruptcies: Study
Bankruptcies resulting from unpaid medical bills will affect nearly 2 million people this year—making health care the No. 1 cause of such filings, and outpacing bankruptcies due to credit-card bills or unpaid mortgages, according to new data...
Even outside of bankruptcy, about 56 million adults—more than 20 percent of the population between the ages of 19 and 64—will still struggle with health-care-related bills this year,..."

By the way, this doesn't happen in Canada and those other countries that cover everyone at half the cost. The notion that you get fiscally wiped out due to a sickness is considered barbaric, which it is.

More good news:

"New Report: For 95% Of Americans, Obamacare Will Cost Much Less Than Expected"
"When uninsured Americans begin enrolling in Obamacare’s new health care exchanges on Oct. 1, the overwhelming majority — 95 percent — will face health care premiums that are 16 percent lower, on average, than the government had previously projected,..."

Posted by: fayfreethinker

September 25, 2013 at 7:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Seems that jeffie is trying to make the point that it's a wiser choice for low income families to take their chances with bankruptcy for unpaid medical expenses than to sign up for subsidized medical insurance. Jeffiie argues that if one incurs a medical expense, any applicable copay would be just as likely to cause bankruptcy.

That's clearly an illogical argument. If insurance covers 60% of your bill, leaving you responsible for 40%, one obviously has a better chance of covering it. Someone who argues otherwise is likely to think that 40% of $100,000 is $60,000.

Posted by: FrankLloydLeft

September 28, 2013 at 6:20 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Wrong, Frank. Neither choice will do you any good. If you don't have a dollar it doesn't matter if you owe $60,000 or $100,000. You can't afford either. In fact, you can't afford the premium in the first place. Progressive liberals are idiots.

Posted by: jeffieboy

September 28, 2013 at 7:15 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

If you can't afford the premium, you qualify for Medicaid and you don't owe anything. Have you read anything about the ACA jeffieboy?

Posted by: FrankLloydLeft

September 28, 2013 at 10:56 p.m. ( | suggest removal )