Some Cold Hard Truth About Obamacare


Transcript via Independent Journal Review:

Mr. President, we at Fox News are not the problem. I hate to break it to you, sir. You are. Your words are. Your promises are. We didn’t sell this healthcare law. Sir, you did. Remember this?

President Barack Obama: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period.

Mr. President, tell that to tens of thousands of retirees at IBM and Time Warner and dozens of others, who’ve been dumped from their coverage and told to find their own coverage. Fox News didn’t break that news to them, Mr. President. Their companies did.

Fox News didn’t push more of those firms to hire part-time workers. Your healthcare law did. Fox News didn’t incentivize fast food restaurants to scale back their benefits. Your healthcare law did. Fox News didn’t make doctors want to opt out. Your healthcare law did. Fox News didn’t make insurance premiums sky rocket. Your healthcare law did. Just like Fox News didn’t grant hundreds of exemptions to companies that needed them. You did. And Fox News didn’t delay one key provision after another, including online enrollment for those small business exchanges. You did.

Just like it wasn’t Fox News that said we had to pass this to see what was in this. You did. Or was that Nancy Pelosi? Sometimes I’m confused. But of this I am not. Fox News didn’t re-do basic math. Sir, you did. Fox News didn’t say you can cover 30 million more Americans and not see a hit in premiums. You did. Fox News didn’t say you could throw in those with pre-existing conditions and not have to pay for it. You did. Fox News didn’t all but say you could get something for nothing. You did. Fox News didn’t come back years later and say, oh yea, we did raise some taxes. You did.

Here’s where you are right about Fox News, however, Mr. President. We can do math. And did. You cannot. And did not. We said it, and proved it. You didn’t. And we’re all suffering for it. Take it from the numbers guy at Fox. Numbers don’t lie. The number of Americans working part-time and nervous. The number of retirees days away from being dumped on exchanges and anxious. The number of company bosses with any news to pass along on those exchanges, but still clueless. The number of doctors who want out. The number of congressmen now opting out. No, Mr. President, none of those numbers lie.

But with all due respect sir, I can only conclude you do; I know, I know you hate us at Fox. But please take a look in a mirror, and fast. You think we’re the skunk at your picnic. But that doesn’t mean we’re the ones that stink. Because that smell isn’t coming from the folks reporting on your law. Mr. President, that smell is your law.


Here is some cold, hard truth about Obamacare:

1. OBAMACARE DOES NOT PROVIDE HEALTH CARE! It “provides” healthcare insurance to some people who didn’t have it before. Very expensive health insurance that does not even guarantee they will be able to get actual healthcare.

2. Obamacare does nothing to make healthcare less expensive. The real problem with healthcare in this country is the cost. We pay more, a lot more, for comparable healthcare that is available in other industrialized nations. The reason for that is a topic for a separate, lengthy post.

3. Right now there is a finite amount of healthcare available. There are only so many doctors, nurses and medical facilities in this country. We can fix that problem, but it will not happen overnight.

4. Obamacare does nothing to increase the total amount of healthcare available. If anything, it makes the problem worse.

5. Increasing the demand for healthcare without a commensurate increase (or with a decrease) in the amount of healthcare available will cause both an increase in cost and a decrease in quality. That’s just the basic economics of scarcity.

6. There is no such thing as “free” healthcare. Somebody will always have to pay. Anything “free” ends up costing twice as much in the long run.

We need major healthcare reform in this country but the existing institutions (public and private) that control how we do healthcare will resist any change. Resistance to change is part of the nature of all institutions. We developed a system that worked for many years but it’s not working anymore. There are vested interests that want to keep the current system.

Imagine if healthcare was a new invention. Imagine if all the medical knowledge of the past 150 years was suddenly discovered. Our goal is to provide quality healthcare to everyone, in the necessary quantity, and keep it affordable. That is what a real healthcare reform should look like. But how do we get there from here?

Here are a few ideas:

1. Separate healthcare from employment. It makes no sense to connect the two the way we do.

2. Eliminate for-profit healthcare insurance companies. They are parasites that drain off up to 30% of our healthcare dollars.

3. Expand the number of doctors and nurses our schools produce every year. We can’t provide more healthcare without more doctors and nurses. But we have to do this without cutting quality.

4. Make becoming a doctor or nurse less expensive. One of the reasons that healthcare is so expensive is the crushing load of student loan debt that medical professionals start with.

5. Make being a doctor less expensive. I’m talking about malpractice reform. Again, we have to do this without harming quality.

6. Be creative. Let’s study how things are done in other countries and try new innovations.

What do you think we should do?


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67 Responses to Some Cold Hard Truth About Obamacare

  1. The Klown says:
  2. DeniseVB says:

    Judge Jeanine and Dr. Ben Carson discuss Obamacare last night. He has some good ideas …… Our future Attorney General and Health Secretary ? If I were President that is 😀

  3. jeffhas says:

    1. Graduate more doctors. The Medical/Healthcare Education Industry tightly controls how many are accepted into schools, and how many will graduate by actual numbers and cost to be educated.

    In return for Colleges graduating more doctors…

    2. Institute Malpractice/Torte Reform. Cap awards, Losing lawyers pay Winners fees… etc. This will reduce the cost of Malpractice Insurance for Doctor’s and Insurance Companies, making it less expensive to be a Doctor – more people will want to become a doctor.

    In return for Torte Reform…

    3. Let all Insurance companies compete in any state anywhere. Insurance companies that provide Healthcare Insurance will need to lower their prices and get rid of pre-existing conditions… because all Insurers will pay much less in court costs and attorneys fees, but have more doctors to charge Malpractice insurance from. There will be more doctors and patients in the system – therefore Lawyers will be able to have a larger pool of defensible clients.

    In return for insurance carriers lowering prices and covering pre-existing conditions…

    See #1

    • The Klown says:

      How about offering fully-paid rides thru medical school (or student loan forgiveness) in exchange for doctors agreeing to work a certain number of years in rural areas or inner-cities where there is a shortage of doctors?

      • lyn says:

        I remember something like that in the ’80s. Doctors would work on the Native American reservations to help pay down their medical school debt. Here are some other ideas: http://www.credit.com/life_stages/starting_out/Student-Loan-Forgiveness-Programs.jsp

      • DeniseVB says:

        They offer medical programs in the military, all expenses paid and full benefits I believe. Just have to give them 7 years back. Not a bad deal.

        http://www.usmilitary.com/2155/military-medical-school-options/

      • Lulu says:

        The Presbyterians do that or at least used to. Full ride for 5 years as a medical missionary. My cardiologist did it. He is also a med school prof. He was from a tiny town in upstate NY and his dad was a dairyman so he was a very smart poor boy.

      • jeffhas says:

        Works for me – whatever is takes to get more doctors graduated – but the schools are controlling this too.

      • wmcb says:

        Denise VB, that’s how my husband went to medical school after he finished college. The Navy paid his ride, and he worked for them for peanuts for years after.

        And BTW, the military hospitals where he trained were brutal. None of this “but we can’t work them too many shifts” BS. He pretty much lived and slept at the hospital during internship and residency. He had zero life. They hammered him with work and knowledge and experience.

        And you know what? They turned out a damn fine doc and one of the best diagnosticians I’ve ever seen in the field. I don’t say that just because he’s my husband. I’ve seen lots of docs as a nurse. Some just go along with whatever the accepted treatment is, follow the algorythms. Lou? He goes on a demented personal mission to find out WHAT IS WRONG with you, and FIX it.

        Neither the govt nor the insurance companies want docs like that. They are usually very good at treating patients, and very bad at ticking all the ticky boxes, warehousing the patient til they die, and shrugging.

      • There’s already something similar, and you don’t have to be a doctor, but certain doctors do qualify. If you work for a qualifying non-profit or the state, you can get your student loans forgiven after 10 years of payment.

    • t says:

      #3, they pretty much did for credit cards. Where did all the credit card companies end up? In the most consumer-unfriendly credit card company friendly state in the Union — Joe Biden’s Deleware. Letting insurance companies trade across states is NOT an answer.

      • jeffhas says:

        Duly noted, had not thought of that . So many companies of all shapes and sizes incorporate in Delaware for their Corporate-Friendly environment, for all I know many of the Insurance carriers are already incorporated there.

        Anways, I would think the competitive benefit of selling insurance across state lines (lower rates) outweighs the consumer problems associated with Incorporating in Delaware… and it seems to me you need every segment on board.

  4. driguana says:

    This is awesome and I hope will stimulate a great discussion today. I would add one thing. As Obama once said, “everyone should have skin in the game”….yep, absolutely, if you want a good service, pitch in something…something…very few people should get something for nothing…put up your part, whatever that might be…everyone needs to help row the boat in this country…everyone!!

  5. swanspirit says:

    There are so many ways to cut healthcare costs . I would be participating more in this and other discussions , but I am dealing with some back pain . I was in the ER two nights ago with immobilizing back pain . but an injection of Toradol helped a lot! I am still stiff and moving slowly and carefully , but gradually improving . Obamacare will wreck the health care system in this country ,

  6. foxyladi14 says:

    I believe that is the plan. Swan 😯

    • swanspirit says:

      Our current health care system is already skating on very very thin ice . Many people have no idea how thin that ice is . When I was in the ER two nights ago , the MD insisted I have a sonogram and even called in the sonogram tech , to be certain that my back pain wasn’t being caused by an aortic aneurism ( it wasn’t ) , and while I was glad he checked , by no means did I get a complete check of all my systems , and the ER nurse was a tad bit condescending until I told her I was an RN . I may be nit picking , but in an ideal situation , I would have had a thorough going over , and I wish they would teach nurses the difference between being helpful and condescending in nursing school .But I also know nurses are burdened with carrying this medical system , and are the scapegoats as well, so I understand burn out and the effects .

  7. DeniseVB says:

    This is a pretty long list of companies laying off or cutting hours getting ready for Obamacare. Have the Obamacare supporting House and Senate members noticed ? Shame on them…..

    http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/092513-669013-obamacare-employer-mandate-a-list-of-cuts-to-work-hours-jobs.htm

  8. Constance says:

    There is little the government can do because they may tax us middle class suckers but they represent multinational corporations. They do need to cap malpractice awards but without malpractice as a threat there will be far too many mistakes made. We also need to reform end of life care. Sure there are some people who want to fight death to the end but they need to fund that themselves. People who want to coast quietly to death need hospice support at home if that is where they want to be.

    I think they should get a private group like maybe the Gates foundation to set up a low cost basic care insurance policy and manage it like a private business not like a government gravy train for corporations. Go from there with little tweaks to the system. Keeping kids under 27 on parents insurance is a good one. These people shouldn’t cost much to insure.

    Also attribute costs of health care to the real users. This crap of saying childbirth is a woman’s health care cost is crap. When male children are born this is a male health care cost. And there is no “women and children” category, when male children are seeking health care that is a male health care cost. Similarly birth control is not a women’s health care cost. It is half woman’s health care and half men’s health care. I am sick of people who imply women use too much health care.

    • The Klown says:

      The crazy aunt in the basement that nobody wants to talk about is placing limits to how much healthcare we are willing to pay for.

      If it’s you or someone you love you want all the healthcare you can get and damn the expense or the odds of success. How do you tell a parent that their kid is gonna die because they can’t afford to keep them alive.

      I’ve been the parent of a dying child. “Desperate” does not begin to describe the feeling.

      But how much should other people have to pay to keep MY child alive? At what point do we say “enough”?

      Rich people will always be able to buy the very best care as well as experimental treatments. If they can’t get it here they’ll go overseas to get it.

      It’s the rest of us that have to face monetary limitations. That is a cold hard truth.

      • Constance says:

        A lot of improvement can be made on end of life care without ever taking on the death of children. Many old people are ready to go and don’t want to be bothered with aggressive medical death avoidance for profit. My Mom (88) had a stroke and couldn’t eat or talk and and signaled she wanted hospice support, they put in a feeding tube and IVs and took her for a scan of her arteries to see if they could do surgery to clear them. On three different occasions she pulled out her IVs and feeding tubes but it took weeks for me to get her away from the Med center and to a place that would keep her comfortable while death took over (5 days once they quit their interventions) which was her choice. They even wanted to treat her for her “depression” when she was not depressed she was just done. This sort of medicine is a waste and it needs to stop.

        As far as very sick children go many people will donate to this sort of cause and that is a good way to provide care for these cases. But much medical care is torture to the people who have to go through it to spare their parents the pain of death and loss. Such as the lung transplant girl, I would not have put my child through that.

        • sandress says:

          I don’t want people to donate towards healthcare. It is Not a consumer good or commodity, it is a citizenship right, period. I don’t want to donate towards police or emergency services, either. Either you’re a goddamned citizen of this country or you’re not, and if you are (or a legal equivalent) then your basic healthcare should be covered. It isn’t some trinket you buy as a luxury.

      • wmcb says:

        Yep. Sorry, but everyone is not going to be able to have the latest greatest drug/treatment, always. If it’s literally life-threatening if they don’t get it, sure.

        But if the old cheap drug controls my blood pressure fairly adequately, and the 5 times as expensive new drug controls it a bit better, we can afford for most to be on the old drug, not the new. EVERYONE demanding the new is going to crash the system.

  9. The Klown says:

    John Smart should be pleased:

    After last night’s 62-41 loss to Arizona State, USC head coach Lane Kiffin was unceremoniously dumped like a bag of trash at the airport by athletic director Pat Haden. Judging from the details, he never saw it coming, and needed a ride home from LAX.

  10. angienc says:

    Neil is right on the money. However, he’s wasting his breath as Obama and the progs will dismiss him with a “he’s lying” (like they did to Romney at the debates) and continue on their path of smug idiocy.

  11. wmcb says:

    Here’s an example of the stupidity of govt getting involved in healthcare with “good intentions.” A few years ago, they started developing benchmarks for hospitals to be in compliance with Medicare. It’s a trainwreck already. Think NCLB, except in medicine, not teaching.

    So they looked at the statistics for congestive heart failure, and decided everyone with a CHF complaint needed an echocardiogram. Okay, great idea. Then they wrote the regs. You now have a situation where ppl come into the hospital for gangrene in their toe, but have a past history of CHF. CHF that is utterly stable, and has zero to do with their current sickness.

    The govt has also decided that even for toe gangrene, the doc has to do a complete history and physical, and list ALL of the patient’s problems past and present, from every body system. So if being honest, the doc has to list CHF in their history.

    DING DING DING! Once you mention CHF in the chart, the pt gets carted off for an echocardiogram. Because compliance. Never mind if they are not THERE for that, are having no symptoms, and in fact have already had FOUR echocardiograms in the past year from various hospitalizations for various complaints.

    So now we are spending billions on completely unnecessary echocardiograms, and tying up staff and facilities time doing bullshit tests. All because the govt wrote 2 separate compliance standards (the full body review of systems, and the CHF rule) without a CLUE as to how that would work out/conflict in the real world of treating real live patients. Just as with teachers, they write shit that makes the docs job next to impossible to do. That makes them teach/treat with an eye to the regs, not an eye to the student/patient. TICK THE TICKY BOXES becomes the focus.

    Multiply that insanity by hundreds of regs. It’s crazy. LET THE DOCS MAKE THE DECISIONS. Are there some who will cheat? Sure. So come down like a ton of bricks on those that do. It’s a lot cheaper to prosecute the bad apples than to build/maintain a massive bureaucracy that doesn’t even solve the problems.

    • wmcb says:

      Oh, and on the topic of “but what about the bad apples?”, here’s a little reality that many refuse to face: Nothing in this world is perfect, or ever will be. Nothing.

      Take a cold hard realistic look at the world, and figure out what benefits the most with the least downside. Downside WILL NOT be eliminated entirely. Ever. And I’m sick of the starry-eyed unicorn hunting progs fucking up the whole world in pursuit of that unrealistic pipedream

      • The Klown says:

        As a lawyer I am not supposed to say this but getting injured should not be like winning the lottery.

        • wmcb says:

          Yep. And lack of 100% bulletproof safety and hand-holding is not “OMG this company tried to negligently kill me!”

          I’m just tired of this crap. Oh, you didn’t know that one can fall off a ladder, and it’s the company’s fault that they didn’t adequately warn you of that possibility?

          YOU need a warning label tattoed on your forehead then: “This person is a fucking moron without the sense God gave a goat. Stay away from them, as they are likely to play with drano or set their own clothes on fire.”

        • foxyladi14 says:

          It is tho for some people. 🙄

        • Jadzia says:

          It always strikes me as amazing that there are NO warnings on anything over here. Want to put your kid on the bungee jump? Step right up! I have to think that is partially attributable to the fact that everybody here has health care, and so if you get hurt, there’s no reason/need to sue for medical costs. Not that our system is perfect, and it sure as hell isn’t “free” on an individual/family level (we pay payroll taxes for it, plus there are copays of 26 euros for each doc visit, sliding scale on meds, and I can’t figure out the system at all for specialists but it was 90 euros to have my torn meniscus ultrasounded and x-rayed). Anyhow, med mal suits also seem to be VERY uncommon here except in really egregious cases, like the kinds that sound more like assault and battery than medical care.

        • 1539days says:

          When the government is the PCP, they don’t like lawyers messing up their cost structure. Punitive lawsuits become illegal pretty quickly. Advocates for socialized medicine consider that a “savings,” when even a individual pays system could do the same.

    • 1539days says:

      Here’s the thing that got me. Movies that want to use an MRI in a scene have to build their own mock up because the machines are so busy. Think about it. THE MOVIE INDUSTRY, that can pretty much hand out sacks of money, can’t afford to rent an MRI.

      • wmcb says:

        Demand drives prices higher. Why do we have too much demand? Because once MRI became a diagnostic tool, every doc began ordering MRI’s defensively, in case of a lawsuit. If there is a .0000001% chance that an MRI might show something he missed, it’s being ordered.

        Doctors still treat for horses when they hear hoofbeats, not zebras. Because chances are it’s a horse, not a zebra. But they order the tests for every rare zebra on the planet, even the most unlikely ones, every time. Because if you miss that zebra, a jury is going to crucify you. And saying that 99.999999% of the time it would have been a horse, not a zebra, is no defense.

      • sandress says:

        Uh, are you sure that isn’t because an MRI is a giant-ass Magnet, and so even having change in your pocket or a zipper in your pants, even with the damned thing unplugged is a crisis waiting to happen? And most of the machinery on a set probably still has parts that are sensitive to magnetism?

  12. The Klown says:
  13. wmcb says:

    This is something that all of us, left and right and none of the above, need to demand change on. “Use it or lose it” budgeting is freaking perverse. It rewards excess spending, and prevents agencies that have been frugal from carrying over monies to use for REAL needs in the next fiscal year.

    The system actually punishes agencies who WANT to be responsible with taxpayer money. That’s insane. Change it. Now.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/as-congress-fights-over-the-budget-agencies-go-on-their-use-it-or-lose-it-shopping-sprees/2013/09/28/b8eef3cc-254c-11e3-b3e9-d97fb087acd6_story.html?hpid=z2

    • wmcb says:

      It’s also a perfect example of “good intentions gone bad”. Rule was put in place so that unused budgets could be downsized the next year. It was supposed to be a cost saver. Except they forgot to account for normal and entirely predictable human behavior in reaction to the new rule. That’s often the case with govt actions: looks great on paper only so long as you assume real human beings will not react in their own self-interest. Guess what? They will. Saying “But..they shouldn’t!” is fairytale utopian nonsense.

  14. wmcb says:

    Time for a reality check:

    • wmcb says:

      And BTW, lots of people have decided that since they didn’t like Bush’s stupid solutions to the problem (I didn’t either), the answer is now to ignore and deny the problem. Um, no.

  15. votermom says:

    So OT – I just realized I let a really good coupon expire – kicks self.

    Also, Once Upon A Time premieres now.

  16. westcoaster says:

    OT- someone got censored on Facebook because he wrote and posted an article that a classmate disagreed with (who happened to be a moderator):
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/29-3

  17. sandress says:

    We could always try what demonstrably works: single-payer. Of course that will require taking away the insurance companies “seat at the table”. Not that I’m still bitter.

  18. The Obama solution for #3, just say that there are too many health professionals concentrated in one area, and demand that they are more spread out, then you increase access. aka “equalization”

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