Obamacare: Clues to Impending Failure

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Slowly and insidiously the healthcare plan nicknamed Obamacare is usurping the delivery of medicine in this country leaving most of us feeling confused and angry. Don’t be surprised when it suddenly strikes you and/or your family.

 

President Obama spends a lot of time hawking the wonders of the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

Candidate Obama promised: “If you already have health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this plan is that you will spend less on premiums.”

 

According to an article entitled “ObamaCare: The Emperor Has No Clue” by Dr. Marilyn Singleton that appeared on the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons website and has been widely quoted, “insurance premiums have risen an average of 30 percent since ObamaCare’s enactment. In Orange County, California, premiums for a 25-year-old in good health will rise by 95 percent.”

 

“True believers ridiculed critics of the Independent Payment Advisory Board and its unchecked power to ration health care,” she continued. “They were impressed by the $575 billion cut to Medicare although lower payments lead physicians to accept fewer Medicare patients. They cheered because 11 million Americans will be added to the Medicaid rolls over the next ten years. While Medicaid looks like a good deal with its low co-pays, provider payments are so low that only one-third of physicians accept new Medicaid patients.”

 

Dr. Singleton goes on to say that “True believers scoffed at claims of loss of privacy. After the NSA snooping revelations, a Pew survey revealed that 70 percent of Americans believe the government is using data for purposes other than fighting terrorism. Not only could unethical employees misuse health and financial information, the health ‘Data Hub’ can be shared among seven federal agencies for ill-defined ‘routine uses.’ According to a former HHS general counsel, the federal government’s computer program for insurance exchanges lacks privacy safeguards and could expose applicants to identity theft.”

 

She continues that “President Obama has repeatedly promised that ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.’ Even his Praetorian Guard has now defected. The National Treasury Employees Union—which represents the IRS folks who are ultimately in charge of ObamaCare—does not want its members to be ‘pushed out’ of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program and into the insurance exchanges.”

 

Dr. Singleton points out that “another wrinkle in the program could limit access to care. If enrollees pay one month’s premium, exchanges must provide a grace period of three consecutive months during which coverage cannot be terminated. However, insurers are only required to pay claims during the first 30 days of the grace period. Thus, patients with valid insurance cards in hand can seek treatment at a doctor’s office on day 31 through 90 of the grace period. When the physician in good faith submits a claim to the insurer, the claim can be denied. Although the physician can bill the patient, realistically, many patients simply will not pay. Chalk up another win for the insurance industry, which has off-loaded two-thirds of the risk of nonpayment onto physicians.”

 

I agree with Dr. Singleton when she states that “ObamaCare ignores human nature. Despite the claimed efforts to have patients adopt behaviors that help control costs, two recent studies in the journal Health Affairs demonstrate that people do not change merely because you tell them to. Another study revealed that a majority of patients didn’t want costs to enter into their medical decisions. Some participants even chose expensive care “out of spite” because of antagonism toward their insurance company.”

 

She ends by saying that “Hucksterism cannot overcome reality. Government efforts at mass control are doomed. Successful reform requires innovation, maximization of personal engagement with medical treatment, and minimization of third party involvement. ObamaCare does just the opposite.”

 

Michael Arnold Glueck, Newport Beach, writes extensively on medical-legal issues.

 

 

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