I’m no fan of our present health care system with the way it’s rigged and gamed with the patient kicked back and forth between health care providers and health care insurers with over billing and restricted coverage, to a large extent it’s not so much whether the patient is treated as about who gets the money. It needs to be fixed, but do we need more government intrusiveness and control over our lives via Medicare for all while promising you can keep the healthcare plan you like?
We’ve seen the “keep your healthcare plan” movie before with Obamacare.
In at least 36 speeches from 2008 to 2012 President Obama said of Obamacare (ACA) “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
In 2013 health insurance companies began sending cancellation letters when Obamacare forced grandfathered healthcare plans out of existence, new healthcare plans became too costly for insurance companies to maintain while premiums and deductibles to insured customers became prohibitively high.
Politifact, no bastion of right wing activism, gave the “keep your health plan” statement the lie of the year award for 2013. This was first reported on air by CNN anchor Jake Tapper. In a 2009 speech to the American Medical Association President Obama said “We can build a health care system that allows you to be physicians instead of administrators and accountants. A system that gives Americans the best care at the lowest cost…”
That promise became the Electronic Health Records (EHR) mandate, which was forcibly implemented faster than it could be reasonably and safely deployed.
EHR loaded physicians down with electronic paperwork and took their time away from productively seeing and treating patients.
The various vendors’ software used by different healthcare facilities often didn’t communicate with each other and were otherwise buggy: myriad types of appointments for tests and specialists weren’t made after being input into the system, parts of electronic patient records disappeared, important patient information was absent during surgeries and other treatment due to incomplete information, prescriptions were lost track of. EHR contributed to Doctor stress and resultant burn out. EHR lent itself to “upcoding” (fraudulent overcharges), there were cases of medical records being electronically altered to cover errors when facilities faced legal action. With a national shortage of doctors, a number retired early or left for other professions because of all this and more.
A lot of doctors were forced out of private practice because they couldn’t afford the faulty technology which was forced on them.
The EHR mandate led to patient harm, patient deaths and lawsuits while the time to see a doctor after making an appointment grew ever longer. Meanwhile, the cost of insurance premiums and deductibles to the insured skyrocketed.
On March 9 of 2010 House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi said “...We have to pass the bill (Obamacare) so that you can find out what’s in it away from the fog of controversy...” During a November 17, 2013 Meet the Press interview, Pelosi spun that her comment referred to Congressional deliberation, that when the American kitchen table saw what the bill was about the public would like it – affordability, accessibility, better quality care, prevention, wellness, a healthier nation, liberty to pursue happiness, to not be chained to a policy, and that the insured could keep their previous healthcare plan.
The nation was then chained to the Obamacare policy via a penalty for not participating, plans that existing customers liked better than Obamacare disappeared.
As a member of a 2013 panel discussion at the University of Pennsylvania Jonathon Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, explained the reason for obfuscating the Obamacare bill: ”Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically really, really critical for the thing to pass.
Look, I wish that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law (Obamacare) than not.” Even though there were unintended consequences, Gruber largely knew what was to come when he designed Obamacare.
The AFL-CIO and other labor entities originally resisted Obamacare due to the stratospheric price tag and decline in health care quality that would be inflicted on the rank and file union members who would be penalized for having high quality (“Cadillac”) employer funded heath plans. The unions got at least limited exemptions from Obamacare.
Obama signed Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010. Not one Congressional Republican in either chamber voted for Obamacare, a number of Democrats voted against.
Obamacare was all about consolidating government control coupled with ideological, redistribution laden leveling of society.
Health care is a large chunk of the economy and Obamacare was designed to eventually crash after enrolling the whole national population into the system (willfully creating a problem) and bring about universal, single payer (government provided) medical care (providing a solution to a problem they created).
Medicare in its present form isn’t an example of first quality heath care, but it’s better than nothing for older people on fixed incomes who have contributed to society by working nearly their whole lives while mentoring and providing education to upcoming generations.
Do we damage Medicare by tampering with it?
Would a modified single payer MediCal / Medicaid style program for all be the answer?
No, because it would have been pushed rather than Obamacare and Medicare for all.
Why not VA for all? A lot of veterans scandalously died while waiting for treatment. Our present heath care system needs adjustment, but Medicare for all, Obamacare and single payer health care would drive the car over the cliff. We shouldn’t leave our healthcare to the machinations of devious ideologues with agendas.
Allan McNew, Beaumont