Tag: obamacare

Expect the Democrats to Exploit Obamacare’s Failures

Warren Albrecht | United States

In a telephone survey done by Monmouth University, 27% of those polled said that they or a household family member had avoided medical care because of cost. 20% of adults said that over the last 10 years, they did not pursue other jobs or forms of work due to concerns over losing medical insurance. In a piece by The Hill reviewing the poll, the writer discusses views of supporters and critics of Medicare for All but does not tackle the specifics.

Proponents of Medicare for All say that reducing this “job lock,” or the need to stay in a job to keep the employer-provided health insurance, is a benefit of government-run insurance. Opponents say people often like their employer-sponsored coverage and do not want to be forced to give it up.

You can see the narrative forming. The Democrats will push Medicare for All, essentially code for universal healthcare, because people are still having problems. The failure of Obamacare is not to be mentioned. Free market ideas thrown to the side in 2009 are not being evaluated by the press. Recent polls that show Obamacare’s failures will be used by the Democratic Presidential candidates throughout their campaigns in an attempt to push for Medicare for All.

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Obamacare Failure Proven in Recent Poll

Dr. Warren Albrecht | United States

Imagine if Barack Obama said during the debates with John McCain in 2008 that people in rural America “struggle with experiences in areas of life that carry major consequences, including financial insecurity, housing problems, trouble accessing affordable, quality health care, and a lack of high-speed internet access”.  One would think that the Bush presidency was a failure. But this quote is indeed the summary of Life in Rural America, Part 2. Obamacare is indeed the failure.

The US News and World Report and others including the American Medical Association have publicized the findings of a series of polls performed by the cooperation of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, National Public Radio and The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Reading through the press release or other publications, problems with healthcare seem to be the take-home message.

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CVS Aetna Merger Shows AMA Hypocrisy

Warren Albrecht | United States

We frequently hear that the cost of healthcare is increasing. But we rarely hear anyone define why despite the reason being so obvious: government intrusion. Neither Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Cigna, Humana, Medica, nor Anthem was ever on business programs complaining of the cost of healthcare. Instead, the mainstream media gave platforms to the representatives of Medicare and Medicaid, debt providers for taxpayers. Meanwhile, the Obama administration stopped the mergers of health insurance companies.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the deals “would leave much of the multi-trillion dollar health insurance industry in the hands of three mammoth insurance companies, drastically constricting competition in a number of key markets that tens of millions of Americans rely on to receive health care”.

So one has to ask anyone supporting single-payer health care: why would government control (socialized medicine) be work without any competition? In short, it wouldn’t.

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Obamacare’s Readmission Reduction Program is Quite Literally Deadly

By Dane Larsen | @therealdanelars

The so-called raging success and/or failure, depending on who you ask, of the Affordable Care Act passed by President Barack Obama is often stated as such without question in right-leaning and left-leaning echo chambers of the politisphere. The right has deemed it as a colossal deficiency or a strain on the United States, while the left has deemed it a progressive triumph for the very same country.

It goes without saying that all government operations have their fair share of faults, but the Affordable Care Act included a section beyond the normal text and into the fine print that, when implemented correctly, achieved what it set out for, but caused a reaction that any intellectual could have foreseen from a mile away.

The Hospital Readmission Reduction Program portion of our country’s healthcare alteration allowed the government to levy penalties on companies offering Obamacare policies who’s readmission rates soared after the passing of the ACA. A patient who is readmitted, classified as someone who is granted assistance within 30 days of the previous discharge of that very same hospital, will be denied service.

If the service is not denied and the company performs the necessary treatment, the federal government penalized said companies to an unaffordable degree. In just one year after the passing of this amendment, the New York City Presbyterian Hospital lost $1 million after readmitting patients with heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and lung infections.

This particular example is indicative of the ACA hitting the bull’s eye of the wrong target. While readmission rates have decreased, a clear correlation of mortality rates of citizens relying on Obamacare has increased at a troubling rate. Post-discharged patients with pneumonia and heart failure mortality rates steadily increased in the cited investigation monitoring patients over periods of time after admission. Death rates of those who were denied service raised “0.27% from period 1 to period 2”, then “0.49% from period 2 to period 3”, and finally “0.52% from period 3 to period 4”.

This is not to dismiss the successes of Obamacare, as to do so would be ignorant and refusing to acknowledge that the DNC has done something noteworthy in the past 5 years since the ACA’s passing. The uninsured rate declined from 17.3% in 2013 to 10.8% midway through the year of 2016, reported by a Gallup study. The decrease in the previously stated statistic rations out to roughly one million more people insured that the top 3 cities in the US combined (NYC, Los Angeles, and Chicago). However, with that being said, nothing is ever perfect, most certainly when it comes to government-run entities and programs. When the effects of such mishap result in easily-preventable deaths, feedback and outcry of the public is necessary to demand change in Washington.


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Movements Are Visionary, Not Cautious

Craig Axford | Canada

Hearings, dialogue and debate are, or at least should be, means to an end in a functioning democratic society. Unfortunately, they’re too often ends unto themselves. Promising to study a problem or hold a hearing “to look into it” is what politicians do to make it appear as though they’re interested without ever having to risk their necks by endorsing a particular idea.

So when likely incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to bring back a select committee on climate change that had been disbanded by the previous Republican majority, it was reasonable for some of the incoming freshmen Democrats to question its real purpose. If committee hearings are going to be held, they’re insisting the hearings be about meaningful climate legislation instead of even more learned testimony on science that’s was settled long ago. As Evan Weber of the Sunrise Movement put it to Politico, “We’ve been talking about the science for the past two decades.”

The incoming Democratic House majority will find it tempting to spend much of the next two years doing little more than poring over Donald Trump’s tax returns, which they will presumably issue a subpoena for early next year. Likewise, the current administration’s cabinet is full of individuals as venal as their chief. It will certainly be refreshing to finally see them all held accountable for their misconduct.

That said, governments don’t build and retain confidence among their citizens merely by diligently investigating corruption. People have proven over and over again that they are willing to tolerate a great deal of unethical behavior in their leaders if, in exchange, they feel they are receiving a reasonable degree of economic and physical security, or even just listened to.

The GOP has mastered the art of creating the illusion that people are getting something in return when they vote for them. Whether it’s so-called “tax relief” or protecting jobs by getting tough on immigration, the Republican Party has consistently been able to convince a significant number of Americans it’s looking out for them even as it stabs them in the back. The antidote to their misleading and often dangerous rhetoric isn’t hearings; it’s direct positive action that translates into real change people can actually see and feel in their lives.

The leadership of the Democratic Party would be wise, therefore, to embrace incoming Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s call for the creation of a select committee that instead of just talking about climate change is charged with drafting legislation to do something about it. She is calling it the “Select Committee on a Green New Deal”.

The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become carbon neutral and to significantly draw down and capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. ~ Section 2 A(i) of the Draft Text for Proposed Addendum to House Rules for 116TH Congress of The United States

 Ocasio-Cortez’s resolution is similar in its approach, if not yet in its level of detail, to Canada’s Leap Manifesto. That document translates the progressive principles that emerged from the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s into concrete proposals aimed at achieving both equality and sustainability.

We want a universal program to build energy efficient homes, and retrofit existing housing, ensuring that the lowest income communities and neighbourhoods will benefit first and receive job training and opportunities that reduce poverty over the long term…We declare that “austerity” — which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors like education and healthcare, while starving public transit and forcing reckless energy privatizations — is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat to life on earth.~ Leap Manifesto (Emphasis included in original)

I had the privilege of working as a DNC organizer for three years. I was hired as part of Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy following his election as Chair of the DNC in 2005. Dean’s vision for party-building paid off in 2006 when the Democrats took back Congress, and again in 2008 when Barack Obama won the presidency.

However, the organizing effort that arose from John Kerry’s defeat in 2004 took place in the context of growing opposition to the war in Iraq and a Democratic Party galvanized against the domestic policies of George W. Bush. Then as now, opposition was the driving unifying force on the left. The failure to clearly and consistently articulate what it was for quickly came back to haunt it in 2010.

Yes, there was the passage of Obamacare in 2009, but Democrats have traveled so far from the eloquence and clarity of leaders like JFK and RFK that even when debating universal healthcare they sound wonkish and inconsistent. As I learned upon my temporary return to the United States from Canada last year, even under Obamacare, plans with high premiums and deductibles are still the norm. Mandating the purchase of insurance that doesn’t really provide much coverage is a curious policy to emerge from a political party with a base that consistently argues healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

The Green New Deal and Leap Manifesto offer the left a way out of the political wilderness they’ve been wandering in since at least 1980. These initiatives provide something to be for. They can finally transform the left of the 21st century into a movement that wants to say YES! to something.

By uniting both labor and the environmental movement behind an effort that creates good paying jobs while providing the public with clean technologies that improve lives in both rural and urban communities, the Democratic Party could ensure itself decades of majority status not unlike the one it enjoyed from the 1930s through 1994. It seems like the obvious choice for them to make. So what’s taking Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Leadership so long?

Follow Craig on Twitter or read him on Medium.com

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