The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was touted as the magic elixir — the answer to health care reform. The law is a bitter concoction that we are being forced to sip, swish and swallow. Obamacare will fail, forcing the American people into a single-payer, government system.
In the fall of 2009, before the bill’s passage, I attended a health care forum — squished on a bleacher among union bouncers, left of lefts and socialist organizers waving their banners. Any hope of participating in a bipartisan discussion was lost to the giddy shout-out for “free health care!”
The words of former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi summed up the overall partisanship, coercion and irresponsibility, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” And now, we are seeing the truth about free and reform.
With the endless barrage from the left, hearts focused on the few “goodness” pages of the bill; fixing the flaws around pre-existing conditions, lifetime caps and coverage for children to age 26.
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And, how could we forget those weary 30 million without coverage? Ironically, the money to pay for the added bureaucracy to manage the 2,572-page law, and 20,000 pages of regulations, would pay for half of the premium costs to cover the uninsured.
Overshadowing the truth about Obamacare is a band of lies. Here is but a taste:
• You will be able to keep your doctor. The answer is — maybe. With expanded Medicaid, physicians may choose not to treat patients, due to low government reimbursements.
Privately insured consumers will be required to choose the highest-rated physicians, or be fined. Will your doctor be one of them?
• Premiums will not go up. They already have. And, within the “exchanges,” where government designed plans will be sold; don’t be fooled by the bronze, silver, gold or platinum plans. The only choice is in the size of the premium or deductible.
• Free preventive care. Nothing’s free. Beginning in 2014, if you skip your free colonoscopy, you’ll pay for it anyway. A list of required, preventive options including this fun one is front-loaded into premiums and deductibles.
• Medicare coverage won’t change. The government began reducing Medicare reimbursements to hospitals, clinics, and doctors in 2012 through penalties. Rewards are then bestowed for reduced patient spending. If we spend less don’t we get less?
• If you like your health care plan, you can keep it. For the first time, government is telling private employers (50 employees and over) what’s “essential” for full-time employee benefits! That is, if employers still offer benefits. The cost to adhere to the requirements may be more onerous than the penalty for dropping coverage, or reducing employee hours.
The law gives the government unprecedented power over private insurers to control physician decisions on patient care in order to encourage the reduction of costs.
• No new taxes. For individuals, families and businesses, there are at least 20 new taxes or increases to existing taxes. At the core of Obamacare, and the most controversial, is the “individual mandate” tax for those uninsured who do not buy a “qualifying” health plan.
Free and reform in the law will increase our national debt, ration patient care, and is doomed by the complexities surrounding the Medicaid expansion, Medicare reductions, the individual mandate, exchanges, essential benefits, premiums, deductibles and taxes.
Like the European models, we too can ration care, overtax and strangle the economy with more government. When his namesake bombs, I can see the president, throwing up his hands in disbelief, while blaming others.
I believe a free-market approach would lower costs through competition, less regulation, broader coverage and better care, all while preserving our liberties. Incremental repeal, amendment and replacement of specific sections of the law offer limited hope to improve the concoction. And, a bitter consolation exists if we, as their employers, insist that federal employees, including Congress, be forced into an exchange. Drink up!
Kathleen Rogers is a member of The Olympian’s Board of Contributors and a registered nurse. She can be reached at email@example.com.