Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Walker righties demonizing Obamacare makes Obamacare look better

Saw a couple of items cross the path today that on its face seemed to be ways to knock down the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). And then when I read them further, I found myself liking Obamacare more than I did before.

The first comes from the Walker Administration group headed by former Heritage Foundation lackey Dennis Smith, with the Orwellian name of the Office of Free Market Health Care. They claimed to find many flaws with Obamacare, but these "flaws" seem to be better than what we have now. My notes will be in italics
Approximately 40% of consumers in the non-group market will be forced to purchase richer health insurance benefit packages than they need due to new requirements placed on health plans including rating and product limitations. (Yes, God forbid people have more than bare bones health insurance in case of accidents or serious afflictions. And single-payer is "limiting and rationing"?)

The PPACA calls for a “hidden tax” on Wisconsin families. Beginning in 2014, working class families will subsidize the purchase of health insurance for families making as much as 400% of the federal poverty level or $89,400 per year for a family of four. (Yes, because we don't already subisidize older workers or the chronically ill despite us not being sick or old under the current system. God forbid we give lower and middle-class people a break on their premiums.)

Wisconsin’s traditional non-group health insurance market outside of the exchange is expected to shrink from 180,000 individuals to 30,000 individuals because federal and state dollars will be used to cover individuals who are already covered by private health insurance today. (So individuals won't have to pay extra costs for covering health care, won't have to deal with the uncertainty of future medical costs and premiums, and will have dollars freed up to actually buy products. This is a bad thing because...?)

Individuals will be dropped from their employer’s health plans. It is estimated that 100,000 individuals will be involuntarily dropped from employer sponsored health insurance. (And those employers will now have more funds available to pay employees, expand, or not deal with the uncertainty of higher insurance costs in the future. Again, this is bad because....?)

The majority of individuals in the non-group (individual) and small group (employers up to 50 employees) markets will pay more in premiums for health insurance by 2016 than they pay today. ("More" could be 5% more 5 years from now, which if true is a helluva lot better than what Figure 1 shows here, with premiums up at least 5.5% a year for each of the last 13 years. They went up 43% total between 2004-2010. So what's the "increase" to 2016 by comparison? Stupid scare tactic.)

Prior to the application of tax credits, 87% of individuals in the non-group market will receive an average premium increase of 41%. After the application of tax credits, 59% of the non-group market will receive an average premium increase of 31%. (So it cuts the amount of increase, and how long is this 31% "premium increase" over. As mentioned, 31% in 5 years is a lot better than what's happened the last 6.)

The analysis shows that 53% of small employer groups will experience premium increases averaging 15%. (See above, meaningless statement.)

So if I'm reading the propaganda from Dennis Smith correctly, they're admitting that Obamacare will slow the increases in health care costs, while freeing up expenses to go to more productive areas. So you're saying Obamacare's NOT a half-assed waste of time? Cool.

The second example is the fearful headlines about a study showing showing 10% of companies may stop offering health insurance coverage to employees by the time Obamacare starts in 2014. This is somehow supposed to be a failure of Obamacare, but to me, that seems like success. You're telling me these companies aren't going to throw increasing amounts of money down the drain at health insurance costs, encourage individual workers to go onto Obamacare, where they workers are more likely to be covered by a not-for-profit entity that doesn't get rewarded for screwing people over, AND the business has a better chance at survival and expansion with more money in its pocket? Isn't that a win-win all around? Hmmm, this concept sounds familiar. What is it called...oh yeah, THE PUBLIC OPTION. And it'll work.

In fact, isn't these projections proof that we not only need Obamacare, but that it should expanded to a public option for ALL employers and employees. (Well, actually the best option is Medicare for all, but bear with me for the time being) The purchasing power of a large group of individuals will mean insurance companies will work a lot harder for the business, and theoretically lower their costs and expand their coverages in order to pick up these huge amounts of customers. It's worth it for an insurance company to screw individuals trying to buy coverage, but those individuals get a lot more say when they're part of a large group that the insurance company wants.

And you know who believes that as much as anyone. SCOTT WALKER AND COMPANY! Scotty's own reform platform asked for local school districts to use the state's health insurance plan as leverage toward getting a better deal on costs. And God knows the Walker propagandists never stop perpetuating Kauakuna-type lies about how switching health insurance plans make Walker's education cuts not such a big deal. So why does his own organization hate expanding this concept to everyone that's struggling with the jack job that is the U.S. health insurance system?

Hmmm, maybe because expanding a public option would be something that would help real people at the expense of insurance companies, and would be a change that actually improved peoples' lives, instead of being an excuse to bash teachers and teachers unions on angry-man radio. It illustrates how dumb and sheltered this administration truly is, because they're stumbling into a good idea with allowing competitive bids of health insurance for school districts, but they're so busy trying to score points with the 262-area code yokels that they refuse to finish the job and apply it where it would have even bigger benefits- with the general public. Yes, they're just that simple-minded.

P.S. Looks like Sen. Erpenbach and Rep. Richards also see through this BS. And they're 2 former reps of mine, no less!


  1. "...federal and state dollars will be used to cover individuals who are already covered by private health insurance today. (So individuals won't have to pay extra costs for covering health care..."

    Aren't "individuals" the ones paying those federal and state dollars?

  2. Sure individuals pay the taxes to pay for coverage, Jeremy, but paying your earnings to insurance companies are also taxes. The difference is that government and elected officials actually have to keep people happy, or else the people will vote them out. Insurance companies don't have that responsibility, and in fact, often get a larger benefit from screwing people over doing the right thing. I'll go with governmnet being the payee every day and twice on Sunday.

    And I'm not even going into the lower administrative charges that Medicare has over large-scale private insurance (and a lot lower over small-scale insurance). Amazing how that works when the government doesn't have CEOs skimming millions in blood money off of the top of premiums.