Category Archives: Health Care

ACA-Lite

Update below.

There’s no graceful way to ease into this, so I’ll just dig right in.

  1. Paul Ryan

    That face you make when your eight-year plan is found wanting.

    The mandate and it’s odious and dubious ‘tax,’ have been renamed the “Continuous Health Insurance Coverage Incentive” and the payee changed from the federal government to insurance companies(!). It’s a misnomer to call it an incentive as it’s actually a disincentive for people to allow their coverage to lapse. Those who do so for a period of greater than 63 days are subject to a 30% premium penalty for the following year.* And it’s not an option for the insurance companies; they “shall” charge the penalty.

  2. The plan keeps the so-called Cadillac tax on premium insurance plans. Sure, you can have really excellent coverage, but in addition to higher premiums, you’re going to be paying the government for the privilege.
  3. Subsidies have been reinvented as refundable tax credits for low and middle income families. Leaving aside the obvious point that unless everyone receiving them is actually paying taxes (think Earned Income Credit), the need for this alone is an admission by the House GOP that under their plan, premiums are still going to be unaffordable, even for middle income families.
  4. The bill “dismantles” all of the ACA’s taxes including those on on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, health-insurance premiums (unless, of course, you want a plan that’s better than they think you really need), and medical devices. Here’s the “but”…it includes a 1.45% income tax increase to make up for them. This may seem like a net win to some people, but for healthy individuals whose employers pay their insurance premiums (and they are out there), this will be a tax increase.
  5. The plan does defund Planned Parenthood, but if they thought this bone would be enough to satisfy their traditional base, they are sadly mistaken. And here’s another thing: nothing under the plan would prevent insurance companies from offering abortion coverage, “…so long as premiums for such separate coverage or plan are not paid for with any amount attributable to the credit allowed under this section…” Paul Ryan has been telling us for years with regard to government funding of Planned Parenthood that money is fungible. Except for when it’s not, apparently.
  6. Under the plan, Health Savings Accounts come roaring back. Unfortunately, that’s the only nod to market-based solutions included. HSAs are great, but they aren’t for everyone and I’m left with the impression that the authors of the legislation offer them as the one-size-fits-all solution to all our problems.

Those are my specific concerns, but there are some undercurrents that I also find troubling, such as having to report my health insurance information to the IRS (disclaimer: I want the IRS abolished, not given more power over my life) and language that implies that the federal government will still be deciding what kinds of plans and coverage should or must be offered.

When the plan first became available yesterday afternoon, I was nearly apoplectic over it. Right or wrong, I expected more from House Republicans. I was especially disappointed to see my Congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, defending this stinking pile like she was offering up filet mignon. It’s rather depressing that after eight years of talking about it, this is the best plan they could offer.

This isn’t a repeal in any meaningful sense of the word and I find it rather insulting that House Republicans would try to pass it off that way. We are not so stupid that we can’t see what’s right before our eyes and the GOP shouldn’t think for a second that the passion that inspired the Tea Party can’t be turned against them.

Update: Now we’re hearing about phases 2 and 3, which will supposedly remove state line restrictions and promote competition. You know what, GOP? I’m not buying it. You wasted your last bit of credibility with phase 1.


*I’m not an insurance expert and I’m sure as heck not a legal expert, so the language surrounding the duration of the premium penalty is confusing to me. That’s the long way of saying that I just guessed that the penalty was to be assessed for 12 months. Here’s the actual language so you can see for yourself. If you’re crazy enough to want to read it for yourself, it’s on page 62.

2017-03-07 (2)

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Filed under Health Care, Washington

Leave It To the Daily Kos…

To politicize any crisis.

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Filed under DailyKos, Health Care, Politics

Selling Obamacare

Not only are you paying for Obamacare in concrete and immediate ways with higher taxes, and skyrocketing insurance premiums (by the way, Jonathan Gruber is a lying SOB or too stupid to be associated with MIT), you’re also paying in ways for which the bill may not come due for decades, by killing medical innovation and decreasing the desirability of medicine as a profession.

But there’s one more way you’ll be paying that even the most pessimistic probably hadn’t anticipated: A $20 million PR campaign to sell the benefits of Obamacare to a recalcitrant public. The Obama Administration: Screwing the American taxpayer every day.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Health Care

Why Does Barack Obama Hate Poor, Black Children?

Barack Obama’s FDA has issued a directive banning over-the-counter asthma inhalers because they utilize chlorofluorocarbons as a propellant.

What does this have to do with poor, black children, you say? As it happens, black children are more likely to suffer from asthma than any other major demographic group in the United States.

Additionally, data indicates that their asthma is less likely to be well-controlled.

What’s more worrisome is the fact that black children with asthma are twice as likely as white children to be hospitalized because of the disease, more than three times as likely to visit the emergency department — a sign of uncontrolled asthma — and slightly more than three times as likely to die from asthma as white children. Some studies in large urban areas like New York and Boston report hospitalization and death rates three to five times higher than whites.

It doesn’t take a genius to make the connection between uncontrolled asthma leading emergency room visits and lack of access to quality preventive care. The kind of non-care that poor children might be likely to receive.

…Poor minorities, tend to have less access to health care, she notes. And even when they see a doctor, the care they receive tends to be of lesser quality than white children. Poverty probably also plays a role. For instance, black children from disadvantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to have asthma as black children who aren’t.

It strikes me as quite likely that poor black families – just the kind who may lack access to quality health care – would be more likely to use over-the-counter asthma inhalers than, say, Bill Gates’ children. The kind that will no longer be available after the end of this year. But I’m just guessing.

So back to my original question, why does Barack Obama hate poor, black children?

It’s a mystery.

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In Which The “Death Panel” Is Called The “Adult Guardian”

An Australian man is mourning the death of his wife after a government bureaucrat was called in to decide her fate.

AN anguished husband was forced to spend his final hours with his wife trying to stop the Gold Coast Hospital from switching off her life support, only a day after she responded to his presence. A tearful Ziv Magen had earlier vowed to fight for wife Maiko’s life for the sake of their toddler son after the hospital called in the Adult Guardian to decide her fate.

But she died last night, with her family at her bedside, in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Mr Magen last night said he believed his wife could have survived if treatment had not been stopped.

“It would have at least given her a fighting chance,” he said.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking this couldn’t or wouldn’t happen under Obamacare. When you enact legislation that necessarily forces prices up, the only way remaining to “bend the cost curve down” is to ration care.

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An Appropriate Use Of Power

Dan Riehl has a post up, In Contrast to Boehner, Pelosi “Drove Health Care Down GOP’s Throat.” I’d like to suggest an alternate title, “In Contrast to Boehner, Pelosi Had the Cojones to Use Her Power and Position to Get What She Wanted.” Over long, I know, but accurate nonetheless.

This brings up the question, would I want Speaker Boehner to use raw power to “drive something down the Democrats’ throat? When it comes to repealing or defunding Obamacare, absolutely, the difference being that Boehner would be acting in accordance to the will of the people, rather than in direct opposition to it…as Nancy Pelosi did. So a word of advice to Speaker Boehner: you’re not winning any friends by including funds to implement Obamacare in your continuing budget resolutions. I’m just sayin’, you know, because the the tea party has a bit of power of its own to wield.

Other than that, Dan said it very nicely, so be sure to click through and read it all.

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Filed under Health Care, Politics

Rasmussen Poll Finds 17% of Americans Completely Out Of Touch With Reality

A Rasmussen poll released today finds 17% of Americans so out of touch with reality, they should be hospitalized for their own protection; they are the pitiable few who believe Obamacare will lower costs.

I can understand a person taking the position that using the force of government with regard to universal health care is a moral position – although I don’t agree – but to believe that a plan with no actual cost cutting measure will drive down the cost of health care is a stunning denial of reality.

Thankfully, 61% of Americans understand that costs will necessarily rise and 62% believe it should be repealed.

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Filed under Barack Obama, Health Care