Showing posts with label Health care reform. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health care reform. Show all posts

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Health Care A Go Go

In the next two weeks, we should be hearing what the Supreme Court of the United States thinks about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Will they overturn all of it or just parts of it? The political world and, indeed, many others are anxiously awaiting the verdict.

My inkling is that they vote against the mandate but keep the rest of it. But what then? Andy over at has the answer.

If the mandate is struck down, the Democrats have an easier path if they choose to take it. The Court's argument in striking down the mandate will no doubt be something like the government does not have the power to compel people to engage in commerce (like buying insurance) if they don't want to. The solution is simply to structure the mandate differently. Congress could amend the internal revenue code to say everyone has to pay a tax of $1000 to cover the costs generated by uninsured people getting treated at hospital emergency rooms (because Congress has mandated this). However, to help people who are not part of the problem, the same change to the law could give a $1000 credit to anyone who can prove they have health insurance. In effect, this is almost the same as a mandate except that failing to have insurance is no longer a violation of the law. It simply means you lose out on one of the myriad of credits the tax law provides. There is little doubt Congress has the power to tax, so such an approach is likely to be acceptable to Justice Anthony Kennedy, who seems to have acquired the power to veto laws singlehandedly, even though he never campaigned for the job. 

And what of the Republicans?

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it. If, as Republicans are hoping, the Supreme Court strikes down some or all of the Affordable Health Care Act later this month, they will cheer for a week. Then Democrats will pound them on what they plan to replace it with. An answer like "Nothing. The current system works well" is not likely to get many votes among the 50 million people currently uninsured. But despite the real possibility that the Court may strike down part or all of the law, the GOP does not have a plan of its own. 

The problem for the Republicans is that coming up with a minibill that just includes the popular features of the ACA would be a disaster. Allowing young people up to 26 to stay on their parent's plans until 26 would be easy to do--in fact some health insurance companies may do it voluntarily because it means more customers. The tricky part is the provision that allows anyone to sign up for health care regardless of any preexisting conditions. A bill that included that but did not have a mandate for everyone to get health care would bankrupt all the insurance companies in short order since many people would wait until they were seriously ill before getting insurance. Every country in the world that requires insurance companies to take everyone also has a mandate in one form or other.

If this happens, it would be a great example of what I mean when I say that one can win the argument and still lose.

The more I think about this, the more I realize that I'd rather have SCOTUS strike down parts or all of the law so it be changed for the better. The GOP has signaled that they are going to keep the more popular provisions anyway so raising taxes and/or offering tax credits seem much more likely now. Even the public option could make a bold reappearance and pass. It would simply be Medicare for all and that is perfectly legal under the Constitution.

Here is a handy dandy flow chart to help you with all the possible outcomes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Reset of the Table?

Interesting news on the health care front. 

In 2009 and 2010, total nationwide health care spending grew less than 4 percent per year, the slowest annual pace in more than five decades, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. 

VERY interesting. But why? 

Much of the slowdown is because of the recession, and thus not unexpected, health experts say. But some of it seems to be attributable to changing behavior by consumers and providers of health care — meaning that the lower rates of growth might persist even as the economy picks up.

Because Medicare and Medicaid are two of the largest contributors to the country’s long-term debts, slower growth in health costs could reduce the pressure for enormous spending cuts or tax increases.

I'd say that's pretty good news. Even more interesting...

Still, the slowdown was sharper than health economists expected, and a broad, bipartisan range of academics, hospital administrators and policy experts has started to wonder if what had seemed impossible might be happening — if doctors and patients have begun to change their behavior in ways that bend the so-called cost curve. 

If the growth in Medicare were to come down to a rate of only 1 percentage point a year faster than the economy’s growth, the projected long-term deficit would fall by more than one-third. 

If this continues to be the case, all of the arguments we have heard about health care may be going out the window. Wow. 

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I Agree....With Rush Limbaugh?!!???

Well, not really him but his explanation of the theory is quite insightful:)


Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Point

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


With the second day of oral arguments being heard in the Supreme Court regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I thought it would be timely to put up a post with my various thoughts on the issue.

First of all, today is the key day as they are discussing the issue of the mandate. I'm wondering the team that is arguing to uphold the law as is will look to this bill, enacted in 1798 by the 5th Congress and signed by founding father John Adams, as an example of how the government can more or less force people to get health care. An Act For The Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen would never pass muster with the Republicans of today. Clearly they would label it as "government overreach" and "something our founding fathers would never do"...even though our founding fathers did just that!

The type of question that each justice asks is usually indicative of how they are going to vote. I think it's safe to say that Thomas and Alito will be voting to strike down the mandate. Scalia is likely to vote that way as well, although there is some early indication that he doesn't like to mess around with bills that Congress have already passed. With Kagan, Sotomayor, Ginsberg and Breyer likely to support the bill, that leaves Roberts and Kennedy and I think it's very possible that each will support to uphold the law as is given the other precedents that are being introduced.

PolitiFact has a page up that lists all the misconceptions about the health care law which have, no doubt, helped drive up its disapproval rating to around 47 percent. Here's the one that most people believe but is, in fact, a "Pants on Fire" lie.

Chris Christie slams health care reform as “a government takeover of health care”

While the reform gives the federal government a larger role in the health insurance industry, it doesn’t eliminate the private market. In fact, the reform is projected to increase the number of citizens with private health insurance. We know Christie doesn’t like the national health care reform, but he should know better than to call it a "government takeover." That’s been proven wrong over and over again, making his claim simply ridiculous. 

Yeah, well, never touch a man's paranoia. It's a sacred thing.

The outcome of their ruling is going to be very interesting. How much will it affect the president's chances of re-election?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Simply Stunning

And I wonder why I can't seem to get anywhere with people. Scroll down to the fourth question in this poll and take a look.

1 in 5 Americans think that the Health Care Law has been repealed. And another 25 percent don't know or refused to answer the question. Wow.

With this complete lack of involvement, it's amazing to me that our country is still functioning.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The Shine of the Free Market

Health care options in the market under the health care reform law became better.

I wonder who it was that said this recently? Take a moment and think about it.

I'm sure your first thought was a Democrat or health reform lobbyist, right?

It was, in fact, Jackie Berry, spokesperson for 3m. 3M is one of the largest companies in the world with over 76,000 employees world wide. 3M has decided to give their retirees cash to go and shop for health care on their own, giving them the freedom to choose whatever plan they see fit.

3M is a company that sees the benefit of the new health care reform law.

Let's let the soak in for a moment, shall we.

(cue elevator music for 1-2 minutes)

And we're back.

So what exactly is going to happen?
  • Starting Jan. 1, 2013, 3M retirees eligible for Medicare will get a health reimbursement arrangement: an account with credit in it to buy a Medicare supplement plan or a prescription drug plan.
  • Starting Jan. 1, 2015, retirees not eligible for Medicare will also get a retiree health reimbursement arrangement to buy an individual insurance plan on the open market
Berry said retirees will end up saving money, thanks to several provisions due to kick in between now and then.

Open Market? Freedom of choice? Saving Money? Wait...I thought the opposite was supposed to happen under this new law. Was there a very large group of people not telling me the truth? Hmmm....

Not everyone is happy with freedom, however.

Rita Horne, 73, whose husband Einer Horne worked 33 years at 3M, was not pleased to receive the letter.

"I got to tell you, I would like to take Congress and wring their necks," said Horne, of Hudson, Wis. "They've taken a very satisfactory and good health insurance program and going to I don't know what."

Her husband, 75, who's had cancer and open-heart surgery, said he knew this day would come ever since "Obama passed Obamacare."

"You would think every corporation in America would do the same. Number one, it's going to save a hell of a lot of money and number two, it's probably as fair a system as you can get out of anybody," he said.

Will the new plan save money for him? Horne laughed: "I have no idea."

Saving money and being fair you say, Einer? At least he admits it. But Rita doesn't want that freedom or choice at all. Sad. And why, Rita, aren't you guys already on Medicare?

More importantly, take note of the words I have bolded in black. There is nothing that is more accurate a summation of where all this vitriol about health care originates: fear of the unknown. They don't know what is going to happen but they sure don't like it. How is that possible if you don't know?

See, this is where people like the Koch Brothers come in with FreedomWorks and prey upon people's fears. They know people don't really know that much about reform so they use it to their advantage and co-opt them into believing complete lies. The end result is basically the current form of the GOP.

The fact is that as more companies follow the lead of 3M, more people are going to have a choice about where to get their health care. This will eliminate health care being tied to employers which has not worked out well at all. It's a step in the right direction of eliminating the far too many middle men. You don't hear the word "freedom" associated with the new health care law amid the screaming by people who stand the most to lose from reform. But here it is, folks, plain as day.

This is an excellent example of why I supported it. And a shining example of the free market:)