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ObamaCare Revisited

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Do you remember back in March 2010 when Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) famously said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy”? And Pelosi told an audience of Planned Parenthood workers, college students, parents, and children, that she is “very proud” of ObamaCare (1:35 mark). She also, despite over 60 percent of the US population being against ObamaCare, said, “the politics be damned.”

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), better known as ObamaCare, to quote John Hayward in a Human Events article, is, “The greatest legislative disaster of the new millennium, ObamaCare, just keeps getting worse.” When campaigning in 2008, Obama promised a drop in family health insurance premiums by $2500 annually. But what has actually happened is that the premium amount rose by $3000 since Obama took office. Further, premium amounts have risen more rapidly during the Obama administration than they did during the last four years of the Bush administration. But higher healthcare premiums must be acceptable since Pelosi is “very proud” of ObamaCare. And, in an interview in March 2010, with Brett Baier, Obama said, “What the American people care about is the fact that their premiums are going up 25, 40, 60 percent, and I’m going to do something about it.”

And ObamaCare just keeps on giving. “Hospitals who re-admit patients within 30 days after they were discharged will now have to, under an ObamaCare provision, pay fines as of October 1, 2012,….” The little-known provision was put into ObamaCare in order to cut costs, but the result is that many hospitals will now provide substandard care for the poor, the elderly, and the chronically ill. Sunil Kripalani, MD, a professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, who studies hospital readmissions, says, “Among patients with heart failure, hospitals that have higher readmission rates actually have lower mortality rates. So, which would we rather have, a hospital readmission or a death?”

Here is another ObamaCare gift. Darden Restaurants owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Darden announced on October 9, 2012, that it is reducing full-time employees in favor of more part-time employees. The employee shift is being tested in four markets to see how well it works. Why? Darden is trying to see if the employee shift works when ObamaCare starts in 2014, when ObamaCare requires that companies provide healthcare to full-time employees. Other industries, such as low profit margin retail, cleaning, and hospitality services, are expected to follow Darden. So, criticise Darden if you want to, but the fact still remains that economic adjustments are being made. Besides, better to have corporations stay in business, providing any jobs, than go out of business, therefore providing no jobs of any kind, by having their costs increase through no action of there own. And Darden Restaurants isn’t the only company experimenting.

All you Democrats/liberals/progressives will say that corporations are greedy, that they already make too much profit and money. But there are (at least) three things wrong with that argument. First, corporations, by being profitable, provide jobs, something Obama has been unable to do. They may not be the jobs you Democrats/liberals/progressives want, but at least they are jobs. Plus, y’all are free to create all the jobs y’all want. Second, corporations are people. In August 2011, Mitt Romney said that. When challenged, he said, “Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?” Third, the people (stockholders) are the ones spurring on corporations to be “greedy,” to earn higher profits, and to pay higher investment returns. I’ll wager that even Democrats/liberals/progressives fall into the stockholder category. But I digress, this article is about ObamaCare.

Obama, in 2008, said, “If you are a family making less than $250,000 a year, your taxes will not go up.” While The Washington Post‘s fact-checker gave the statement only one Pinocchio, the source says, “Obama claims the mandate is not a tax, even though the government argued it was a tax before the Supreme Court during arguments on whether the law is constitutional.” So, is ObamaCare a tax or not? Well, the Supreme Court said it is a tax.

So, taking the word of the Supreme Court, let’s see just who will pay the ObamaCare tax (Individual Mandate Penalties Under the Affordable Care Act). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) offers a table (page 3), based on the 2016 estimate of what the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) of $24,600 for a family of four will be, that illustrates that anyone making $123,000 (500 percent of the FPL) or less will have to pay the tax, er, penalty, er, tax. Help me here. My conservative math may be faulty. First, $123,000 is less than the $250,000 family income that Obama said was the tax increase ceiling. Second, the CBO estimates 5.9 million taxpayers is more than no families’ taxes increases. It sure seems to me that ObamaCare is levying an additional tax on families making under $250,000.

Let’s not forget that ObamaCare was supposed to save money by reducing Medicare costs by $500 billion (it turned out to be $716 billion). But, upon further examination, the $716 billion Obama shifted from Medicare to ObamaCare was not a cost reduction. Rather, it was a cost transfer that actually saved nothing. Richard Foster, Medicare actuary, said that savings, “cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as the coverage expansions under the PPACA) and to extend the [Medicare] trust fund, despite the appearance of this result from the respective accounting conventions.” Put simply, money shifted from Medicare to ObamaCare cannot be counted twice, once as Medicare savings, and again as ObamaCare expansion.

Obama also said ObamaCare would be deficit neutral. Even Obama dispelled that notion. In a March 17, 2010, interview on Special Report With Bret Baier, Obama typically blames others for the “doctor fix,” then blames the “fix” on why ObamaCare is not deficit neutral.

BAIER: And you call this deficit neutral, but you also set aside the doctor fix, more than $200 billion. People look at this and say, how can it be deficit neutral?

OBAMA: But the – as you well know, the doctors problem, as you mentioned, the “doctors fix,” is one that has been there four years now. That wasn’t of our making, and that has nothing to do with my health care bill.

BAIER: But you wanted to change Washington, Mr. President. And now you’re doing it the same way.

OBAMA: Bret, let me finish my – my answers here. Now, if suddenly, you’ve got, over the last decade, a problem that’s been built up. And the suggestion is somehow that, because that’s not fixed within this bill, that that’s a reason to vote against the bill, that doesn’t make any sense. That’s a problem that I inherited. That was a problem that should have been solved a long time ago. It’s a problem that needs to be solved, but it’s not created by my bill. And I don’t think you would dispute that.

The CBO says that repealing ObamaCare would eliminate a $109 billion surplus that ObamaCare creates. That is the justification that ObamaCare supporters point to in order to say it is reducing healthcare costs. The problem is that the surplus has nothing to do with healthcare costs. “The half-trillion dollars in tax hikes and half-trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare funding together total more than the cost of the new [ObamaCare] entitlements during the next 10 years,” thus yielding the surplus. But repeal would eliminate Medicare funds shifts, lower taxes, and greatly reduce government spending. So, the $½ trillion in tax increases and the $½ trillion in Medicare funds shift produces a “surplus.” Only with Democrats/liberals/progressives can a tax hike and a funds shift produce a surplus. The conservative mind boggles.

Let’s recap:

  • A majority of US citizens were against ObamaCare, yet it was rammed down our throats, er, passed, and Pelosi was “very proud” of it.
  • ObamaCare was supposed to reduce healthcare insurance premiums, but the opposite occurred.
  • ObamaCare was supposed to force employers to provide healthcare, but the actual result is an employment reduction.
  • Obama said that he would not increase taxes, but the ObamaCare mandate does just that.
  • ObamaCare is supposed to reduce Medicare spending. It accomplishes that by increasing ObamaCare spending.
  • ObamaCare was supposed to be deficit neutral, but that claim was too much for even Obama.
  • ObamaCare supporters say it reduces healthcare costs by creating a surplus. The problem is that the surplus is created by a tax hike and a funds shift.

America’s healtcare system may not be perfect, but at least it was better before Obama started meddling with it, as this article illustrates.

But that’s just my opinion.

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  • Glenn Contrarian

    Hm, let me see here.

    As of 2014, my sons will always have access to health care and they cannot be denied for preexisting conditions which they both have.

    Without Obamacare, I’d have to move them to another first-world nation – ANY other non-OPEC first-world nation – in order for them to have health insurance.

    I see your gripes and I see my sons. Frankly, your gripes (which I could easily argue against if I wanted to take the time) don’t mean squat when it comes to the lives of my sons and the families they will someday have.

    BTW, Obamacare was never my first choice. My first choice was single-payer health care which would have cost more in taxes, yes, but would cover all Americans, no Americans at all would die from not having access to health insurance, and no business would have to pay for employee health care. We couldn’t get that, but Obamacare’s half a loaf is a heck of a lot better than the crumbs the prior lack of a system would have left my sons.

  • Reggie Beauchamps

    “Without Obamacare, I’d have to move them to another first-world nation – ANY other non-OPEC first-world nation – in order for them to have health insurance.”

    Yeah maybe you could move them to Canada where’d they’d be put on an eight month waiting list for an MRI even if their doctor suspected they had brain cancer.

  • Igor

    “”But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, …”

    Not unusual for modern legislation which is often just enabling, and the details have to be written by regulators.

  • Igor

    @2-Reggie: I think that is apocryphal. I don’t know of any Canadian healthcare where you have to wait 8 months for an MRI.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    Reggie doesn’t either. Odds are he doesn’t even know what he’s referring to.

  • Reggie Beauchamps

    “Reggie doesn’t either. Odds are he doesn’t even know what he’s referring to.”

    Do you even think before you open your ignorant mouth or are you set to auto pilot to disagree with and ridicule anyone who doesn’t agree with your view of things regardless of how inaccurate your view of things is?

    This first link is a bit dated, from 2007 but it comes from the CBC News Canada. it talks about waiting lists and specifically points out that the average time for seeing a doctor to determine surgery is needed and getting that surgery is 18.3 weeks or roughly 5 months.

    This next link is from June of this year. it’s an article from Psychology Today in which
    a canadian citizen explains some of the problems with the Canadian system such as: having to beg and plead with primary care physicians to be accepted as a new patient, the difficulty in finding and seeing a specialist in a reasonable time period, the long waits for surgeries and medical procedures, the increasing number of Canadian citizens enrolling in private healthcare programs, the extremely high taxes paid to fund the public system vs. the benefit of the care that is actually received etc etc etc

    This next link is a current article from the Canadian publication “BCliving” It talks specifically about MRI wait lists and the shortage of MRI machines in the public healthcare system infrastructure. It specifically states that the wait list in Canda for an MRI in the public system is 12 to 18 months but with the private system it is 48 hours.

    This next link comes to us from the National Center for Biotechnology Information which is a US government funded organization for molecular biology information. The article discusses the issue of MRI wait lists in Canada.

    This next link from CBS news discusses the financial difficulty and wait times the Canadian system is experiencing.

    This next link comes from the Globe and Mail, Canada’s second largest national newspaper. It discusses the rationing and shortgaes in the Canadian system and specifically mentions how the public system in Canda has had to pay the American private system to provide care for Canadian citizens.

    Igor and El Bicho, I hope you will read these resources and think twice the next time you feel the need to [personal attack deleted by Comments Editor] call someone else uninformed.

  • http://www.rosedigitalmarketing.com Christopher Rose

    Reggie, I made all your links active for you but please take the trouble to do so yourself in future.

    If you have not mastered this fundamental skill, here is a simple explanation of how to format a link.

    Thanks.

    Christopher Rose
    Blogcritics Comments Editor

  • Reggie Beauchamps

    Christopher:

    I’ve not yet mastered that particular skill but I appreciate the link to the tutorial on doing so and will make sure I do so in the future.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Reggie –

    Google “list nations life expectancy” and click on the Wiki link. You’ll find that not only is America’s health care about 38th on the list despite the fact that we have the most advanced health care on the planet, but you’ll also find that all but one of the nations with longer life expectancies than our own have SOCIALIZED health care of one form or another.

    If socialized health care were SO bad, then our national life expectancy would be on top or close to it. But instead, we have 40+ million citizens with no access to health insurance other than the emergency room.

  • http://rwno.limewebs.com Not the liberal actor

    Re: comment # 9, Glenn, you say, “Google “list nations life expectancy” and click on the Wiki link. You’ll find that not only is America’s health care about 38th on the list despite the fact that we have the most advanced health care on the planet, but you’ll also find that all but one of the nations with longer life expectancies than our own have SOCIALIZED health care of one form or another.”

    My questions are, Why do you stay here? If socialized health care is so good, then why don’t you pack up your entire family and avail yourselves of all the wonders of socialized health care? No one is stopping you. Or is the reason you don’t move because “you want your cake and eat it too?”

    And I’m still amazed that you think I, rather than you, should pay for your sons’ health care.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Warren –

    And I’m still amazed that you think I, rather than you, should pay for your sons’ health care.

    What do you call it when a customer insists on paying twice the price for inferior service, when reliably better service for a cheaper price is available right next door? You call it a Republican’s solution to our broken health care system. It’s also really, really stupid.

    You see, Warren, that’s what you don’t get – you DO pay for the health care of every single person who can’t pay for their own health care, whether you like it or not.

    Remember the old Quaker State (or was it Pennzoil?) commercial? “You can pay me now or pay me later”. It’s the SAME thing with health care…and the cost of going to the emergency room is THREE TIMES the cost of a regular doctor’s visit that would take care of the same thing. The taxpayer – including YOU – is going to pay ANYWAY, because the emergency room cannot deny care. The socialized health care system pays for it NOW, when it’s much cheaper. The Republican Holy Free Market System pays LATER, when it’s three times the price.

    What’s more, millions of Americans have to make a choice between paying the rent and having food, OR going to the doctor…and too many of them put off going to the doctor until it’s too late…and WAY more expensive.

    Those two facts are why, Warren, every single one of those nations that have longer life expectancies than our own are paying about half (or less) in taxpayer dollars per person for health care for ALL of their people.

    It DOES NOT MATTER that we have the most advanced health care facilities in the world, if 40+ million Americans can’t have access to that health care. So what you’re essentially doing by refusing that oh-so-evil socialized health care is YOU are paying twice as much per capita for inferior results.

    Read that again, Warren – what you’re essentially doing by refusing that oh-so-evil socialized health care is YOU are paying twice as much per capita for inferior results.

    BTW – you ask why I don’t move my family elsewhere – it ain’t that easy (takes lots of money), or else we’d be in Australia already. I’d go to Canada, but it’s too cold.

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    And I’m still amazed that you think I, rather than you, should pay for your sons’ health care.

    That’s nice, Warren. Can I be amazed that you think I, rather than you, should pay for the military to defend your son’s freedom?

  • Reggie Beauchamps

    “I’d go to Canada, but it’s too cold.”

    Did you read my links about the Canadian system?

  • http://www.squidoo.com/lensmasters/IanMayfield Dr Dreadful

    Reggie, I’m calling you for committing the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. This seems to be more of an issue arising from the shortage of MRI machines in Canada rather than a demonstration of the inherent weakness of publicly-funded healthcare in general.

    Also, can you show me the bit where someone still had to wait 8 months even after being diagnosed with brain cancer?

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Sorry, Reg, but it looks like the odds were right. You didn’t know what you were talking about, even with a source as knowledgeable as a guy with a PhD in marketing.

    None of your links deal with someone being “put on an eight month waiting list for an MRI even if their doctor suspected they had brain cancer” as you stated, and I’m not the only one who noticed.

    One of the reasons why waits are increasing is because emergency situations like you stated are getting moved to the front of the line.

    I am not saying the Canadian system is perfect or doesn’t fail some individuals, but as someone with family and friends in Canada who participate in the system I know your flippant remarks don’t reflect what’s going on.

  • Elaine

    As a Canadian living in the province of Alberta I CAN attest to the equal INACCESS we all enjoy with regards to the medical system. However, it’s NOT healthcare, it’s sickcare. And the wait times are horrendous. IF you can find a family doctor taking new patients at least you will have some continuity in the management of your health issues. And yes, the wait list for an MRI scan is terribly long. According to the AB gov wait times website the average wait for an MRI in the Calgary area in Aug 2012 was 21.6 weeks. Hip replacements are about 34 weeks. Check it out for yourself here.

    I have been dealing with chronic pain issues since 2009 without reaching a diagnosis. My doctor refused to send me for an MRI because she said it wasn’t warranted, was too expensive and the wait is too long (her reasons). So basically she has given up trying to find out what the cause of my pain is but won’t send me for an MRI. 3 and 1/2 years later still in pain. Can’t go to another doctor because if you have a family dr. no one else will see you in a family practise. Yeah, it’s great!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Elaine –

    You post those oh-so-horrid wait times (even assuming you’re Canadian and not a troll), yet you don’t look at the other side of the story. Here in the states, if we are part of the 40 million-plus Americans who don’t have health insurance (which is more than the entire population of Canada, IIRC), we often can’t get MRI’s or hip replacements at all, no matter how long we wait.

    At least you’ve got access to those procedures if you wait long enough – but tens of millions of Americans don’t have access to them at all.

    And btw, you do realize that Canadian taxpayers spend MAYBE half per capita for national health care than we Americans already are, never mind that one-sixth of Americans have zero access to health insurance at all.

  • Powderfinger

    Elaine, you and I both know that your “average wait times for an MRI” are relative to the level of urgency.

    Put in a Level I Urgent Intervention on the Brain and Spinal Cord in the Calgary area in August 2012 and you land an average wait time for an MRI of 0.7 weeks. The idea that we’re simply rotting on the shelves without MRIs is inaccurate, but it sure makes for good fear-mongering.

    Also, your chronic pain is unfortunate but the problem appears to lie with the relationship between you and your doctor and the subsequent lack of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals in the face of an ageing population in Canada (and everywhere, really). Given how population is dispersed in Canada and how ageing impacts our procedures and wait times (why do you think the hip replacement MRI waits are so long but other procedures have virtually zero wait?), it’s not hard to gauge that the same problem would impact Canadians no matter what the health care solution – EXCEPT if the solution is to weed out the system based on who can afford it.

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be part of a society that does such a thing.

  • http://cinemasentries.com/ El Bicho

    Just used Elaine’s website and in the Edmonton zone 90% of those needing an MRI when doctor suspected they had brain cancer received service within three weeks, which 29 weeks less than Reggie claimed

  • http://www.lunch.com/JSMaresca-Reviews-1-1.html Dr. Joseph S. Maresca

    It’s never been clear how Obamacare will handle the existing Hill Burton Program which has worked well
    for 66 years. Hill Burton provides poor and middle income families FREE or SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED
    COSTS in exchange for forgiveness of mortgage debt by medical schools and local health care clinics in
    poorer neighborhoods. This care is provided outside of the insurance system because it is a contract
    between the federal government and medical schools directly. Why is neither political party not talking
    about this in the health care mix.

    The other point is taxing junk food with an excess consumption tax. This would raise billions to plug
    many loopholes. Only Mayor Bloomberg is handling this subject tangentially by banning soda sales
    over 16 ounces in restaurants. Sugar reduction will lead to less diabetes and better health outcomes
    over time in the same way that smoking cessation did.

  • Arch Conservative

    El, I’ve actually posted multiple sources regarding wait times in the Canadian healthcare system. You on the other hand have done nothing but run your mouth.

    Glenn…….no one is claiming the US system is perfect but I do get a little sick of hearing the people who tear it down insist that all other western nations have perfect systems when nothing could be further from the truth. My pointing out the faults in the Canadian system was aimed at illustrating this point.

  • Dr Dreadful

    So Reggie is Archie. I thought so. The rhetorical style was strongly familiar.

  • Powderfinger

    Nobody claims that the Canadian system is perfect. But I think one thing that’s interesting about the links in Reggie’s comment is that the authors almost always insist that the answer is NOT in moving toward a US-style healthcare system.

    In the Globe and Mail article, the author writes “That’s not an endorsement of an American-style system. Far from it…,” while in the Psychology Today article Gad Saad says “I do not wish to imply that some form of universal health coverage is a bad idea. On the contrary, any civilized and compassionate society should provide the requisite safety net to protect its most downtrodden citizens.”

    Most Canadians know that our system is imperfect and could use a lot of work, but we differ as to what the solutions are. Almost NO Canadians believe the answer lies to the south, though, and that is important to remember when making these comparisons.

  • http://cinemasentries.com El Bicho

    Looks like the average IQ of conservatives just went up with Arch stepping out from behind the curtain and revealing himself.

    Yeah, you posted sources, and none of them was a source that backed up your claim regarding “an eight month waiting list for an MRI even if their doctor suspected they had brain cancer,” which is what you were called out on. Do you not know sources are supposed to support your position?

    By the way, you should check out Elaine’s source, as I did. It proved your statement was wrong in Alberta. If you weren’t so busy running your mouth, you might learn something.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Arch –

    Glenn…….no one is claiming the US system is perfect but I do get a little sick of hearing the people who tear it down insist that all other western nations have perfect systems when nothing could be further from the truth. My pointing out the faults in the Canadian system was aimed at illustrating this point.

    Look, Arch – American taxpayers are already paying twice as much in taxpayer-funded health care as Canadians are…and we’ve not only got a LOWER life expectancy, but over 40 million of us (more than the entire population of Canada) have no health insurance at all!

    Now where I come from, paying twice the price for inferior results is stupid…but that’s what y’all are insisting upon.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Good catch!