Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ten ObamaCare Myths and Ten Countervailing Truths

To see what is front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.
George Orwell (1903-1950), In Front of Your Nose (1946
In my book,  The Health Reform Maze (Greenbranch publishing 2011), I list ten ObamaCare myths.  Here I append truths to these myths. I have provided the full text of the previous myth statements.

·         Myth One – Reform will allow you to keep your health plan.  If you are satisfied with your health plan, you can keep it. This is a myth. When time comes to change plans, your plan must meet federal standards, or your will have to drop it for a federally approved plan.

Truth One -  In light of current numbers of people having plans cancelled, 5 million, with  future predictions of 100 million losing their plans,   the untruth of this myth is self-evident.

·         Myth Two - Reform will lower healthcare spending.  Another myth, one with which even the office of Office of Management Budget disagrees.

Truth Two: ObamaCare costs are running 45% over projections and may reach 300% in ten years ( $2.7 trillion over original estimate pf $984 billion).

·         Myth Three - Reform will lower health healthcare premiums.  This myth has already been discredited, as health plans struggle to remain profitable while meeting new reform standards

\Truth Three -  Premiums are up by an average of 10% to 11% per year, or $2500 per year for a family of four,  not down, as promised, since passage of ObamaCare.

·         Myth Four - Reform will not lead to doctor shortages or will not  speed up primary shortfalls.   Reform does not encourage education of more doctors, equitable pay of those now practicing, or lessening of expenses required to meet new regulations.\

Truth Four - We are now short 9,000 primary care doctors, and this is expected to grow to 65,800 by 2015. Coverage without care may be meaningless.

·         Myth Five - There will be no rationing of medical care. In face of $575 million in cuts in Medicare, the push for comparative research as a criterion for payment, and the appointment of Donald Berwick, MS, as administrator for CMS, this statement is simply not true.

Truth Five -   Berwick is gone, but rationing lives on in the form of longer waiting lines to see fewer doctors, fewer tests and procedures allowed, and prices health consumers cannot afford.

·         Myth Six -  Zero percent of Americans will not see any form of tax increase. Never in the history of the Republic has expansion  of “free’ entitlement programs not required tax increases  
Truth Six - There is no “free lunch.” Taxes have increased $500 billion under Obama. 

·         Myth Seven: Reform will not add a “single dime” to the deficit. Hold on to your wallets and those of your children.

Truth Seven -   The Bdudget deficit is up $ 5 trillion to over $17 trillion under  the current administration. The national debt now exceeds that of all previous Presidents combined.  Fifty trillion dimes is a lot of single dimes.

·         Myth Eight - Reform will help businesses.  Businesses have not yet gotten the message. They fear expenses of reform and the mandates that will be imposed upon them, which is why they are reluctant to hire.

Truth Eight -  Because of reluctance of businesses to hire full-time workers and slow economic growth, employer mandate was delayed until 2015. A second wave of health plan cancellation is in the works because  employers cannot absorb costs inherent in meeting  the ObamaCare's comprehensive essential benefit standards.

·         Myth Nine – Adding 30 million newly insured patients to current heavy practice loads – with the addition of EHRs, which decrease productivity by 30%, will somehow simultaneously improve care, decrease errors, and enhance communication among doctors, patients, hospitals, and payers.

Truth Nine: -   This myth assumes all systems are useful, practical, workable,and interoperative, which is not the case,  as vividly illustrated by

·         Myth Ten – Reform will satisfy everybody with no downsides.  Why then, do 60% if Americans oppose reform law and 56% advocate repeal and replacement?

Truth Ten -  ObamaCare has winners and losers. You can’t please all of the people all of the time with a one-size-fits-all approach in a conservative centrist nation whose citizens believe in freedom and individual choice.


My critique of  ObamaCare myths may not be dead on, but it is close.  The“dead on” adjective  brings to mind  this passage from Holman Jenkin’s column in the Wall Street Journal, ObamaCare is dead on the vine. It becomes clearer by the day the only way insurers can make the Obama benefits package work at a monthly premium affordable by healthy people who don't qualify for subsidies is with massive deductibles and copays and narrower provider networks ( “Obama Redistribution Scheme Exposed,” November 19, 2013, Wall Street Journal.)

Increasing number of commentators agree with my analysis.

But progressive journalists and pundits from the likes of The New Yorker, Salon, The New York Times, The New Republic, The Washington Post, a host of bloggers on the left, other major media, and  die-hard Democratic  politicians are urging Obama and Obamacare to stay on course and to keep the faith, no matter what the political and economic costs.

What do progressives see that I do not see? “See” is the operative word.  Their ideology- that health care is a moral right, that everyone should have equal access to equal care, that eventually single payer is the only way to go-  blinds them to economic realities  in front of their collectiveness  noses - that ObamaCare and  government directed- and controlled- health care,  drives up costs and does not work in centrist America where the health system  has evolved after the last 70 years to become one of America’s  largest industries and employers. ObamaCare does not work when Americans seek and want to be free to choose the latest and best in care.  .

Progressives see single payer as the sum of all present and future bliss. The truth is: Progressives’ summary dismissal of economic realities and the  importance of individual liberties will not lead to universal healthcare bliss in America. They ignore the fact that only 42% of Americans believe it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have healthcare (Gallup). ObamaCare is a huge ideological bet that may not pay off when it crashes against the rocks of economic and social realities.

Tweet: ObamaCare is based on ideological and economic myths. These myths and countervailing truths are in front of our noses for all to see.

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