Sometime in the beginning of August the rhetoric changed at the White House, Health Reform has suddenly become “Health Insurance Reform” this is more than likely the result of a pollster who found that Health Reform wasn’t selling so it is time to move on to something well more sellable like attaching Insurance to the title.
It is safe to say that most Americans are leery of insurance companies (though 80% say they like their current healthcare), they are these monolith organizations that decide what healthcare we receive, in the past insurance was a relational activity, and a benefit provided by your employer today they are much less personal and always a favorite wiping post for politicians.
In an effort to get “Health Insurance Reform” passed the White House this past week held a conference call with physicians and provided this Health Insurance Reform Action Guide , though I was not able to find any reference to the call or the guide on the www.whitehouse.gov and www.healthcare.gov.
The stated goals in the guide include:
- Bring stability and improved cared to Americans by offering new consumer protections;
- Reduce costs to make health care affordable;
- Protect a patient’s choice of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans; and
- Assure quality affordable health care for all Americans
The guidelines also detailed the goals of doctors for health insurance reform such as:
- Emphasizing the urgent need to pass health insurance reform this year in order to bring stability and improved care to all Americans and to address rapidly escalating health care costs that are crushing family, business, and government budgets;
- Explaining how health insurance reform legislation will build on what works in our health care system, fix what’s broken, and ensure stable costs, secure choices, and quality care; and
- Developing momentum and support for health insurance reform this year.
According to the report, ways to support health insurance reform include the public include hosting Health Reform Action Forums, roundtable discussions, and so on.
Instead of the White House asking Americans to investigate and read the health care bill to really see what it will do to Americans, they would rather distract us with rhetoric and no plan of their own.
While Americans might be easily distracted by the idea that they might get coverage, they should not be distracted by the enormous taxes it will take to pay for it, the debt our grandchildren will have to pay to finance it, and the destruction it will do to all employers.
The administration also wants to distract Americans through this guide by taking them to their Health Reform Website, www.Healthcare.gov, to take quizzes and see videos and stories. (I am not kidding)
While this website tries to address the so called myths about health insurance reform, the website gives no mention of reports from agencies such as the Congressional Budget Office, and the Office of Management and Budget which predict the bill will bankrupt America.
This website is merely another attempt for the Obama administration to use its media and internet campaigning techniques from the elections to distract Americans from the real picture: health care reform is too big to happen right now, and the economy needs to be fixed first. People need jobs and a healthy economy.
Although the website makes reference to certain reports and events about healthcare, these were just “for show” as Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel would say. Similarly, the website does give reference to some important studies and data on health insurance and patients.
For example, the guidelines ask Americans to consider the following:
- Insurance premiums have doubled over the last 9 years – 3 times faster than wages.
- Out-of-pocket costs have climbed by 32 percent in five years, as deductibles and co-pays rise.
- 14,000 Americans lose their health insurance each day when they lose their jobs, change jobs, move or become seriously ill.
- Today, only 38 percent of small business offer insurance – was 61 percent in 1993
- Americans are routinely denied care if they have pre-existing medical conditions, and many see their coverage dropped if they become seriously ill.
The White House wants Americans to believe that the above problems can only be fixed by health insurance reform through the following consumer protections:
- No Dropping of Coverage for the Seriously Ill
- No Discrimination for Pre-existing Conditions
- No Charge for Preventive Care
- No Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays:
These are points that no one would be against, who is not for no charge preventative care, or low deductibles and co-pays and the first two easily fixed by simple legislation.
The White House also claims that anyone who loses their health insurance will be covered, and that insurance reform will strengthen small business by reducing their costs, increasing health insurance choices for their employees, and being more competitive (e.g. Tax credits to make covering employees affordable;Lower insurance administrative costs through the insurance exchange; and Increased health plan choices through the insurance exchange. The problem with this small business reasoning is if you force small businesses to pay insurance for their employees and their family’s jobs will be eliminated.
The guide also states thathealth insurance reform will be fully paid for and will not add a penny to the deficit because a majority will be paid by reducing waste and overpayments to insurance companies. The report also states that the health system reforms will improve quality and reduce costs, and the health insurance reform will strengthen Medicare and add years to the Medicare trust fund for America’s seniors. This is more wishful thinking than political reality, there is a real concern that health “insurance” reform will add to Medicare’s problems not help them.
Paying for more does not mean getting more. Prevention will not help reduce costs. A public option will not cover more people because it will result in rationed care. Small business and industry will be forced to pay a large burden of this reform, and taxpayers will pay the rest. Americans should use these guidelines skeptically, and get the real information directly from their doctors.
Affordable Care Act: Obamacare & Health Reform Facts http://healthreform.kaiserpermanente.org/
Understanding the Impact of Obamacare on Medicare http://blog.ehealthmedicare.com/media-center/infographics/?pid=11
What does Marketplace health insurance cover?
Affordable Care Act: State-by-State Impact http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/facts/bystate/statebystate.html
The Lifestyle Revolutionaries Guide to Addiction Intervention http://www.lakeviewhealth.com/InterventionGuide.pdf