Today (3/31/14) was the last day to sign up for PPAHCA (Obamacare), although The White House has delayed this deadline, along with a host of other changes in the Law that it had no authority to alter. Everyone is talking about the number of signups, who signed up, why or why not. This morning, I was on a local radio talk show to discuss this, in part because I am on the Board of Directors of our State-based Exchange (HIX).
But first and foremost I am a doctor rather than a Director. Thus, I keep my focus clearly on the welfare of We The Patients. So should you.
Signups for Obamacare-compliant health insurance are not what is truly important. What matters are your answers – not Washington’s or mine – to three questions. YOU look at the data. YOU decide what is accurate and truthful versus what is “cooked,” spun, and disinformation. When YOU answer the following three questions for yourself. Then YOU decide if PPAHCA was a good Act or not.
What has happened to the number of uninsured Americans? After all, one of the primary reasons the President gave for healthcare reform was tens of millions of Americans who lacked health insurance.
Given the optimistic numbers touted by Washington of over 6 million signups but the minimum estimate of more than seven million cancellations, the result may be the opposite of what was promised. What is your experience and that of your friends and neighbors?
What has happened to your access to medical healthcare? It is all well and good to have insurance but if it does not lead to timely, appropriate medical care, it is worthless. What has happened to your wait time to see a doctor? Are goods and services more or less available to you and those you know? Again, answer this for yourself.
Certainly, I worry. Given the massive cuts in Medicare funding; given survey results that show more than 70% of California doctors cannot affordto accept Obamacare insurance; and given that the IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) will make many expensive treatments unavailable, I have good reason to worry about whether We The Patients will get the care you need.
What about our money? While the jury may be “out” on the first two questions, the verdict is “in” on this one. Obamacare has increased our out-of-pocket costs dramatically, making what was unaffordable before even more unaffordable now. The common phrase is “sticker shock.” The cost of insurance premiums has increased an average of 41% nationally, with Nevada leading the escalation with a 179% escalation of your costs. And the Bronze level of Obamacare insurance – what most people purchase – covers only 60% of your bills so a hospital charge could easily generate a $40,000+ bill for you to pay.
Things are worse nationally. PPAHCA will cost a minimum of $1.7 trillion (yes, trillion) dollars, most of this to pay for healthcare bureaucracy, not for your health care. Do you recall that President Obama started his healthcare reform activities by declaring that we were spending too much as a country on healthcare? I am confused.
How does additional U.S. spending that is greater than the GDP of most nations on earth and then giving that money to bureaucrats rather than nurses and doctors, how does that help We The Patients? How does adding a trillion plus dollars to the deficit reduce national spending?!
What do you think? We would love to hear your thoughts at the (free) ground level, national online Forum on healthcare going on right now at www.thehiddenenemy.info.