Monday, March 13, 2017 by JD Heyes
Americans anxious about the new Republican plan to begin repealing and replacing Obamacare are going to be treated to a steady diet of scare-mongering by Democrats and their propaganda division – the establishment media – so you may as well get ready for it.
In fact, the demagoguery has already begun. On Sunday The Associated Press launched the first salvo with this: “Hospitals Worry About Caring for Newly Uninsured in GOP Plan.”
The gist of the entire article is this: Obamacare is working perfectly and the Republicans now want to come in and blow it up, causing tens of millions of Americans to lose coverage while starving hospitals of cash needed to operate.
In addition to being replete with outright falsehoods and misrepresentations, the piece cherry-picks certain data (the national uninsured rate is now at 9 percent, “a historic low”) to make the case that the GOP is about to nuke the U.S. healthcare system, when in fact that’s precisely what Obamacare did.
There’s no question that, after six years, hospitals have adjusted to the myriad of rules and regulations involved in complying with the Affordable Care Act’s plethora of provisions. And it is understandable that there is a certain amount of uncertainty surrounding any repeal-and-replacement legislation. (RELATED: GOP Sen. Cotton: ‘Start over’ on Obamacare replacement because current bill won’t pass.)
But a review of what we do know about the damage Obamacare has created is in order here for some perspective:
— The AP says that the GOP plan “would scale back the Medicaid expansion and take away direct federal subsidies to help consumers pay their health insurance premiums, replacing them with age-adjusted tax credits.” As it happens, the Medicaid expansion needs to be scaled back because as an economic model, it is unsustainable. As noted by the Heritage Foundation, the 1960’s-era entitlement program needs to be reformed, not expanded. Why? Next point.
— The GOP plan would ‘take away coverage’ by negating the expansion. Fact is, Heritage’s Nino Owcharenko, director of the Center for Health Policy Studies, says, research shows that Americans on Medicaid historically have “worse access and outcomes than privately insured individuals.” That hasn’t changed under Obamacare, though the AP story completely whiffed on this fact.
Indeed, much of the expansion of Medicaid was “coverage” in name only; beginning a few years ago, as Medicaid was expanded under Obamacare, fewer and fewer physicians continued accepting it because payments were too low they couldn’t break even. So while the AP claims any prospective GOP repeal measure would cut back Medicaid payments to providers, that is already happening under Obamacare. The difference is that the GOP plan gives states more flexibility to use Medicaid funds more efficiently.
— Cost containment under Obamacare has just not happened, which the former president and Democrats in Congress promised early and often. Not only have premiums for private plans gone through the roof, but other out-of-pocket expenses have skyrocketed as well. Many private plans are either too expensive to buy or come with deductibles that are so high as to make them practically worthless. (RELATED: Obamacare REPEAL? It’s more like health care system COLLAPSE!)
Costs have also skyrocketed for taxpayers. Medicaid enrollment soared unexpectedly under Obamacare, as so too did the cost of providing all those Obamacare subsidies.
— At one point the AP story discussed a relative drop-off in emergency room visits, at least for one healthcare system in Denver. But that’s not been happening nationwide. Expanding “coverage” to more Americans was supposed to reduce expensive E.R. visits, but in reality, E.R. visits have gone up instead. Why? In part, there aren’t enough new primary care physicians and other providers to handle the influx of newly insured. Again, coverage hasn’t translated into access to care.
— As for hospitals “worrying” about an “influx” of “newly uninsured” patients, Obamacare – though it was promised to do so – has never provided universal coverage. While the national rate of 9 percent may be the lowest in a while, it still means there are Americans who are not covered, and Obamacare was supposed to cover everyone. Plus, hospitals have always had to deal with providing indigent care. Since the mid-1980s, federal law has prohibited hospitals from turning away patients simply due to an inability to pay for care.
— Groups representing hospitals say GOP changes will result in layoffs and closures because of a loss of funding via Medicaid.
1) The Medicaid program isn’t going away, it’s going to be reformed to make Medicaid healthcare spending more efficient;
2) In 2010 the Dept. of Health and Human Services cited Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare as likely to cause a 15 percent labor reduction in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health by 2019. (RELATED: Trump Said To Be Open To Negotiating “Obamacare 2.0” Bill Critics Say Will Ruin GOP If It Passes.)
So in other words, Obamacare’s changes to the healthcare system have led to some job losses in the healthcare industry already.
Finally, the AP whiffs on this, too: The Medicaid program itself is unsustainable. So is Medicare, as per The New York Times, a big fan of Obamacare:
As popular as Medicare remains with the seniors — not surprising given the greater dollar value of benefits received relative to the value of contributions made and the open access to clinicians and hospitals for most beneficiaries — the program is not sustainable in its current form.
And this from Reuters in 2008, which cited a report claiming Medicaid spending was “unsustainable.”
The discredited establishment media pined for Obamacare and now it will go all out to trash the GOP replacement plan, despite the fact that on every meaningful level, Obamacare has been an unmitigated disaster. That’s not simply wrong, it’s dishonest.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.