Obamacare

The New York Times Issues a Press Release for ObamaCare

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Credit: WhiteHouse.gov

Over the weekend, The New York Times published an unsigned editorial defending President Obama's health care overhaul. The headline describes the piece as a "report card" on the health law on its third anniversary, but it does not attempt to grade ObamaCare so much as extoll its virtues; it's barely distinguishable from an administration press release.

The editorial offers a litany of facts and statistics in support of the law, pointing out the "considerable benefits" it has already delivered. But there's less than meets the eye to many of these supposed benefits—and, perhaps more importantly, the editorial completely ignores the cost of providing them.

The piece notes, for example, that "private insurers are now required to cover children with pre-existing conditions, which means that an estimated 17 million such children have been protected against being uninsured." The fact that the Times points only to the entire class of people who have been "protected" suggests that it cannot determine how many, if any, have actually taken advantage of the benefit. Certainly it directly affects far less than 17 million children. Initial estimates indicated that somewhere between 31,000 and 72,000 would be covered as a result of the new requirement.

The Times also declines to note that at least half a dozen insurers responded to the requirement by simply refusing to offer child-only health policies. How many children benefited from this side-effect of the regulation?

The editorial also cites the statistic that "some 71 million Americans have received at least one free preventive service, like a mammogram or a flu shot, and an additional 34 million older Americans got free preventive services in 2012 under Medicare." Here the resemblance to an administration press release becomes even sharper; this was literally the subject of a Health and Human Services press release last week. And like that press release, the Times fails to note that the allegedly "free" preventive services mandated by the law raise the price of health insurance premiums—and, according to most studies, are of the sort that tend to raise overall health spending.

It does, however, claim that the law is "saving consumers money." In support, the piece points to the law's medical loss ratio ((MLR) requirement, which requires insurers to spend 80 percent of health premium revenue on medical services or rebate the difference, but unsurprisingly fails to note the fairly strong reasons to believe that the requirement is actually causing premiums to rise by creating incentives to charge high up front premiums that can perhaps be rebated later.

The editorial also points to the law's rate review provisions, which it says have reduced the number of insurance plans seeking large rate hikes. But once again, the Times overstates its case. A 2012 review of the rate-review provisions by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that one in five rate requests ended up lower in states performing their own review of rate increases, but also notes that because many of those states already had rate-review programs in place prior to ObamaCare's passage, it's not possible to fully attribute that effect to the health law. And in states where rate-review was conducted entirely by the federal government, and thus entirely attributable to the law, it seems to make little difference: Kaiser analyzed 48 federally administered rate-increase reviews; of the 37 rate hikes deemed "unreasonable" by HHS, only one was subsequently withdrawn by the insurer—and it was later resubmitted at exactly the same rate.

The Kaiser report also notes that insurers justified large rate increases by saying that if necessary, they would make it up with the rebates provided under the MLR rule—further suggesting that insurers are acting on the incentives the provision provides to charge high up front premiums.

But never mind all that. ObamaCare, the NYT editorial says, is "a start toward reforming the costly, dysfunctional American health system," which is just what one would expect an administration press release to say.

Indeed, The New York Times could probably have saved itself the trouble of writing an original editorial and instead sent readers directly to the source. 

In addition to the topics discussed above, the editorial also mentions the $11 billion the law appropriates for community health centers, the 6.6 million adult children who have been allowed to stay on their parents' health plans because of ObamaCare, and the 6.3 million seniors and disabled adults who have it says have saved $6.1 billion on prescription drugs thanks to the law's closing of a gap in Medicare Part D coverage. You can read the HHS press releases on those provisions here, here, and here, respectively. 

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  1. and with no majority in the house, any needed reforms to the initial “reform” will be hampered. If the Pubs are smart (hahaha) they will let the Dems owns this lock, stock, and barrel.

    1. I am convinced that this is a slow-motion train wreck of such gigantic proportions that the GOP will benefit, no matter what they do. Between now and November 2014, premiums will continue to rise, people will lose jobs, many businesses will be screaming, and the exchanges will barely work, if at all. I don’t see how the Democrats will be able to blame anyone but themselves, but of course they (and the media) will try mightily to do so.

  2. The NY Times is a TEAM BLUE media organ and nothing else? SHOCKER.

    1. Sometimes a newspaper is just a newspaper, and sometimes it’s a big blue dick.

  3. ObamaCare, the NYT editorial says, is “a start toward reforming the costly, dysfunctional American health system”

    Sheesh, *lots* of stuff is a “start toward reforming”.

    1. If by “reforming” you mean making all of the existing problems with the system much much worse.

    2. You know who else initiated a start toward reforming?

      1. Harold Washington? Jane Byrne? Richard Daley (both of them)?

      2. Martin Luther?

      3. Hillary Clinton.

        Oh, and also ….. HITLER!!!!

    3. My punching you in the face is a “start towards that nose job” you have always wanted.

  4. If that moron Stewart Smalley ever succeeds in reversing Citizens United, the RNC should sue the NYT, NBC, ABC, MSNBC & others for in-kind campaign contributions gone unreported.

    1. He’s good enough, he’s smart enough, and gosh darn it people like him.

  5. It’s very odd sometimes what counts as “preventive” services, and seems very politicized.

    For example, a mammogram is a “free” preventative service, but (say) a screening test for a specific illness related to an actual health problem you are having is not. It’s basically categorized as “preventitive” based on an arbitrary list that has nothing to do with your individual medical history. Even though testing for a specific illness based on your actual symptoms is more likely to “prevent” your symptoms getting worse than testing for something that you aren’t actual experiencing any symptoms of (i.e. breast cancer).

    The things that actually count as “preventative” are limited to things that often aren’t even medically necessary. Annual physicals and such. Then you throw in arbitrary freebies like birth control. There isn’t much else that qualifies. Men get colonoscopies, women get mammograms. Most of the time, neither will be related to any actual symptoms you are experiencing.

    1. but teh childrunz

      1. I just spent 45 seconds or so reciting this lines out loud in various accents and tones.

        Taxi Driver style.

        1. ‘line.’

    2. “The things that actually count as “preventative” are limited to things that often aren’t even medically necessary. Annual physicals and such. Then you throw in arbitrary freebies like birth control. There isn’t much else that qualifies. Men get colonoscopies, women get mammograms”

      Either way, we end up taking it up the ass….

    3. For example, a mammogram is a “free” preventative service, but (say) a screening test for a specific illness related to an actual health problem you are having is not.

      What do you have against titties?

      (Seriously, that’s the question I got when I suggested the NFL ought to spend October raising awareness for a disease other than breast cancer. The pink ribbon bullies are really nasty people.)

  6. “considerable benefits”

    Simple refute: For whom? At what cost?

    1. “Simple refute: For whom? At what cost?”

      Everybody! And it’s free!

    2. Congress is so powerful they can circumvent basic economics.

    3. What is this word “cost” that thou speaketh of?

  7. Of course all this talk of reform and our fucked up medical “system” has nothing to do with 50 years of gov’t involvement in health care.

    1. 1. Find a problem that government caused.
      2. Blame the free market and evil corporations.
      3. Come up with a government “fix” for the problem that will only make things worse.
      4. ?????
      5. Brilliant political career!

      1. 4. Blame the failure of the fix on the evils of deregulation

  8. ” ….it’s barely distinguishable from an administration press release.”

    Just like most of what the MSM has published for the last ~4.5 years. It is sickening.

  9. “Unsigned editorial” = too worried about public backlash for holding an unpopular opinion, aka bitch ass nigga

    1. Somehow I don’t think that the Times has to worry about that too much. This is not exactly a controversial view among their readers. I’m pretty sure they run unsigned editorials every day.

      1. meh, my assessment of what an unsigned editorial means still stands.

      2. Yeah, NYT editorials are always unsigned. The signed ones are “op/ed”s.

      3. Ah, I think when their readers get their insurance bills in the coming months is it going to get real controversial. The NYT’s readers honestly believe the whole thing is going to be paid for by evil corporations and tea baggers, not decent white people like them. The shock of finding out that is not true is going to be profound.

        1. Sadly, this isn’t always the case. I know an architect whose small business is about to be totally boned by Obamacare, and he knows and admits that supplying insurance to his employees when the plans change will screw him, and he knows and admits that it’s because of Obamacare. He’s an avid NYT reader and supporter of everything that the President does. You can’t fix this kind of thing.

          Which reminds me: he’s the kind of guy who thinks it’s clever to say that the only “First World Problem” is… the Third World. To which I consistently respond “WOMP WOMP” in my best Debbie Downer impersonation, which for some reason never amuses him.

  10. The New York Times published an unsigned editorial defending President Obama’s health care overhaul. … it’s barely distinguishable from an administration press release.

    Duh, who do you think wrote it? You don’t expect the NYT, the “paper of record”, to do any actual investigative reporting do you? It’s so much easier to just be a sockpuppet for the administration.

    1. “sockpuppet for the administration.”

      More like a meat puppet.

    2. Well, until those other guys are in charge.

    3. Too bad there’s no metadata for NYT editorials. Remember a few years ago when a press release from the California Atty Gen, released as a Word document, turned out to have someone from the MPAA listed as the author in the metadata?

      1. Hahahaha, no I hadn’t heard about that, but that is fantastic.

  11. So, when they say “free” they mean insurance is required to pay for it, right? Do people think that insurance is free or something? They don’t realize that the money is coming out of their paychecks?

    1. Most people think that a free lunch costs nothing. They ignore that it costs someone something. Someone bought and prepared the ingredients. But that is unseen. Most people only notice the seen.

      1. I wish I were a more spiteful person, then I might at least get some pleasure when people start seeing the costs coming out of their pay.

        1. It will be considered to be a failure of the free market and cause for single payer.

          1. The cause of rising premiums will be attributed to corporate greed. Then they will clamor for price controls.

      2. Holla! I don’t know if you were the one who posted the link to Henry Hazlitt’s online book Economics in One Lesson, but I am about halfway through the second part and it is awesome.

        He just keeps hammering home the fact that people focus on the trees and miss the forest; they only look at one industry and miss how their policies affect the entire market.

        1. That was probably me. I’m in the process of reading it myself. Awesome book.

    2. “Do people think that insurance is free or something? ”

      Yes.

      “They don’t realize that the money is coming out of their paychecks?”

      Didnt you read the Op-ed? Obamacare makes it free.

    3. Well, here’s the kicker. Because insurance rates are now “community rated” that means that you pay the same whether you benefit from the “free” services or not, right?

      So essentially, what the “free” preventive services do is shift costs from people who are at a high risk of colon cancer or breast cancer to those that aren’t.

      Some women aren’t likely to get breast cancer, myself included. Nobody in my family has ever had breast cancer. We’re all small-breasted women. None of us are overweight. We don’t have any of the risk factors.

      We ARE at risk of other illnesses, but unfortunately, screening for those things isn’t considered “preventive”. Only mammograms. I can get a free mammogram for a disease I’m not likely to get, but I can’t get a free genetic screening test that tells me what my risk factors for other illnesses are.

      It’s essentially just political pandering. Breast cancer and colon cancer groups have more effective lobbies. So people with a high risk of breast cancer get benefits at the expense of those who aren’t.

      1. Hazel, just a heads up: breast size isn’t that significant in predicting cancer rates. Breast density is a much bigger factor.

        Mammography is a fairly lousy screening test since it’s not particularly sensitive, especially compared to MRI or whole breast ultrasound. But guess which test is paid for, and which ones get deprioritized due to all the “free” mammograms oops I gave the answer away.

  12. Once again I would like to point out that there IS NO SUCH FUCKING THING AS FREE.

    The sheer retardedness of the progressives takes one’s breath away. They adhere to a philosophy that has a 100% perfect record of miserable failure. Their Utopia has never been realized. Instead, they have created, over and over, governments that grew increasingly large and oppressive in striving asymptotically towards a governmentless castle in the air. Their champions murdered over 100 million people in the last 100 years or so chasing a chimera. The fucking morons never learn.

    Now the jug-eared king of dunces is leading them over the edge and dragging everyone else with them. What a bunch of self-deluded retards they are.

    I blame Bush. No, really, I do.

    1. In some ways Bush has done more damage than Obama, simply for giving way to Obama. Bush ran as a “compassionate conservative”, and so even when he was horribly progressive and/or liberal in his policy making (NCLB) conservatives and Republicans in general got blamed for his failures. People only see the labels; they ignore the actions as being the real reason something failed.

      1. Hey GB…..were those emails any help? Or just confusing blabber?

        BTW, I cast up a bunch of silver bullets for my wife yesterday….just for fun. She loves Sci-fi/ fantasy so she was delighted, but other than gimmicks the things are useless.

        1. Yes, extremely helpful. I will probably shoot another email with more questions to you later in the week when I’ve had some time to digest everything and can think of some more questions.

          Of course if you think of anything else to add it will be thoroughly read and appreciated.

        2. That’s awesome. I remember wanting to make silver bullets once, a while back, and realizing that silver was $4 / oz or so, thinking that was more than I wanted to spend on a novelty like that. Wish I had bought it then.

      2. compassionate conservative: anti-abortion progressive

    2. People honestly thought they could expand coverage to include the already sick and uninsured as well as every uninsured person in America and that was going to bend the cost curve. See, if an insurance company pays for you medical bills, that cost doesn’t count or something.

      1. If you force those who do not need it to pay for it, then there will be money there for the people who do need it.

        Or something.

      2. But, the law will make everything free, give something to everyone while at the same time lowering their costs. Because, Government!

        I want to believe that the architects of the plan knew all along that it would be a disaster. No sane person would really expect otherwise. But, they keep doubling down. I remember Biden during the election taunting hecklers: “You’ll thank me when your insurance premiums come down!”. A lot of these idiots really believed that they could lard on a new layer of regulations, spice it up with a host of new items that had to be covered, and that premiums would decline. Because, Government.

        1. I agree with Ken below. They knew it was going to be a disaster but passed it anyway because they wanted to do something.

        2. I want to believe that the architects of the plan knew all along that it would be a disaster.

          Of course they did. The end game is single payer. But they can’t get there all at once. They must first destroy the private insurance industry and blame it on the free market before instituting the final goal of a single payer system.

          1. I tend to doubt these Long Con explanations, both because I doubt the ability of these clowns to pull it off, and because they were so abject at selling out to the Pharma and Insurance industries right from the very start.

            They may still get to their single payer by accident, but the people have one last chance to wake up, see the destruction that the last round of reform wreaks, and say no.

    3. It’s not free, but you can shift costs to other people by getting whatever it is you are at risk for covered as a “preventivive” service. Since everyone pays the same rate anyway, anything you can get covered for “free” means you get more bang for your insurance buck relative to others.

  13. “But there’s less than meets the eye to many of these supposed benefits?and, perhaps more importantly, the editorial completely ignores the cost of providing them.”

    The whole purpose of the editorial is to ignore the cost of providing them.

    Did St. John ask Jesus how much this whole Christianity religion thingy was gonna cost?

    The man has single-handedly transformed the American consciousness away from a society that thinks about costs–into a society of believers.

    You gotta have faith, Suderman! Obama’s paying the price for our sins. Now get down on your knees and pray that he forgives you.

  14. Private insurers are required by the law to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of their premium revenues on medical claims or quality improvements, or they must pay a rebate to consumers. In 2012, insurers had to pay $1.1 billion in rebates, an average of $151 per family. Although Republicans contend the law will drive up insurance premiums, thus far it seems to have reduced them. Any insurer that wants to increase its premiums by 10 percent or more for people who buy their own policies must justify the increase to state or federal officials.

    I’m sure that with enough campaign contributions, free dinners, and trips to underage Dominican prostitutes, state and/or federal officials will come around and see the insurance companies line of reasoning.

    1. “Private insurers are required by the law to spend at least 80 to 85 percent of their premium revenues on medical claims or quality improvements.”

      Because if providers were able to profit from that kind of thing, it might lead to keeping costs down–and obviously we can’t have any of that?

      What genius idiot thought it would be a good idea if healthcare providers only got 15% of the benefit of cost savings?!

      Proof positive that those who think the profit motive is somehow the problem are some of America’s stupidest people.

      1. See, you can increase your profits by raising your prices, and if you can’t do that because of competition, or whatever, the you can always increase your profits by cutting your costs!

        If the cost of healthcare is a problem, then why THE HELL did we take away 85% of their incentive to cut costs?

        The problem with our economy is that it’s run by the government–regardless of whether they’re smart. But it should also be noted that, currently, our government is being run by an idiot.

        1. This conversation is three weeks old, so unfortunately no one will see this, but anyway…

          Ken, you have ~way~ understated the problem. They didn’t take away 85% of the incentive, they took away 117.65% of the incentive, for any insurance company that will have to give rebates.

          Imagine an insurance company paid out $100,000 in claims. They can keep up to $117,647 in premiums. They have to rebate the rest.

          If they found an additional $10,000 in claims they could pay out, then they could keep up to $129,412 in premiums. That nets them an extra $1,765. They make more money by being wasteful.

  15. All of Obamacare was based on a single idiotic idea; that people going to the doctor and having it paid for by medical insurance is somehow cheaper than people going to the doctor without insurance. That is it. That is the entire premise of the program in a nutshell. Everything flows from that single stupid premise. Problem, we pay too much for healthcare. Solution, force everyone to buy insurance. Think about.

    1. They also think that it’s in uninsured pushing up the bills. Not the soon-to-be dead racking up Medicare bills.

      1. Even the soon to be dead is a red herring as well. We only know something is end of life care after the person dies. When we are giving them the treatment, we don’t know if they are going to die and thus can’t tell what is really end of life care and what is life saving care.

        And no matter what you do most of your medical costs are going to come in the last six months of life because that is when you are the sickest.

        1. When we are giving them the treatment, we don’t know if they are going to die and thus can’t tell what is really end of life care and what is life saving care.

          In many cases the likelihood of saving the life is insignificant, so yes we DO know that it’s end of life care. And then there are cases where the treatment’s goal is not to save the life but to make the end of life more comfortable.

          1. And having watched my mother and a couple of other relatives die, I can honestly say that in each case when the hope for recovery ended, the treatment ended. When treatment becomes futile is a decision that should be made by the doctor and the patient, not the government. Sending out bureaucrats to decide what is really life saving treatment is nothing but state sanctioned murder of the sick.

            1. Yes, but were those treatments being paid for by Uncle Sugar or by your family?

              1. They were being paid for by our insurance policies that we paid for. To the extent that they were being paid for by uncle sam it was because uncle sam “requires by law that everyone over 65 be on medicare”.

                So basically, fuck you. My parents never wanted to be on medicare and were under the delusion that the insurance they had paid for all of their lives and was part of their retirement packages would prevent that. The Feds said by law otherwise.

                1. No offense meant John.

                  I just figured that when the treatments are being paid for mostly by family/insurance those treatments will probably cease when they stop being effective. When medicare covers the majority of the costs, those treatments probably continue on longer even though they aren’t effective.

                  1. No offense taken. And I am not sure about that.

                    1. I readily admit I was pulling that out of my ass.

      2. And the young kids are especially the ones who think free healthcare is a wonderful thing.

        Look, you stupid punk, the whole purpose of Obamacare is to make people who don’t need medical care pay for those who do. All the paperwork is just a shell game designed to hide the nut – you young kids need to cough up for granny’s hip replacement and triple by-pass and kidney transplant. Good luck doing that and saving enough to someday pay for your own.

        Now gimme your wallet and get off my lawn.

        1. They will have kids of their own someday, who they can rob to cover their costs. Circle of life.

    2. Well John, the insurance industry is heavily regulated. All we have to do is regulate how much the insurance company pays for medical treatment and…voila….the cost of medical treatment goes down. Why congress doesnt mandate that it is free is a little confusing but at least they are trying.

      I cant really explain it as well as Tony can but there you go.

      1. I can remember when this thing was being debated in Congress. I had any number of arguments with liberals who claimed the reason why medical costs were so high was that there were so many uninsured people going to the emergency room and then having no way to pay for their treatment and sticking the hospitals for their bills.

        That is okay as far as it goes. But they then took the second step of claiming forcing these people to buy insurance would reduce costs because there would no longer be a cost shifting problem of uninsured showing up at emergency rooms. They honestly seemed to think that shifting the costs to insurance companies would eliminate them.

        1. An ‘Insurance company’ is an unimaginably huge, rich, endless source of free money that exists somewhere in the nether regions. It is their duty and obligation….

          Oh fuck never mind. Can we just shoot them already?

        2. Those people complaining about the uninsured have no sense of proportion.

          Approximately half of the people who get healthcare in this country are getting it paid for by the government.

          The thing I will always remember about when this was being debated, there was a point when they were considering giving people a voucher–and letting people use it to go out and buy healthcare themselves. Then the GAO, or someone, pointed out that it was less expensive (to the government) to give all of these people Medicaid!

          Gee, I wonder why?! Could it be because reimbursement rates are set by statute below the cost of care?! Could that be the reason why private pay patients are getting gouged in the first place?!

          If half the problem is that providers are losing money on every Medicaid patient, so it makes them gouge private insurers and the uninsured, what effect will putting another 20 million Americans on Medicaid have?

          Here’s what happened:

          1) Obama and his team had no idea what they were doing.

          2) Once they realized what they were doing was stupid, they also realized that Obama’s name was attached to it and so if it didn’t pass, it was going to make Obama look like a HillaryCare oaf–and hurt his reelection chances.

          So it was full speed ahead–no matter how stupid.

          1. I think that is a good assessment of what happened. They knew it was a disaster but figured they could get away with it.

            What amazes me is the number of imbeciles in Congress who killed their career passing what everyone knew was a completely stupid bill.

            And the funny thing is, had Obamacare not passed, Obama still wins re-election and the Dems probably still control the House. Every single person in the country lost on that deal.

            1. I think if ObamaCare had lost, there was a chance that he might have lost his reelection bid. It sure looked like he was gonna lose after the Tea Party movement gave the Republicans the House.

              Americans love winners, and there’s nothing Americans hate more than a loser. A lot of people wait to decide who they’re cheering for until they see who’s winning.

              It’s astounding, though, how badly one president can fubar. Anyway, it’s spilt milk now. We better change direction, or we’re gonna end up with President Hillary and then President Michelle.

    3. The problem is that providers lose so much on Medicare and Medicaid patients that they have to overcharge private insurers and people paying for everything out of pocket to cover those losses and break even.

      So, the point of forcing people to buy insurance is, mostly, to force younger people to pay into the system–specifically becasue they consume so little healthcare.

      You make young people pay for what they don’t use–to cover the costs racked up by people on Medicare and Medicaid, who use a ton of healthcare but don’t pay for it.

      That’s the biggest disconnect the general public doesn’t understand about healthcare. They think that because they don’t have to pay for a big chunk of their healthcare costs because they’re on Medicare and Medicaid, that means the government covers the rest…but that’s completely false.

      The cost problems we have with healthcare are ultimately because of Medicare and Medicaid. Two 800 lbs. gorillas sitting in the middle of the room! If the people are consuming more than half the healthcare services in this country are on government programs, why wouldn’t that completely screw things up?

      1. Yes Ken. Obamacare is a system designed to get the young and healthy to contribute more to the system.

        The fact that younger people didn’t understand this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this really is generation retard.

        1. Well, that’s because of gay marriage, and anti-immigration, and Fox News, and Republicans blind support of Bush…

          That stuff left such a nasty taste in their ears, that they can’t even hear what we’re saying anymore.

          It was the same thing with cash-for-clunkers. I remember this college kid complaining to me about not being able to find a cheap car at the time–rabid Obama supporter!

          Rand Paul may be the only chance for the GOP to get White House relevant sometime in the next 20 years.

          I don’t care if he’s just a Goldwater. There needs to be an inflection point somewhere–or some Democratic president is gonna have to pull a Watergate or a Jimmy Carter or something. Otherwise, we’re doomed!

          DOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

          1. Obama already pulled a Carter and still managed to get re-elected. And I think the media would prevent any D scandal no matter how bad from ever being covered properly. Obama could murder people in the green room and get away with it at this point.

            1. All he had to do is designate them as terrorists, and the left will hail him for his courage in murdering them.

            2. It is scary, how…it used to that a president could keep a secret. Nixon’s people seemed to feel pretty confident that nobody would ever find out what they were doing.

              Nowadays, with the interwebs and wikileaks, etc., it doesn’t seem like anything is secret anymore–the problem is that people just don’t care about lies and stuff like that anymore. And I don’t know what the solution to that is.

              Caring about that stuff’s something your mom and dad are supposed to teach you.

      2. Plus, Medicare and Medicaid are open-ended commitments. No rationing. So you have this service that people can consume effectively an unlimited amount of, and you make a commitment to provide an unlimited amount of it free of charge, and then you’re surprised that the price goes up.

        Supply and demand, stupid. You pledge to buy an infinite amount of product X, the price of product X is going to rise.

        Yet somehow people think that spending unlimited amounts of money on healthcare for people who are in the last years of their life is going to have no impact on healthcare prices.

        It’s literally insane. There isn’t any other market where prices aren’t going to rise if you subsidize consumption of a good. And with healthcare there’s basically no limit to how much you can consume.

        1. There’s rationing, but it happens behind the scenes.

          The government decides what they will and won’t pay for, and there’s this thing called “medical necessity” that most seniors have run into at least once–and early on, too!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N…..ermination

          There’s this one old guy I know with a heart condition, and he got a call saying that Medicare wouldn’t pay for his test because it wasn’t “medically necessary”. He screamed back at them, “How can it not be medically necessary if my doctor says I need it?”

          They just have no idea.

          That’s one of the ways Medicare rations–although they’ll never call it that. They just won’t approve a code except under specific circumstances decided by a committee, and so you can’t get that CT scan–not with the diagnosis you have.

          Doctors get savvy, and they know what Medicare (or Medicaid) will or won’t pay for. If they want you to get some treatment, they’ll try to work it up in a way that’ll get you approved, but most of that happens behind the patient’s back.

          They also know what they can’t get you approved for, too–and so the treatments or tests the doctor would have recommended if Medicare paid for it, a lot of the time, the patient never hears about that either. Why would a doctor want to put himself or a patient through that frustration unnecessarily?

          Especially since patients often blame the doctor when something doesn’t go right with their care.

          1. “the treatments or tests the doctor would have recommended if Medicare paid for it, a lot of the time, the patient never hears about that either.”

            This prior restraint effect on diagnoses is how European states maintain their systems. The actuary tells them how much they are allowed to spend based on the probability of success, the age of the patient, and the cost of the treatment. If you don’t make the cut, they just say “I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do for you.” You never even learn that a treatment was available, unless you are rich enough to fly to America and ask a doctor over there.

  16. The “press release” consisted of one word printed in gigantic font: “OBEY”.

    1. Also ” the chocolate ration has been increased to 25 grams”

      1. Holy shit, that is more chocolate than I have eaten in the last ten years.

    2. Yes, but you can only see the word “OBEY” if you’re wearing those funny sunglasses.

      1. I’m here to kick ass and chew bubblegum… and I’m all out of bubblegum. *Blasts alien with shotgun.*

  17. Can anyone guess which scene from Idiocracy that picture of Obama reminds me of?

  18. Ah, Comments:

    P. StuartAlbany
    FLAG
    I like it that the Republicans put up so much resistance to the ACA. Doing so exposes them for what they are, and it is ripping them apart.

    We are on the road for good universal health care. The road is bumpy, but we’ll get there. It will go easier, and faster, when more Americans see the benefits and become “believers”.

    And when it’s all over, maybe the Republican Party will become a better party. One that can actually contribute to improving our country.

    Believe!!

    DalleeFlorida, Gulf Coast
    FLAG
    Spread this wonderful summary of health care benefit improvements — post a link to this article on web and Facebook pages of politicians and public service organizations!

    I’m going to Senator Rubio’s FB page to urge him to reconsider his opposition right now …

    Thanks for a great article!


    1. lydgateVirginia
      FLAG
      You make a strong case that the ACA already has done much good and is likely to do a great deal more once fully implemented. If so, then Republicans who have been criticizing and fighting the act since it was passed will look very foolish when reality shows them up, as it did with those Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction.” The Republicans’ only hope is to sabotage the implementation of the act and then proclaim that its failure proves them to have been right all along. And they won’t care how many people suffer as a result.

      The ACA, if given a fair chance to work, is likely to be the Obama Administration’s greatest accomplishment and the one for which he and his congressional allies will most be remembered. They’ve fought hard to get this far and I hope they won’t stop now.

      1. These are the same people who just know communism will some day work if it is just done properly. They will never stop believing.

      2. I love that the left has already decided that when it doesn’t work, because there is no way in hell it’s going to, that it’s just stupid rethuglican sabotage.

        Fuck every Demfag with a rusty pipe.

        1. Hoarders and wreckers are always at fault. These people never change.

      3. MSAMiami
        FLAG
        Three facts emerge from this:

        1. It seems to be a great piece of legislation, benefitting a huge amount of people with minimal problems

        2. Republicans still don’t care about the population as a whole. they are still the party of “NO”

        3. Obama and his team have absolutely NO clue on PR… I can’t believe that all of these accomplishments have not been touted all over the states. They need to get their act together.

        There was a maxim in law: the law must not only be fair, it must be seen to be fair. They really need to take that to heart in the Obama administration

        There are STILL people out there who think Obama’s only problem is messaging.

    2. And the best:


      ibLoG Canada
      FLAG
      GOP would do anything to kill a bill that do reduce benefit to corporation such as this Health care law or Gun manufacture.

      About as coherent as the bill itself.

      1. What’s really funny about that is the damn bill was a gimme to the insurance industry for as long as it’s able to exist before they force single payer on us.

      2. Reading it again, I think this was actually Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

  19. It strikes me that there are perverse incentives built into essentially all socialized systems. Any time you have a system where costs are shifted from individuals onto society, the individual is going to be incentivized to overuse the system to maximize the amount they they are getting out relative to what they are putting in. It’s straightforward self-interest.

    This goes for banks getting bailouts just as much as individuals getting health insurance. With banks, the banks are incentivized to make riskier investment decisions, since they will maximize their returns relative to the actual risk they are exposing themselves to, because the risks are being socialized. With health insurance individuals are incentivized to use their insurance for as much as possible, and to get insurance expanded to cover all the services they want, since the costs are being shifted to people who aren’t using the system, since everyone is paying the same price, instead of paying for what they use.

    This is true for basically anything. You can shift the cost of your risks onto others by expanding coverage to things that are specific to your risk, and you can shift the cost of your realized expenses onto others as well. If we had socialized food provision, people would be incentivized to overeat, or to eat more expensive food, so they would get the most back relative to their taxes.

    1. “Any time you have a system where costs are shifted from individuals onto society, the individual is going to be incentivized to overuse the system to maximize the amount they they are getting out relative to what they are putting in.”

      Especially when people really are paying in! I write a check for it.

      I think a lot of people believe in Al Gore’s lock box. That the money the put in is somehow being saved for them, and it will only be drawn on once it’s time to get them some Medicare.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think it occurs to many of them that the government spends more than it takes in every year–and what the implications of that are regarding the money they’ve sent to the government in the past.

      Maybe they think Bernanke is saving it for them in a special account at the Fed? Maybe they think that’s what his buying all those U.S. treasuries is all about.

  20. The piece notes, for example, that “private insurers are now required to cover children with pre-existing conditions, which means that an estimated 17 million such children have been protected against being uninsured.”

    More like, an estimated 17 million children are now “protected” from having affordable rates due to uninsured kids who develop a PEC getting to jump onto coverage, driving up rates for everyone else.

    How ignorant about insurance do you have to be to not get that?

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