The NY Times today runs an article that tries vainly to rescue Obama and Obamacare:
After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows. But it has also fallen short in some ways and given rise to a powerful conservative backlash.
Here at the arguments:
1. Has the percentage of uninsured people been reduced? Yes, the number of uninsured has fallen significantly.
2. Has insurance under the law been affordable? For many, yes, but not for all.
3. Did the Affordable Care Act improve health outcomes? Data remains sparse except for one group, the young.
4. Will the online exchanges work better this year than last? Most experts expect they will, but they will be tested by new challenges.
5. Has the health care industry been helped or hurt by the law? The law mostly helped, by providing new paying patients and insurance customers.
6. How has the expansion of Medicaid fared? Twenty-three states have opposed expansion, though several of them are reconsidering.
7. Has the law contributed to a slowdown in health care spending? Perhaps, but mainly around the edges.
Let’s analyze some of this. The number of uninsured has fallen, but it is still higher than when Obama took office.
Of the Obamacare sign-ups, only 27 percent had been previously uninsured in 2013. And of the 27 percent, nearly half had yet to pay a premium. (By contrast, among the 73 percent who had been previously insured, 86 percent had paid.) Put all those percentages together, and you get two key stats. Only 19 percent of those who have paid a premium were previously uninsured. Among those that the administration is touting as sign-ups, only 14 percent are previously uninsured enrollees: approximately 472,000 people as of February 1.
In other words, the claims for Obamacare enrollees includes those who lost their plans due to Obamacare.
Keep in mind another fact: According to the Associated Press, at least 4.7 million Americans who shop for coverage on their own have had their plans canceled because they don’t conform to Obamacare’s regulations. So Obamacare has disrupted the coverage of millions of Americans, requiring many to purchase costlier policies with higher deductibles and narrower doctor networks, for a fairly modest expansion of coverage. According to the administration, total sign-ups now exceed 4 million. But on a recent HHS conference call, Obamacare implementation point man Gary Cohen was asked the key question: how many of the people who have signed up for Obamacare were previously insured? His response: “That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way.” So. The whole point of Obamacare was to expand coverage to the uninsured. But for the tens of thousands of regulations that the law has imposed on the country, its authors never bothered to try to measure the one thing that they were actually trying to achieve. That about sums it all up.
Has Obamacare made health care affordable? Not really. Premiums might appear to be lower but 1. they’re going up:
However, a new study from the well-respected and non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research (and published by Brookings Institution), overcomes the limitations of these prior studies by examining what happened to premiums in the entire non-group market. The bottom line? In 2014, premiums in the non-group market grew by 24.4% compared to what they would have been without Obamacare. Of equal importance, this careful state-by-state assessment showed that premiums rose in all but 6 states (including Washington DC).
and 2. the deductibles are onerous. A great number of people are simply unable to afford health care.
Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring. But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best. “To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn’t grown?” said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. “I don’t have that money.”
Has Obamacare reduced the overall cost of health care? No. But let’s go back to the false premise of this article:
“After a year fully in place, the Affordable Care Act has largely succeeded in delivering on President Obama’s main promises, an analysis by a team of reporters and data researchers shows.”
A team of reporters no doubt from the news outlets that roll over for Obama. The above were NOT the main promises about Obamacare. To assert that they are is a bald face lie.
There were three principal guarantees for Obamacare:
1. “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
2. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period”
Not only can you not keep your plan and your doctor, people are growing increasingly angry when they discover their networks are narrowed. Many will not be able to get the best care for themselves and their loved ones.
3. You’ll save $2500 per year.
Those were the main promises of Obamacare. They were all lies. No amount of bullshit from the NY Times is going to change it. The NY Times has exhibited a persistent pattern of dishonesty recently and it appears nothing is going to change soon. At least, not until after the election. And we haven’t even seen the effects of the employer mandate yet but that one has been put on ice until after Obama is out of office.
Image courtesy of Frontiers of Freedom