Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Democrats Vindicated by More Uninsured People

The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that three million more people than first projected will either remain, or become, uninsured under the Affordable Care Act when it goes into effect in 2014. Since mainly red states have signalled they will reject federal expansion of Medicaid in their locales, the government will save a bundle of money and the deficit will be reduced. Out of 50 million currently uninsured people, less than two-thirds will now benefit from Obamacare. And since employers are dropping expensive coverage, and people are still losing jobs, look for that number to keep dwindling. The CBO forecasts an additional 4,000 people, or 7,000 additional people will be uncovered by the end of the decade.

And the Democratic Senate Majority Leader is calling this a good thing? Well, yeah, because now Obama can brag about his austerity cred when Republicans call him a tax-and-spend socialist. The hell with sick and dying people when the Oval Office tenancy is at stake. From the AP report:

Thirty million uninsured people will be covered by 2022, or about 3 million fewer than projected this spring before the court ruling, the (CBO) report said.
As a result, taxpayers will save about $84 billion from 2012 to 2022. That brings the total cost of expanding coverage down to $1.2 trillion, from about $1.3 trillion in the previous estimate.
Democrats immediately hailed the findings as vindication for the president. “This confirms what we’ve been saying all along: the Affordable Care Act saves lots of money,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Not one sympathetic word, though, about the new three million, on top of the 20 million already thrown under the bus by the ACA. Reid was mum on the actual victims of this fantastic pennysaver, most of whom unfortunately reside in bastions governed by the GOP (Greedy Obdurate Plutocrats.) This is just more evidence that the Democrats, too, are full-bore austerians, just slightly more discreet than their GOP brethren on the other side of the corrupt duopoly.

Of course, reducing the number of people on Medicaid may eventually steer them into federal exchanges and profiteering private insurance, essentially increasing the final per-person costs to the government. But nobody's talking about that faraway eventuality, because it won't dawn on us until after the election. All anybody's talking about is how Obama has gotten more ammunition to hit back hard against Romney. Score one for the blue team in the Battle of the Deficit Hawks. Great refereeing, too, by the Supreme Court with their new Medicaid opt-out call.

Twenty-seven million abandoned souls, and counting. Three people still dying every single hour for lack of medical care.

It would be pathetic, if it weren't such an egregious case of political malpractice, bordering on felonious assault. 


Kat said...

unf***ingbelievable. This is vindication?

Jay - Ottawa said...

The clowns in Washington are taking another bow because the ACA, legislation supposedly crafted to provide all Americans with health care, is now about to exclude a few million more from health coverage. You dig irony? You got it in spades. Pelosi and Reid are doing high fives at the prospect. We vote for these idiots and pay them big salaries. And, come November, we shall have the opportunity to help them continue their good works.

Wait. Forget about the ACA and the many other insanities and injustices that fill our heads with shame and disgust. Forget about shredded social safety nets, the savings of the many siphoned up to the few, the homeless, the wars, lost civil liberties. They are all sideshows to distract the frogs in the warming pot. What counts is taking place in the center ring of this circus. Keep your eye on the elephant, not the fleas.

What center ring, what elephant? Hint: “[W]e are experiencing, writes Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone, ‘the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.’”


Denis Neville said...

The “Unaffordable, Underinsured Care Act,” (aka, the oxymoronic, Affordable Care Act) was never meant to cover all the uninsured.

The CBO estimated 26 million of 50 million uninsured would not be covered. Because Medicaid expansion was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, add another eight million uninsured. Thirty-four million, or 11 percent of our nation, will remain uninsured compared to the rest of the developed world’s three percent uninsured.

Twenty-six million uninsured means 26,000 deaths each year from lack of coverage. Thirty-four million?

It forces millions to buy poor, skimpier health insurance coverage from private insurers. It offers no relief from ever-spiraling health care costs. Insurance companies will continue to drive up premiums. The ACA permits insurers to charge more based on age and location of residence. Hospitals can still charge unaffordable bills. Millions will still be one illness or job loss away from financial ruin and bankruptcy. 800,000 middle-class families file for medical bankruptcy every year.

Aaron Carroll on income related inequalities in health care: “The difference between the probability of seeing the doctor for the poor and wealthy is greater in the US than in any of the other measured countries. People like to believe that we don’t ration care in the US. We do. More than just about any other country, we ration by cost.” http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wordpress/income-related-inequalities-in-health-care/

Remember the famous “Fucking HMO bastard piece of shit” rant by Helen Hunt in the movie “As Good As it Gets” and the cheers it got at theaters?


Prepare for the rerun of the disastrous HMO experience, with HMOs rebranded as ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations). Under ACA there will be Accountable Care Organizations, groupings of health care providers to create shared savings. We have tried ACOs already, they were called HMOs. To reduce costs, patients suffered because care was cut. An ACO is an HMO on steroids.

Denis Neville said...

Let’s bleed patients faster!

The ACA is prompting healthcare insurers to outsource more jobs to cheaper-wage countries.

Don Lee, Los Angeles Times, reports, “Healthcare companies are starting to shift clinical services and decision-making on medical care overseas, primarily to India and the Philippines. Some of the jobs being sent abroad include so-called pre-service nursing, where nurses at insurance firms, for example, help assess patient needs and determine treatment methods.”


Pity the poor health insurance executives. The CEOs of America’s 10 largest health insurance companies made $228.1 million in salary and stock options in 2009, enough to buy health insurance for at least 47,284 people.

Pearl said...

Some recent reports about the Aurora victims in hospital, state that they are facing bills for millions of dollars when they are discharged since they have no medical coverage. Of course, many people and organizations are sending in money to help them, but the facts are of interest. I wonder about many of the others still recovering and how can enough contributions cover their needs? And what about other people who need costly emergency care for events that are not making the news?

Obamacare is a useless answer to a proper health care system and will continue to deteriorate with more and more demands for coverage beyond many people's ability to pay. This massacre is a strong reminder of what is not being addressed in the U.S. regarding guns and health care, among many other issues.

Denis Neville said...

Quelle surprise!

A new study finds that when states expanded their Medicaid programs and gave more poor people health insurance, fewer people died.


Megan McArdle's B team, Guest Posting For Dummies, Avik Roy @ The Atlantic wrote, “patients on Medicaid, our national government-run health-care program for the poor, do far worse on health outcomes than do those on private insurance, and in some cases, worse than those with no insurance at all.”


Medicaid hurts people? Aaron Carroll’s response:

“Medicaid is health insurance. Therefore, it shouldn’t surprise you that studies show Medicaid improves health.”


Zee said...

It would appear that Pearl's assertion that some of the Aurora massacre victims are uninsured is accurate, though it seems that at least some of the hospitals involved will try to help out:


It is time for the U.S. to adopt a single-payer health care system.