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Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« on: October 07, 2013, 03:46:37 AM »

Off the keyboard of John Lounsbury


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Published on Global Economic Intersection on September 23, 2013


obamacare-toon


Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner









Note from RE:


With this article, the Diner welcomes John Lounsbury from Global Economic Intersection to the list of Cross Posting Bloggers featured on the Diner Blog.† John is an old friend from days back on the Raging Debate website, where I also first got together with Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform.† Steve Hansen who works together with John on GEI also is a veteran of the Raging Debate, which ended up spawning quite a few Collapse Bloggers of varying types in the end.


John’s blog Global Economic Intersection is quite comprehensive, covering economic topics from many perspectives and publishing numerous articles of interest every day for Kollapsniks to wade through.† A highly recommended read for all Diners.



A funny thing happened on the way to the forum hospital:† Socialized medicine was passed into law and free market implementation broke out.† Liberals have proclaimed the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to be the first step in establishing truly universal care for all Americans – in their view it is a step down the road to single payer “socialized medicine“.† And this is exactly why many conservatives criticize it as a “government take-over of health care“.


rights-gone-flash-380px


Follow up:


This observer now sees Obamacare as a government enabled and subsidized free market health care insurance system. What is happening is a progression toward an ideal that this observer argued for in 2009 here and here. The consumer (the patient) is becoming the economic arbiter of his own health care insurance implementation. This is a step toward eliminating major sources of waste in health care. As I said in 2009:


If the patient is negotiating for service with his own money, we will have the most effective and affordable control of fraud and unnecessary treatment possible.


Corporate Sugar Daddies


Since the middle of the last century the traditional source of health care has been employer provided insurance. Employees have generally liked that arrangement – they had a major economic factor (their health care costs) magically paid for by their corporate sugar daddy. Someone who was paid $50,000 a year in salary never considered the cost in dollar terms of his comprehensive coverage as part of his compensation, even though it might have been as much as 20-40% of taxable salary. Few recognized that the $50,000 salary they received was actually part of their larger compensation – they were also receiving the equivalent of another $10,000 to $20,000 a year in tax free medical benefits.


This employee was receiving his compensation in two forms:† $50,000 in taxable cash and $10,000 to $20,000 in untaxed services.† The employee probably paid a great deal of attention to how he spent the cash; he paid very little attention to how effectively he “spent” the services portion because he wasn’t viewing that as part of his income.† He rather viewed it as a “benefit” that flowed like nectar from the gods.


Even as employee contributions to health care have been implemented over the past two decades the perception of company paid health care benefits as part of total compensation in a dollar context has not been on the minds of most employees. That is all changing very rapidly because of Obamacare.


How Much Will Government Costs for Health Care Increase?


The CBO (Congressional Budget Office) seems to know the answer: The government will pay a lot more, rising to 8% of GDP by 2038 (up from 4.6% in 2012).


However, how health care costs will accrue to the government in the future is subject to much uncertainty and the CBO’s current projections could be either too high or too low. From a recent GEI News article:


One study finds that small increases in employer provided plans could shift millions of people into the public insurance exchanges and shift the supplemental support for premium payments from companies to government.


Another study finds that costs of Obamacare accruing to the government could result in enormous pricing power for the consumer and hence reduce the cost of government subsidies. The study also concludes that the cost savings could be impacted by continued political resistance. Those politically active in “fighting” Obamacare may achieve the opposite of their stated objective; they may reduce the cost savings that could otherwise be achieved and thereby increase government expenditures, according to researchers from the Brookings Institute and Georgetown University.


The shift of health care costs from corporations to employees and government is picking up speed. GEI News recently reported the movement of corporations away from group health plans for retirees:


Corporate benefits for retiree health care have been shrinking for years but the latest changes appear to be accelerating the process. Late last month GEI News covered the shifting pattern of employers moving from sponsored group plans to use of private insurance exchanges where employees shop for individually tailored coverage with corporate support of part of premium costs through donations to HCAs (Health Care Accounts). The changes are especially common for retirees.


Corporate giants who are making this change include General Electric (NYSE:GE), IBM (NYSE:IBM), DuPont (NYSE:DD), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Time Warner (NYSE:TWC) which made the announcement today (09 September 2013). GEI News covered details of the IBM change in the article last month.


The answer as to how much government costs for health care will increase over the next 5, 10 and 20 years is not one for which a reliable estimate can be made at present. The playing field is changing in a revolutionary way.


Private Insurance Exchanges are NOT Obamacare


What corporate headlines are reflecting is not a shift from corporate group plans to Obamacare. The private insurance exchanges that are rapidly expanding have been operational on a smaller scale for a number of years. They are just now becoming major players as large corporations shift their retiree health plans from corporate sponsored group plans to the new format. And, even though just a month ago survey results indicated a much lower active interest in the insurance exchange format, now the use of exchanges for active employees is suddenly in the news. Just last week Walgreen announced it was shifting its 160,000 employees from a company group plan to individual purchase on a private exchange.


The public exchanges opening for registration of applicants next month under Obamacare are newcomers to the exchange platform concept. As time goes on the efficiencies of the older private exchange system and the public exchanges can be compared and operational costs can be reduced. Eventually there may be just a single set of insurance exchanges with a merger of public and private structures.


Winners and Losers


Any time big changes are made there will be winners and losers. In many cases the same parties may be both winners and losers – it’s called a process of trade-offs. Some of the winners:



  • Corporations will be better able to cap and plan for health care benefit costs.



  • Employees will no longer be captives to a health care benefit shackle tying them to one employer.




  • Insurance companies will gain millions of new premium payers greatly increasing their revenues.


Here are some of the losers – the list looks similar:



  • Corporations will have to compete more vigorously to staff their most demanding positions because talent will be more mobile.



  • Employees will no longer have a “sugar daddy” paying for their health care.



  • All seeking health care coverage will have to put forth effort to get the best individual coverage.



  • Insurance companies will be subjected to more competition for cost effectiveness as tens of millions of customers shop for the most cost effective coverage.


Bottom Line


The “socialized medicine” legislation known as Obamacare may unleash private market forces that will be cheered by today’s opponents and are probably feared by many present-day proponents. The cost curve for health care may be bent and the CBO projections may turn out to be way off the mark. Remember federal surpluses “forever” (2000) and trillion dollar deficits “as far as the eye can see” (2009)?† The CBO has a record of projecting poorly from past records into the future.


Rather than the first step to socialized medicine with everything offered through central planning, we may be seeing the first step toward distributed health care determined by 150 million consumer housholds. Which path has the greater likelihood of resulting in the most efficient delivery of health care and the best chance to “bend the curve”?


Single payer may offer a path to holding down the growth of health care costs.† But couldn’t 150 million payers also curtail that growth?† And which process has the best chance of optimization for each household?


An Aside to Ron Paul


Ron Paul recently reviewed Obamacare and concluded it was merely a waypoint before we got a single payer.† He criticized the Obama administration as “corporatist” and criticized the structure of the health care delivery system.† Mr. Paul suggested that the most efficient system would be for everyday health care to be paid for by patients directly, with insurance used only for coverage of catastrophic events.† This aligns with my arguments more than four years ago.


However, I propose a glass half full view of Obamacare and suggest it could be a step closer to our shared view. Mr. Paul views the glass as half empty and envisions a future moving away from the free market forces I suggest may hold sway.


 



Offline RE

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 03:57:40 AM »
Admins here are aware of this, but for all you regular Diners, I got back in touch with John Lounsbury who now runs the Global Economic Intersection blog, which is quite successful on the Alexa level anyhow.  I got acquainted with John back in the Raging Debate days, along with Jim Quinn.

This is the first of what I hope are many Cross Posts from GEI off John's keyboard, and hopefully some of our material goes up there also.  I'm looking forward to getting John on here for a Podcast too in the near future.

It is coming together here Diners, one step at a time.

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 06:28:14 AM »
The Affordable Healthcare Act really doesn't represent a government takeover of healthcare, nor does it represent what the author claims, that it is " a step toward eliminating major sources of waste in health care."

What it represents is possibly the nail  in the coffin of healthcare as we know it, at least as far as healthcare delivered at the level of service we have been led to believe we deserve. It really represents an almost  complete corporate takeover of healthcare by the insurance industry.

They (insurance corporations) now have the best of both worlds. The government has mandated that ALL citizens will pay them a premium (albeit a subsidized one for the poor), and the government has handed them the reins with regards to determining HOW to allocate the money.

The expected result is that (a) the insurance companies will make out like bandits and (b) the actual providers of care (doctors) will get screwed, and (c) the patient will be taught to accept a lower level of care.

It's a David vs. Goliath fight, and it's already all over but the crying. Goliaths always win in the real world.

The truth is that single payer would be a far more efficient system than the one we are about to receive. So-called "managed care" is really a shell game perpetuated by insurance companies, one in which the rules for getting paid are constantly changing, fees are constantly being downgraded in an arbitrary manner, and under which systems that work are abandoned and replaced by ones that funnel more money to the middle man.

Don't get me wrong. I greatly favor a healthcare system in which the patient is the "economic arbiter of his own healthcare". I just think the author is naive about the chances of that happening.

In my opinion, if patients were paying for their own care, they would demand a lot less of it than what they are getting now. Nobody would sit quietly and let the doctors do a coronary bypass on their aging parent if they had to pay a hundred thousand dollar deposit up front instead of Medicare being billed.

It's true that significant waste exists in a system that charges 100K for a bypass, but the fact is that "managed care" is the way it works already for most people. Medicare and Medicaid are already administered under this type of system, although
the real payer is the government, paying for it with money BORROWED from  future generations. Under this type of "management" doctors have already seen their payments drop, private insurance premiums are exorbitant and getting worse, and the insurance companies....are making RECORD PROFITS.

The real coup of Affordable Care is the expected extraction of a premium from young healthy individuals who don't need much healthcare. This will (supposedly) help cover the old folks. The system already represents an unaffordable burden for the taxpayer, and is projected to increase in cost  logarithmically over the next several years. Forcing young people in this country to pay insurance premiums really amounts to increased taxation, and on the demographic group that can least afford it, and who are already on the hook to pay far more than their fair share in the years to come.

Deficit spending is paying for Medicare/Medicaid now, and those deficits will increase substantially under Affordable Care. The premiums collected from those not now in the system won't cover the shortfall.

Whatever care gets delivered, somebody has to pay for it. Although inefficiencies do exist, putting the insurance corporations in charge of healthcare does only one thing. It creates a very big, expensive middle layer of management, that does little to contribute to patient care, but skims much of the premium dollar.

Insurance companies have a tried and true way of making money. They take the premium, give the patient the lowest level of service he will accept, and then  try to screw the doctor completely out of getting paid. The insurance companies already own the hospitals. They would like to own the doctors too. They are pretty close, because they set the fees. And they are the final arbiters on whether or not to pay. Sweet deal, for them.

Any doctor who has been around the block would greatly prefer a single payer system. We had that with Medicare/Medicaid for a long time, and it more or less worked. At least claims usually got paid, albeit at a reduced fee compared to private pay. Now it's a total crap shoot. Doctors are forced to deal with as many as 50 or more corporate entities when they bill for services. Each company has it's own arbitrary rules designed to delay and obfuscate payment, and some are known to NEVER pay a clean claim without a fight. Yeah, that creates efficiency...NOT!

The elephant in the room really is Peak Oil. The real problem is that we no longer have the abundance that cheap oil provided, and no system of healthcare can possibly be conjured that will be sustainable...without greatly limiting certain services that are now deemed sacrosanct.

Eventually all this top-down "efficiency" will pass away. Healthcare will be 100% local and will vary according to local abundance and the ability of people to actually pay for the service. I don't know how long that will take, but it will happen.

In the meantime, don't look for the new system to reduce your taxes, raise your level of care, or empower you to change anything.

Prepare to be assimilated.



« Last Edit: October 07, 2013, 04:05:12 PM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2013, 03:15:38 PM »
The Affordable Healthcare Act really doesn't represent a government takeover of healthcare, nor does it represent what the author claims, that it is " a step toward eliminating major sources of waste in health care."

Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!

I'll post this as Op-Ed tomorrow to John's article.

RE
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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2013, 03:32:56 PM »
It did seem to me that Obamacare was a bill created by the insurance companies to further their own interests. The biggest issue I see with the American health care system are the extreme costs of services. If the bill was to live up to its namesake (The Affordable Healthcare Act) then the primary concern should have been to lower medical costs so it becomes more affordable to the average American.

As far as I am aware, none of this has happened and all this bill has done has mandated that all people must be covered with medical insurance and the basic coverage needs to be more comprehensive. This has basically given a guaranteed income to insurance companies that is either paid by the employee/employer or the taxpayer. The end-user may get a more cost-effective service as they are less likely to be subject to paying for full emergency care but at the end of the day someone is still paying for those insane medical costs which is killing the country. What is more significant though is the fact that the current trend of inflation will continue meaning future costs will become just as unaffordable as if this bill was never introduced. It is simply a case of pushing the burden of cost to someone else. Seeing as the last 30 years saw medical expenses increase by 1100% then these rises are bound to cause a whole heap of problems and someone is going to get squeezed big time. Well maybe I am wrong about this but from where I sit it seems nothing significant has been down to control costs and this is the crux of the problem that people are dancing around.

I do think that a socialised single payer system would offer the most cost-effective service and what is more, it would eliminate the basic conflict of interest between profits and health care which is a major concern. Make doctors do what they do best and that is to treat people. However we should note that even this arrangement would not be affordable in the long run as naturally costs will rise due to ageing populations and more people surviving conditions due to good medical treatments. Plus then you get the basic issue of increases in energy/resource prices which will eventually increase the cost of medical services. At the end of the day you cannot really escape these problem no matter what system you use. It is simply a red herring to say this is a flaw of capitalism, socialism or communism because all these theories depend on infinite resources. Because of this flaw the question simply becomes which system would hold out the longest for each individual industry/country.

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Counterpoint: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 02:27:17 AM »

Off the keyboard of Eddie


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Published inside the Doomstead Diner on October 7, 2013



Discuss this article at the Economics Table inside the Diner


The Affordable Healthcare Act really doesn’t represent a government takeover of healthcare, nor does it represent what the John Lounsbury claims in Obamacare and Free Market Solutions, that it is ” a step toward eliminating major sources of waste in health care.”


What it represents is possibly the nail† in the coffin of healthcare as we know it, at least as far as healthcare delivered at the level of service we have been led to believe we deserve. It really represents an almost† complete corporate takeover of healthcare by the insurance industry.


They (insurance corporations) now have the best of both worlds. The government has mandated that ALL citizens will pay them a premium (albeit a subsidized one for the poor), and the government has handed them the reins with regards to determining HOW to allocate the money.


The expected result is that (a) the insurance companies will make out like bandits and (b) the actual providers of care (doctors) will get screwed, and (c) the patient will be taught to accept a lower level of care.


It’s a David vs. Goliath fight, and it’s already all over but the crying. Goliaths always win in the real world.


http://americanvision.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Obamacare-cartoon.jpgThe truth is that single payer would be a far more efficient system than the one we are about to receive. So-called “managed care” is really a shell game perpetuated by insurance companies, one in which the rules for getting paid are constantly changing, fees are constantly being downgraded in an arbitrary manner, and under which systems that work are abandoned and replaced by ones that funnel more money to the middle man.


Don’t get me wrong. I greatly favor a healthcare system in which the patient is the “economic arbiter of his own healthcare”. I just think the author is naive about the chances of that happening.


In my opinion, if patients were paying for their own care, they would demand a lot less of it than what they are getting now. Nobody would sit quietly and let the doctors do a coronary bypass on their aging parent if they had to pay a hundred thousand dollar deposit up front instead of Medicare being billed.


It’s true that significant waste exists in a system that charges 100K for a bypass, but the fact is that “managed care” is the way it works already for most people. Medicare and Medicaid are already administered under this type of system, although

the real payer is the government, paying for it with money BORROWED from† future generations. Under this type of “management” doctors have already seen their payments drop, private insurance premiums are exorbitant and getting worse, and the insurance companies….are making RECORD PROFITS.


The real coup of Affordable Care is the expected extraction of a premium from young healthy individuals who don’t need much healthcare. This will (supposedly) help cover the old folks. The system already represents an unaffordable burden for the taxpayer, and is projected to increase in cost† logarithmically over the next several years. Forcing young people in this country to pay insurance premiums really amounts to increased taxation, and on the demographic group that can least afford it, and who are already on the hook to pay far more than their fair share in the years to come.


Deficit spending is paying for Medicare/Medicaid now, and those deficits will increase substantially under Affordable Care. The premiums collected from those not now in the system won’t cover the shortfall.


Whatever care gets delivered, somebody has to pay for it. Although inefficiencies do exist, putting the insurance corporations in charge of healthcare does only one thing. It creates a very big, expensive middle layer of management, that does little to contribute to patient care, but skims much of the premium dollar.


Insurance companies have a tried and true way of making money. They take the premium, give the patient the lowest level of service he will accept, and then† try to screw the doctor completely out of getting paid. The insurance companies already own the hospitals. They would like to own the doctors too. They are pretty close, because they set the fees. And they are the final arbiters on whether or not to pay. Sweet deal, for them.


Any doctor who has been around the block would greatly prefer a single payer system. We had that with Medicare/Medicaid for a long time, and it more or less worked. At least claims usually got paid, albeit at a reduced fee compared to private pay. Now it’s a total crap shoot. Doctors are forced to deal with as many as 50 or more corporate entities when they bill for services. Each company has it’s own arbitrary rules designed to delay and obfuscate payment, and some are known to NEVER pay a clean claim without a fight. Yeah, that creates efficiency…NOT!


elephant-in-the-roomThe elephant in the room really is Peak Oil. The real problem is that we no longer have the abundance that cheap oil provided, and no system of healthcare can possibly be conjured that will be sustainable…without greatly limiting certain services that are now deemed sacrosanct.


Eventually all this top-down “efficiency” will pass away. Healthcare will be 100% local and will vary according to local abundance and the ability of people to actually pay for the service. I don’t know how long that will take, but it will happen.


In the meantime, don’t look for the new system to reduce your taxes, raise your level of care, or empower you to change anything.


Prepare to be assimilated.


http://mbtimetraveler.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/borg1.gif



Offline Surly1

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2013, 04:10:22 AM »
Thanks for writing and publishing this. Many of us wanted "single payer"-- "Medicare for Everybody" but that was off the table from the beginning of negotiations, and by design. It would appear that the insurance companies are the big winners in the short to medium term.

And the nut of it is thus:
Quote
Insurance companies have a tried and true way of making money. They take the premium, give the patient the lowest level of service he will accept, and then  try to screw the doctor completely out of getting paid. The insurance companies already own the hospitals. They would like to own the doctors too. They are pretty close, because they set the fees. And they are the final arbiters on whether or not to pay. Sweet deal, for them.

Any doctor who has been around the block would greatly prefer a single payer system. We had that with Medicare/Medicaid for a long time, and it more or less worked. At least claims usually got paid, albeit at a reduced fee compared to private pay. Now itís a total crap shoot. Doctors are forced to deal with as many as 50 or more corporate entities when they bill for services. Each company has itís own arbitrary rules designed to delay and obfuscate payment, and some are known to NEVER pay a clean claim without a fight.

Don't know what health care delivery looks like in Texas, but where I live we have one large medical company gobbling up practices and competitors like Standard Oil back in the day. On every corner is a shiny new medical office building with their corporate name on it. Gues who's paying?

Meanwhile, I have found the following useful in trying to navigate the shallows in understanding the net effects of ACA.

Top 16 myths about the health care law
By Angie Drobnic Holan
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2013/sep/24/top-16-myths-about-health-care-law/


There's a lot of misinformation out there about the new health care law.

PolitiFact has been fact-checking claims about the federal health care law since lawmakers started drafting the legislation in 2009. Long controversial, the law has been no stranger to attacks by detractors. Here are 16 of the biggest falsehoods PolitiFact has rated.

( Fact-checks are listed in no particular order. The links will take you to a full report and a source list for each fact-check.)

1. The health care law rations care, like systems in Canada and Great Britain. False.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, July 2, 2012,  in an interview on Fox News

The health care law is not socialized medicine. Instead, it leaves in place the private health care system that follows free market principles. The law does put more regulations on health insurance companies. It also fines most large employers who fail to provide insurance for their employees, and it requires all individuals to have health insurance. This is unlike the systems in either Britain or Canada. In Britain, doctors are employees of the government, while in Canada, the government pays most medical bills as part of a single-payer system. The U.S. health care law has neither of those features. PolitiFact has rated this claim and others like it False.

 

2. The health care law has "death panels." Pants on Fire.

Sarah Palin, former Alaska governor, Aug. 7, 2009, in a message posted on Facebook

Back in 2009, it was a popular talking point to claim that the health care law had "death panels" to determine if individuals are worthy of receiving health care coverage. The claim was widely debunked and named PolitiFactís Lie of the Year. The talking point started in reaction to an idea for Medicare, that the Medicare program for seniors should specifically cover doctor appointments for seniors who wanted to discuss do-not-resuscitate orders, end-of-life directives and living wills. The visits would have been completely optional and only for people who wanted the appointments. After controversy, the provision was dropped from the final legislation. We rated the "death panels" claim Pants on Fire.

 

3. Muslims are exempt from the health care law. Pants on Fire.

Chain email, May 29, 2013

A widely circulated chain email claims that the word "dhimmitude" is on page 107 of the health care law, and it means Muslims will be exempt. Actually, the health care law does not include the word "dhimmitude" (a recently coined word that seems to refer to non-Muslims under Muslim rule). Also, the health care law doesnít exempt Muslims. There is a "religious conscience exemption,'' but it applies to groups that disavow all forms of insurance, including Social Security. Muslim groups have supported the Affordable Care Act. We rated the chain emailís claim Pants on Fire.

 

4. The IRS is going to be "in charge" of "a huge national database" on health care that will include Americansí "personal, intimate, most close-to-the-vest-secrets." Pants on Fire.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., May 15, 2013, in an interview on Fox News

The Internal Revenue Service does have a role to play as part of the health care law, but itís not the role suggested here. If you buy insurance on the marketplace and you get a subsidy, officials will check tax records to make sure you qualify. That communication with the IRS happens via a data hub thatís also connected to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Itís important to note, though, that the hub isnít a database. The IRS isnít running it. And it doesnít include "intimate" health data. The hub is for signing up for health insurance, not for storing medical records. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

 

5. Congress is exempt from Obamacare. False.

Chain email, Jan. 6, 2013

Even a few sitting lawmakers have repeated this claim, but itís not true. Congress is not exempt from Obamacare. Like everyone else, lawmakers are required to have health insurance. Theyíre also required to buy insurance through the marketplaces. The idea is to have lawmakers and their staff buy insurance the same way their uninsured constituents would so they understand what their constituents have to deal with. Most Americans who already get insurance through work are left alone under the law; members of Congress have insurance through work but are treated differently in this regard. Recently, a rule was added so that lawmakersí could keep the traditional employer contribution to their coverage. But they werenít exempt from requirements that other Americans face. We rated this claim False.

 

6. Under Obamacare, people who "have a doctor theyíve been seeing for the last 15 or 20 years, they wonít be able to keep going to that doctor." Mostly False.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., July 31, 2013 in a Fox News interview

Some have suggested that Obamacare would interfere with doctor-patient relationships. Actually, thereís no more interference than what existed before Obamacare. Right now, patients can lose access to their doctors when their insurance policies change. This typically happens when employers switch plans or when workers switch (or lose) jobs. Under Obamacare, some patients who buy health insurance through the marketplace could lose access to their current doctor, but itís difficult to predict how many. And it would be because they have a new insurance plan. We rated this claim Mostly False.

 

7. The health care law is a "government takeover" of health care. Pants on Fire.

U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, Feb. 20, 2010, in a speech to Pinellas County Republicans.

"Government takeover" conjures a European approach where the government owns the hospitals and the doctors are public employees. But the law Congress passed relies largely on the free market. It's true that the law significantly increases government regulation of health insurers. But it is, at its heart, a system that relies on private companies and the free market. The majority of Americans will continue to get coverage from private insurers. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

 

8. "All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services." Pants on Fire.

Chain email, July 28, 2009

The health care law does not provide free health care services to anyone, and especially not to people in the United States illegally. Illegal immigrants may not enroll in Medicaid, nor are they eligible to shop on the marketplace for health insurance. Permanent legal residents are eligible for health insurance subsidies on the marketplace, as are U.S. citizens. Current law says that hospital emergency rooms must stabilize illegal immigrants with medical emergencies, but that law predates Obamacare. We rated this claim Pants on Fire.

 

9. Because of Obamacare, health care premiums have "gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years." False.

President Barack Obama, Oct. 3, 2012, in a presidential debate

The historical data for health care premiums only goes back 14 years; thereís no evidence to support the idea that premium increases are at a 50-year low. Overall health care costs have slowed down, but even there, Obama exaggerated the impact of his health care law. Experts say slowing costs are due to a variety of reasons, including the recent recession. Giving all the credit to the new law overstates the case. We rated the statement False.

 

10. Under Obamacare, "75 percent of small businesses now say they are going to be forced to either fire workers or cut their hours." Pants on Fire.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., July 25, 2013 in a FoxNews.com op-ed

Suggestions that business are laying off workers because of the health care law have so far proven to be largely unfounded. Most small businesses -- those with fewer than 50 employees -- do not have to provide health insurance to their employees. (In fact, some very small businesses with fewer than 25 employees may qualify for tax credits under the law.) The claim here that 75 percent of small business were reducing their workforce was based on a misreading of a study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The study actually found that less than 10 percent of small businesses said they will be forced to reduce their workforce or cut hours. We rated the claim Pants on Fire.

 

11. "At age 76 when you most need it, you are not eligible for cancer treatment" under the health law. Pants on Fire.

Chain email, June 3, 2013

Some misinformation about the health care law has been specifically aimed at seniors, even though the law largely leaves the Medicare program alone. This particular claim, that older cancer patients will go without treatment, is wrong on several levels. For one thing, the health care law didnít make changes to patient benefits in the Medicare program. Cancer treatment will still be covered by Medicare. Also, there are no changes in the law aimed at people 76 or older. This claim seems to have been invented out of whole cloth as a scare tactic. We rated it Pants on Fire.

 

12. The health care law includes "a 3.8% sales tax" on "all real estate transactions." Pants on Fire.

Chain email, July 24, 2012

An anonymous chain email claims that the health care law puts a 3.8 percent tax on home sales. This is not correct. The law does include new taxes, but the taxes are primarily on the health care industry and on investment income for the wealthy. For middle-class homeowners, there are long-standing tax exemptions on the profits from home sales, and the health care law didnít change them. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.

 

13. "Obamacare is . . . the largest tax increase in the history of the world." Pants on Fire.

Rush Limbaugh, June 28, 2012, on his radio show

Radio host Rush Limbaugh and others have claimed the health care law includes historically high tax increases. While there are new taxes in the health care law -- representing the first significant federal tax increases since 1993 -- they are not the largest  increases in the history of the United States, much less the world. When accounting for the size of the overall economy, tax increases signed into law by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were larger than the tax increases in the health law. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.

 

14. A "hidden" provision in the health care law taxes sporting goods as medical devices. Pants on Fire.

Chain email, June 12, 2013

A chain email claims that common sporting goods equipment -- fishing rods, outboard motors, tackle boxes -- will be taxed at 2.3 percent under Obamacare. There is a 2.3 percent tax in the law, but it applies to medical devices, not sports equipment. Also, the medical devices tax applies to manufacturers and makers, not consumers. This chain email seems to stem from a mistake made at Cabelaís, a Nebraska-based retail store that sells sporting goods. At the beginning of 2013, Cabelaís accidentally started taxing its sales and labeling it a medical excise tax. But that move was in error, and the company quickly reversed itself the same day. As for the chain email, we rate its claim Pants on Fire! 

 

15. Obamacare will question your sex life. Pants on Fire.

Betsy McCaughey, former lieutenant governor of New York, Sept. 15, 2013, in an op-ed in the New York Post

In the op-ed, McCaughey claimed the law pressures doctors into asking about peopleís sex lives and recording those answer in electronic health records. Actually, it was the economic stimulus that created incentives for doctors to move to electronic health records. And, none of the criteria require questions about peopleís sex lives. Instead, doctors are asked to record standard diagnostic criteria like vital signs, diagnoses, medications and the like. Privacy advocates do have concerns about electronic health records, but itís not about people getting asked embarrassing questions about their sex lives. We rated this claim Pants on Fire!

 

16. An Obamacare provision will allow "forced home inspections" by government agents. Pants on Fire.

Bloggers, Aug. 15, 2013

State lawmakers in South Carolina got this one going by claiming they were concerned that the health care law allowed forced home inspections. People can relax, though: There are no forced home inspections. What got people concerned is an optional home health care program that sends nurses on house calls to the homes of pregnant, poor women. The idea is that the nurses will check on the moms and offer prenatal advice in a comfortable environment. And the program is not mandatory. We rated this claim Pants on Fire!
"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it."

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2013, 05:08:51 AM »
12. The health care law includes "a 3.8% sales tax" on "all real estate transactions." Pants on Fire.

Chain email, July 24, 2012

An anonymous chain email claims that the health care law puts a 3.8 percent tax on home sales. This is not correct. The law does include new taxes, but the taxes are primarily on the health care industry and on investment income for the wealthy. For middle-class homeowners, there are long-standing tax exemptions on the profits from home sales, and the health care law didnít change them. We rated this statement Pants on Fire.
Hmm... this makes me question the whole article... I would have rated it "Mostly False".  Change "sales" to "capital gains" and "all" to "expensive" and the claim is basically true.  The 3.8% tax definitely is in place, it just only applies to profits, and if you've owned the home and it has been your primary residence for 3 of the past 5 years, then the first $250,000 ($500,000 if married filing jointly) is exempt, so most people don't have to worry about it, but there is a kernel of truth.
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

Offline monsta666

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Re: Free Market Solutions: Google can solve death!
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2013, 03:47:12 PM »
I wouldn't worry about medicine Eddie. According to Time magazine they think it is only a matter of time before Google solves death:


http://business.time.com/2013/09/18/google-extend-human-life/

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Re: Free Market Solutions: Google can solve death!
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2013, 03:57:17 PM »
I wouldn't worry about medicine Eddie. According to Time magazine they think it is only a matter of time before Google solves death:

But can they solve the Federal Budget Impasse and Debt Ceiling?

Somebody needs to give Ray Kurzweil a Reality Check.

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Offline Eddie

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions: Google Can Solve Death
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2013, 04:10:11 PM »
You think there might be any unintended consequences?

« Last Edit: October 08, 2013, 04:11:57 PM by Eddie »
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline monsta666

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions: Google Can Solve Death
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2013, 04:23:00 PM »
But can they solve the Federal Budget Impasse and Debt Ceiling?

Who needs money when you can have bitcoins! Google has some mighty big servers to manage this market.

You think there might be any unintended consequences?



I am always surprised when people talk about immortality or vastly increased life extension like it must be a universally good thing when the negative consequences should be as plain as daylight.

Offline RE

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions: Google Can Solve Death
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2013, 04:25:23 PM »
You think there might be any unintended consequences?

No problem for Ray & Google.  They'll build Google Dyson Spheres and Immortal Singularities will fill the Universe!


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Offline Eddie

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Re: Obamacare and Free Market Solutions: Google Can Solve Death
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2013, 04:28:17 PM »



Will the last human on earth to have his/her consciousness uploaded to the internet please back up to the server?
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline jdwheeler42

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Re: Free Market Solutions: Google can solve death!
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2013, 09:06:15 PM »
I wouldn't worry about medicine Eddie. According to Time magazine they think it is only a matter of time before Google solves death:
Well, sure, death is 100% preventable.... just sterilize everyone and in about 130 years or so, no more humans will ever die  ;) :P ::)
Making pigs fly is easy... that is, of course, after you have built the catapult....

 

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