Thursday, January 2, 2014

ObamaCare A Qualified Success

As first published in DelawareLiberal by ProgressivePopulist on January 2, 2014O

We're 90 days past Sebelius's near catastrophic launch.  In spite of amazing roadblocks, Republican resistance and sabotage, Republican governor's further undermining a key element to serve the health needs of our poorest citizens, and what our President had the honesty to characterize as "self inflicted wounds", We've got a success here.
So, far, very early into the process,  with a public very slow to awaken to new healthcare opportunities, no thanks to Health and Human Services lame marketing, 6 million of our fellow citizens now have health insurance, most for the first time in their lives.  2 million through the exchanges, 4 million through Medicaid.  Think about it.  This is huge in a 90 day period.
This leaves an estimated 5 million Medicaid eligible still uncovered and not likely to have this benefit anytime soon , due to dumb and immoral strategy in Red Republican-governed states.   Still a long way to go to achieve universal care.  A Democratic sweep of state houses can solve that problem.
Michael Moore just published a stinging  critique of ObamaCare.  As a fellow single payer advocate, I agree with him but I think Jared Bernstein's observation hits the nail on the head.  Moore has the policy right, but right now, not the politics.
I am heartened by single payer developments around the country, such as in Vermont.  As Michael Moore believes, the single payer movement can push upward from progressive states.  It can't happen fast enough to satisfy me.  Moore is right.  To cast our health care lot with one of the most predatory industries in America is a tragedy waiting to happen.
One of my health care guru's, Maggie Mahar, reports the polls actually read that 50% of those polled like health care reform; 35% like the ACA as it is and 15% think it should be more liberal.  50% oppose ACA at this early stage.
According to Mahar and WP's Ezra Klein, just 0..6 % of American's under 65 are losing their insurance purchased on the individual market and will have to pay more than their inadequate catastrophic coverage because of the new benefits enriched exchange policies.  A survey they report on shows that 45% of these people agreed their old policies were inadequate.  Irresponsible media reports say there are millions and tens of millions in this category.  The actual number of those eligible to secure alternative catastrophic policies is estimated at around 500,000 people. And over 70% of them will qualify for government subsidies, bringing their premiums way down. These subsidies average $5,548 annually.
According to Mahar, a health policy expert, ..."29% of those who are losing their policies make too much to be eligible for subsidies,  " and were premium-raped by these catastrophic policies.  15-30% of them suffered the stigma of preexisting conditions. These insurers spend 30% of their premiums on marketing, advertising, executive salaries and bonuses and other overhead costs and were infamous for cancelling policies like a revolving door, jacking up premiums and denying payments to providers.   Prior to ObamaCare,  these jackals turned over  35 % of their their policy holders each year.  You did not hear any of this from the media, did you?  They were too damned lazy to do their homework to give you the truth.
Mahar estimates that the catastrophic policy holders have three choices:l. Go without insurance while they can. 2. Pay an average of $135 a month for coverage of 57% of their bills.  3. Buy from the exchange; a  person in their  20's who makes too much to qualify for a subsidy can by an average bronze plan for about $185 per month.  You do the math.  Which would you do in their shoes.  Of course, most will spend the extra $50 a month (remember, they make $45,000/year +) to get a real policy.  This is why the industry is reporting the private catastrophic policies are not selling.  The market the Republican's like to worship is working in this case.  Clearly, the consumer  demand for ObamaCare is there and moving with great momentum.  Soon we will have to move onto other issues including needed provider staffing levels and the out of control though improving cost escalation among  health care providers.  This blog will soon address these issues.
ObamaCare, a qualified success, is here to stay America.  Get used to it.