The passage of President Obama's health care reform in late March made for great political theater but little else.
You don't need to believe what I say, but if you still harbor illusions about this legislation and why it is likely to bite democrats bigtime, you should watch Obama's Deal on FRONTLINE tonight on PBS.
Now that it's passed, and it's the bad law of the land, many of us will continually revisit the reality of healthcare in America. It remains a privilege not a right, and even after the legislation is fully implemented, your ability to pay will determine the quality of the care you receive.
when if the exchanges are up and running, by then skyrocketing premiums will virtually guarantee that all but the most affluent, will be forced to buy low actuarial value junk insurance. Will you have a contract called insurance? Yes. You'll have insurance in name only, which may or may not keep you from financial ruin. Stay tuned, no one really knows.
Better than nothing? I suppose, but barely. Certainly not the healthcare system for the twenty first century. Certainly not the healthcare system for the richest industrialized country in the world.
Sadly, there was a period of time, when those of us who dared to question the viability of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, were told to simmer down and shut up until the bill passed.
The champions of the legislation, for some reason, didn't want us publically discussing its warts, so we exercised restraint. The sustained effort to cover up the truth about healthcare reform, is now a part of its inglorious history. In my opinion, discussing the vow of OMERTA, which was effectively enforced, is a necessary part of understanding why and how we ended up in this bad situation.
But tonight on Frontline, PBS will begin to unpeel the healthcare reform onion. Like most onions you peel, it's going to make you cry. You must watch this program called Obama's Deal. Then stop bragging about this legislation. There's very little to brag about.
You can whistle past the graveyard, or face reality, which is the American people were shafted. The insurance industry won--and most horrifying Democrats own this legislation.
And a message to those of you find righteous cause in repeating over and over that some wanted to kill the bill. Only a few wanted to kill HCR. Most healthcare rights activists (myself included), predicted this sort of disaster without a public option. And we were fighting first for single payer (which remains the only viable solution), and then fora public option for a very long time.
So what does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act really do? And why did the Demcrats slap a happy face on it, just as the Bush government did with such legislative monstrosities as the Clear Skies Initiative and Leave No Child Behind, another unfunded mandate? Democrats slapped a happy face on its name (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), in a quite lame effort to disguise its huge shortcomings, and that it is totally pro-insurance industry. You don't need to believe me on this point, Frontline will make this quite clear this evening.
Now that the vote has been cast, it's time to take a hard look at the legislation. Here's the reality, far from 'fixing our broken health care system, it merely accentuates most of its worst features.
If anything, the bill strengthens the grip of the private insurance industry on our health care system. It won't bring exploding health care costs under control. And on this critical issue alone, Democrats, including and especially the president in 2012, will have a lot of explaining and backtracking to do.
It does little to change the shameful disparities in access to treatment in a society that treats medical care as a commodity to be bought and sold, rather than as something all of us need and deserve.
What the legislation will do is force everybody to buy private health insurance, with federal subsidies for those who can't afford the premiums on their own.
I've received many emails asking me about these subsidies. Damned if I know. Will it flucuate year after year, based on your 1040 adjusted gross income? Damned if I know.
Bottom line: The price tag of these subsidies is $447 billion over the next ten years. That's taxpayer money that could have gone to pay directly for medical care but which will, instead, go the the coffers of the insurance industry (and then to Democratic politicians campaign accounts) - yet another corporate bailout at taxpayers' expense.
Americans aren't stupid. The White House, President Obama and Democratic politicians have demonized the insurance industry while pushing for legislation that sends millions of new
victims customers their way. The illogic of this has not been lost on the public, and, it's likely they'll send a message come November. The most popular feature of the legislation, the public option was dropped. I guess the insurance industry just drew a line in the sand.
Americans will soon realize that the "Affordable" part of the legislation is nothing but a word. Bought and sold Democratic politicians who brought us this legislative catastrophe, will undoubtedly face a backlash come November
The legislation will do nothing to stop insurer price gouging. Just a small loophole, the Democrats didn't fill because their insurance industry benefactors stepped in a drew a line in the sand.
Public outrage over double-digit rate hikes for health insurance may have helped push President Obama's healthcare overhaul across the finish line, but the new law does not give regulators the power to block similar increases in the future.
And now, with some major companies already moving to boost premiums and others poised to follow suit, millions of Americans may feel an unexpected jolt in the pocketbook.
Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases.
The bill does expand eligibility for Medicaid, the federal health care program for the poor. Thanks to Bernie Sanders, there's a good increase in funding for community health canters.
It is supposed to make it harder for insurance companies to deny legitimate claims or refuse to cover 'high-risk' patients. We are all waiting with baited breath for HHS Secretary Sebelius to announce the rates for the high risk pool.
High Risk Pools ain't going to be "affordable" that for sure. So, a few scant months after the passage of this "historic" legislation, we've circled back to pay or die healthcare.
Insurance industry lobbyists, who helped draft the bill, had to accept these reforms. they're getting 30 million new customers out of the deal, and over the years the insurance industry has proved very skillful at evading every government attempt at regulation.
If you're counting on the states to be the protectors of the citizens, you better think again. My friend Wendell Potter (the former CIGNA executive) was recently at the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) meeting in Denver. It was swarming with insurance executives and lobbyists.
This is why in the coming weeks, slinkerwink and I will unveil an initiative designed to help everyone who despite the passage of "reform", will need lots of assistance fighting the for-profit industry, and exposing the ongoing atrocities.
If you want to support us, we're very grateful to you.
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