ObamaCare Clusterfuck: The ACA is neither affordable, nor will it provide millions with care
At the root of these problems is the fact that we have a fragmented, highly inefficient system. Employed Americans younger than 65 years of age have job- based insurance, if their employer chose to provide it; the elderly and disabled are covered through Medicare; the poor by Medicaid; military veterans through the Veterans Administration; and American Indians through the Indian Health Service. Persons who do not fall into any of those categories must try to purchase individual coverage in the private market, where it is often prohibitively expensive or unobtainable if they have a pre-existing health condition.
We keep hammering on this problem: Too damn many buckets to throw people into, and too many damn people who fall between buckets, or not into any bucket at all.
Owing largely to this fragmentation and inefficiency, a staggering 31 percent of U.S. health care spending goes toward administrative costs, rather than care itself. Inefficiency exists at both the provider and payer level. To care for their patients and get paid for their work, physicians and hospitals must contend with the intricacies of numerous insurance plans—which tests and procedures they cover, which drugs are on their formularies, which providers are in their network. Meanwhile, private health insurance companies divert a considerable share of the premiums they collect toward advertising and marketing, sales teams, underwriters, lobbyists, executive salaries and shareholder profits. The top five private insurers in the United States paid out $12.2 billion in profits to investors in 2009, a year when nearly 3 million Americans lost their health coverage.
That's not a bug. It's a feature. The suffering and desperation of some make the others all the more anxious to get what they can. It's like a "Reserve Army of the Uninsured."
It's not a question of whether some individuals can "afford" care; it's a question of whether the whole country can "afford" this health care system, which ObamaCare does not change, except insofar as it loads up the system with more fragmentation and inefficiency.
The ACA of 2010, known widely as Obamacare, is expected to extend coverage to 32 million more Americans. But it accomplishes this goal primarily by expanding the current fragmented, inefficient system and maintaining the central role of the private insurance industry in providing coverage. As a result, the ACA is expected to do little to rein in health care spending. Furthermore, it will fall far short of achieving universal coverage, as tens of millions of Americans (including 262,000 Minnesotans) will remain uninsured after its full implementation.
Obots keep calling ObamaCare "universal." It isn't. They should stop lying about that. All this is why Minnesota, like other states, is looking into single payer health care, the only proven solution on offer:
Recognizing the implausibility of achieving single-payer reform at the national level in the current political climate, many single-payer advocates have turned their attention to state-level reform. The ACA provides for “state innovation waivers” to be granted beginning in 2017, allowing states to implement creative plans they believe would work best for them. With this in mind, organized single-payer movements have taken root in states as varied as Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, New York, California, Oregon and Vermont. Vermont’s governor and Legislature passed a law in 2011 setting the path for the state to move toward single payer.
In Minnesota, two advocacy organizations—Health Care for All Minnesota and the Minnesota chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program—are garnering public support for a single-payer system. Gov. Mark Dayton has expressed support for single payer, and Sen. John Marty (DFL-Roseville) has authored legislation to establish such a system in Minnesota. Known as the Minnesota Health Plan, it would replace the current inefficient patchwork of private and public health plans with a single statewide fund that would cover the health needs of all Minnesotans—inpatient and outpatient services, preventive care, prescription drugs, medical equipment and mental health and dental care.
That's very good news. We'll see what happens with those "state innovation waivers" (why wait 'til 2017, for pity's sake? ACA timing sure seems tied to election years....)