Obama's Spin on Health Insurance Misses Key Points

Greg A. Hood, MD

Disclosures

March 14, 2014

In This Article

Cautions on Political Partisanship

When answering "If the purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to ensure that all Americans have healthcare, why do most plans have such a high deductible?" President Obama referenced the grail of some, an anathema for others, when he said, "Now, you know, obviously there are other countries that have government-run healthcare or have a single-payer plan, in which case the government really controls much more tightly how healthcare is distributed."

Those who applaud the drive to a government-administered single-payer system may do well to remember how they felt when other recent administrations were in power, as well as the words of C.S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Those who wish to resist the reform of healthcare delivery in this nation may do equally well to recognize the dysfunctions of the past (and present) system, review the charts of anticipated healthcare expenditures over the coming years of baby-boomer peak consumption, and realize that "staying the course" has never been a viable option. They would also do well to remember that the ACA, as the President points out:

Eliminates prohibition from getting health insurance because of a preexisting condition;

Eliminates lifetime limits on spending for healthcare; and

Allows children to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26.

However, they would still be within their rights to question how many pages would have been required in a bill that accomplished each of these justifiably lauded objectives.

The President promotes that, because of Obamacare, "several billion dollars in checks have already been sent out in rebates" to families because insurers didn't obey the 80/20 rule. When fact-checking, I did find an article citing 2012 returns of $1.1 billion.[7] However, I also noticed an article from this month projecting an estimated $5.5 billion "bail-out" to insurance companies for 2015 because, again, not enough young, healthy Americans are enrolling.[8]

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