Real Reality Check

So, I got an email from the White House about health care. In it, they actually addressed some of the concerns that have been brought up by Obamacare opponents like me. Here's what they said, and my responses to it. 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

My major problem with this, is that it is the government controlling private businesses. Granted, the insurance companies have some bad practices, and this one is a bad one. But it is not something the government should interfere with. In this case, we need real competition between insurance companies trying to get our business. If everyone was going to one company over another because that company accepted prior conditions, then the rest of the companies would also start accepting prior conditions.

2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

Um, yeah, the reason these things are so expensive is because treatments are getting more and more expensive. Insurance companies are generally just reacting to that. Again, if there was decent competition in the industry, this would not be a problem. And the government has no place controlling what private companies charge.

3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

This just bugs me. These things should be cheap enough that you can afford to pay for them out of pocket. No insurance needed. The government needs to see what it can do to help the people who provide these services reduce costs. Forcing insurance providers to pay for all of this will simply make insurance way more expensive.

4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

Hmm... How about let the market push out those companies that do this? Companies that say they won't, would get more customers. Again, it's government control.

5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

Ok, this is just stupid. Your gender has a huge effect on your health. That's been proven. So why shouldn't insurance companies adjust your costs because of that? It's not discrimination, it's reality.

6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

What? So, if I reach the cap on one company, I should just be able to move to another. Then it would just work itself out. No government needed.

7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

Hmmm.... Since I'm 24, this would be kinda nice. But then I think about how much it costs my parents, and how little I really need to see a doctor. So, this again, should be just part of the competition between insurance companies.

8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Again, government controls where the market should take care of the problem.

Learn more and get details:

The governments propaganda page about these things. Check it out. Just use your head to make sure they are telling the truth. 8 common myths about health insurance reform

1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

*blinks* Do they really think that paragraph will convince us? How about actually explaining WHY rationing will not happen? The main proponents of the so called "myth" that Obamacare will ration health care have read the bill. They are smart people, and have studied the subject enough to know what they are talking about. They explain the reasons why rationing will happen. I have yet to hear anything on why rationing WON'T happen.

2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

Sounds good. But this is the government. How often do big government programs actually stay within their budget? Oh, and it was a government office that priced the bill at $1.6 trillion. Medicare ended up costing around ten times the original predictions. So, do you really want to trust predictions with numbers in the trillions?

3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

Huh, I haven't heard much about "euthanasia". What I have heard is that the bill will discourage giving treatment to old people because it would cost too much.

4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

I don't know anything about this, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that the VA system is safe.

5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

Liar. If the small business doesn't elect to use the public option, the private option they offer will be taxed. That's in the bill. I believe I pointed out where in a previous post.

6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

Right... I'm not knowledgeable on this part, so nothing to say.

7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

Businesses will have any private option they offer taxed in order to pay for the public option. How many businesses will use private plans that they have to pay taxes on? Not to mention that the government is not afraid to go into debt, and likely will offer the public option at prices the private industry cannot compete with.

8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

They will not be in charge of my accounts. But they will have unfettered access to them. See my previous post.

Learn more and get details:

More propaganda. 8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more:

Sounds bad. But, again, government control is not the answer.

2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more:

And why are the costs ballooning? Address that problem. The government doesn't need to take control of the entire system to help reduce costs.

3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more:

So do something to make those procedures cost less. Not take control of such an essential part of womens lives.

4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more:

How many of these people are illegal aliens? And are any of the totally unable to get access to health care at all? And uninsurance is not necessarily a bad thing, I don't have insurance, and I am doing pretty well.

5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more:

And there have been plans put forward that would enable these small businesses to provide decent health coverage. But those plans have simply been ignored or stopped by the democratic majority.

6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more:

Not a good thing. But giving the government total control like Obamacare would will not help. In fact, said elderly would likely be have a harder time even getting the expensive health care they need under Obamacare. At least with todays system, they can get it if they want it.

7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more:

Again, being uninsured is not a tragedy. And even if it was, there are far better ways to solve the problem than Obamacare.

8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more:

46 million Americans uninsured. Reality Check, Real Numbers Check 2. So, that's my Reality Check for the White House. People, use your heads!

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