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Saturday, July 27, 2013

AFP “Questions”

Link 01 Logo 01A 

Synopsis: A concerned middle-class mom worries that, once Obamacare goes into effect, previously uninsured Americans will be able to access the same great medical care she and her family have been receiving all along.

02 
Julie can’t sleep thinking about how she might have to pay a few extra bucks every couple of weeks so that poor people she’s not related to with treatable ailments don’t needlessly die

-0:03-

03
“When my son Caleb’s peanut allergies gave him seizures, the first thing I did was review my insurance company’s policy manual to see whether any of its 106 coverage exclusions applied.”

-0:05-

05
“The next thing I did was throw away the peanut butter sandwich I’d left on the coffee table while I was touching up my nails.”

-0:05-

05A 
Holy Spirit arrives to usher in Julie’s painful flashback

-0:05-

05B 
Imprinting Jesus’ face on Christian taco shells can wait

-0:05-

05C
Caleb heard angel’s call to go toward the light, but he couldn’t bear to leave delicious orange popsicle behind

-0:06-

06
A lifetime of disappointments awaits, but he stands by his decision

-0:08-

08
Not pictured: the five men who conceivably could be Caleb’s father

-0:08-

08A
“Now that I realize white suburban children aren’t magically shielded from every possible danger, I have a few important questions about how a program designed to help others get affordable health care might slightly inconvenience me.“

-0:09-

09
“Where does President Obama get off trying to prevent me from choosing my own doctor from a list of approved providers that my insurance company issues once a year and can revise at any time?”

-0:11-

11
“Why do I have to pay higher premiums under Obamacare when health insurance rates have never increased before?”

-0:13-

13
“Am I supposed to trust public officials with no personal incentive to restrict claims more than the faceless profit-driven corporations that oversee and control every aspect of the health care I receive now?”

-0:13-

13A
Looks like Julie could have used that contraception coverage after all

-0:14-

14 
Though she blames it on the pregnancy, her pear-shaped figure was actually a pre-existing condition

-0:14-

14A 
Caleb eyes gestating little sister he plans to push into clothes dryer at earliest opportunity

-0:14-

14B
Under Obamacare, Julie will have to decide which child to keep, and which child to relinquish to People’s Organ Farm

-0:16-

16
Caleb’s gotten a little clingy since the U.S. descended into socialism

-0:16-

16A 
Thanks to Jenny McCarthy, at least he doesn’t have to worry about scary vaccination shots or not contracting measles

-0:17-

17 
Smile melts mother’s heart, but won’t sway death panel

-0:18-

18
“I don’t like the idea of someone other than Humana’s shareholders deciding what treatment is right for my kid.”

-0:21-

21
“I’m also not thrilled about the prospect of sharing a waiting room with some cantaloupe-calved illegal immigrant who’s using my tax dollars to remove a tattoo.”

-0:23-

23
“If my co-pays jump, I might have to sell the $3,000 backyard play set I bought my son as a present for not going to heaven.”

-0:27-

27A
“Hear that, Mr. President?  Or are you too busy turning our country into some kind of Canadian Mexico?”

-0:27-

27B
White light of divine truth reappears to signal end of Julie’s remarks

-0:27-

27C
Unnoticed by his protective mother, blinding luminescence causes Caleb to have another episode of seizures

-0:30-

30 
Apparently one impact is having to watch deceptive, fear-mongering commercials from Americans for Prosperity and their hidden special interest backers

Loathsomeness: 9.1

26 comments:

  1. I've never understood how heightening the demand for the same supply can lower costs enough to make heath insurance affordable to those who can't find the money now. I mean, shouldn't we know what's in it now that it's passed?

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    1. I actually think Obamacare advocates should have spent more time talking about the social benefits of getting more people insured than about cost savings, which, from a public welfare (or moral) standpoint, should be of secondary importance. That said, I believe the demand for heath care is constant -- it's just that many people are gaming the system by opting out of insurance but counting on emergency room treatment to bail them out if something goes wrong. Make those who can afford to buy in, and, at least in theory, the added premium revenue should bring down costs for everyone. Of course, a single-payer scheme would be preferable, but that would leave us with a horrible socialist health care system like they have in all of those other countries that consistently achieve lower costs, better health measures, and longer life expectancies than the U.S. So we certainly don't want that.

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    2. All we really needed to do is make Medicare available to anyone who wanted to buy into it, and wait for the stampede of former "Government Can't Do Anything Right" yokels pushing each other out of the way to buy into the horrible government-sponsored system.

      Once everyone is in Medicare, private insurance becomes a fringe industry and Big Pharma is at the mercy of it's customers in Medicare and forced to slash prices. One can dream.

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    3. How right-wing anti-government types who rail against the ACA are able to internally reconcile their affection for Medicare is one of the great mysteries of American life.

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    4. Because we aren't changing the demand for the service. Demand for healthcare is more or less constant, per capita.

      The typical free-market ideals of supply and demand assume a number of implicit conditions for any market, such as a malleable demand, perfect consumer information, ability of consumers to patronize a different company if they're unhappy with a product or service, and others. These free-market assumptions are pretty accurate for almost all physical goods, and even most services, but they break down when it comes to health insurance.

      It's not like a product where demand might not even exist before the product appears on the market, or where people who can't afford it can simply do without it, or can shop for another company if they're unhappy with the service (just try getting insurance when your current insurance company finds a way to refuse to cover the treatment you need).

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    5. When you legally require people to buy health insurance, that is an increase in demand.

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    6. The demand for health care and the demand for health insurance are two different things. Everyone needs health care, to some degree or another, at one time or another. But some people are opting out of getting health insurance, which is how health care is paid for. If, as a society, we were willing to let these people die on the streets when they can't afford the medical treatment they'll eventually need, the free market system might work. But since we're not, we have to force them into the system. Under Obamacare, the increased health insurance participation rate, in and of itself, shouldn't result in increased health care costs because of limitations on the amount of profit that health insurers are allowed to make. I believe that's why workers covered under employer-sponsored health plans received rebate checks a couple of years ago.

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    7. The rebate checks went out this summer. Around 8.5 million Americans received some form of rebate from their private insurers. Of those, about $2.7 Million actually received a check opposed to a credit on their insurance policy account.
      There was over $1 Billion in rebates issued.

      The rebates came from one of the provisions of the ACA.. that health care companies are no longer allowed to operate with over 20% "administrative overhead".
      Some health insurance companies were running 45% overhead.. which made it a lot easier to pay their CEO 2/3rds of a Billion Dollars in salary, bonuses and perks over the course of a few years.

      By comparison, Medicare operates at something around 2.7% overhead. For some reason that is utterly inexplicable to Free-marketers.. a non-profit government health care organization is vastly more efficient than all of the other public-sector analogs who have a legal requirement to maximize profit for their share-holders. Huh.

      So.. about half a year or so after that part of the ACA went into affect, the government lowered the boom on those companies that were still gouging their customers to support their boated inefficient operations and their massive executive salaries. As a result millions of Americans received rebates.
      Most of the rebates went to people who purchased their own insurance or who were part of very small employer plans where they lacked the leverage to negotiate good rates.

      In case it didn't occur to anyone by this point in my long post [did anyone get this far?] not everyone got a rebate because their insurers chose to reset their rates to provide 80 cents on the dollar to pay for care or they had already been that efficient. Only the blood-suckers were affected.
      So, what's the result of forcing other insurers to fall into line with a fair [yet still extremely profitable] pricing model?

      As of this past July, it was estimated that Americans had already saved 3.4 BILLION in insurance costs.
      This barely, if at all factors in the savings from having a real free market for health insurance. Instead of having captive or at least strongly disincentivized customers locked into plans.. the health exchanges are forcing the insurers to actually compete for business and some areas, like NY, have seen dramatic drops in the cost of coverage.
      ACA.. aka Obama-care.. finally ringing solid free-market principles to the Healthcare industry.

      F'n Obama. How dare he save me money!!

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    8. How dare you introduce facts into this debate!

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    9. "...many people are gaming the system by opting out of insurance but counting on emergency room treatment to bail them out if something goes wrong."

      Not true. "Free care" at hospitals for necessary treatment as mandated in some states for people below the poverty line or some multiple of the poverty line (150% in Maine) tends to represent an amount equivalent to less than 1% of hospital revenue. A hospital in Maine sued DHHS over this "socialization" of private hospital resources, then was embarrassed (though probably still not enough) when the dollar amount of healthcare they actually dispensed under this provision was disclosed.

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    10. Fair point; but I don't think it paints the full picture. First of all, the situation in Maine, at least in terms of the percentage of hospital revenue involved, is probably atypical compared to states with larger low-income populations. Second, an uninsured patient who's above the "poverty-plus" threshold still can show up at a hospital emergency room and get treated regardless of his or her actual ability to pay for it. Even if the cost of that treatment doesn't legally have to borne by the hospital, as a practical matter, the hospital may never recover it, because if the amount is substantial, the patient will be unable to pay and ultimately will declare bankruptcy. The hospital's failure to collect on these debts presumably drives up the cost of care for everyone else.

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  2. There ARE, of course, death panels in the world....at every insurance company in the world.

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    1. Yeah, but we have the freedom to choose WHICH of those death panels we want to decide our fate -- except in the half of the country where a single insurer dominates the market. But as long as it's not the government ...

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    2. My favorite right-wing cliche is that health "choices" should be left to "you and your doctor." As if that's the way it is now. Actually, how it works in the US is- your doctor says you need a treatment, you agree to get the treatment, then you both wait to see if your insurance will COVER the treatment. When you find it doesn't, you and your doctor go back to the drawing board, or you just go home and suffer with your ailment and hope it doesn't kill you- or sell your house to pay for the treatment "you and your doctor" agreed to.

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    3. Or your doctor figures out what your insurance covers up front, and then recommends that, whether it's the most appropriate treatment or not, and you deferentially agree without knowing the difference.

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    4. The corporate boneheads who spout that old saw think it's much cooler to have some actuary decide who gets to live and die than a doctor, I should think.

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  3. Synch-up for this one is simply some sad violin music. Oh, boo-hoo!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74I4L8PeaGQ

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    1. Conservative advocacy groups love sad music. See, for example: FAIR "Homecoming"

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    2. Ah yes, the always popular Sad Piano. No doubt in D-minor, the saddest of all keys.

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  4. What nobody has mentioned here is that this law will screw the young healthy people vigorously. Those who need health care the least will pay the most, benefiting old folks. I should add that the old folks can and are drawing ss - young people will never draw on it - they are being robbed and should be mad as hell. The philosophy being pushed is collectivism and interdependence. Like the seat belt law - our laws are supposed to protect private property from harm and people can do anything they want with their own private property so long as it does not harm anyone else's private property. Seat belt law is proof positive that we are chattel (someone else's private property). With the socialization of health care costs, and the philosophy of collectivism, your decisions will be made for the collective good by somebody other than yourself. Bloomberg telling New Yorkers what they are allowed to consume is a template for the country as a whole.

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    1. Wow, so many inaccuracies in one post! But if you are young person with no health care, feel free to go ahead and assert your freedom by refusing to purchase health care and paying your whopping fine of less than $100. While you're at it, you can also throw caution to the wind and refuse to wear a seat belt (hoping that you won't get ticketed to avoid that fine), and you know what? You can order as many super-sized soft drinks in NYC as you want. (And btw, even if Bloomberg's law HAD passed, you would have still been "allowed" to drink soda, just not out of a trough.)

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    2. Anonymous -- why do you assume that young people won't benefit from having to purchase health insurance? Are they immune from illness or injury? Currently, many uninsured young people are relying on emergency room care, ultimately imposing their private costs on the public at large. Is that preferable? Sounds like "collectivism" to me. The ACA merely requires individuals with financial means to take responsibility for their own care -- an ethos with which I'm sure you would agree.

      Regarding seat belt laws as proof that the government considers us "private property," what a cynical view (and I say this as a professional cynic). Can you not even conceive of the idea that such laws are intended to protect and save LIVES, and have done so with great effectiveness? Should we allow thousands more people to get injured and die in auto accidents each year just to uphold a small, reactionary segment of society's extreme conception of limited government?

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  5. This was really, really stupid.

    I feel bad for you.

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    1. Yeah, it's tough; I really just don't have a clue. Some Obamacare Navigators paid me to write a bunch of liberal nonsense about the program, and I felt like I had to do it. I was hoping no one would notice that it wasn't any good, but obviously you figured it out, and now everyone knows. I only wish I'd consulted with you beforehand.

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  6. Replies
    1. Well, thank you ... and thanks to the Koch Brothers and their phony grassroots organizations for bringing us together.

      If you have any commercial suggestions, feel free to send them to editor@pointlessplanet.com, and keep checking in.

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