Monday, December 2, 2013

My opening statement about the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare for this weeks show

Welcome back. By the time you hear this show the deadline for fixing healthcare dot gov, the website for the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare, will have passed.

I and several folks predicted that by the time the deadline passed the website would be working very well. Most Republicans predicted that the website would still be experiencing problems.

Who is right?

Well, an article in Politicsusa by Jason Easley should settle things. The title of his article is “The Media Is Forced to Admit That The Obamacare Website is Fixed”

In his article, Mr. Easley references a New York Times article of this weekend that reports quote:

As the Obama administration’s weekend deadline for a smoothly functioning online marketplace for health insurance arrives, more than a month of frantic repair work is paying off with fewer crashes and error messages and speedier loading of pages, according to government officials, groups that help people enroll and experts involved in the project.

Although the administration has postponed a December marketing campaign, fearful that the site would collapse under a surge in traffic, five weeks of repair work have clearly made the exchange better. From last Sunday to Tuesday, nearly 20,000 users managed to enroll in insurance plans, the most for a three-day period, according to people familiar with the project. By comparison, fewer than 27,000 users picked an insurance plan on the federal site in the entire month of October.

And pages that once took an average of eight seconds to load now show up in a fraction of a second. The rate at which a user sees an error message has also dropped from about 6 percent to 0.75 percent.


Judging from these reports for all intents and purposes, the website is fixed.

So what’s left for Republicans to complain about, oh yes, the issue about not being able to keep your plan or your doctor.

The folks in my panel today will discuss that a bit, but I return to a segment by Jon Stewart where he discussed the keeping your doctor piece. He joked about this Republican talking point as Republicans suggesting that before Obamacare Doctor and Patient mated for life.

The point of that is that if you had employer provided health insurance and your company decided to change health insurance plans one year because they got a better deal, something that has happened twice to me in my life at different jobs, you don’t get to keep your doctor and you don’t get to whine about it on political talk shows. That is just the way it is.

In real life before Obamacare, the chance of you getting to keep your doctor for more than five to seven years was pretty small. Chances are you would change jobs and work for a company that had a different insurance provider or your employer would change providers at least once every five to seven years.
Ironically, the only folks who really did get to keep their doctor long term were the elderly who were on Medicare. There’s that awful government run health care again.

So the idea that Obamacare disrupted a lifelong association between patient and doctor is ridiculous.
As far as keeping your plan, there is another canard. Health Insurance companies also frequently change their plans, add things to plans that you then have to pay more for or withdraw certain plans altogether.
Again, try to find someone who bought health insurance on their own who got to keep the same exact plan for the same money for more than five to seven years. You won’t find many. The number is probably less than one percent of folks who bought health insurance on their own.

So Republicans have really pulled a fast one here with their criticism of the Affordable Care Act. It’s not surprising, they are desperate to try to couch it as being unsuccessful because they understand that a successfully rolled out massive change to healthcare in this country where the majority of the uninsured got health insurance would help Democrats and would be devastating to the Republican Party. So they are going to everything possible against the wall to see what sticks.

Don’t be fooled.

This is obviously not the first thing the Republicans have tried to claim about the affordable care act and it wont be the last thing. Remember killing grandma, remember death panels, remember all of the things since the very beginning that Republicans have claimed about the Affordable Care Act. Remember this was going to be a government takeover of healthcare, it was going to be socialism. No, these are private insurance plans that people are buying and are being offered through the plan.

Again, don’t be fooled.

Now on to our panel discussion.