Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Which Lie today!
by Bill Neinast
The cache of lies over and about the Affordable Care Act, ACA, Obamacare, or whatever you call it, continues to grow like an untreated cancer. The latest and, possibly, the most damaging revelation is the claim of Johnston Gruber, the so called architect of the act, that lies. or “the lack of transparency” in his words, was necessary to get the legislation past the “stupidity” of American voters.
Those lies and the others about keeping your doctor and insurance, however, pale in comparison with the biggest lie of all that is not even mentioned or discussed.
The very title of the act--the Affordable Care Act--is a lie. The act does not directly address the cost of medical care. It is written, instead, to require every American to be covered by medical insurance, either personally, by employers, or the government.
If the law’s drafters had been honest about its purpose they would have followed the lead of Texas law makers. When those legislators first imposed a requirement for those regularly driving on state roads to be financially responsible for any damages they caused to others, they were specific in their intent. They enacted the Texas Financial Responsibility Law (called the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act since 1995).
Had Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues been honest in labeling the 2,000+ hodgepodge of legal gobbledegook, they would have called it something like The Medical Insurance Requirements Act.
Maybe, however, calling it the Affordable Care Act was not a deliberate lie. Possibly the title merely reflects the problem with flooding the nation’s capitol with officials, both elected and appointed, who have no experience or knowledge of simple business.
Conceivably, one who has never met a payroll could believe that requiring all medical bills to be paid by either insurance companies or the government would make medical care affordable, i.e., cheaper.
Those dreamers apparently never thought of the question, cheaper for whom?
How is medical care “cheaper” for a healthy young man or woman who does not go to the doctor for every sniffle and who believes that medical insurance is an unnecessary expense? How is it cheaper for the individual who buys a policy with an $8,000 deductible because it is the only one he can afford and then pays the premium and $8,000 every year before the insurance company picks up the bills?
The financial geniuses like Pelosi and Gruber must believe that assuring medical institutions and practitioners that all their bills will be paid by either the government or insurance companies will prompt them to voluntarily and promptly lower their fees.
Forget about the government, through its Medicare and Medicaid programs, and insurance companies routinely paying only arbitrary caps placed on each procedure, regardless of the original charge. What matters is a belief that, out of gratitude for being assured payment, every medical bill assuredly will be reduced.
Consider, also, the flood of new patients who will now have “free” medical care paid for by insurance companies or Medicaid. This increase in business and prompt payment at reduced rates will also be an incentive for more men and women to enter the medical profession, or so some non business men believe.
“But, wait,” what will be Pelosi’s and Gruber’s responses. “We are not seeking to reduce medical costs. We just want to reduce medical insurance premiums. Ballooning the number of individuals required to have insurance will be such a boon to the insurance carriers that they will, in accordance with business practices as we understand them, rush to reduce premiums as a good competitive practice.”
Requiring companies to insure individuals with pre-existing conditions, to include coverage for procedures that are not desired or needed by some customers, and to use prescribed government forms certainly will not dampen the competitive process in establishing rates.
Fortunately or unfortunately, however, there was a spoiler in the wood pile.
Someone noted that some of the theories on a competitive race to reduce costs may not work. So some provisions to cover that possibility and provide a basis for the ingenious title for the bill were slipped in.
Elaborate provisions for having medical records available for review by panels of “experts” to determine which procedures were allowable were slipped in. Reducing the number of procedures, primarily for the elderly, that will be allowed and payed for certainly should reduce demand.
As a reduction in demand always reduces cost, this should give credence to the title of the law. That must be what the law’s authors were thinking.
So here’s the perspective.
If the lie that is ACA is to be President Obama’s signature accomplishment, he will not be fondly remembered in history.