Real Care, Obamacare or No Care

How many of us have tuned out the never ending Tea Party crazy rhetorical drum beat blasting Obamacare?  With people whose only purpose in life is to shaft the middle class and poor, as a result, such folk have lost all credibility with most of America and thus tune them out we do.  Over and over again we see the Republican agenda is clearly to stiff Americans on benefits they have earned, such as social security and Medicare.  So, most who are sane pay no attention to the rancor, noise and banter  Most of America knows these crazy folk oppose Obamacare on ideological reasons only.  They will do anything to deny health care to the poor and middle America.  Yet Houston, we have a problem, it looks like on Obamacare these very crazy people just might have a point.

To be clear, what the Republicans are doing now by shutting down the government and threatening the good credit of the United States should be an impeachable offense.  Yet, now that the health insurance exchanges are open, we discover they are crashing over a week later and worse, team Obama hired foreigners to design healthcare.gov.

As pressure mounts on the administration to fix the issue in order to avoid widespread dissatisfaction among the American people, rather than reach out to tech support experts in America, the Obama administration has contacted the Canadian tech firm, GCI Federal, a subsidiary of Montréal-based CGI Group to fix the exchanges. To date the administration has bestowed the Canadian company with $1.4 billion in federal contracts, according to USApending.gov.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has already awarded GCI $55.7 million to launch healthcare.gov. The company is also the one that provide service to Canada’s single-payer healthcare system.

It never ceases to amaze how just how much money is poured into bad government websites.  It is truly astounding when supposedly American companies are the best in the world and there are so many unemployed with tech skills, the government cannot manage to hire Americans and American companies to do the job.  When we say Americans, we do not mean IBM and other such companies who fire those with U.S. citizenship and bring in foreign guest workers.  We mean those with U.S. citizenship.

Now the truth is coming out on healthcare.gov.  The Obama administration is still claiming the exchange website flaws is due to the large traffic visiting the site, yet American engineers are analyzing and railing against the poor design.  Think about the millions of dollars and three and a half years to get a website working when most American techies can find the technical problems in a matter of minutes.  This is how poorly designed the site is.  Even the IEEE is pointing out the technical flaws and is mentioning the obvious security.

It is actually much worst than yet another example of our government spending millions on contracts instead of hiring America citizens directly to design websites.  The online exchanges are using private credit reporting agencies to verify your information and credit reports are notorious to have errors.  Many politically independent notables with feet firmly planted on the functional and practical ground are slamming the system.  Paul Craig Roberts calls Obamacare another private sector ripoff of Americans:

Obamacare works for the insurance companies, but not for the uninsured. The cost of using Obamacare is prohibitive for those who most need the health coverage. The cost of the premiums net of the government subsidy is large. It amounts to a substantial pay cut for people struggling to pay their bills. In addition to the premium cost, it is prohibitive for hard pressed Americans to use the policies because of the deductibles and co-pays. For the very poor, who are thrown into Medicaid systems, any assets they might have, such as a home, are subject to confiscation to cover their Medicaid bills. The only people other than the insurance companies who benefit from Obamacare are the down and out who are devoid of all assets.

Worse, the way the subsidies are calculated is annual and do not account for changing financial conditions.  The system is guaranteed to invade privacy, send social security numbers to God knows where on a technically flawed website that surely hackers are salivating over.  But the bottom line in health insurance is it appears many people are ending up paying way more in premiums and receiving less coverage  The subsidy is determined on a modified adjusted gross income and of course it's confusing as hell, but if one doesn't qualify for a subsidy, bottom line, insurance premiums went through the roof.  Actual individual coverage, though redefining what is in network, a host of new copays and out of pockets, the benefits appear stripped, especially for the bronze level policies.  The gold insurance policies appear more like what mediocre insurance used to be and to date we have not found any policy where one wouldn't go to the poor house if seriously ill, same as it is in 2013.  We recommend reading this post on how the subsidy calculation works and the problems with it.  If you haven't checked what policies are even available for 2014 it's a good idea to find out what the plans are.

As usual individuals are getting the shaft on health insurance while businesses and unions get exemptions and don't face a penalty.  One example shows an individual's $144 a month policy was canceled and in it's place was a $600 a month policy with only 50% coverage.  The provider network had been replaced by predefined, small, geographical areas as well.  Needless to say in rural areas, small geographical areas might not have any physician within them, never mind a competent one.  Clearly people travel which implies one would be out of network in the case of an emergency by these insurance companies redefining in network to be a small geographical area.   Premiums and policies do vary greatly state by state and by age, so one really needs to check and finding the specifics, as in the contract terms is a hunt and peck.  Additionally the only pre-existing condition getting priced out of purchasing any health insurance are smokers with a 50% additional surcharge attached to the insurance premium.  Heroin and Meth addicts are covered with no surcharge as well as the grossly overweight, only smokers are singled out to guarantee they will not be able to afford coverage at all.  Across the nation we're hearing various reports of sticker shock on insurance premiums with much less coverage, so the only way you're going to know is to check it yourself.  Younger people are getting the shaft with much higher premiums as a general rule.

To be clear, we need true single payer universal health care as almost every other industrialized nation.  The fact is America spends 17.7% of GDP on health care costs, and soars in comparison to other nations.  The OECD estimates the United States spends 2.5 times more in health care costs than the other countries, has lower life expectancy despite now having low smoking rates.  America has less physicians, hospital beds and shorter stays than other OECD nations.  The United States spends way more on pharmaceuticals and general medical care and this is directly related to the for profit, private health care industry.  It is prices.  Hospitals and drugs are 60% more than other industrialized nations.  Procedures are priced higher and private administration costs are through the roof.  Below is a OECD graph showing general breakdown of health expenditures of the United States vs. other nations to show the disparity.

 

us health costs

 

It is a shame House Republicans used Obamacare as a hostage taking of the government maneuver.  As a precedent, one simply cannot negotiate with those holding an economic gun to America's head.  We have a funny feeling if the GOP had said nothing, most of America would be demanding change on Obamacare for it clearly is a boondoggle, designed for insurance companies and yet another shaft to Americans overall.  This is in spite of some of the good aspects, such as stopping insurance companies denying coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Of course the GOP won't endorse and pass universal single payer health care to save their souls, despite the overwhelming statistics from other nations this is what's needed to reduce costs, the deficit and provide Americans with health care.  The latest proposals by the GOP involve dismantling Medicare, so don't expect a practical solution that helps America anytime soon.  America has no doubt been in the frying pan for sometime on health care.  Question is did Obamacare just put us into the fire?   If so, due to the incredible war over Obamacare and for the wrong reasons, it is possible health care will sink the nation since it is a prime example of doing what is economically sound and humanely practical is obviously impossible for America's politicians to even contemplate.

Update: The horrific design of healthcare.gov is coming to light with Obama claiming to now bring in the best and the brightest, which unfortunately for him means H-1B foreign guest workers instead of Americans most likely.  Of course the main contractor blowing $634 million on this ridiculous website used H-1B foreign guest workers instead of Americans.  They also lobbied heavily.  We warned about corruption in government IT contracts with Obama's selection of Vivek Kundra as Obama's CIO.

Prior to the official award, senior CGI executives met with top White House officials and attended a number of invitation-only addresses by President Obama.

According to the logs, CGI Federal President Donna Ryan visited the White House six times prior to her company being selected to do the IT design work behind the high-profile website.

Two of the meetings attended by CGI executives were with Vivek Kundra, Obama’s chief information officer. Kundra was a key figure in Obama administration information technology initiatives across the government.

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Comments

Obamacare < Single Payer <

Obamacare < Single Payer < Current System. Unfortunately, while the current system is horribly broken, having the deeply indebted government take on a program that's costs are growing exponentially faster than its revenues does nothing for our worsening financial dilemma. The greatest issue of our time is how we (children of the baby boomers) are going to be able to pay for our parents' irresponsible behavior and for the programs they've trusted to support them during retirement. Unfortunately, baby boomers are still in power and... still spending money they don't have!

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not the case at all

The #1 reason the United States is in the mess it is today is the tax code, biased towards the rich and is also the #1 cause of income inequality.

Baby boomers are not to blame except for electing bad officials plus not screaming foul on the corporatization of government.

the reality is single payer will be CHEAPER. By curtailing for profit health, the U.S. can get the costs down to what other nations pay.

Social security ADDS to the economy and people do not realize without Medicare and social security, never mind the human suffering, the toil on the economy due to homeless old people will be enormous, way beyond current spending.

It's not the young vs. the old. It is the rich vs. the rest of America and corporate lobbyists controlling government.

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what a crock

this is the same old right wing talking points ... first off... Clinton left Bush II with a surplus, what the hell happened to that? oh yes the "job creators" needed to keep more of their hard earned cash...

also in the same line of thinking is the right wing line that the government must behave economically like a family, a family can't spend more than it takes in ....

This is another right wing fallacy, the government is not in any economical way like a family... the most obvious inconsistency being that a family doesn't have a currency printing press !!!

your arguments fail the smell test

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crock is never endingly amazing

One of the points of this site is to be accurate, even when publishing Populist rants and raves.

It never ceases to amaze me how people are hoodwinked and believe the most absurd things,when just a little education and critical thinking might get them to see through this.

I can only conclude that somehow the rage, the anger drummed up by Koch Brothers and their marketing brethren to spew on talk radio and Faux specific daily talking points, somehow has an emotional hypnotic effect and need.

There is a need to feel rage and the reality the facts are completely wrong, the outrage just made up out of thin air by corporate special interests spun into public relations and marketing media banter becomes not relevant.

The key is to feel like one belongs to a group and that common experience is outrage and agenda, bound by emotional reaction and somehow the logic brain and the reasoning brain is shut down, until they firmly believe this nonsense.

It sounds ridiculous until one thinks of some of the incredible crowd mesmerizing that has gone on throughout history.

It is more important to belong, to believe as your group believes than turn on the brain and do even a little logical and critical thinking. Very scary and it doesn't help that these politicians go on cable news and tell the most outrageous lies, clearly false if you ask almost anyone in economics and finance, yet people believe this nonsense for it is more important to be one of, to identify with the group than be logical, accurate, correct.

Worse, a key element for this working is to have an uneducated mass.

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Great Piece Robert...,

you nailed it from start to finish...., especially with these lines:

We have a funny feeling if the GOP had said nothing, most of America would be demanding change on Obamacare for it clearly is a boondoggle, designed for insurance companies and yet another shaft to Americans overall.

America has no doubt been in the frying pan for sometime on health care.  Question is did Obamacare just put us into the fire?   If so, due to the incredible war over Obamacare and for the wrong reasons, it is possible health care will sink the nation since it is a prime example of doing what is economically sound and humanely practical is obviously impossible for America's politicians to even contemplate.

I have the same feeling about Obamacare..., and tried to solicit some input from Numerian on the issue in a comment on his "Obama..., Body Slam" piece.  

I said, "On another note..., I see the coming implementation of Obamacare as a disaster in the making. He has already had to do an aboutface on the 50 employee mandate..., for at least one year. And once all the folks with medical issues sign on..., and healthy people opt for the penalty..., well, with all the issues you have already mentioned..., I just can't see anything good coming our way."

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read Gomory's piece, he nails the real problem

The battle is between corporations, special interests in D.C. so this is why we cannot get anything that makes sense, is practical and efficient. America could choose from something like 50 national systems to set up health care as single payer and we'd nail this, plus the deficit.

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Healthcare is already provided to the poor

While I am not a member of the Tea Party I am really getting sick of the bashing they have to endure. The left apparently does not see that any increase in taxes is a decrease in the economy. There is less to buy your products or services or invest in your businesses. No one wants the poor and middle class to go without health care. Our taxes and higher healthcare costs are used to subsidize care of those who cannot pay. No, this is not a great healthcare delivery system but it has worked for many years. When Obama should have been consulting with healthcare experts, he leaves this "trainwreck" in the hands of politicians. Instead of ramming this ill-conceived bill down our throats, he should have been allowing business to recover to add jobs with healthcare benefits. Obama bashed the very people he needed to revive the economy. With increased and threatened higher taxes and new regulations he took business leaders out of the economy. We are a country of leaders and followers and a vibrant economy needs both. It was probably a waste of time to try and stop Obamacare as the media and those looking for free healthcare don't want it stopped. If the train should wreck, voters might remember in 2014 that the GOP tried to stop it. How much is it going to costs us to clean up that wreck? Time will tell! For the record I pay 100% of my employees insurance and my premiums just increased 16%.

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No healthcare is not already provided to the poor

Medicaid does not cover much of the poor due to limited funds and varies from State to state. Part of Obamacare increased federal funds for Medicaid and GOP governors turned down the money.

Healthcare costs are a tax, a drain on the economy period as the uninsured use the emergency room where just even chest pains cost someone $8-$20 thousand dollars!

The GOP is full of it because they want to stop Obamacare and then deny people health care. They won't endorse the real answer, which is universal single payer.

16% increase is typical for private insurance to raise rates in a year and businesses are exempt, so this doesn't have much to do with Obamacare.

If one even walks into an emergency room it is thousands of dollars in a bill and that's ridiculous to use the emergency room or let someone get so sick they have to go to emergency, never mind the costs are obscene.

The point of this article is Obamacare, because it enables private insurers with forced customers and also gets Federal subsidies probably is a disaster for it is the prices implying the profits of the for profit health care industry that are the biggest problem.

In other words, we're all getting shafted here and the for profit private health care industry is to blame.

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cost of health care as obamacare is implemented

wait til you get the billings for one hospital occurance and the later followup clinics and lab visits::: 25,000 for a simple elderly fall, 20,000 for a elderly tuneup when there is really no possible fix ... Only folks with nothing to lose will escape the taking of assets to pay your part after the pri and sec payers did their part... a lot of money is collected by a tennessee billing outfit that knows how to milk the costs.

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that is not Obamacare

seizing of assets can be done by for profit health care companies. Nursing homes they will seize assets but first they must obtain a judgment, court order or at least a contract.

Nobody is going to go and seize one's assets from Obamacare itself, this is a myth. Before Obamcare medical for profits erroneously turn even paid bills over to collectors who ruing people's credit and worse.

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Tea Perty Memeber here

Wow, when I read comments like the following

With people whose only purpose in life is to shaft the middle class and poor and Republican agenda is clearly to stiff Americans on benefits they have earned, such as social security and Medicare I basically can only laugh at the level of ignorance others have regarding the 'GOP's belief system. Especially when it painted with such vivid words.

So stiff the middle class, no. The problem is Government Programs are not a vehicle to create wealth for individuals. Heck they do not even get close to providing adequate care for the individuals as they get closer to retirement. SO when Republicans say they want to stop foolish programs that keep people in poverty we are not saying we want to 'destroy' anything. DO this instead. Take half the money that someone pays into Social Security right now, place half of it the 'Stock Market' and the other half into Social Security. Starting when they begin to work, say age 20. Now run it through the market for the next 45 years of their life at Market rates of Return versus what they end up at today with all of it being in Social Security. You will see that over that time period the amount placed into the market MAKES THAT PERSON RICH, where as Social security merely sustains a bare existence living standard. SO yeah I suppose you are right. I hate the middle class and poor because I want people to have a higher standard of living rather than Government Dependency. Sheesh.

Now as for Medicare. It is a program that costs way more than we pay into ti and is part of the reason we are becoming bankrupt as a country. Period. So yes I would suggest that it is an inadequate vehicle for solving medical issues. As far as the ACA I have read it, there are good portions to the law but 80% of it is crap. Moving to a simgle payer? Okay look. It is often pointed out that 'Single Payer' exists fine in almost every other industrial nation in the the world. But the fallacy here is that it is still a pretty new concept. How long have we had Single Payer systems out there? About 30 - 50 years? The oldest one sort of being in England? You really want to throw into something that may end up like Social Security in 100 years where there is NO GOING BACK? How can you ever return from something like this. We can't on Social Security.

You see the main issue Republicans have in implementing something like this is WE KNOW THAT THERE IS NO RETURN. You call us mean evil people for suggesting that Social Security ( as it is currently implemented ) is a bad deal for America. YOu scoff at the concept that there will be 'death panels' and you call us crazy when we examine something and say that the ultimate result is servitude. What happens if this is used as a political tool to keep someone in line politically. It seems you mother needs treatment for here cancer soon. It would be a terrible shame if we were to push here treatment back a month.

Look the way things are is not good, but moving to a system where you hand your healthcare over to a system of politicians that can dictate HOW you get care is more foolishness that I simply cannot abide by. Doing it on a Federal Level is REALLY foolish. On a state level at least you have SOME kind of control that gives you at least a SHOT at changing it if ti is a bad deal.

Anyway. I know I am a crazy horrible and hateful TEA party member but maybe, just maybe, the reason we disagree with things like this is because we see how rather than bringing people to 'prosperity' it does the opposite of what you think it does. It shackles them to lives of quite desperation and forces them to rely on a government to take care of them rather than to find dignity in growth, in a prospect to become better, and a hope that they can do so.

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tea party, crack just one economics textbook

That is just plain wrong on how wealth is created and distributed. 100% incorrect. That is the biggest problem, your belief is upside down on the effect on government policies on middle class wealth and the evidence is everywhere. We cover the theory and statistics almost daily on this site and that is just plain wrong.

Social security is the one thing between people eating and having millions of poor begging in the streets throughout the nation.

No Medicare is not and would not bankrupt the nation. If one had just even a little education on economics, they would know health care costs have recently leveled out and that causes Medicare to NOT grow to "break the bank". If one can reduce costs, as shown many times the U.S. pays two times more in raw costs than any other industrialized nation, Medicare would really not break the bank and one could reduce the deficit simply by reducing the costs. Cost means bill on what is charged by the hospital by the medical supply companies, by the pharmaceutical companies, which are for profit.

This site and myself do not run on philosophy, we run on accurate statistics, facts and economic theory.

There is a return, a huge return for both social security and Medicare. It keeps the nation healthy and not homeless. Unless you want to let people live and die in the streets with immense suffering, the costs of taking care of that disaster far exceed the costs of social security and Medicare, which people PAY FOR out of their paychecks in the first place.

It's just incredible the lack of knowledge and critical thinking, education out there. Ignorance should be sin for Tea Party ignorance is bringing the nation to the brink of destruction.

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Really??

We all know you are a true socialist. Capitalism will be the death to us all. But no one in their right mind can possibly believe the government can run our healthcare. As you pointed out, just look at the astronomical numbers they have wasted on the website. Facebook, ebay, and others have spent far less capital on working, well laid out sites. I hate the GOP gave in to Obama. He promised transparency in his administration and to bring a new era to bipartisan relations. What scares me is that a majority of Americans believe him. If you want a picture of a true politician, just look and listen cause he fits the bill.

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you have no idea what socialist means

First, I'm sorry but this misuse and not understanding basic government structure definitions is just stupid. Crack a textbook or go to wikipedia and learn what socialism actually is.

Second, the government ALREADY runs healthcare. It is called the VA and additionally Medicare and Medicaid.

So amusing the obviously lack of knowledge coming from people, You go to the VA, demand VA benefits as if that is not the government. It is.

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