Tag Archives: Medicaid

Health Care Laws Should Be Abolished, by Doug Casey

Government is the cause, free markets are the solution for the health care “crisis.” From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

How to reform the U.S. “health care” system is a continuing topic in the news. I put that phrase in quotes because it’s a misnomer. You don’t insure your health – that can’t be done. You can only insure that the costs of medical care, if your health fails, will be covered. Saying “health care” makes people think that someone else will magically assure their health, which is impossible. Collectivists like to use the phrase as part of their continuing war on what words mean, and how people think.

Health is something you do for yourself with proper diet, exercise, and lifestyle decisions. Medical care is something very different; it’s what you need for acute trauma or disease. People want good health, but all insurance can give them is hospitals, doctors, and medicines – all of which are scary.

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Health Care Law Recasts Insurers as Obama Allies, by Robert Pear

Look who’s become Best Friends Forever.

From Robert Pear, The New York Times, 11/17/14:

WASHINGTON — As Americans shop in the health insurance marketplace for a second year, President Obama is depending more than ever on the insurance companies that five years ago he accused of padding profits and canceling coverage for the sick.

Those same insurers have long viewed government as an unreliable business partner that imposed taxes, fees and countless regulations and had the power to cut payment rates and cap profit margins.

But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.

The insurers in turn have provided crucial support to Mr. Obama in court battles over the health care law, including a case now before the Supreme Court challenging the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low- and moderate-income consumers. Last fall, a unit of one of the nation’s largest insurers, UnitedHealth Group, helped the administration repair the HealthCare.gov website after it crashed in the opening days of enrollment.

“Insurers and the government have developed a symbiotic relationship, nurtured by tens of billions of dollars that flow from the federal Treasury to insurers each year,” said Michael F. Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.

So much so, in fact, that insurers may soon be on a collision course with the Republican majority in the new Congress. Insurers, often aligned with Republicans in the past, have built their business plans around the law and will strenuously resist Republican efforts to dismantle it. Since Mr. Obama signed the law, share prices for four of the major insurance companies — Aetna, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth — have more than doubled, while the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has increased about 70 percent. Continue reading

She Said That? 11/14/14

From family physician Dr. Holly Abernethy, who owns a private practice in Farmington, New Mexico, with three other doctors. She is turning away all newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries because she cannot pay her practice’s expenses and maintain her income if the proportion of Medicaid patients grows beyond the current 13 percent. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicaid became the vehicle for covering about a third of nation’s uninsured, and reimbursements are capped.

“I would love to see every Medicaid patient that comes through my door,” Dr. Abernethy says. “If  you give people coverage, they should be able to utilize it.” But making it work would extend her workday, and “I have three small children and I miss them.” The Wall Street Journal, “More Join Medicaid, Straining Health Systems,” 11/14/14

Economics 101: if the demand for a good or service is increased (Obamacare and the increase in Medicaid patients), while the number of suppliers of that good or service stays the same or decreases (there are only so many hours in a doctor’s day, and many of them are planning on taking early retirement or have already done so), the price of that good or service must rise if supply is to equal demand. But of course, the first word of the ACA is “Affordable,” which means price controls and limited reimbursements, which means shortages. So yes, millions have received some sort of medical insurance under Obamacare, and perhaps its even affordable. Whether they receive any medical care is another question. Economics 101 suggests that many of them will suffer the same fate as patients in other nations, including Canada and Great Britain, that have nationalized or semi-nationalized health services: long waits for substandard medical care.