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March 27, 2014

Obamacare Deadline

Patricia A. Kelly

As the March 31 healthcare sign up deadline for this year approaches, our president and his minions are out there in a last minute push to get one million more people to sign up for Obamacare. The original goal was seven million signups, but now we only need six million.


While Vladimir Putin absorbs the Crimea back into the Russian state, and Bashar al-Assad sits on his only slightly depleted pile of chemical weapons, our president is appearing on everything from Ellen to some weird and demeaning comedy show filmed in the White House itself. Basketball stars are being paid to advertise healthcare during March madness, as in, “Just think what could happen if you blow out your knee shooting hoops, and don’t have insurance.”


Meanwhile, the insurance industry, as well as physicians, are trying to figure out how to survive and make money in the “Affordable Care” climate.


The one thing that always perplexes me about liberal thinkers, who believe everyone should have their wants and needs provided by the government, is that they completely draw a blank when reminded that things have to be paid for. I just don’t get it.


But, back to the story. In New York, according to a recent piece in The Frederick News Post (Why don’t they write their own stuff?), one solution is to eliminate some of the best cancer care centers in the state from coverage under many of the subsidized insurance plans. This way people with cancer have to go to their community hospital instead of a center where they can get better, more up to date care. What that actually means statistically is that they then die sooner, leading to less expense for the insurance company. New treatments cost more, but outcomes are better.


In the past, people already diagnosed with cancer were unable to purchase insurance, and there were catastrophic coverage limits. The people who needed care most were excluded. Now these people aren’t excluded, but limited instead to less expensive and less effective care.


The reason for this, for the zillionth time, is that someone has to pay for things.


The only entities able to pay for things without making money are federal, state and local governments, because they can extract more taxes from citizens to cover their losses.


If everything promised in Obamacare were provided, without limiting care to the sick or elderly, private insurance companies would soon join the Dodo bird in the extinct animal case at the Smithsonian.


Up to now, these insurers contributed to care decisions by deciding what they would pay for. In the future, the federal government will, unless we go back to the drawing board on healthcare.


We’ll end with single-payer insurance, which is federal control of healthcare, which is just what President Barack Obama has actually been recorded admitting he wants, and just what Vladimir Lenin wrote would be the best method of controlling the people.


President Obama also said he didn’t think the United States was ready for that, so he started with Obamacare.


Do you think he couldn’t have guessed the outcome? Do you wonder why he lied about it, altered and unfairly tweaked it repeatedly, when implementation proved such a hardship? Do you think that’s why he’s on Ellen instead of standing up like a proud American in the foreign policy arena?


Just as airport security was mastered by the Israelis, and illegal immigration by the Philippines with its expatriate worker program, we could look around and find some less expensive and more appropriate solutions to problems within our healthcare system.


One that comes to mind existed in Maryland. It was a program that subsidizes private insurance for people who couldn’t buy it due to certain serious illnesses. If these people couldn’t afford to pay, their insurance was covered. Premiums were mandated to cover one third of the cost.


This worked perfectly for me when I was diagnosed with cancer while applying for new health insurance. I still paid a hefty premium, but was able to get the insurance I was applying for, thanks to the state subsidy.


What if a government subsidy kicked in when a privately insured person incurred bills greater than a million dollars? The person would still pay premiums, the government would subsidize temporarily, and, after recovery, the person’s private insurance could again cover. Insurance premiums could definitely go down.


In my view, this example is a way in which government could actually help with the healthcare crisis. There are a lot more solutions out there.


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