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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

The ACA Is Still Standing-But The Fox (Price) Is In The Henhouse

Category: Health Care
Posted: 03/25/17 02:50, Edited: 03/25/17 02:50

by Dave Mindeman

Well, Obamacare is still standing. It weathered a frontal assault and managed to withstand it.

But there is still a big problem.

The ACA still needs some fixing and we currently have a party in charge that will fix nothing.

HHS is now run by Tom Price. As the Commissioner, he has extraordinary powers to make the law work or make it fail. I think you know what his preference will be.

The Republicans will probably continue to attack the ACA on the margins and they can do more to cut the basic funding for the law's operations. They already have done some of that.

Obamacare can still operate...but it will probably depend on how the insurance companies approach this. It is possible that without any new law on the horizon, they will work with the law as it exists and begin again. Or they could just keep pulling out of the exchanges and try to sabotage it with death by a thousand cuts.

The Republicans and Trump have no incentive to upgrade the law. And that will hurt people. Their insurance will get more complicated and there will probably be less variety of options.

The one thing that should help keep people on the roles is that Medicaid expansion will continue. Red states that did not do the expansion may be more tempted to join it, because otherwise they will be dipping into their own coffers....or possibly get blowback from so many people uninsured.

It may be up to the states to do the fixing. As long as the basic ACA is in place, states could tweak their own health care to make up for the problems and stabilize the marketplace.

Watch California and New York. They will probably be the first to undertake needed fixes and may serve as models for the rest of the country.

We are in a very unusual situation. Be vigilant.
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On Health Care: Republicans Just Never Seem To Get It

Category: Health Care
Posted: 03/23/17 22:13

by Dave Mindeman

Well, the Republicans failed in the first attempt to pass this horrendous health care bill. They will be coming back, and maybe they can squeeze it through, but it has a tough road ahead.

Republicans seem to miss the point when it comes to health care. The whole point. They seem to assume that people are upset about the mandate requiring the purchase of a health care policy. And yes, there are a few.

But here is the issue. People need to have health care. Most people realize it and those that don't will, at some point, end up needing it regardless, because nobody can live forever.

One of the things that the ACA addressed was the costly emergency room health care that hospitals had to endure. They can't and won't turn people away who do not have insurance. Those bills were killing hospitals...especially the rural ones. They had huge write offs and they were forced to spread that cost around to everyone else. And those costs have been affecting premiums for everybody.

Republicans want to go back to that.

And then there is the mandatory coverages. Yeah, it seems absurd that maternity leave would be required in a policy for older women...or men for that matter. But for those families that want kids, should they be burdened by higher specialty premiums? Should women always have higher costs than men? Should older people have 5 times more costs than everyone else? Should people with disabilities and special needs children be left to the "marketplace"?

Republicans support doing those things.

And then there is mental health and addiction recovery programs. The Republicans think that is a luxury item. That people who need those things need to pay the additional coverage costs. Republicans act as though society as a whole does not have a stake in people that are victimized getting the help they need. Mentally ill people are involved in gun violence. They can adversely affect law enforcement needs. Opioid addiction has crime costs. People die from overdose. And the loss of work time is hard to even measure.

Republicans don't care about that.

Health care is needed. It is an unwritten right. It is gross negligence for the government to not deal with this on a societal basis - like every other western democracy in the free world does. The Republican bill keeps a few of the ACA mechanics - but not nearly enough of them. Millions will opt out of coverage or just plain lose it; especially the poor and most sick. We will be ignoring the very reason we worked so hard to get the ACA in place. Health care is a very basic economic and personal function.

And Republicans work against these very basic needs.
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Stop The Madness: Opt For The Minnesota Health Plan

Category: Health Care
Posted: 03/09/17 12:31

by Dave Mindeman

The host on a cable network had a Republican Congressman from Georgia on his show (a member of the Freedom Caucus) and he asked the Congressman a very pertinent question...

Please name any country anywhere on earth that has a successful free market capitalist health care system. Name just one.

He couldn't. He deflected back to the Ryan plan. He was stumped to name anything that works.

All of the other industrialized countries that deal with health care have government run health care. They vary on coverages to some degree. They vary on costs to another degree. But they essentially work and the people who live there are satisfied if not happy with how it all works.

Here, in the US, we keep trying to do the impossible. We try to make health care a commodity. It isn't. Health care has to be an individualized care based system that needs to be out of the profit market and into the outcomes market.

Insurance companies only partake of the health care market if their is a profit based system. That means premiums have to exceed costs...and with health care there is no safely predictable cost benefit analysis that can be relied on.

People get sick. Often without warning. They can go from no health care expenses to expenses that consume their entire income. In the blink of an eye.

Obamacare (the ACA) is the closest we have come to meeting the criteria for an outcomes based system. The ACA focused on prevention which should mitigate future costs. They widened the risk pools... if maternity benefits are placed in all policies regardless of need, it reduces the costs for those that require it. They placed mandates into coverage so that we don't have different care for different incomes.

Yeah, it had its flaws. But the problems related to an attempt to merge a government system with a market insurance system. And that market insurance system has never worked properly since the beginning.

The simple solution to all of this is Single Payer. Cover everybody, for everything, all the time. Health care is not a commodity whose goal is to find the cheapest alternative. If you have a health problem you want the best care to make sure you get the best outcome. You only have one life and taking chances with it in a roulette game of insurance coverage is not something we want or need.

Even if this Republican atrocity of a health plan passes through Congress, Minnesota may have an opportunity to opt out with their own plan. And that is our opportunity to change the trajectory on health care...at least for Minnesota. The Minnesota Health Plan is ready to go. Ready to solve all of these market problems. It is the health care fix we seek.

Read about the plan HERE.

We have given insurance driven, market driven health care every opportunity to work. And Republicans will continue to sabotage the ACA until it cannot work.

So what do you say Minnesota. Let's opt out of the crazy health care game and make this state a very real part of the solution.
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