Thursday, June 28, 2012

Debunking Mitt Romney's response to the Supreme Court decision upholding "Obamacare"

Mitt Romney's points raised in the press conference post the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act, called Obamacare by many,  are in quotation marks.
”Obamacare raises taxes by $500 billion and throws us into greater debt” . The Congressional Budget Office, says the  net savings to the debt of Obamacare over 10 years will be $230 billion and 1 $trillion in the second decade.   The tax related to the mandate applies for freeriders who want to shun getting health insurance . They can avoid the tax by signing up for insurance and if they cannot afford it, they will get a subsidy. There are no excuses for not  taking individual responsibility and paying into the system as they can.

 Polls show the individual parts of Obamacare are popular and the public wants them. Obamacare solves problems; the GOP has no plan B yet that solves the same problems.

“Obamacare cuts Medicare by $500 billion”.  Come, come.  Obamacare  did not change benefits, only the boondoggle fee insurance companies got for administering  Medicare Advantage.

“20 million will lose current insurance they like. " It is not clear  which and who  will lose since employer  insurance is not touched,   However, employer provided insurance  will be improved. That kind of insurance imposed  lifetime caps, allowed consumers to be kicked off insurance for getting sick, had high (and getting higher) deductibles, co pays for preventative care such as mammograms, colonoscopies, prostate screening…Instead, those problems are corrected and whatever insurance they get will be better than what they have now because such practices will now be ended.

“Job killer? “ Those who are actually afraid to expand must have swallowed  Fox fear tactics .   Demand is driving the job expansion and small business  must be  ignorant that  all but 1 to 2% are exempted from having to provide health insurance for their employees, if they ever did. If they do it now, they will get a hefty tax credit to offset the cost.

“Obamacare puts federal government between you and your doctor". Holy cats.  Obamacare  gives 30 million a doctor who never had one before  and nothing in the law doe  tells doctors what they can and cannot do. 

“Pre-existing conditions; I too want to cover them, but by some other way”.   The mandate is the funding mechanism.   Obamacare funded  a temporary  interim high risk pool on a state by state basis so all  would be covered.  Those pools only bring the cost down to “normal” insurance, which over 20% in Colorado cannot afford  , anyway.  Also, the qualifications for those to access  high risk pools are very restrictive.  Romney needs to come clean on the pay for and details of who would be covered to what extent.  Until he does, this is simply setting a goal, but that is not a plan either for funding and extent of coverage even for those who do not have insurance now.

Romney said he  wants Americans to have access to affordable insurance on a state basis.  Does the federal government pay for this?  How do the states pay for it?  What standards would Romney require?  If no minimum standards are set, then such words are useless.  If there are standards set federally, that is what Obamacare does now, while also giving the state latitude in administration and expanding benefits.  Obamacare also gives states the financial means to do it.  How would Romney fund that?

"Consumers will lose choice of their doctors".  Obamacare does not take away any choice of anything from anyone  who already has insurance. A person who has no insurance, has no choice; they will now. Obamacare will now give them a choice among private insurance plans and they will receive a subsidy  per income level to make it affordable.   “Death panel’s lost their teeth early in the game and cannot keep anyone from getting the kinds of care they want. 

"Obama  care does not save costs." Come, come.  We are already paying for the uninsured because their alternatives, ER and charity medicine, are passed on to us in higher premiums.  Now, the uninsured will be paying something at least into the system and will not need to seek  ER medicine for preventative care and treatment for minor ailments. The preventative care will be a very big cost savings to the health system in general. Estimates by the CBO are that Medicare will gain 12 years of life due to the cost savings to the health care system in general by Obamacare.

Seniors:  the donut hole coverage by Obamacare saves each senior $600 each a year in drug costs. Romney has never addressed this, either whether he would have covered the donut hole or, if so, how will he pay for it.

Some practical considerations. If either the President or the Senate retain the ability to veto or to filibuster, no matter what the Teaparty does in the House, their’s is a futile effort.   This is why it the Democrats must gear up their efforts to protect Obamacare and to sell it better than they have, especially at the Congressional and Senatorial level and to the public in general. Romney cannot repeal the law himself, regardless of his slogan of repealing it on day one.  It takes a Congress, too, and in particular, a Senate with one party controlling more than 60 votes....highly unlikely that the GOP could pull that one off in November.

The bottom line is that no one will have to go bankrupt or lose their houses again  because they cannot pay their medical bills.  The largest number seeking bankruptcy because of medical bills are those who have insurance now that is so inadequate and restrictive. That will change.   Care providers who are left holding the bag because of patients' bankruptcy or writing off charges will now see their costs go down, with savings passed onto currently insured.   Furthermore, we will have ended the tragedy of the uninsured being more likely to die earlier than those insured because they neither had access to health care or prevention and screenings.

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