Wednesday, December 16, 2009

John Podesta misleads:

He lays out arguments in favor of the health care legislation (Senate version), but it is filled with deceptions.
"1. Largest Expansion Of Coverage Since Medicare’s Creation: Thirty-one million previously uninsured Americans will have insurance."
Saying Americans "will have insurance" is misleading in that it implies that the insurance will just show up, sans cost. Americans will be forced to purchase insurance.
"2. Low/Middle Income Americans Will Not Go Without Coverage: For low-income Americans struggling near the poverty line, the bill represents the largest single expansion of Medicaid since its inception. Combined with subsidies for middle income families, the bill’s provisions will ensure that working class Americans will no longer go without basic health care coverage."
Same thing. This coverage is taking place because people are required to get coverage. The mention of Medicaid expansion and other subsidies makes it appear that it's all paid for by the government, but it's not. And anybody familiar with Medicaid knows that it's a system that demands that people be very poor - or get that way by selling assets (including 401Ks!). Medicaid is a nightmare, and should not be a big part of a comprehensive national health care plan.
"3. Insurance Companies Will Never Be Able to Drop or Deny You Coverage Because You Are Sick: Insurers can no longer deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition. They can’t rescind coverage or impose lifetime or annual limits on care. Significantly, the bill also ends insurer discrimination against women — who currently pay as much as 48% more for coverage than men — and gives them access preventive services with no cost sharing."
The insurance companies will adjust premiums up to account for these new enrollees - and pass that on to everybody else (since they will still want to make a healthy profit, and there are no cost controls). Podesta's failure to mention that is a major mislead.
"4. Lowers Premiums For Families: The Senate bill could lower premiums for the overall population by 8.4%. For the subsidized population, premiums would decrease even more dramatically. According to the CBO, “the amount that subsidized enrollees would pay for non-group coverage would be roughly 56 percent to 59 percent lower, on average than the nongroup premiums charged under current law.”"
Let's get this straight. There is a population that currently pays nothing for healthcare (they don't have any) and then this population will be subsidized when they are forced in. But a subsidized premium is still larger than no premium at all. Podesta is comparing subsidized premiums with nongroup premiums - which is of no interest to anybody.

What irks is this. Podesta - and other - are saying that people will "have" insurance or "get" insurance, which is not precise enough. They have/get it because they are forced to have/get it.

The Republicans used the same tricks with language by touting "freedom" and "access" which are nice-sounding words. But "freedom" means an unregulated environment where the powerful dominate, and "access" doesn't mean you get something (we all have "access" to yacht clubs, but we can't afford to join).


Thanks for the reality, and vocabulary, check. Definitely not enough of this out there.
Regarding item 2: There is, and will remain, a definite (if somewhat diminished) no-mans-land between being too poor to afford private health insurance (particularly those with pre-existing conditions) and not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid. There are still going to be a lot of people riding bare-back out there.

By Anonymous tim, at 12/24/2009 3:25 PM  

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