‘Beating’ the drum for real healthcare reform
The academic whose chart exposed the absurdity of Hillarycare spoke to Human Events about “Beating Obamacare: Your Handbook for the New Healthcare Law,” her new book about what you do not know about the President Barack Obama’s landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“‘Decoding Obamacare’ would be another good title for it, because there is a huge disparity between what the public has been told—particularly by the Obama administration—and what the law actually says,” said Betsy McCaughey, the former lieutenant governor of New York, whose research of the president’s healthcare reform uncovered the provisions for what came to be known as “death panels” and government-encouraged end-of-life counseling.
The 2,700-page healthcare reform bill raises taxes, makes it more difficult to obtain health insurance and regulates the relationship between the physicians and patients, she said.
It is a major failure of the American Medical Association, which supported the bill, not to safeguard this relationship, she said.
“The AMA should have been as aggressive, vigilant and successful protecting its members as the [National Rifle Association],” she said.
In the fight against President Bill Clinton’s healthcare reforms, called “Hillarycare” because then-First Lady Hillary Clinton led his administration’s healthcare agenda, McCaughey’s analysis at the time caused the pivot in public opinion against the program.
This time, her analysis was equally damning, but the massive government-centric healthcare legislation passed against the weight of public opinion, she said.
Informing the public
“I and others worked hard to inform the people and we did succeed,” she said. “Today, even, the laws remains unpopular, but the Obama administration and the Democratic Party used trickery to enact the law ‘against’ the public’s will.”
The public’s discontent led to Republican advances in the 2010 midterm election, when the GOP took over the House of Representatives and made Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) the speaker of the House.
But the votes were never really there for repeal, said McCaughey.
The New Yorker said she is more optimistic about the current 113th Congress, where the GOP still controls the House.
“In the last Congress, the numbers were not there for repeal, but I do believe this House with the leadership of John Boehner can turn this thing around,” she said.
“It just takes more moral self-confidence than I have seen, so far,” she said.
Rather than work through Congress herself, McCaughey said she is most effective informing the public through her books and columns about the bad information circulating about the Affordable Care Act.
Few people, including few members of Congress, know that more people will be without health insurance after the Affordable Care Act passed than before, she said. “It’s shocking.”
A major part of the Affordable Care Act was the expansion of Medicaid, the federal government’s healthcare program for low-income Americans, but what nobody was talking about was that individuals in the Medicaid system receive horrible care with health outcomes worse than individuals with no insurance at all, she said.
Well-documented in journals
While it was not part of the mainstream media’s coverage, it is a problem well-documented in major medical journals, she said.
One significant source of misinformation is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose department has responsibility for administrating the healthcare reform law.
“When President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius went out to sell the idea of this bill, before it became law, they warned the nation that it was important to pass the Affordable Care Act because healthcare spending was skyrocketing,” she said.
“That was the word they kept saying: ‘skyrocketing,’ when in fact healthcare spending was increasing at the slowest rate in a half-century,” she said. (See chart)
“The most important example in the whole book is the chapter on Medicare,” she said. Medicare is the federal government’s healthcare program for senior citizens. The president and his supporters claimed they could cut 30 percent from Medicare without harming patients, she said.
“It is totally false,” she said.
The medical journal “Annals of Internal Medicine” documented that hospitals that spend the least per senior have the highest mortality rate, she said. “It’s right there in the literature.” Add to that, the healthcare law rewards hospitals that spend the least on seniors with bonus points, she said.
McCaughey’s book is published by Regnery Publishing, which is owned by Eagle Publishing, which also owns Human Events.