In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court‚??s decision in the landmark case of King v. Burwell to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from legal precedents, the rule of law, the English language, and common sense, the battle over the role of government in health care has now shifted away from the courts and back to the ballot box.
Democrats certainly have their work cut out for them.
According to a July survey of likely voters by Rasmussen Reports, 53 percent of respondents say they have an ‚??unfavorable‚?Ě view of President Barack Obama‚??s signature health care law, with 37 percent indicating a ‚??very unfavorable‚?Ě position. Forty-two percent say they have a ‚??favorable‚?Ě view, but only a measly 20 percent of the 1,000 surveyed say they have a ‚??very favorable‚?Ě opinion of ACA.
The public‚??s lukewarm opinion of the law isn‚??t a surprise to those who have studied ACA‚??s effect on the health care marketplace since its implementation. Despite promises of greater access and affordability, Obamacare has done nothing but increase costs and limit health care freedom.
According to an analysis by HealthPocket, Inc., average premiums for men and women age 23‚??63 increased substantially from 2013 to 2014, with young, healthy millennials being hit the hardest. Men age 23 saw premiums rise by 78.2 percent, and women age 23 were socked with increases topping 45 percent, compared to pre-Obamacare rates. Data released in 2015 indicate premium increases for millennials continued into 2015, and there are no signs cost increases will slow in the near future.
Cost hikes have been coupled by a failure to provide care to 30 million people the Obama administration insisted did not have access to health care. A poll released by the American College of Emergency Physicians found three-quarters of the nation‚??s emergency room (ER) doctors say ER visits are on the rise, and an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association indicates the various programs established by ACA have yet to have any effect at all on obesity-related diseases, perhaps the single greatest health care problem facing the nation.
In short, since ACA was forced on the American people, costs have gone up, access to primary care physicians has fallen, and the overall health of the nation remains unchanged at best. Obamacare has clearly been a failure, and this damaging program‚??s supporters have already started looking for their next scapegoat.
In an article by Judy Lin titled ‚??Road to health care bumpy for Latinos on Medi-Cal,‚?Ě published by the Associated Press on Monday, a new strategy for advancing the necessity of further government control was revealed: demonizing doctors.
The article tells the story of Miriam Uribe, a 20-year-old college student who has been enrolled in Medi-Cal, California‚??s health insurance program for low-income people. Despite actively seeking a primary care doctor for the past 10 months, Uribe has been unable to find a physician who will accept her as a new patient, she says.
The article explains doctors say the reason so many in Medi-Cal and other Medicaid programs are being turned away is because reimbursement rates are too low, especially compared to the rates private insurers pay.
Lin reports, ‚??Lawmakers have convened a special session to discuss increasing provider payments but there is no agreement on how to pay for them.‚?Ě
Of course there isn‚??t. Cash-strapped states such as California can‚??t possibly compete with private insurers and primary care doctors, who have to choose between patients who can actually pay for the full cost of the service and those who cannot. It doesn‚??t take an economist to explain which is the smarter choice.
Some would see this as a significant design flaw of the Affordable Care Act, but that‚??s a big mistake. ACA was carefully crafted to achieve a specific goal, and no, that goal was never to provide as many people as possible with quality health care. If that was the aim, then simple, common-sense solutions such as allowing insurance companies to operate across state lines and creating programs that would increase the number of primary care doctors would have been included in Obamacare. The real foundation of ACA is the desire for increased government control over the life of every American. Those who helped formulate the legislation have admitted the law was deliberately crafted and promoted to mislead people.
MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the architects of ACA, made headlines in 2014 when videos of him surfaced calling the ‚??lack of transparency‚?Ě in Obamacare a ‚??huge political advantage‚?Ě and necessary due to the ‚??stupidity of the American voter,‚?Ě who Gruber suggested doesn‚??t know what‚??s best for him or her.
Furthermore, Obama made it clear on numerous occasions the ultimate goal of health care reform is the creation of a single-payer health insurance system, one where government is the only insurance provider.
Once you put all the puzzle pieces in place ‚?? the provisions in ACA, the deception, and the goal of moving to a single-payer model ‚?? the picture becomes clear. ACA was designed to promise health insurance to people who never had it, knowing all along the expansion of Medicaid would lead to millions of people being turned away by primary care doctors. This would allow Democrats and those on the Left to pin the lack of quality care on doctors, many of whom belong to the dreaded ‚??1 percent‚?Ě the Occupy movement spent months ranting about.
And thus the march toward single-payer continues, and physicians will be among the first to be trampled.
Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is a pro-liberty writer and editor of The Heartland Institute‚??s Consumer Power Report.