Friday, December 13, 2013

If only they had passed Medicare for All

It's like everybody forgot what health insurance was like before Obamacare. Sam Baker reminds us don't blame Obamacare just because it's there. Take for instance, losing your doctor:
Insurers tried to narrow their provider networks in the '90s using HMOs, and consumers hated the plans so much that insurers ultimately backed away. That could happen again this time—the Affordable Care Act doesn't require narrow networks and it doesn't dictate how much insurers pay doctors.

"No one has ever heard of an HMO? Networks have been around forever," said Aaron Carroll, director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at Indiana University. "The idea of networks as somehow new or government-created is strange.... I understand why people don't like it. They never have. But it's not the fault of the Affordable Care Act. It's the fault of trying to keep spending to a minimum."
I recall many stories before they passed the ACA about people losing their doctors because employers changed plans, raised rates and cut benefits. And speaking of employers and high deductibles:
But deductibles were already on the rise, pre-Obamacare. In the market for employer coverage, which Obamacare barely touches, deductibles have been growing steadily. In 2006, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 10 percent of workers covered by an employer plan had an annual deductible of $1,000 or more. By 2010, the year the Affordable Care Act passed, it was up to 27 percent. By last year it had reached 38 percent.
In other words, Big Business is blaming Obamacare for cuts they were already planning to make to save money and raise profits.

Our legislators should have listened to the hippies who were screaming for single payer. They should have ignored Joe Lieberman's great concerns that derailed the Medicare buy-in deal. But they didn't. In the end, the only thing that would pass is this Rube Goldberg morass of new regulations that allowed the middlemen to maintain their status as useless skimmers. As Baker puts it:
There's not a big difference between "how Obamacare works" and "how health insurance works"—and that, health experts said, is what makes the law such a convenient target.
Atrios warned them about this from the first day of negotiations. No matter what happened, and it was never going to be great as long as insurance corporations weren't cut out as the arbiters of health care, Obamacare and Democrats were going to be blamed for everything wrong with the system. The system sill sucks and always will until we cut out the middlemen. [image via]

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