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A rebuttal to Froma Harrup's The Greatness of Obamacare

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The story's headline popped up on my screen from a Rasmussen Polling update, which I still receive, for reasons unknown. You see, since Scott Rasmussen actually left the organization back in August, the Rasmussen updates have now become infinitely useful if not at least for brief interludes of mirthfully absurd hilarity.

For example, despite all evidence to the contrary, Rasmussen of late has continually entreated us to almost daily updates reassuring the script apparatchikate that Obama's popularity remains safe at around a 47% approval rating. A finding that is about 10 points higher than most other polls, which currently indicate that Obama is at his absolute lowest favorability in the history of his Presidency, and largely due to the Affordable Health Act.

This, it should be surmised, might explain the particular article that left me well beyond speechless. It was the title that actually got to me: "The Greatness of Obamacare"

My cursor autonomously shot over to the hyper-link, blinking frenetically. After a brief hesitation, I decided to go in....I wasn't disappointed when I immediately noticed the bizarre but still vaguely familiar name, Froma Harrup byline.

"harumph".....

At some point, those of us who were never infected with the self-narcotizing Obama Stupivirus, having completely overtaken certain portions of America, can begin to at least wonder if there is no known cure for the more stubbornly pervasive cases.....Take it away, Froma:

Harrop: "During the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, it's been hard to defend the law, much less to call it "great." But great it is -- for the American economy and for the American people, rich ones included.

The program has already succeeded in one of its key backbreaking missions: to curb the exploding costs of health care. The president's Council of Economic Advisers issued a report this month containing lots of good news on that front."

Well, at least the extraordinarily Progressive Harrop got the "backbreaking" part correct.

The law even now threatens to be the final straw which ultimately breaks the broad back of an economy which has suffered one shock after another since Obama began his "Great Society II' experiment in existential Pathos. But, don't take it from me....although my loathsome critiques over the past five years could fill volumes.

The media has, in fact, been rife for the past 12 months with news emanating solely from Obamacare's economic detritus, despite the fact that the complete centralization of US healthcare is just now oozing into motion. Below are but a few of these stories from only these past several days:

The Great Destroyer

"Finally, we see the familiar curse of unintended consequences as the fantasy of better, more affordable insurance with more options runs into the reality of higher costs and fewer options. The failed exchange and the cancelled plans were just the beginning"

Californians Fearful of Obamacare's Cost, Economic Damage

"Some 1 million Californians have received cancellation notices from their insurers and will be required to purchase new policies."

10 Signs That Obamacare Is Going To Wreck The U.S. Economy

"It is hard to find the words to adequately describe how much of a disaster Obamacare is turning out to be. The debut of Healthcare.gov has been probably the worst launch of a major website in history, millions of Americans are having their current health insurance policies canceled, millions of others are seeing the size of their health insurance premiums absolutely explode, and this new law is going to result in massive numbers of jobs being lost. "

Obamacare - The Neutron Bomb That Will Decimate The US Economy

"Sickcare [Obamacare] is unsustainable for a number of interlocking reasons: defensive medicine in response to a broken malpractice system; opaque pricing; quasi-monopolies/cartels; systemic disconnect of health from food, diet and fitness; fraud and paperwork consume at least 40% of all sickcare funds..."

The actual results for our brief bit of research yielded 226 million responses, hardly any of them favorable, leading us to the singular conviction that Obamacare has, in fact, solved nothing initially, beyond severely curtailing the services we formerly, as a nation, had available.

For example, Medicare for our seniors has already been severely impacted by a loss of funding to the tune of over $ 700 Billion dollars as a direct result of Obama's 2012 edict, which authoritatively robbed funds away from Medicare and swept them into Obamacare.

Obamacare's $716 Billion in Cuts Will Drive Doctors Out of Medicare

Even more hilariously, if you can call it that, Harrop divulges her source from all of this good news as emanating from...wait for it..... "The President's Council of Economic Advisors," Yeah, like they don't have any skin in the game. The President's Council consists of exactly three academians, two of which are former "Brookings Institute" Progressives. The Brookings Institute, it should be pointed out, is a well-known Hard-Left think tank funded partially by billionaire, Left-Wing Capitalist George Soros and his Open Society Institute, who want to see America taken down hard and in the worst of all possible ways.

Further, the website "Discover the Networks" has this to say about Brookings:

  • Brookings Institution: This organization has been involved with a variety of internationalist and state-sponsored programs, including one that aspires to facilitate the establishment of a U.N.-dominated world government. Brookings Fellows have also called for additional global collaboration on trade and banking; the expansion of the Kyoto Protocol; and nationalized health insurance for children. Nine Brookings economists signed a petition opposing President Bush's tax cuts in 2003.

Aside from our Economic Advisory and as one patiently tries to absorb Harrop's seige-mentality defense, one cannot help but think "Good Lord, where do they find these people who write this sort of fiction, and how much are they reimbursed?" The rich people, which Harrop refers to, by the way, is most likely a reference to our Inner Beltway savants.

More from Froma:

Harrop: Since Obamacare was passed in 2010, the growth in health care spending has slowed to the lowest rate on record for any three-year period since 1965. "If half the recent slowdown in spending can be sustained," the report says, "health care spending a decade from now will be about $1,400 per person lower than if growth returned to its 2000-2007 trend."

Here again, "backbreaking" the system is part and parcel of Obamacare. This slowdown in spending is nothing if not a phantasm of blooming rhetoric in the midst of an ongoing healthcare recession, and as a direct result of Obamacare.

According to Health economist Drew Gonshorowski:

-The health spending slowdown features several sources that credit the recession as 50 percent to 77 percent of the reason U.S. health spending has slowed in growth.

-References an increase in cost sharing—i.e. deductibles increasing noticeably in job-based health plans due to an explosion of increased costs on consumers.

But, most notably, as the government's pennies-on-the-dollar reimbursement of medical claims worsen, more providers are taking less than break-even payments from the 800 lb sit-anywhere-you-like Gorilla that is the US government, which by the way, was in charge of well over half of all medical claim payments before Obamacare.

However, things should work just peachy now that the government has at least 2/3rd's of the health insurance market within their clutches, with the last 3rd on the way for next year, right? Hello?

So, the conclusion might be that artificially contrived incumberances to overall healthcare spending will naturally produce a superficial if not hyper-inaccurate result, innocuously belying the true facts, which now seem to skulk in the hinterland of unfortunate truths, like spectres of the damned. In other words, it's kind of like taking your child's lunch money for a week and then crowing about how much money you saved on the poor urchin's vittles....

More untruthiness from Froma:

Harrop: The authors further note that the benefit will go to workers in the form of fatter paychecks and to taxpayers as federal and state governments cut projected spending on health care. Another plus would be more jobs as employers feel less burdened by the cost of covering their workers.

Oh, what dumbfounded light in yon window shines, but so dully?

Once again we must reference Harrop's initial "Backbreaking" analogy in that health insurance itself has been reverting from first money payouts by insurance carriers to first money payouts by the individuals, due to obscene premium increases and catastrophic style deductibles. In essence, the drastic increase in both premiums and deductibles as dictated by Obamacare, could not possibly equate to more in-pocket dollars for anyone--but most especially to individual buyers.

Quite the contrary, in fact, as individuals will have less money available via sharp decreases in disposable income as a direct result of Obamacare, both from the front-end premium increases all the way to the back-end deductible and co-insurance increases.

Meanwhile, Harrop's next flight of well beyond blissfully ignorant fancy revolves around the Federal and State governments spending less on medical care when, in truth, individuals signing up for Obamacare are being transited over to the Medicare sign-up site, which is essentially free coverage.

But it gets worse even from there, because both the States and the Federal Government pay for Medicaid, dually, and with what some experts say will be an increase of over 50 million people into Medicaid. The windfall presumption that either the states or the Feds will pay less would have to reside in the "Libtard" category of extreme ignorance.

Surprise! CBO says Health Care Spending will Cause US Debt to Reach Record Heights

The first thing to remember about how states receive federal government Medicaid funding, is the fact that initial outlays by the federal government to the states depends upon each state's per capita income average. The higher the per capita income is the lower the federal government Medicaid payouts become, and vice-versa.

Indeed, the states which elected to operate their own Obamacare exchanges did receive expanded Medicare benefits for an additional three years due to the widened expansion of the program for families at 400% above poverty levels; however, after the three years end, the states will then be hit with an increased bite totaling about 10% of the overall Medicaid/Obamacare expansion costs. This means that the states will retain all of their former costs, but will have to pay an additional 10% of the new costs for expanded benefiters, as a result of Obamacare's widened levels of Medicaid participation:

Heritage: Texas recently concluded that the Medicaid expansionwould add more than 2 million people to the program and cost the state up to $27 billion in a single decade. The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration estimated in April that Obamacares Medicaid expansion would require an additional $5.2 billion in spending between 2013 and 2019 and more than $1 billion a year beginning in 2017. In California, the Legislative Analyst’s Office concluded that Obamacares Medicaid expansion will likely add annual costs to the state budget in the low billions of dollars.

The question existentially then becomes: Why do Socially artful-folk, such as Harrop, who know less than nothing about health insurance cum US budgetary issues, feel like they are now newly qualified to somehow wax expert upon these issues?

Someone, please answer that particular question for me....but it goes even deeper:

Harrop: What about the recession? One may reasonably ask whether the economic downturn was responsible for cutting the growth rates of medical spending. Yes, but not by much, the authors respond.

They note that the slowdown has persisted well beyond the end of the recession. Very importantly, it also applied to Medicare, a government program whose elderly beneficiaries are more insulated from a weak job market. And the growth in prices for health services (different from total spending) has eased significantly.

To answer, my friends, prices go down only when demand goes down and or availability of services go up, none of those facts will parse as true. Additionally, unless someone can point to the US as suddenly becoming the land of Obamanomically increased opportunity, health, and wellness, we must then assume that other factors are at play, which points to a healthcare recession as participated within by both the providers and the recipients.

Largely culpable for this particular trend, among many others, is the fact that the government (remember, 800 lb gorilla) is simply now paying $17 billion less than what was billed out and is now overdue-which , I suppose, is one very creative way to skin the expense cat.

Despite this fact, Harrop indicates the following as culpable for the healthcare miracle that wasn't:

Harrop: Here's how the health care reforms did it [growth in spending]:

--They reduced the overpayments to private insurers' Medicare Advantage plans and the price increases for providers.

Ah, see? A reduction in payments by the US government, or was it simply a deferral of payments to make the numbers look good, which is how they tactically might define an overpayment?

--Harrop: They're promoting new payment models, whereby medical providers are being financially rewarded for giving good care in an efficient manner. Under the old setup, providers could enhance their incomes by pumping up the volume of visits, tests and other services.

Meaning that others are now paying a financial penalty for giving poor care, but in whose judgement can poor care be measured? If a patient comes back, does this mean the care was poor, or was the patient extraordinarily health-challenged? Harrop indicates "under the old system of payments" in her argument, however, if doctors and hospitals withold tests and services, i.e ration such tests and services by government behest, could this mean that the government is lessening care quality in order to minimize payouts? Wasn't this one of the chief arguments against the government takeover of healthcare in the first place?

Harrop: The reforms encourage the growth of "accountable care organizations." The more efficiently these groups of medical providers operate the more money they get to keep.

To be certain, however, how can one of the most notoriously proven inefficient governments on the planet somehow turn around and become the underwriter’s laboratory equivalent of judging efficiency? Would you put a vegetarian in charge of judging a B-B-Q cook-off?

Harrop: Hospitals with high readmission rates are penalized. This is also a quality issue for Medicare beneficiaries, who are often discharged with inadequate planning for post-hospital care. Under a perverse set of incentives, hospitals were making more money when elderly patients returned. The taxpayers, of course, picked up the bills.

Not that the hospitals are completely innocent, but, doesn't this practice also necessitate possible refusal of non-emergency service problems in the future, especially for geriatric populations whose health falls within increasingly extreme decline?

Harrop: Changes in Medicare should spill over into the private sector, generating even more savings. Medicare's payment structure is often the starting point in negotiations between private insurers and medical providers.

Here, Harrop strengthens the real and true argument being tendered by yours truly all along, that being that the reason for most of our healthcare expense issues resolves in the fact that payment allocations from government have been so poor from the start that these funding gaps have then sloshed heavily over into the private market funding of healthcare to pick up the slack. A slackening which has grown consistently worse, as budgets increasingly tighten and the aged become more aged.

In essence, with health insurance being taken over and run by the government, we are trying to fix the ostensible problems by utilizing the same set of factors that caused these problems in the first place. One cannot repair a broken windshield by hitting it with more rocks, but that's what the Liberals in charge insist they can accomplish.

But, hey, who needs those silly old windshields, anyway?

Harrop: What about the rich? All this conservative talk about Obamacare's "redistributing" wealth to the less well-off ignores this reality: Every time medical spending rises, so do the taxes (of those who pay income tax) and the premiums for those who buy their own coverage.

Not true, Obamacare is in fact a redistribution of actual medical care away from the middle class over to whomever the government deems to be most redistributively deserving. The mere fact of Federal subsidies, which have been taken away from the middle class, which then shunts the funding over to those that fall between Medicaid and regular care, seems to bear this argument out.

Obamacare redistributes healthcare away from those who are actively funding the lion's share of the costs, while also tacking on an additional burden by way of higher premiums and deductibles, and for the benefit of those who may be in need, as subjectively judged, making it in effect a socialized redistribution of both labor and material as well.

Harrop: I mean, who do you think has been paying for all those uninsured people showing up at expensive hospital emergency rooms for free care?

Here Harrop refers, probably in ignorance once again, to the EMTALA laws, which Congress put in place in the mid-eighties, making it mandatory for hospital emergency rooms to treat anyone deeming themselves to be undergoing a medical emergency, including labor, to be treated. Hospitals do get paid for these services, often under Medicaid, and some even based upon individual state laws have had individuals locked up for refusing any sort of payment. However, what Harrop refuses to deal with are those individuals, including illegals, who will refuse to buy any form of healthcare coverage regardless of what Obamacare laws state.

Who will be paying for these hospital services then, Harrop? Or, has the problem been answered, if only in the political Lefts 'unicorn and rainbows' imagination?

Harrop: For those worried about federal deficits, here are some encouraging numbers, courtesy of the Affordable Care Act: The Congressional Budget Office recently cut its projected Medicare and Medicaid spending in 2020 by $147 billion. It expects the reforms overall to reduce the deficit by more than $100 billion from 2013 to 2022.

Not so fast, Harrop!

Trends in Healthcare Cost Growth and Role of The Affordable Health Care Act

Please carefully note that Harrop pulled that particular bit of heavily warped data from the "White House" website report...(and it took me quite awhile to finally sniff out her unreferenced source)....You know...it's the same website which stated that "if you like your doctor and your healthplan, you can keep your doctor and your healthplan?" In fact, the telltale small print from this particular White House Report tells us everything else we needed to know, if we but simply read it. Oh, how damning does that small print prove!

As to Harrop's contention, first, the unprecedented and unexpected number of Medicaid sign ups has not yet been factored. Second, the small print of the report states that the numbers were primarily changed by the CBO due directly to a US Supreme Court 2012 decision, which stated that the state Medicaid expansion requirement, as legislated, was unconstitutional, which means that the original numbers from the CBO had to be downwardly adjusted due to the fact that almost half of all states (21 to be exact) were not accepting the Medicaid expansion.

So, Obama and the White House are touting lowered estimated growth numbers only because nearly half of all states opted out of the originally mandated expansion.....Well, what in the hell did they expect?

So, the entire argument of lowered healthcare spending that we've been hearing about is based on the updated report of an original report, which based its numbers on something that got changed, and this somehow equates to lower medical costs; are these people actually for real?

But, of course, it does continue to get worse:

According to somewhat Left-of -Center website, The Politico:

"Federal spending on major health care programs and Social Security is projected to grow to 14 percent of the GDP by 2038, according to the CBO’s Long-Term Budget Outlook released today. That’s double the 7 percent average in the past 40 years, the CBO said."

The story goes on to state: "The CBO attributed the rise in spending to an aging population, rising health care costs and an expansion of health insurance subsidies."

Harrop: All this great stuff has been obscured by the bungled launch of the federal government's HealthCare.gov website. Once it is up and running, the conversation should turn in a more positive direction. Those who read the advisers' report won't have to wait that long. Google "Council of Economic Advisers" for a copy.

Well, don't hold your breath, Froma, because outside of the problems that persist on the front-end of the website, according to recent news reports, the back-end of the site hasn't even been completed, nor will it be anytime soon, meaning no payments to insurers. Oh, and only estimated subsidy payments to insurance companies, as well, while as much as one third of all enrollment data remains missing.

So, how many people will think that they have coverage when they in fact do not?

CBS: Backend Of Obamacare Website Is Not Functioning

Which really doesn't even require any further commentary regarding "how great" Obamacare actually is, unless we now view gigantic malignant tumors as most wondrous and great, nevermind, good.

To say that there are good things within Obamacare is much the same as saying that there are good things in lightly-poisoned victuals, where the question to those who might be hungry becomes whether or not the nourishment is worth the risk of consumption?

Most of the time it never is, but then, that was before this current age of insanity.

mal·e·dic·tion

noun

1. a magical word or phrase uttered with the intention of bringing about evil or destruction; a curse.

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