It was to be Obama’s signature legislation defining his tenure as president, healthcare reform, the Affordable Care Act, heralded as a monumental achievement not accomplished in 100 years, until now; then the website rolled out October 1, glitch-y, bug-y and people unable to sign up, site down for maintenance, phone banks stocked with people who can’t answer basic questions about it correctly. Oh and since it’s all going through the same malfunctioning computer portal, good luck finding what you need or getting coverage, knowing whether you can find a better deal, knowing if you can get insurance or if you will be locked in the vortex of still can’t afford it. Next as congress and Capitol Hill began to hold hearings to ascertain exactly what went so horribly wrong, engaging in political theater listening to, at minimum, half a dozen talking heads saying they weren’t in charge, of that part of the project, to GOP opponents of the law practically foaming at the mouth people would have to give out personal information, a direct violation of HIPAA rules, regulations. After all that apparently not being enough to keep the administration more than one it’s toes , added bad news came on the heels of millions losing their coverage, something they were told wouldn’t happen as a result of Obamacare. We all agree healthcare.gov is broken, we all agree it needs to be fixed somewhere between yesterday and last week, finally we all agree it was a totally substandard rollout of a pretty important product; however, that isn’t shaping up to be the Obama administration’s biggest problem. Their biggest problem is the sense of betrayal felt by the American people, American people seeing their health plans evaporate, people seeing their costs, premiums, copays, go up, paying for coverage they feel they do not need and did not ask for, people who feel they were lied to by their commander in chief who said neither thing would happen. The latest polling data showing a double blow his approval rating going down the tubes right along with calling into question his character, honesty and trustworthiness; key attributes no longer assured in the eyes of the American people.
But does that mean he lied to America either through incompetence or insidious means to get his health care plan off the ground; while many people may be screaming a resounding yes in answer to that question, it’s a case of not so fast. Anyone familiar with this whole debacle has heard the snippet from a campaign speech, one of his dozen speeches as president, that included the topic, stating the now disputed line “if you like your plan you can keep your plan,” yet once again it’s as if, in listening to politicians, well liked or vilified for whatever reason, people forgot the president of the United States has no real influence over insurance companies’ choices sans legislation. Further the parts of Obamacare that did encompass changes in law, changes in rules only touched on certain things, inability of insurance companies to deny you coverage for a preexisting condition, suddenly remove you if you get sick are two examples. For them to legally ensure no one lost their plan in any way shape or form would be to dictate all aspects of how health insurance providers do business, not only unprecedented, but damn near impossible. Regardless of the probability the American people once again misunderstood what the runner, holder of political office had in his power to do, to be crystal clear neither the president nor supporters of the affordable healthcare act, facets of the law itself, mandated people automatically change their coverage to comply with the new law; instead that mandate was issued to insurance companies to offer affordable options that now cover a wide variety of common health needs for an equal variety of individuals and their families, government subsides given to people in certain income brackets, small businesses to afford coverage for themselves, their spouse, dependents or workers. Unfortunately insurance companies seem to have found yet another way to circumvent the way the new system was supposed to work problems exacerbated by a broken enrollment processes where people are losing current coverage and have no idea if they can get something similar in the new government exchange; shorter translation, the president meant what he said, fully intended it to be the case, what he didn’t count on was the scope of just how many grossly underinsured policies there are out there, the staggering increase to offer basic across the board insurance for medical care. And again, for all the republican, healthcare reform opponents now nearly jumping up and down saying I told you so, sure they said people would lose coverage however not the why of them being virtually worthless at actually covering medical cost, they said people’s premiums would go up leaving out that consumers would get drastically better coverage in the process or get coverage in the first place for the millions uninsured.
Bringing us to the next area of contention, 14 million people are being told they cannot keep their policy, over and over told their plan no longer exists under the new guidelines; there is good reason for that. The young woman in the video above has a supposed coverage she is told she can’t keep because it lacks basics such as hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health services, maternity care, if it doesn’t cover hospitalization logic dictates it wouldn’t cover an ER visit either leading to the obvious question; if it doesn’t cover these things what exactly does it cover, information not disclosed in the news piece. More importantly what should a solid insurance plan cover, what do people, even in her age range, need to be sure their plan pays for; and in answering those questions is exposed the ignorance of the average person in choosing a healthcare option. People actually have no idea what they really need, what they should be getting over the next 1-3 years, 5-10; unmentioned is does her plan cover preventive testing, doctor visits, urgent care, an alternative to the hugely expensive ER. Note too, she didn’t say she is upset about losing her plan because with it goes her doctor, or she predominately uses, appreciates feature X,Y or Z; she is solely concerned with price, inability to afford care if she gets sick, though as explained she stands the real risk, upon ever becoming ill, of landing in that boat anyway. Illustrating perfectly the concept, what use is it to you if it doesn’t cover mandated essentials, mandated on what a large majority use throughout their life; yes this woman is presumably healthy, definitely young all factors making her a perfect candidate for cheap, cut rate insurance, having no bearing on whether she gets hit by a bus tomorrow and requires hospital care she doesn’t have insurance for. Doesn’t mitigate she could go in for her yearly physical and come out with a prescription to treat high blood pressure, diabetes, migraines, acid reflux, birth control pills to ease menstrual symptoms, correct hormonal imbalances; in the near future should she become pregnant she is unlikely to review her policy to check if it covers prenatal care, may not be much older than she is now ruling out a significant career change, income boost allowing her to afford higher quality, more expansive coverage. Meaning, when she learns the policy she has doesn’t cover what she currently needs is her first prenatal appointment; exactly the wrong time to have to scramble to get different insurance. Depending on her exact age mental health care could become a must have for her as certain psychological disorders do not manifest themselves until a person’s early 20’s; finding a mental health professional can be tricky enough never mind encountering doors slammed in your face because no one takes the insurance you possess. Presenting us with a bottom line of who cares what the president said or didn’t say; in the long run Obamacare will do favors for countless numbers of currently irate people wanting their, turns out it was worthless plan, back.
Others would be quick to point out, as did Obama in the early days of rollout when the primary dysfunction seemed to be millions cramming the system and common computer issues, that people don’t know what it is to buy insurance in terms of time, nuisance; people like the latter woman in the top video above fail to comprehend when you buy insurance, same as when you buy multiple types of services, you are not just paying for the items you use, but everything included. Persons who have a landline phone, internet and cable providers, particularly if they are bundled, note they get caller I.D., call waiting, international calling, whether you use them or not; cable is sold in packages no matter if we want it that way and those packages incorporate shopping channels guys routinely want no part of, sports channels woman typically have no interest in. Still millions buy cable, internet or phone service; bought a cellphone in the last 5 years, it comes with texting capability independent of if you use it, dido with the camera allowing you to take pictures, video or both, you pay X price for the phone regardless of if you use all features. Smartphones have dozens of built in apps, many you either don’t know how to take advantage of or don’t have the opportunity. Health insurance is only different in its level of importance; you don’t get to just pay for what you use. Never have you been able to do that, and never was the Affordable care Act described as an á-la-carte medical service. Additionally those tacked on services she’s so incredulous about at the moment could come in handy; say if she wants to become a surrogate for one of her children to have a child but they can’t afford to pay for her maternity care, it’s now covered. What about the potential for a post-menopausal child, women who think they have completed menopause, yet truly haven’t and surprise. Let’s say she becomes primary care giver for a grandchild because the parent is in jail, parent is on drugs, deceased via accident, military service, national tragedy; suddenly that pediatric dental care isn’t as superfluous as originally thought, becoming one less thing to sort out at a chaotic time. Considering she appears to be middle aged, is approaching within a few short years the status of older American, if not senior citizen, now would be the perfect time to take a fine tooth comb to her policy and see if it enfolds items such as long term care insurance, covers testing for bone density, dentures, other services trending toward elder, geriatric care so that she has them when she needs them. Surprise, surprise someone in a higher income bracket does not qualify for government subsidies; unclear is whether she is attempting to stay with her original plan provider and this is the new price or if she, CBS news investigators, went to the exchange and plugging in her age, other factors, the higher prices is what it spat back out. But no one has considered since, according to the second video above insurance companies have spent months calculating costs of the expanded coverage, premium amounts based on new qualifications, they could be price gouging driven by the panic that has been present from the moment Obamacare became law about what this will do to the market, or what happens when prices fall due to people getting preventive care, having a primary care doctor instead of using the ER. Unpopular though it may be, Obama and Obamacare defenders are right about something else too, Affordable Care Act or no, she could be seeing the cancellation of her policy because the company merged and no longer offered it, went out of business or decided it could no longer afford that plan. Worse she could be one of the people in the last video above receiving a notice of extreme rate hike; reason: because we want to, because huge profits matter more than sanely priced coverage.
Fundamentally lost in the clamor over did he, the president, lie is why insurance plans are being forced to cover all these different categories irrelevant to some people; pediatric dental and maternity care were oddball instances for the woman in the previous paragraph sure she is done having children and all her children reasonably being past the age of using said type of insurance. Plans are crafted with everyone in mind, family, individual, young, old and Obamacare was crafted to aid two major groups of citizens across the country, the uninsured coupled with the underinsured; the grandmother in the top video above has it correct as well in adding one more group, the falsely insured, people who bought insurance thinking they were covered for all the things they would need who found out the hard way we were wrong. A 3 year old boy with spinal muscular atrophy who will never walk denied the wheelchair that would allow him to be mobile, active and as independent as he possibly can be; his family out the $23,000 for the motorized chair to accommodate his degenerative, weakening limbs he will outgrow in a few short years. A second young man fighting for a cochlear implant to correct his legal deafness other hearing aids won’t help; his own audiologist decrying insurance company claims no small group plan covers the surgery highlighting the hundreds upon hundreds of surgeries performed with no insurance obstruction, pointing out even that states Medicaid program is required to cover it. Speaking of Medicaid, another part of Obamacare was the expansion of said government plan because we got outrageously, justifiably sick of seeing stories about dead kids dying from abscessed teeth; such was the case of one Deamonte Driver whose dental problem lead to a brain infection eventually killing him for want of a dentist who accepts Medicaid. We are appalled by free, mobile, medical clinics set up in sports stadiums, event centers doling out everything from mammograms to cavity filling to kids and adults who cannot afford health insurance, who earn too much to qualify for programs like Medicaid, not enough to buy healthcare options or for want of private, employer offered insurance that covers dental care. Pregnant women who can’t get prenatal care for want of insurance coverage; again possess a cut rate plan where it’s not included. Most people would gladly pay a little higher on their premium seeing it covered mental healthcare if they just stopped for one second to think it means persons like Aaron Alexis, Adam Lanza, James Holmes can get quality mental health evaluation, counseling, medication vis-à-vis their health insurance vs. shooting up innocent bystanders in a random populated place; it means something when you have suffered through a traumatic event, need counseling and are told you have to pay out of pocket, when you or your child are diagnosed with a mental disorder and discover, at the risk of being redundant, your plan doesn’t incorporate mental health, the medicine you take or the type of therapy you need.
Nor is all lost in terms of Obamacare becoming a functional healthcare system in America; people are required to give out no more personal information than they would have to in any other situation, adding age to the mix because of what they intend to pay for. Politicians saying anything else are a red herring thrown out by individuals determined to hate the law, who will still be saying so regardless if this works in the long run. Odds are the individual requirement for persons to have coverage by a specific date will be amended pending adequate healthcare.gov operation, time and competition always meant to be introduced into the system, will mean the development of more individualized plans. Or paralleling buys for cars, smartphones, many services becoming a standard with the purchase of the item; in this case health insurance. Profoundly low enrollment can be traced not only to the abysmal website but people who have logged in, created an account, chosen a plan however are waiting to press send and fully complete the process until 1.The electronic issues are solved, 2.Waiting until closer to the end of enrollment cycle either to have the money or because they don’t yet have to complete the process, altering the perception of what is or isn’t actually taking place. Similarly not all cancelations are untoward or caused by the new healthcare laws implementation; some of the one million cancelations, in California alone, were routine end of the year cancellations sent out because that’s how the company does things. Presumably if you want to continue your plan you fill out the accompanying paperwork or follow the procedure listed in the letter; changes the meaning does it not? Instead of pushing the panic button, pulling out their hair and calling the president names, feeling hurt and betrayed, everyone needs to take a deep breath, count to 10, understand the president has announced a fix, attempt to look for coverage via the exchange between now and December 15 so you continue to have coverage after January 1, letting the process take the time it needs to iron out the kinks and bugs in an entirely new format of receiving healthcare insurance.