Monday, October 24, 2016

Truth Be Told

A week or so ago I spent part of a post talking about Obamacare. Since news on it came out this past week, it might be time to do that in a little more detail.

The challenge I’m looking at is a matter of parallel realities. There are those of us who love truth, and prefer to face the truth and deal with it, even when it’s not ideal, rather than pretend a problem isn’t there.

And then there are those we might call relativists. They don’t like the truth. And they philosophically convince themselves that truth isn’t really a thing; it’s relative. Your truth might not be my truth. We all have our own realities.

If someone wants to live in a fantasy world, that is their choice. The problem comes when they start imposing their fantasy world on the rest of us.

There are stories this week about Obamacare and its serious problems, which show a lot of data, and ring true, because so many of us have been affected, or know many people who have been affected.

And these contrast with other stories about how Obamacare has fulfilled its promises, and has made major steps toward solving everyone’s health care issues in the country—which are at odds with the facts, the data, and the anecdotal stories all of us have encountered.

Let’s start with some facts. Guy Benson comments on a USA Today piece, collecting a lot of the information. This first chart, provided by USA Today, shows the average percentages of rate hikes in the various states.

Image found here

The best off states (all big-government bastions) still have hikes. Which means that Obama was not telling the truth about everyone averaging a rate cut of $2500. That hasn’t happened in any year of Obamacare; rates have always risen. Some states are rising half again as much—just this year.
As Benson describes it,

Based on that chart, only a small handful of states will have the supposed 'good fortune' of experiencing single-digit hikes.  The vast majority will experience cost surges in the double-digits, with roughly half of all states getting slammed with increases of at least 20 percent.  Time magazine reviews the eight states where consumes will suffer the most next year, where regulators have imposed rate jumps of at least 30 percent.  The piece's opening sentence says it all: "The Affordable Care Act is getting a lot less affordable for many Americans."
The reason for the hikes isn’t, in these cases, because insurance companies are greedy; the reason is that the companies are required to stay solvent, because otherwise they shut down and all their customers lose service. Which happens to be a side-effect of Obamacare predicted by the reality-and-data side.

Benson continues,

Meanwhile, many Arizonans find themselves in Obamacare's crosshairs, getting rocked by the double-whammy of soaring costs and dwindling-to-nonexistent choices.
Millions of Americans lost their coverage in 2013, the year it was implemented, contrary to Obama’s pledge. The losses continue. This year an additional million lost their coverage.

If you start with the original premise, the Affordable Care Act was to make sure that some 30 million who, at that time, were estimated to be without insurance could get it. The idea was that those who had coverage could keep it. Costs would be lower. Choices would be greater. And policies would cover more.
People who do math pointed out the impossibility of those claims. People who read the Constitution pointed out the loss of freedom—if your government can force you to buy a product, at ever increasing prices, what can’t they force you to do?

So here we are with this growing mess. The “open enrollment” for this year begins November 1st, so word about the price hikes and loss of choices ought to be front and center in the news.

Instead, Obama gives a speech in which he glowingly reports on his signature “accomplishment,” with mainly lies—or fantasies, if you prefer to believe your nation’s leader is only delusional rather than purposely deceitful.

A fact-checking piece by Melissa Quinn, for The Daily Signal, listed several of the statements that are pretty easily refuted by fact. Quinn lines up each of these statements against the truth. But, as an example, let’s take a look at number 5: “Most people today can find a plan for less than $75 a month at the marketplace when you include the tax credits that the government is giving you.”

Here is Quinn’s response:

Earlier this month, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said that consumers who purchase plans on the exchange and receive a subsidy may see monthly premiums of less than $75. The president echoed Burwell’s statement Thursday.
However, of the 17.3 million people who purchase plans sold in the individual market in 2015, 7.3 million received subsidies that lowered the cost of their health insurance. Another 10 million consumers did not qualify for financial assistance.
Those consumers, experts say, are going to be hit the hardest by premium increases. In Missouri, for example, one Kansas City resident will see his monthly premiums rise to $716 each month.
It would be nice to be able to compare like to like. How many of the uninsured prior to Obamacare are now insured at rates they can afford? How many who had insurance they were satisfied with before the ACA have lost it? How many now remain without coverage—at risk of the serious fine, which is less a burden to them than the cost of the “affordable” care?

My guess is that the negatives—loss of coverage, loss of their choice of doctors, and skyrocketing costs—affect more than the original number of those the law purported to help.

It is an axiom that when government goes beyond its proper role, there will be negative unintended consequences, and they will likely be the exact opposite of the stated purpose. So, affordable care means less care, and less affordable.

Glenn Beck has been doing a 4-part audio series this week on socialized medicine, calling Obamacare the “Lie of the Year.” This lie that has been spreading across the world and failing for decades.

There is a difference between coverage and care. It was government interference in the first place that caused insurance to become more than coverage for extraordinary expenses, and covered more everyday expenses, separating customer from the cost, and thereby raising costs, until it appeared that only those with insurance could afford basic care.

More government is not the solution. More free market—that is where the solutions are. Free market, combined with philanthropy for those who are truly in need and unable to pay. A good, generous people, with the freedom to be giving because they are in control of spending their own accumulated wealth—that is the way to provide everyone with needed care. 

Limiting freedom, coercion, redistribution—those are all the old, failed solutions that always lead to tyranny, poverty, and savagery. Speaking falsehoods or fantasies does nothing to provide care in the real world.

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