In trending news bits there has been more developing on the #AffordableCareAct , otherwise known as #ObamaCare . For starters, the Penalty Fee for not having health insurance has now been waived; at least until 2016. Secondly a close congressional race in Flordia, in a district that overwhelmingly voted for Obama in the presidential polls, resulted in a Republican / TEA Party victory; with many citing the Affordable Care Act as a key factor in the district conversion.
Thirdly, in what seems to be breaking news, Obama finally admitted to a facet of the Affordable Care Act that critics like myself have always maintained as a function of what the Affordable Care Act does, or in this case does not do. In an interview with Obama stated that no, the Affordable Care Act does not actually let US Citizens keep their existing doctor and their existing Health Plan. This admission comes way after literal millions of US Citizens have already lost their health plans AND their doctors because of the Affordable Care Act.
With these ongoing developments it is a logical conclusion that many #Republican , #TEAParty , and #Liberterian candidates for the 2014 US Congressional races will be running on platforms calling for the forced repeal of the Affordable Care Act. It also is a logical conclusion that many of these candidates will likely win; with even the most left-wing analysts admitting that the Affordable Care Act could be responsible for one of the largest non-violent political conversions in the History of the United States.
I do have a bit of advice of my own for dealing with health care, and what the goals of a health care reform package should be, for the collection of parties banding under the GOP banner for the 2014 congressional runes. It's a repeat from a post I made last year: https://plus.google.com/117255203942825212306/posts/HVZo85um87R
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...started with the AffordableCareAct . Specifically the ignition event there was the general meeting of the AFLCIO union which condemned the so called ObamaCare legislation, curiously a few weeks before the legislation was set to activate.
As I explained in my own feed here the event was not exactly that confusing from a long term perspective. The Union Leaders had been counting on being exempt from the legislation; exemptions that could be passed down as rewards to loyal union members. As the legislation came near the Unions realized they didn't have an exemption option. At which point they revolted. The Unions revolted because they knew all along that the Affordable Care Act was anything but affordable.
Point of fact, in the aftermath of going live, the average Insurance Premium Price to date, that's 10/19/2013, is three times greater for US Citizens enrolled under the Affordable Care Act... than under their previous providers. That's not speculation: that's based on polling data from respondents who actually have converted their coverage.
(update, as of February 2014 the premium price is largely greater than 3x for the average US Citizen)
In fairness the polling figures are inherently flawed. The production website for the Insurance Entity established by the Affordable Care Act cost several million dollars... and didn't work. To date most conversions seem to have come from over-the-phone conversations; and there tends to be a distressingly low ratio of known phone calls resulting in conversions. One figure I saw tossed out averaged around 20 conversions... for every 1,900 calls taken.
(Update: by the end of February 2014 the Affordable Care Act's website still has massive issues including, but not limited to, broken provisioning and lockouts. In other words, the site still does not work)
So, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act isn't actually that affordable on the client end. What about on the business end? Well, vast evidence from around the US shows a trend towards converting workers into part-time jobs that slip under the Affordable Care Act limitations. There have been various statements not just from small business entities, but from the combined unions including the AFLCIO, that the Affordable Care Act assaults the concept of a 40 hour work week. That's fairly strong rhetoric, but there is a lack evidence to date to really determine what effects the Affordable Care Act will actually have in practice.
What we do know for a fact is that the Affordable Care Act doesn't actually address any of the existing problems with Health Care in the US. Cases in point are as follows:
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to stop Doctor's Offices from charging insurance an inflated figure and then haggling down; while charging cash patients far less money.
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to lessen the amount of insurance paperwork any single Doctor's office has to deal with. Rather, according to the Doctor's I try and stay in contact with, their paperwork and filing needs will increase. (Update: As of February 2014 one of the doctor's familiar with my own nerve injuries commented that if I thought trying to get treatment under Blue Cross / Blue Shield was a PITA and filled with paperwork, an ObamaCare coverage plan would have been even worse)
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to lower or establish tax exemptions on medicines.
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to stop brand-name drug developers from overpricing their drugs; and then using the trade system as a battering ram to prevent generic drugs sold at affordable prices from making it hands into patients. Speaking for myself, I suffer from high blood pressure. The best drug combination, to date, that works with my body chemistry is a Bystolic / Hyzaar combination. While Hyzaar has a generic available, Bystolic does not. The practical result for me is that I currently make do with an Atenolol / Lisinopril combination that is nowhere near as effective; but is affordable. The Affordable Care Act does nothing to address the market abuses of the pharmaceutical companies; and that in turn has a direct effect on the downstream costs of health care. If it sounds like I'm saying that Forest Labs is being a jerk by way overpricing the medicine that works for me, yes, I am.
The Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to get more Doctors into Practice. I've heard time and time again that there is a shortage of both Doctors and Nurses within the United States. However, the Affordable Care Act does nothing to reduce the amount of financial and legal risk that is associated with practicing medicine; nor does the legislation reduce or simplify the costs or processes in training to become a Doctor or a Nurse. The practical result is that the Affordable Care Act does absolutely nothing to address the practical shortage of people who are qualified and trained to serve in medical professions. As such Doctors, and by extension nurses, continue to be forced to turn the costs of their education back onto their clients, e.g. the patients, which continues to escalate health care costs.
So... if the Affordable Care Act doesn't actually do anything to address any of the root issues with Health Care; What does it do?
Good Question. I don't have an answer.
Nor did Obama. We got lots of cute speeches that "Such and Such is covered under my Legislation" but there is a large gap between Insurance Coverage and Making Health Care Affordable.
This brings us closer to present day. The Affordable Care Act had been shoved through Congress on a power play. With evidence continuing to mount on a near daily basis that the Affordable Care Act was deeply flawed and accomplished no actual goal to reign in health care costs, the natural solution was to simply delay the implementation of the legislation so those concerns could be addressed.
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As of earlier March 2014 those delays in implementations have now been enacted. Simply addressing the points raised in what the Affordable Care Act DOES NOT do will go a long ways towards address Health Care Reform in the US; and it's my considered opinion that the Republican Party, the TEA Party, and those identifying with Libertarian principles make a concerted effort to make sure their congressional candidates for 2014 understand the underlying problems.