Opinion: Why our health-care politics is so jumbled

Repealing Obamacare has proved to be a more difficult task than Republicans imagined. So difficult, in fact, that the latest “Obamacare repeal” bill doesn’t actually repeal Obamacare. It cements much of the law in place, in ways Democrats might appreciate if they weren’t busy peddling fictions about the wonders and feasibility of single-payer health care.

How did our health-care politics become so jumbled, that everything from a clean repeal of Obamacare to single-payer has been proposed in the Senate in the past few months alone?

The biggest problem with centralized decision-making has to do with information. How does one person, or one bureaucracy, or any group of people, possibly know what would be best for 320 million Americans living incredibly varied lives? This is something of an abstract concept, but here’s a more concrete illustration.

For the past 16 years, Gallup has asked Americans various questions about health insurance every November — that is, during the open-enrollment period for health insurance, when costs are right in front of us. And for 16 years, there’s been an interesting dichotomy. (Note: The link above includes more poll questions than the ones I mention here.)

On one hand, Americans consistently and overwhelmingly say they are “dissatisfied with the total cost of health care in this country.” On average since 2001, 77 percent of those Gallup surveyed expressed dissatisfaction, vs. an average of 22 percent who said they were satisfied. The highest level of satisfaction (28 percent) and lowest level of dissatisfaction (71 percent) came in 2001; last year, it was 19 percent and 80 percent, respectively.

Sounds like an outcry for action, huh? Yes, until one reads what people have to say about their own lives.

When Gallup asked the very same people if they were satisfied with the total cost they pay for their own health care — making the question personal rather than national — they painted a totally different picture. The 16-year averages were 58 percent satisfied and 39 percent dissatisfied. Our satisfaction with our health-care costs during those years never sunk below 54 percent, and our dissatisfaction never surpassed 42 percent. It was 56-42 last year.

In other words, what we think we know about the situation for others is in stark contrast to what we see in our own lives. Could/should health costs be lower? Sure. But does an average rate of 58 percent satisfied and 39 percent dissatisfied signal a “national emergency” of the kind Obamacare proposed to solve? Not at all. (The annual average from 2001 to 2008, i.e. before Congress began debating Obamacare, was the same as the 16-year average.)

One thing those results tell us is we are easily swayed when it comes to such matters. Tell a lie often enough, as Democrats did about Obamacare in 2009-10 and are now repeating about single-payer, and people will start to believe it in spite of what they see right in front of them.

That’s how millions of insured Americans had their coverage disrupted by a measure sold as helping the uninsured, the only group to express dissatisfaction with our health-care system (approval among those with insurance, no matter how it’s paid for, is above 60 percent).

And that’s how single-payer, a measure pitched as helping those who still don’t have insurance, will become an expensive and mostly unwanted mess dumped on all of us.

Reader Comments 0

189 comments
peyaxeb
peyaxeb

I'm amazed that a stay at home mom able to earn $12417 in 4 weeks on the internet .

read here>>>>>>>.www.2morepath.com


Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

From Real Time with Bill Mather:

"The president’s disillusionment with McConnel and Ryan is “not really political” according to Maher. “It’s just that for the first 70 years of his life he would never be caught dead hanging around with a traveling Bible salesman like Paul Ryan or a corny, countrified-goober like Mitch McConnell.”

“Trump voters were played for rubes by the ultimate fast-talking city-slicker,” Maher said."

MarkVV
MarkVV

We hear and read this spiel from those attacking Obamacare all the time: Premiums are increasing! Those are the same people who always cry “There is no free lunch” ACA has increased the benefits they must be paid for, one way or another. So have at least the courage to say you are against benefits.

There are several obvious ways to cut the premiums: 1) Cut the benefits (which is what the Republicans are trying to do); 2) Lower the overhead of insurance (going to single payer system, like Medicare for all); 3) Eliminate the profits (dtto), 4) Lower the cost of Health care.

One of the items in the high cost of healthcare is the cost of prescription drugs, and the way to reduce that cost is for the government to negotiate the cost. This is what Kyle said about that two days ago: “Assuming for the sake of argument this is even a good idea.” With that kind of attitude, the moaning of the conservatives regarding high premiums is hypocritical at best.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Kyle argued yesterday that the Graham/Cassidy bill did not eliminate the Obamacare benefits (essential health benefits provision, prohibiting insurance companies to charge more people with pre-existing conditions, and prohibiting lifetime caps on health-care outlays), because the states would have to petition HHS for waivers to such requirements. I called that argument laughable. Can you imagine the Trump administration – or any other Republican administration - rejecting such a petition?

Even more to the point, a question that is central to this claim of “letting states to decide the best approach to healthcare decision:” What are the differences regarding states and their people that would make any of the above benefits different from state to state? Kyle claimed that nobody was making the claim “that people in different states have different needs regarding healthcare." What is this allowance of cutting benefits other than claiming different needs regarding healthcare?

PDPDP8
PDPDP8

Some times Kyles articles remind of my 8 year old. Except she is more logical.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Even though Obamacare has been a proven disaster of a law the leftist Democrats won't admit it or seek an alternative because it was Obama's signature legislation. After 8 years of setting the country back in every area of measurement Obamacare certainly is nothing for the former president to hang his hat on.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit That must be why over 50% of Americans like Obamacare, and the support for he Republicans' bills hovers in single digits. 

TomGaff
TomGaff

@MarkVV @SGTGrit If they had to pay for it, would it be the same %? Sick and tired of paying for others, who could work if they chose to.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

You must be getting your data from the newspaper comic section. You won't find those who've realized double or in some cases quadrupled increases in their insurance premiums singing the praise of their Obamacare. You won't find happy policy holders who have worthless policies because they can't afford the deductibles. And the growing number of states with only one or in some cases no insurance provider. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

@SGTGrit @MarkVV https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/23/obamacare-tops-50-percent-support-for-first-time-new-poll-shows.html

As for the high premiums:  Where does that money go: Medical expenses, overhead, profits. So I am asking you again (so far none of those like you answered): If you do not want to lower the over heads and cut the profits of the private insurance companies by going to a single payer system, tell us which treatment you want not to be paid for, and which people you want to be left without insurance.  Just have the courage for once to tell the truth.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@MarkVV @SGTGrit 

Well you're not telling the truth all you're providing is a politically biased opinion.

BeOfService
BeOfService

@SGTGrit ObamaCare has only been proven a "disaster" in the alternate universe of Fox and Friends.  In the real world it has been moderately successful in reducing the upward spiral of healthcare costs.  The only better example we have at containing healthcare costs in America is Medicare.  Look it up if you don't believe me, but not on the Fox or Breitbart websites.

Starik
Starik

@TomGaff @MarkVV @SGTGrit  Lot's of people can't. Taxpayers pay for those who don't work now, because they go to the ER when they get shot or wreck their stolen car. 

Starik
Starik

@MarkVV @SGTGrit  Come on Sarge, open your mind. You're not that old. Examine new ideas. 

MarkVV
MarkVV

Invoking “socialism” in the debate of single payer healthcare system is a pathetic argument. The industrialized, developed countries in West Europe in which people have chosen single payer systems are all countries with capitalist economy. Calling every social benefit the conservatives do not like “socialism” is a shameful perversion of truth.

MarkVV
MarkVV

A partial list of organizations opposing the Graham/Cassidy bill:  

American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association,  AARP, American Psychiatric Association,  the American Public Health Association, the National Institute for Reproductive Health , American Academy of Pediatrics, Association of American Medical Colleges, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Is their opinion also based on “fact-free awareness,” like Jimmy Kimmel’s?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Look, I'm sure that individual states all across the fruited plain will make sure than theae newly unencumbered insurance companies won't decide to stick it to folks with preexisting conditions jist because they can.

Individual states have done a bang up job in the past looking out for the less well-off, the minority, why, they've practically raced to the top to protect our civil rights.

Right?

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

"Repealing Obamacare has proved to be a more difficult task than Republicans imagined."

Probably would be past the difficult part by now if the republicans had started crafting a new bill sometime during the past 7 years.

Maybe one of you con voters shoulda told your people to put up or shut up? Woulda coulda shoulda

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

"I don't want people subjected to the second-class health insurance Obamacare provides, either through the exchanges"

I'm getting excellent care via my plan purchased through the exchange.

You've got some nerve calling Democrats "liars."

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Visual_Cortex DEMS, like Hillary, never LIE! Both have both known to MISSPEAK on numerous occasions!

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Kyle: "A rational health-care debate would be trying to find a way for everyone to have health insurance as good as mine."


Or, how about congress just find a way for everyone to have health insurance as good as theirs? 

But no, congress isn't doing that. They're trying to find any way they can to dump millions off insurance because their moneyed donors want them to.  Not for the good of the country, mind you, but because they want "a win" versus the much undeservedly maligned Obama. 


If Republicans like Romney passed the ACA, you wouldn't see the mindless trashing of it every single day by today's Republicans. 


But today's Republicans must still be mindlessly against anything Obama did, signed, or promoted.

BeOfService
BeOfService

@LogicalDude Republicans hate everything Obama ever touched.  Think there is an element of race involved?

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

" the uninsured, the only group to express dissatisfaction with our health-care system"


Gee. . . I wonder why that could be . . . 


"single-payer, a measure pitched as helping those who still don’t have insurance, will become an expensive and mostly unwanted mess dumped on all of us"


How about we do it the American way with exceptionalism and greatness where everybody is covered, prices are managed in a much better way, and then go from there?   Why do we HAVE to leave a great portion of our population uninsured, at risk, and causes more undue suffering and death?  How about we at least TRY to start at a better place and go from there? 



Because those uninsured who "express dissatisfaction" aren't just "dissatisfied."   They get sick and die at a much greater rate than the insured. 

But go on, keep saying "it's impossible" when pretty much every. other. country. in. the. world. has pretty much said "we're going to try." 

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Our military protects all Americans, right? Not just the tax payers?

Why is single payer such an impossible task?

We can make it work. Cons just don't want it to work.

Maybe because some of "those " people will be covered.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

I was reminded this morning of a writing by Bastiat that is particularly timely:

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain."

We disapprove of government health care. Then they say that we are opposed to any health care ...


Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Eye wonder Is that not exactly how you and others have reacted on this very thread to what I wrote in the post?

ATLAquarius
ATLAquarius

@Kyle_Wingfield So eliminate it but don't see any conservatives up there with a bill to eliminate Medicare though

BeOfService
BeOfService

@Kyle_Wingfield Socialism is not confused.  We are just making a damm good argument.  If it is not absolutely true, then it is so close to the truth as to ring true.  


In the case of healthcare, there is no apparent logical alternative to universal healthcare other than single payer.  No solution concocted within that past 50 years comes even close to the goal.  Every conservative solution proposed is either based on falsehoods, or doesn't come close to being universal.  Most are much worse.  


Based on that record, what are we to conclude?  Conservatives/Republicans don't want universal healthcare, don't care about poor people, have a paranoiac hate for government control, and only care about themselves. 

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Jimmy Kimmel = America's newest hero

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Finn-McCool Unburdened by fact and yet influential because he's on the teevee all the time? Spot on. You might even call him Trumpian.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

@Kyle_Wingfield @BuckeyeGa @Finn-McCool  it wasn't fact free according to some health care analysts
=======================
 "Kimmel’s assessment was basically accurate because of the flexibility the bill gives states to set up their own health care systems. For example, health insurers could hike premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions if their states obtain waivers from Obamacare regulations — as Kimmel said.Cassidy’s plan “would pave the way for insurers to deny coverage to people with a history of medical conditions,” five HIV/AIDS groups warned in a joint statement on Tuesday".--Politico

Finn-McCool
Finn-McCool

Yes, there is way too much subjectivity in the bill.

Remember this? "What is the definition of "is""?

TomGaff
TomGaff

@Finn-McCool Only the libbies newest Hero, not mine! Late-night trash and nothing more. Show him the money!

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

America continues to wake up about Dim tactics which is encouraging.

The Emmys had a low viewership.

The NFL is losing viewership at least partially because of player politics.

Just to name two recent examples.

However, blogs such as here and social media give Progs continued opportunity to spread their propaganda.

Why aren't Cons spreading as much propaganda?

We work.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Kinda funny when considering Congress's approval rating.

The majority of individuals are more satisfied with the cost of their healthcare than they are the cost of doing business with D.C. as a "hole".

'tis a shame Americans were Grubered into believing what dems were selling.

schnirt


bendedknee
bendedknee

Trust Tom Price to allow waivers only to state programs that provide coverage for preexisting conditions?


Depends on what his stock broker advises him.

Opey
Opey

Mr. Kristof in today's column from the left tells us that crimes against humanity are being perpetrated against the Rohingha and one of those crimes is that they are "systematically denied health care".


Over on the right Mr. Winfield states the only group to express dissatisfaction with our health care system are the uninsured.


In Georgia there are thousands of people being denied health care because they do not make enough to qualify for a subsidy on the health care exchanges and cannot get Medicaid because Georgia refused to expand it. 


Increasingly more and more people (regardless of political party) are now considering it a crime against humanity that the richest country on earth is one of the only countries in the world that cannot figure out a way to insure all of it's citizens regardless of income or lack thereof.


Mr. Wingfield along with many republican politicians obviously have no problem with this situation.But what they do not understand is that public opinion on this issue is changing very rapidly.


I know  two very conservative friends of mine who have changed their own opinions on this issue in just the last few years. Both of them now believe that no American citizen should be allowed to go without health insurance. 


Mr. Winfield doesn't see it yet but the train has left the station on this issue and it will never be coming back.


Mr. Wingfield and his ilk are on the wrong side of history and Increasingly politicians are having a harder time explaining how they can except this situation. Many have had to resort to lying to their constituency about it but they need to understand that it won't be very long before they will start to be vilified by the public for there heartlessness. Just ask Jimmy Kimmel.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@Opey Anyone who misunderstands my position as badly as you do is bound to think poorly of me. If my position were actually as you portray it, I'd think poorly of myself.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Opey

I looked around trying to find those heartless old Republicans, including the mirror but did not find any.

I also find it hilarious that Repubs have basically wiped the board of Dims using repeal of Obamacare as their main campaign theme but Dims continue to believe they have the majority opinion.

Opey
Opey

@Kyle_Wingfield @Opey Do you support the expansion of Medicaid in Georgia?

Do you believe that every citizen regardless of income or lack thereof should be guaranteed health coverage?

You can argue about the specifics but if you don't believe that everyone regardless of income or lack thereof deserves healthcare coverage then you will fail the NEW litmus test. 

Jimmy Kimmel may not be a genius but at least he gets that Americans are not going to accept this situation for very much longer. He knows that he and other media figures have the power to influence public opinion and public opinion is changing very fast.


I mean if more people hate Trumpcare than they hate Obamacare then obviously attitudes are changing rapidly.

Doomy
Doomy

"It would be interesting to hear Kyle explain what his current Health Care Situation is while he is trashing the Affordable Care Act - aka Obamacare."


What is it that you don't understand? Premiums under ACA have risen 105% over the previous 4 years- a rate that superseded previous annual premium increases before ACA. 


Only an abject fool wouldn't be able to understand that premiums rising 105% in 4 years constitutes a colossal failure.  


Typical leftist kooks. You clamor for a gubment solution to a problem created by gubment going back decades. Then, when the gubment solution ACA makes matters even worse you mindlessly clamor for even more gubment. What's the definition of insanity?- Doing the same thing over and  over and expecting a different result. 

Starik
Starik

@Doomy Insanity is letting insurance companies set their own premiums and salaries. That money could be spent on health care.