Patterico's Pontifications

12/12/2013

Ted Cruz: ObamaCare Is a Disaster

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:53 am

He says so in an op-ed in USA Today:

President Obama promised that if this law was passed, you could keep your plan, you could keep your doctors, and your premiums would go down. Each of those promises has proved false.

Already, more than 4 million people have lost their insurance plans because of Obamacare. And millions more Americans’ health insurance is at risk. Some experts predict anywhere from 80 million to 129 million private health plans will be canceled or forcibly changed over the next year.

Millions of Americans are also discovering that Obamacare will not allow them to keep their doctors or be treated at cutting-edge medical facilities, as more and more doctors and hospitals opt out of Obamacare.

Watchdog.org found that 11 of the top 18 hospitals nationwide had only one or two Obamacare insurance carriers.

The president promised that the average family’s premiums would fall by $2,500; instead, they have risen by over $3,000 since 2008.

Meanwhile, the paper itself has a rosy editorial about how the law is still good, and we are starting to see success stories:

And yet, the latest enrollment numbers are a reminder that the health care law has the potential to help millions of people and is worth salvaging. As the HealthCare.gov website and state exchanges began to function better, more than four times as many people signed up in November as in October, the administration said Wednesday. Nearly 1.2 million people are getting insurance, either through private policies or Medicaid.

What nonsense. First, this 1.2 million number is coming mostly through Medicaid, which is the kind of crap insurance that ObamaCare was supposedly designed to “improve” — and which does nothing to improve people’s health. Only 365,000 are even claimed to have been signed up through private insurance — and of that 365,000, it looks like 15% or fewer have actually paid their premiums and are actually covered. Meanwhile, millions have lost their policies (never mind the millions and millions who will in the future), so even if the 1.2 million number were correct, people are currently worse off as a whole — AND, the mix of people signing up skews old and sick, which spells disaster for the sustainability of the program.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

Cruz has the better of this argument. Will voters see it? Time will tell.

49 Comments

  1. The Whigs never miss an opportunity to miss the opportunity.

    75% of nominal Republicans are disgusted and repelled by their Congressional representation.

    TEA affiliation is already north of 25%, a number seen only in Nov. of years 2010 and 2012.

    Now that no one watches TV or reads opinion pages what do bid donors afford? Name recognition is a drawback.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:08 am

  2. big donors, Doh.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:10 am

  3. Careful there — that 365k is the number of people who put a plan in their shopping cart, not the number of people who went through with actual enrollment. So the 15% or so of people who have completed enrollment as required by paying their first premium is 15% of a smaller number. IMO, quite likely a much smaller number.

    Comment by beachrat (93630d) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:26 am

  4. Of course USA Today and other liberal editorial boards still support ObamaCare. This is liberalism’s Bouvines or Gettysburg — a battle they have to win in order to preserve their way of life. If ObamaCare fails, there goes the crux of the liberal argument: that government is better equipped to make decisions on behalf of the citizen than the citizen is on his or her own behalf. Even at the bitter end you will be hearing progressives telling stories about how Mr. and Mrs. Joe Jones of Anytown, USA are now able to insure their disabled child, or how Obama for America’s old friend Julia now gets free contraceptives with her “affordable” plan that she purchases as a freelance web designer. If they were to admit that government has a hard time dealing with the intricacies of 350 million people, it would undermine their core argument for the big government social welfare state.

    Comment by JVW (709bc7) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:28 am

  5. The enrollment numbers on the insurance include people like me, who had to replace existing plans with Obamacare plans.

    What surprises me about the numbers they are reporting is how few of the 4 million who lost their insurance have replaced it. People who bought insurance on the individual market are the most responsible health consumers there are. If they are opting out, or finding other ways to be covered, Obamacare is truly doomed.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:47 am

  6. To say that people signing up for Obamacare plans are doing so because they like it is wrong. They are putting it off to the last moment and grudgingly; much the same attitude they have for other taxes.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:50 am

  7. Kevin,

    I suspect many are going directly to the insurance companies to buy private insurance instead of exchange policies. I doubt those purchases are included in ObamaCare statistics.

    Comment by DRJ (a83b8b) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:51 am

  8. Hell NO the voters won’t see it.

    The LIV’s get their info from BIG MEDIA which will spin and spin and spin.

    Comment by © Sponge (8110ec) — 12/12/2013 @ 9:47 am

  9. O/T….
    PP’s fave Appellate Judge not happy with prosecutorial misconduct.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 10:15 am

  10. Comment by beachrat (93630d) — 12/12/2013 @ 8:26 am

    Don’t forget the Forty-Four – 44! – people who signed up in Oregon at a cost of
    Seven Million Dollars Each to HHS!

    Whadda Country!

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 10:18 am

  11. If they are opting out, or finding other ways to be covered

    You have to wonder how many are signing up for Concierge Care, and just going off-the-grid?

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 10:21 am

  12. “PP’s fave Appellate Judge not happy with prosecutorial misconduct.”

    askeptic – IOW, Balko gets it wrong again.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 12/12/2013 @ 10:44 am

  13. i’ts not just Obamacare

    http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/12/al-qaeda-is-on-the-run-to-everywhere/

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/12/2013 @ 10:45 am

  14. How come requiring people to sign up for coverage via a website doesn’t discriminate against poor people who don’t have computers?

    Or am I missing something?

    Comment by Diffus (48ae73) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:10 am

  15. Diffus, that is what the “storefront navigators” (ex-ACORN) are for.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:16 am

  16. Two things, FWIW.
    If I was currently practicing medicine, I might well be doing concierge care, but that would also mean I could choose to see some patients that could not afford the going rate, like it was in the old days. Even now, all of the (few) Christian psychiatrists I know see some patients that could never afford them; sometimes at a reduced rate, sometimes with a reduced rate and helped by the patient’s church, and sometimes just for darn little.
    The major problem with this, is that now so much medical evaluation and decision making is based on tests that are expensive and the doc has little control over.

    Second, in my little corner of the world, the federal corruption and obstruction case involving the founder of a cyber charter school we used for my daughter a number of years ago went to the jury today. The civil SLAPP suit against 5 parents has been put on hold until the results of this case.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:24 am

  17. R.I.P. Jim Hall, master jazz guitarist

    Comment by Icy (b0295e) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:25 am

  18. Did Cruz file this from South Africa?

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (f9c738) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:42 am

  19. Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:24 am

    Tests….
    Doc, have you been following the news about a tech-wizard female who has come up with a new computer whizbang program that allows the multiple-testing of blood using just a very, very small sample – and has a very low false-positive factor?
    I believe she’s got a “Silicon Valley” start-up going, but can’t remember any details, but I think it was posted recently at Insty.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:46 am

  20. The reduction is the number of covered is meaningless. ObamaCare was never about providing health care, it is all about seizing control of the economy.

    Comment by Perfect Sense (4d5c72) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:10 pm

  21. Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 11:46 am

    I believe she’s got a “Silicon Valley” start-up going, but can’t remember any details, but I think it was posted recently at Insty.

    The name of the company is Theranos.

    This was in the Wall Street Journal. It is supposed to get into every Walgreens in the country, and is first going to be rolled out in Paalo Alto, California.

    http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5794

    Here are the locations and telephone numbers of all the Walgreens stores in palo Alto:

    http://www.walgreens.com/storelistings/storesincity.jsp?state=CA&city=Palo%20Alto

    It’s now expanded into Phoenix.

    http://news.walgreens.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=5820

    http://ktar.com/22/1677155/Walgreens-opens-blood-testing-clinic-in-two-Phoenix-stores

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:13 pm

  22. It’s in only one of the stores in Palo Alto, California, and two in Phoenix, Arizona. Or is it the reverse?

    Store finder:

    http://www.walgreens.com/pharmacy/lab-testing/home.jsp#googleMapCanvas

    I don’t know if that store locator is really ready.

    You need a clinician’s order unless state law permits otherwise. No medical advice is given, unless I guess state law allows it, but don’t tell the FDA anyway. Major insurance, Medicare and Medicaid accepted. These health exchange policies may be another matter. But the charge is lower than regular labs. If you are uninsured, you don’t pay more.

    This could be a medical Google.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:24 pm

  23. Thanks SF, I knew we could rely on you to dig through the minutiae.

    Comment by askeptic (b8ab92) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:28 pm

  24. The Arizona stores are at:

    •3402 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
    •6501 E. Greenway Parkway, Scottsdale

    I didn’t know that Walgreens was the largest drug store chain in the country. It’s got 8,131 drugstores, according to the November 13, 2013 9:00 AM press release.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:34 pm

  25. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWI8IRBNYoQ

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:41 pm

  26. 27 Comment by DRJ in Budget Deal Announced thread
    (a83b8b) — 12/11/2013 @ 9:53 pm

    ObamaCare is going to fail if costs/deductibles increase too much,

    If the costs/deductibles in the new exchange policies are way too high already, and there’s every reason to think that that are:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/09/us/on-health-exchanges-premiums-may-be-low-but-other-costs-can-be-high.html?adxnnl=1&rref=us&hpw=&adxnnlx=1386878284-IDR9Vq/ZyuFMIKuLEobhuQ&pagewanted=all

    Until now, it was almost impossible for people using the federal health care website to see the deductible amounts, which consumers pay before coverage kicks in. But federal officials finally relented last week and added a “window shopping” feature that displays data on deductibles.

    For policies offered in the federal exchange, as in many states, the annual deductible often tops $5,000 for an individual and $10,000 for a couple.

    Insurers devised the new policies on the assumption that consumers would pick a plan based mainly on price, as reflected in the premium….Federal officials often point to premiums as evidence that the health care law has made insurance affordable. “Nearly six in 10 uninsured Americans can pay less than $100 a month for coverage in the health insurance marketplace,” Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, has said.

    Higher deductibles are one tool that insurers can use to hold down premiums. Many have also held down premiums on the exchanges by limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers in their provider networks.

    This was/is consumer fraud. They did market researh that showed customers picked baseds on price, but that is because the prive i unaffordable to begin with, and because in the marlet research obvious they didn’t have taht much time to ponder.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:46 pm

  27. Another thing:

    These high deductible sand co-pays could result in bad health outcomes, which is exactly what “health insurance” is supposed to prevent:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/your-money/when-health-deductibles-rise-men-delay-emergency-care.html?_r=0

    (Women don’t let money deter them when it’s a real emergency.)

    These policies have no co-pay or deductible for “preventative care” – which is basically care that brings in more business, as with these Medicaid patients, who got on diabetes drugs somewhat earlier, but there’s no sign of any real different health outcomes within two years.

    One doctor’s visit a year is free. What there should be no co-pay is for unscheduled, or emergency care, if you are serious.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:48 pm

  28. DRJ: or if employers drop coverage for millions of employees next year,

    Already true:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/business/smallbusiness/changing-the-health-insurance-equation-for-small-employers.html?pagewanted=all

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:50 pm

  29. DRJ: or if the medical networks shrink so people can’t get reliable health care.

    At least if they want the insurance to cover it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/23/health/lower-health-insurance-premiums-to-come-at-cost-of-fewer-choices.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all

    Some consumer advocates and health care providers are increasingly concerned. Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers.

    Consumers should be prepared for “much tighter, narrower networks” of doctors and hospitals, said Adam M. Linker, a health policy analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center, a statewide advocacy group.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 12:53 pm

  30. DRJ: No amount of PR will change that, and a government shutdown isn’t going to make people forget or ignore things like this happening.

    The PR may work until it actually starts to happen.

    Ted Cruz is only talking about things that have already happened.

    Not about the deductibles anc co-pays being too high. Not about people dropping the policies in the middle of the year when they discover the narrow networks, or the high co-pays and deductibles. Not about people who get exchange policies that are not severely subsidized acting just like people without insurance in avoiding doctors in medical emergencies and not filling prescriptions. Not about the narrow networks.

    Not about many small businesses dropping coverage because their employees can gte subsidies (but only if there is no policy available) or Medicaid. Not about people paying attention to their health insurance when considering jobs and people quitting and only people with the right income or family being willing to take certain jobs. Not about problems people will have when moving outside their medical district. Not about some other people moving to save money, or lying about their address.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (ca4c0f) — 12/12/2013 @ 1:00 pm

  31. askeptic, but if it’s such a burden on poor people to get to the DMV and pick up a free ID, why is it not just as much, if not more, of a burden to a) find a navigator, and b) go to the navigator’s office?

    Comment by Diffus (48ae73) — 12/12/2013 @ 1:22 pm

  32. The 15% payment figure is from a limited subset of providers, so it may not apply to the universe of enrollees. But even at 100%, there aren’t enough to avert a fiscal disaster.

    The Obama estimate of 7 million exchange enrollees including at least 2.7 million “young healthies” to cover the increased costs of benefits and subsidies was probably overly optimistic, but it is certainly a rock bottom number. Anything less results in billions of dollars of losses to insurers and the federal government.

    And the government is covering all losses over 3% of premiums collected by insurers for three years, so that’s on us, too.

    So, yeah, it’s a disaster. Not sure how Cruz became the spokesman or expert, no one appointed him besides himself and I don’t recall him being on the front lines in 2009 and 2010.

    It was his grandstanding that blew the sequester, which would have been entrenched for a full year if he had not derailed the CR with his useless “defund” puffery.

    Comment by Estragon (19fa04) — 12/12/2013 @ 1:36 pm

  33. Only way Cruz’s argument wins out over the “free shit crowd” is if ten of millions of American are double donged in the rear end with extreme prejudice and they are told as such repeatedly by Cruz himself.

    No one is going to help Ted tell the truth. Especially the Republican Party.

    I hope he prevails. And he can gloat (properly) over the carnage because that is what an ignorant electorate deserves.

    Comment by Rodney King's Spirit (11dcd5) — 12/12/2013 @ 1:46 pm

  34. Very interesting, no, I had never heard of it before.
    I tried to watch the interview, but gave up. I would be very interested in the technology of how it is done, but they talk about “consumer experience” and “the right to have access to clinical information”.
    Pardon my simple thinking, but it seems to me it is simply “a better mousetrap”, and a better and cheaper mousetrap will always win out, unless the govt. gets in the way.
    I’m assuming the nuts and bolts technology must be pretty nifty.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:03 pm

  35. Not sure how Cruz became the spokesman or expert, no one appointed him besides himself and I don’t recall him being on the front lines in 2009 and 2010.
    Comment by Estragon (19fa04) — 12/12/2013 @ 1:36 pm

    FWIW, I thought the people of Texas appointed him when they elected him on his campaign promise to do everything he could to stop ObamaCare,
    like many other politicians who said the same thing but didn’t follow through.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:06 pm

  36. Here in AZ, Walgreen’s grow like tumbleweeds.

    Comment by Icy (d50268) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:17 pm

  37. It was his grandstanding that blew the sequester, which would have been entrenched for a full year if he had not derailed the CR with his useless “defund” puffery.
    Comment by Estragon (19fa04) — 12/12/2013 @ 1:36 pm

    Cruz’s “useless puffery” gave Obama and D’s the opportunity to fund everything except Obamacare. The Administration and the Senate insisted that the everything, meaning Obamacare, had to be funded. The responsibility for this crisis rests totally with the Democrats.

    This single piece of legislation, passed by the House and denied a vote in the Senate by Reid, could have saved everyone a lot of trouble, and preserved the care needed by patients with existing conditions.

    You make the mistake of assuming that a stated intent will be accomplished by the policies adopted. In this case, we know Hte Won lied repeatedly and convincingly because if the truth were known, the country would have thrown him and his pathetic cronies out on their behinds in 2014.

    Comment by bobathome (c0c2b5) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:28 pm

  38. Q: What’s the difference between Barack Obama and Kim Jong Un?

    A: Barack Obama only wishes he could make his uncle disappear.

    Comment by Icy (d50268) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:45 pm

  39. 34-MD- You go with what got you there.

    Comment by mg (31009b) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:47 pm

  40. On Thursday on CNN, Jake Tapper unveiled PolitiFact’s 2013 “Lie of the Year”: President Barack Obama’s promise that “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan.

    Comment by Neo (d1c681) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:54 pm

  41. Re: #31… diffus you RAAAAAcist!!!

    Comment by Colonel Haiku (f9c738) — 12/12/2013 @ 3:29 pm

  42. Comment by Neo (d1c681) — 12/12/2013 @ 2:54 pm

    Well, I find that somewhat of an encouraging contact with reality.

    Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 12/12/2013 @ 4:20 pm

  43. http://cornstein.tumblr.com/post/69692162567/the-key-obamacare-deadline-few-are-talking-about

    (they must actually pay by January 1 – or whatever is the definition of on time in california it may be Jan. 6) to be covered for January)

    Paying later rolls enrollment ahead one month.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman (3bb3ae) — 12/12/2013 @ 4:30 pm

  44. I’d be willing to bet, that the answer to a number of independent insurance buyers, who have had their plan cancelled, is concierge doctors; and/or concierge doctor groups. The people receive, often highly personal medical care and the doctors are freed of the paperwork burden of insurance companies and the government. And the yearly fee of the members provide a steady income for the doctors/practice.

    Comment by Mike Giles (760480) — 12/12/2013 @ 7:06 pm

  45. I was talking to a woman who represents a large group of ag business owners for their personal health insurance.
    She told me that if she had a client that might qualify for a subsidy next year but who anticipates need for care… she would be telling them that if they can afford it, to buy outside the CoveredCA marketplace until they get their heads out which she thinks will be 2015.
    She thinks the entire healthcare system will be in total upheaval and the people with private policies will get the best service.

    Comment by steveg (794291) — 12/13/2013 @ 2:36 am

  46. It’s turtles all the way, down;

    http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/12/21881407-un-confirms-chemical-weapons-were-used-in-syria-repeatedly?lite

    our man in Idlib was chased out of the country, for a time anyways.

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/13/2013 @ 4:08 am

  47. Next week’s news:

    I happen to be a member of a few email groups which have a wide spectrum of membership. I am starting to see people talking about their inability to keep/get health insurance and getting frantic about it. I can’t post any of it here because of confidentiality, but just saying that there are LOTS of people out there in no man’s land and it’s going to be a big problem very soon now.

    Comment by Kevin M (536c5d) — 12/14/2013 @ 12:16 am

  48. Musical chairs:

    http://www.jammiewf.com/2013/democrat-house-candidate-in-florida-says-obamacare-is-a-disaster-and-obama-has-failed-us/

    Keep playing that ‘Let it collapse’ tune, ph*chwit Whigs.

    Comment by gary gulrud (dd7d4e) — 12/14/2013 @ 5:55 am

  49. Yet they will brow beat anyone who suggested going into Iraq;

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/tom-blumer/2013/12/13/sochi-olympics-nbc-hires-soviet-union-apologist-who-called-its-1979-inva

    Comment by narciso (3fec35) — 12/14/2013 @ 6:14 am

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