Archive for healthcare

People Doing “Studies” Need To Get Their Facts Straight.

Posted in Law & Justice, Social & Political with tags , , , , on June 27, 2017 by xaipe

This won’t be long. In researching why the GOP is claiming that premiums have more than doubled under the ACA, I found this Forbes article.

The Brookings Institute took issue with a study showing that insurance premiums dropped under the ACA. Their contention with the previous study was that it didn’t account for the money from tax incentives going toward premium costs. When factored in, premium costs seem to have doubled.

I contend that this is a false measure, first of all. No individual accounts for subsidies, either from the government or from an employer, as part of their premium costs. In offering this “premiums have doubled” number, they’re putting out facts without context. Context matters.

Further, it appears the study didn’t take into account the risk-corridor payments the GOP reneged on (ultimately Congress reneged, but it was the GOP measure that stripped funding & caused the mass exodus of insurers from the marketplace, reducing competition & driving up costs).

Further, by not enforcing the mandate, they pull healthy people from the system. It’s like having car insurance for only bad drivers: that insurance becomes very expensive. As a good driver, your premiums go toward subsidizing bad drivers. How do you think insurance companies get the money to pay claims? It’s a burden-sharing system. By not recognizing the importance of diversity in the insurance markets, they make those markets untenable.

Additionally, let’s not forget that the original ACA bill included a public healthcare option on the marketplace. That would have placed Medicaid-type plans on the individual markets. With this additional competition, insurers would have been forced to put their private products against lower cost public options. They were terribly afraid that such a move would have been the death of their industry.

Do not take things at face value, ever. Read & listen critically. Define the terms & the jargon being used to understand what someone is really saying. While the words sound like English, they’re usually all speaking American Politician. Further, statistics & data sets can say a lot of seemingly competing things, but that’s because the interpreters often wear colored lenses to view the data. Look at methodology & see how people arrive at conclusions. If their methodology is flawed or results are presented out of context, they can often lead to wholesale misinterpretations & a general decline in the way facts & truths interact within our discourse.

This Is Another Argument Republicans Make.

Posted in Law & Justice, Social & Political with tags , , , , , , , on June 26, 2017 by xaipe

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Here we have Representative Steve Russell, Republican from Oklahoma, discussing the CBO figure regarding the number of uninsured should the current tax bill gut Medicaid:

“Well, I think the first thing we have to examine is that 23 million figure. It’s not a hard figure. In fact, it’s probably only roughly a third of that that’s actually enrolled. The numbers & projections are those who might enroll at current rates at some time in the future.”

Now, of course he’s correct about the fact that the CBO number is based, in part, on future behavior. However, the good gentleman from Oklahoma is being disingenuous. He ignores two things: the actual number of people who gained healthcare under Medicaid expansion & are currently enrolled is 10.7 million people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as reported by PolitiFact, and the numbers of insured have been the most reliable & accurate projections made by the CBO.

First, the numbers of the enrolled reflect the latest available data, counting through the end of 2015. We’ve surely added many, many more people since 2015. Second, even just counting the numbers of those who gained coverage under expansion, that number is already closer to half of the CBO estimate of those who will lose coverage.

Given that the CBO estimates that 14 million people who are covered by Medicaid will lose healthcare. 10.7 million of those are currently enrolled as of 2015. Factor in that the program continues through 2020, & you’re likely to see the actual number become much larger. If anything, the CBO number of uninsured from Medicaid cuts is conservative.

Further, I think it bears noting that, while initial CBO estimates from 2010 found more people in the exchanges than actually are but less people in Medicaid than actually are, the CBO ultimately predicted 22 million would gain healthcare; some 24 million actually did gain healthcare. Overall, the CBO score seems far more reliable than the gentleman would have us believe.

He goes on to say that “Obamacare is failing” & insist that something has to be done. Of course, rather than address the real issues of implementing the ACA, the “do something” remedy for all republicans is to eliminate anything Obama at all costs, regardless of consequences.

I think it seems fair to call “bullshit” on the congressman’s claims. He tries to minimize the damage his Party’s bill will cause by discrediting the CBO. This tactic has been tried, but to anyone who looks at the facts it should be obvious that these claims are, at best, half-truths in service of a larger mendacity.

I would also suggest that if this is how we are going to debate, that we may already be lost. We cannot continue to “spin” facts to a partisan cause. In doing so, we make the lie worse because it creates discord & division within the body politic, most of whom won’t look for the facts themselves.

Where Do These Numbers Come From?

Posted in Law & Justice, Social & Political with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2017 by xaipe


The following transcript is a paraphrase of the conversation in the video, heavily edited for length & clarity. 

Joy Reid: Millions of people gained Medicaid coverage under expansion. 

If you cut the expansion, those people will no longer be eligible.

You’re saying that these individuals won’t lose their coverage but rather trade it in for other coverage.

If that’s true, then where does the CBO find 20 million people losing coverage?

Avik Roy: Well, the people who never signed up for coverage in the first place, under the Obamacare mandate that has never resulted in large numbers of healthy people actually getting insurance, there are 18 million of those people who are counted in the CBO score.

Joy Reid: Are you fucking high?

An Open Letter To Any Senators Who Can Listen

Posted in Law & Justice, Social & Political with tags , , , , , , on June 24, 2017 by xaipe

Dear Senator, 

I’m gong to be succinct, here paraphrasing Milan Kundera:

True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which is deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: the poor, the sick, the old. 
How do we instead choose to act? We eliminate Medicaid to give profits to corporations & the wealthy before care to the poorest patients.

Onward Christian Nation! 

Way to go!