Doctors supporting a return to patient-centered medicine say CNN’s Obamacare debate this week between Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) shows the claims by proponents of a government-centered health care system need to be challenged.
Claim #1: 20 million people will lose health care if ACA is repealed.
Sanders said repeal of Obamacare “means that if you are one of 20 million Americans who finally has received health insurance, forget about it, you’re gone. You’re off health insurance.”
“First off, among the purported 20 million who obtained health insurance through the ACA, 16 million are on Medicaid, and if ACA were repealed today, they’d still be on Medicaid,” Dr. Gerard Gianoli, the Louisiana-based Ear and Balance Institute, reacts to Breitbart News.
Also, of those 16 million, approximately 75% qualified for Medicaid before the ACA. The only reason they didn’t have Medicaid before the ACA was because they hadn’t applied for it. They had no healthcare needs and only applied after the ACA because of the proposed penalty. Among the nearly 5 million who have subsidized private insurance through the ACA, they have insurance plans with $6,000 deductibles. These people are the poor and don’t even have a net worth of $6,000. It would make more sense for these patients to stop wasting their money on their portion of the insurance premiums and have no insurance. They could pay cash for their healthcare needs and if they have a catastrophic illness, apply for Medicaid.
Dr. Kristin Held, a Texas-based ophthalmologist, also tells Breitbart News the “20 million” who would lose coverage if Obamacare is repealed is “more like four million.”
She asserts that Cruz’s use of a “map illustrating that in 70% of U.S. counties on Obamacare exchanges you have a choice of only one or two healthcare plans” was “masterful.”
You lack choice and competition on Obamacare exchanges. Cruz proposed solutions including increasing choice, allowing people to purchase plans across state lines, expand health savings accounts, and make insurance portable – all controlled by the individual, not the government. Sen. Cruz pointed out that Obamacare isn’t working and was built on an edifice of lies – 6 million lost their plans, plans cost $5000 more not $2500 less. Government control messed this all up, and Sanders wants more government.
Claim #2: Healthcare is a right.
In his opening statement, Sanders cut right to the chase – the so-called “moral” argument for single-payer, “Medicare-for-all” health care. The senator said:
The United States is the only major country on Earth not to guarantee health care to all people as a right. I believe we should move in that direction. The ACA has been a step forward. We have got to go further and join every other major country on Earth and say that if you are an American, you are guaranteed health care as a right, not a privilege.
Both senators responded to a woman who said her Obamacare insurance plan’s high deductible and premiums prevented her from seeking further care after an abnormal pap smear.
‘Now, if you were in Canada, you know what, you would get the health care that you needed,” Sanders said to her. “If you were in the U.K., France, Germany, Scandinavia, you would get the health care you need as a right of being a citizen in this country.”
Cruz, however, responded, that when healthcare is considered a “right” to be fulfilled by government, it gets rationed to save costs. He replied:
The United States, population controlled, delivers three times as many mammograms as Europe, two-and-a-half times the number of MRI scans, and 31 percent more C-sections. We provide more health care.
Not only that, in the United Kingdom, for example, wait times, in 2013, you waited 72 days for cataract surgery, you waited 89 days for hip replacement, 95 days for knee replacement. There are 3.7 million people in the United Kingdom right now on a waiting list, waiting for health care.
Whenever you put government in charge of health care, what it means is they ration. They decide you get care and you don’t. I don’t think the government has any business telling you you’re not entitled to receive health care.
That’s why I think the answer is not more of Obamacare, more government control, more of what got us in this mess. Rather, the answer is empower you. Give you choices. Lower prices. Lower premiums. Lower deductibles. Empower you and put you back in charge of your health care.
“Cruz superbly refuted Sanders’ claims with specifics about the failures of these systems,” Held observes.
Claim #3: People go without healthcare if they have no insurance.
Sen. Sanders equates health insurance with health care. This is utter nonsense and a ploy by the left to claim that people go without healthcare if they have no insurance. In fact, people without insurance and pay cash for health care have better outcomes than those who have Medicaid. Just because you have health insurance does not mean you will get health care. Ask any of the 50,000 Canadians who migrate south to the U.S. for health care. They got frustrated with a system that does not deliver on the promise for healthcare for all. Health insurance is not healthcare.
“No one in the U.S. goes without health care,” Gianoli states. “The poorest among us (those on Medicaid) get better quality care and better access to healthcare than the richest of those in the countries with socialized medicine.”
Claim #4: 52 million people with pre-existing conditions could lose coverage if Obamacare is repealed.
CNN moderator Dana Bash actually made this claim when she said, “If Obamacare is repealed, 52 million Americans could lose that guaranteed coverage because of their medical histories.”
Obamacare expert Betsy McCaughey notes at the Wall Street Journal the number of Americans with pre-existing conditions is “more like 500,000.” She continues:
For starters, half of Americans get their insurance through an employer, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Another 34% are on Medicaid or Medicare. For all these people, pre-existing conditions are no barrier to coverage.
Pre-existing conditions mattered before ObamaCare only in the individual market, but even there few were affected. In 2010 Rep. Henry Waxman, then the Democratic chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, issued a report on the individual market. It stated that the four largest insurers— Aetna, Humana, UnitedHealth and WellPoint—declined to issue policies to about 250,000 people a year because of their medical histories. A 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office found a similar number.
Additionally, while government-run health insurance proponents want Americans to focus on the issue of those with “pre-existing conditions,” Cruz observed that little attention has been given to the millions of Americans who were dropped from their insurance when Obamacare became law, as well as those for whom Obamacare’s high deductibles and premiums make their health insurance unusable.
And, you know, the question I asked a minute ago that Bernie chose not to answer is, what do the Democrats say to the 6 million people who had their insurance policies canceled, who got a notification in the mail that you don’t get to see your doctors anymore?
And not just the people who were canceled. There are people all over this country who can’t afford health insurance because of Obamacare, who the deductibles are so high, the premiums are so high, they say, you know what, my family, we can’t make it on this?
“There are people who can’t afford care because of Obamacare, because the deductibles and premiums are so high,” Held agrees. “Most of the people covered by Obamacare are on Medicaid, while 6.5 million are being fined.”
In its recently released white paper on the “repeal/replacement of the Affordable Care Act,” AAPS discusses why those with pre-existing conditions don’t have to lose coverage if Obamacare is repealed:
There is now a large pool of people with pre-existing conditions, and a free market is likely to develop appropriate products. Most could be covered at a higher price. Previously existing state high-risk pools could be re-established, as Alaska recently did. As market reforms—and restoring insurance to its role of reimbursing people for catastrophic losses—result in drastic reductions in price, the burden will be much less.
Claim #5: People need health insurance to obtain routine healthcare.
Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), and a specialist in internal medicine, tells Breitbart News if people pay for their own routine health care, costs for that care would come down. She recommends “insurance” for catastrophic care only.
“‘Insurance’ (third-party payment) costs way too much, as does medical care, and one cost spiral enables the other,” she explains. “We need to get the middleman out of medical care, restore true insurance, and insist on honest price signals. The right ways to buy medical care are cash, catastrophic insurance, and charity. We need to stop the legal plunder.”