There are certain immutable ‘laws of nature’, and there are certain well-known and proved laws involving health care plans and their financing. President Obama is working diligently to assure that his signature achievement is alive and well as he leaves office. He and his Democrat cohorts have created a veritable monster that you and I have come to know as the Affordable Care Act.
That is a misnomer of the highest order. This debacle is unaffordable, and it is proving that annually as insurers either bail out of the programs altogether or seek significant, double-digit, rate increases year-over-year to offset their losses. Many of those insurers have simply sucked up their losses and abandoned this program altogether; the impact of that will become very apparent in the next year or two. The Act contained provisions for insurers to seek redress if they were hit with untenable losses but there is a finite limit to the funding available unless President Obama finds some ‘magic money’ (i.e. taxpayer dollars) that he can move into the program to at least keep a few more insurers involved for a little longer.
You and I are hit by the Act on several fronts, none of which are pleasant or avoidable. As insurers drop participation, the choices of insurers and, therefore, of doctors and hospitals, obviously lessens. Those remaining are hit with needs that simply swamp their abilities to deliver care as they desire if they can deliver at all. We either are forced to find another provider or we are forced to wait for a longer time to be able to see our physician. They are rushed because of the demand to see more patients daily since they are besieged by requests or they simply find the ACA an untenable program from their perspectives and bail out.
Back to the idea of ‘magic money’. We are the source of magic money for President Obama to use, in his mind, as he sees fit for his legacy. This president has issued more Executive Orders than several of his predecessors combined. These orders have the force of law. These orders bypass the Congress, although Congress could effectively kill an Executive Order by refusing the funding necessary to carry the Order out. Our Congress seldom does anything like this.
So, we have this legacy program that is foundering in red ink and that is losing insurers and providers. This is very important to President Obama since it has been given his name, ObamaCare, by ‘we the people’ and he wants this as among his signature legacies.
Where does all this point? To us as taxpayers and to us as consumers of health care services. We are, pardon the words, damned if we do and damned if we don’t. There are, unfortunately, some facets of ObamaCare that are likely irreversible, and that may well have been part of the underlying plan all along. Once implemented there is a limited set of options remaining in some cases.
There are at least three significant takeaways:
1. Executive Orders are very dangerous in some hands since those can be used other than originally intended by the founding fathers and congressional edicts that have followed.
2. Politicians can be enemies of the greater good if and when they work to build their personal historic positions more than they work to accomplish what is right and proper during their time in office.
3. We the people can be our own worst enemy when we rally behind causes that appeal to our hearts rather than to our minds, and when we ignore warning signs that might’ve prevented some of this abuse of the Executive Order concept, of which we’ll almost certainly learn more in retrospect.
Imagine if this time and effort had been pointed to the re-birthing of the Veteran’s Administration and its healthcare facilities, and its policies and practices. That was already government-based health care and it sorely needs re-birthing. We might’ve been able to avoid the castration of our private health care system.
This legacy may not have been that which the current President desired, but it is one that he will carry with him through his remaining years. It is fitting that we know it as ObamaCare, even if that is the best we can say about the program.