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All items for September, 2017


Describing Fake News

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

The front-page headline in the Sunday New York Times on August 26 read;

“Health Insurers Start To Prosper.

The subtitle was; Trump’s Warnings on Affordable Care Act Masks Upside.”

 “Supporters of the Affordable Care Act achieved a major victory this past week when, thanks to cajoling and arm-twisting by state regulators, the last “bare” county in America — in rural Ohio — found an insurer willing to sell health coverage through the law’s marketplace there.”

“So despite earlier indications that insurance companies would stop offering coverage under the law in large parts of the country, insurers have now agreed to sell policies everywhere.”

 A casual Sunday Times reader would respond to this headline and initial paragraph by thinking that President Trump is frightening the public about Obamacare’s failures.

The casual reader would conclude this is just another one of President Trump lies. Obamacare is not failing. He is just trying to scare the public.

The New York Times is telling the public that the insurance industry is going to offer insurance through Obamacare in every county in the country.

The American people cannot trust President Donald Trump.

The causal reader got the message. Obamacare is doing fine. It is not necessary to continue reading the article.

The online Sunday NY Times headline of the dame article was different than the headline that appeared in print.

Trump’s Threats on Health Law Hide an Upside: Gains Made by Some Insurers”

This headline is also misleading. One insurer in a bare county signed up. This does not represent a upside gain or create a competitive market place.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that 1,476 counties, over 45 percent of counties nationwide, will only have one health insurer on the Obamacare exchanges next year.”

This article is an example of “fake news.” It is totally misleading to the casual reader

Why a single insurance company will sell insurance in that bare county in Ohio is not explained. All the other insurance companies have pulled out of that county.

If the reader got this far into the story he could still be satisfied that Obamacare was not imploding.

However, the article goes on to explain the potential failure of Obamacare.

“But a moment of truth still looms for the industry in the coming weeks under the law known as Obamacare.”

“Companies must set their final plans and premiums by late September, even as the Trump administration continues to threaten to cut off billions of dollars in government subsidies promised by the legislation.”

This is more fake news aimed at blaming Donald Trump for Obamacare’s failure.

The NYT ignores the fact that President Obama promised the healthcare insurance industry the reinsurance subsidy in order to get them to participate in Obamacare in the first place.

President Obama paid the healthcare insurance industry only 12% of what the insurance companies claimed President Obama promised them in their reinsurance package.

President Obama promised the healthcare insurance industry a subsidy through the government backed reinsurance package, if there were cost overruns in Obamacare.

The costs overruns were massive according to the healthcare insurance industry. The legislator only budgeted 12% of that claimed by the healthcare insurance industry.

President Obama could not find the money to pay the remaining 88%.

The industry continues to demand the remaining 88% promised in order to participate in this year’s (2018) Obamacare health insurance exchanges.

All twenty-two of the state run insurance administrative companies that received loans from the federal government have gone bankrupt and have not paid the insurance industry.

Those federal loans will never be paid back to taxpayers.

The Democrats and the mainstream media are trying to blame President Trump for this deficiency in payment and the lack of insurance company participation.

The shortfalls resulted in healthcare insurance premium raises for both the Obamacare health insurance exchanges and the premiums for private group insurance.

Subsequently, most of the healthcare insurance companies have dropped out of providing the insurance through the Obamacare health insurance exchanges.

A third piece of fake news is the success of providing insurance for twenty million enrollees.

The NYT article ignores the fact that Obamacare through the health insurance exchanges only enrollee nine million people in the individual market. Fourteen million lost individual coverage lost their insurance at the onset of Obamacare.

The 22 million additionally insured includes the additional thirteen million were added to the Medicaid roles. Some of those thirteen million are illegal immigrants.

Soon a portion of the financial burden of the Medicaid increase will be dumped on the states.

The Obamacare law requires comprehensive insurance coverage packages for both the individual market and the group markets driving the price of coverage up.

These increases make Obamacare unaffordable. Obamacare is not successful as implied in the New York Times article.

President Trump did not do anything to distort the Obamacare coverage. President Obama did it with his tremendous cost overruns.

It is possible President Obama wanted to prove that an insurance-based healthcare system couldn’t work. It would have to be replaced with a government controlled single payer system.

It is the reason he wanted to include the “Public Option.”

However he placed so many regulations in the way of any possible success.

President Obama believes that the only system that would work is a single party payer system with the government being in control of the money, the coverage and the freedom to choose by the public.

President Obama had no concern for the government inefficiency or cost to the government.

There was no consideration for a more cost efficient and affordable healthcare system.

“The fate of the landmark law, Obamacare, depends in large part on the health of the insurance marketplaces and the ability of insurers to make a viable business out of selling coverage to individuals.”

Healthcare insurers have tried to make a viable business plan out of Obamacare. When the law passed seven years ago, insurers saw a potential bonanza: tens of millions of brand-new paying customers, many backed by generous government subsidies and required by the new law to have health coverage.

The burdensome regulations, lack of coverage flexibility and one size fits all coverage all have cause people not to sign up for Obamacare. They would rather pay the penalty even though they can ill afford it.

On Thursday, Northwell Health, the largest hospital system in New York State, announced that it would shut down its insurance unit, CareConnect, which had been selling coverage in the state marketplace. The move forces tens of thousands of its customers to find another plan for 2018. Northwell’s chief executive put much of the blame on Washington.

As we get closer to enrolling participants in Obamacare for 2018 and the insurance industry’s publishing their premiums more insurance companies are dropping out of participating in the health insurance exchanges.

Most of the startup insurance companies and state sponsored have closed down their business.

The article quoted is fake news.

The article starts off giving the casual reader the impression that Obamacare’s insurance coverage is doing fine.

The reality is It is not fine. Americans have to worry about it. Affordable healthcare insurance will not be available at an affordable price.

The Democrats are happy because then the country will be offered a single party payer system.

The problem is that the federal government cannot afford a single party payer system. At this moment Medicare and Medicaid are not sustainable. A single party payer system will be inefficient and unsustainable.

I don’t know how Mitch McConnell can to say most of the news is not fake news.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” is, mine and mine alone.

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