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President Obama’s Hatchet Man

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP, MACE

President Obama’s favorite hatchet man is Paul Krugman. Paul Krugman has reinforced the Obama message in his most recent weekly article in the New York Times using Saul Alinsky’s tactics. He ridicules his opponents and Republicans in an attempt to marginalize their opinions.

Have you been following the news about Obamacare? The Affordable Care Act has receded from the front page, but information about how it’s going keeps coming in — and almost all the news is good.”

“What’s interesting about this success story (Obamacare) is that it has been accompanied at every step by cries of impending disaster.”

"Obamacare’s critics made at least six distinct predictions about how Obamacare would fail — every one of which turned out to be wrong."

The New York Times’ resident Nobel Prize winner has spoken.

Republicans have not figured out how to answer these statements by Paul Krugman for fear of losing votes in the 2014 election.

President Obama keeps telling us all these criticisms and accusations are phony scandals.

He says Republicans are the ones responsible for generating news of these phony scandals.

Once again Paul Krugman’s articles are fact-less.

He declares the enemies of health reform are 0 for 6.

“For reference: I count at least six distinct predictions of Obamacare doom made by the usual suspects (Republicans and conservative pundits), not one of which has come true. Here they are:”

Paul Krugman and President Obama’s enemies are in reality 6 for 6. Paul Krugman and President Obama are winless at 0 for 6.  

Paul Krugman and the President keep churning out fact-less information in order to keep the public misinformed. 

The evidence Paul Krugman uses to make his points about President Obama’s Obamacare follow. His “evidence” is incorrect on all six points.

 1Enrollment will be very low

Paul Krugman gives the critics one zero for being wrong about enrollment because enrollment was 8 million on March 31.

The real truth about enrollment is that of the fourteen million in the individual market seven million people lost their insurance.

The traditional media has portrayed it as showing a generally positive response to the healthcare law. They emphasized that about 6 in 10 of the enrollees were previously uninsured.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the first time on May 1,2014  unveiled demographic details (PDF) about the more than 8 million people who have signed up for health insurance through state and federal exchanges.

The vast majority of those enrolling, 85%, received financial assistance. Those receiving assistance needed to report if they had insurance coverage prior to enrollment.”

5.2 million people applied for financial assistance through the federal exchange. Thirteen percent said they had coverage at the time of application without subsidies. 

Eight million people enrolled through the health insurance exchange and 7 million lost their insurance as a result of Obamacare.

This represents a gain of only 1 million insured.  This is not an impressive gain in insurance coverage.

We do not know how many people will lose their insurance in the group markets as large corporations are only hiring people to work less that 29 hours a week to avoid the corporations’ penalty resulting from the Obamacare mandate.

 President Obama delayed implementation of Obamacare in the group market by granting waivers to the group market for one to two years in order to avoid exposing Obamacare to an increase in the uninsured.

2. Even if people sign up, they won’t pay their premiums.

Reality: Signups exceeded expectations, and the vast majority paid.

The real truth is the closing of the enrollment period was delayed twice. The Obama administration paid millions of dollars in television ads and endorsements by celebrities encourage young people to sign up. Enrollees were not supposed to be counted as enrolled unless they paid the first month’s premium.

Sebelius should read her own agency's report. It states quite clearly that "it is important to note that the Marketplace plan selection data as of the end of the open enrollment period do not represent effectuated enrollment (e.g., those who have paid their premium)." 

Many who paid the first month’s premium have not paid their second month’s premium because they could not afford it. Even some subsidized enrollees cannot afford the premium.

Even worse, the HHS inspector general provided the first independent look at widespread issues the government is having effectively fact-checking the information applicants have put on their applications.

President Obama informed us that applicants lying on the website applications and receiving government subsidies for 2014 will be penalized on their tax return in 2015.

“According to the report, the administration was unable to resolve 2.6 million so-called "inconsistencies" out of a total of 2.9 million such problems from October through December 2013. 

“The government needs to determine applicants' eligibility in order to verify they can enroll and, in some cases, get government subsidies.”

Eighty-five percent of enrollees are receiving government subsidies. The report only covers people enrolled as of December 2013 when the total nuber of enrollees was only 3.5 million. 

“ Without that step (government verification), coverage could be jeopardized. Critics fear these issues also could cause chaos during the 2015 tax-filing season, as many would have to pay back subsidy money they were not entitled to.” 

According to the report, those running the federal marketplace are having trouble resolving problems of eligibility for subsidies. 

"The federal marketplace was generally incapable of resolving most inconsistencies," the report said, claiming the government could not resolve 89 percent of the problems

 So far Paul Krugman is zero for two.

 The American people will never know the truth because of the lack of transparency.

The truth does not matter to Paul Krugman or President Obama.

The media is the message. The American public is getting an untruthful message from the Obama administration through a non-critical traditional media. Wait until the taxpayers realize what the bill will be.

3. “More people will lose coverage cancelled by Obamacare than gain it.

Reality: Sharp drop in the number of uninsured.”

The real truth is there is something wrong with the Gallup survey of 3400 people. There are more people who lost insurance that had insurance previously when one compiles insurance policies lost as in section 1.

4. “Rate shock.

Reality: Like it says, affordable care.”

Paul Krugman should look at the Kaiser Foundation survey for the real truth.

Insurance premiums have only decreased for people making less than $50,000 because they receive government subsidies. The government pays the difference for those receiving subsidies.  

“Among plan switchers, 39% have higher premiums. In order to get the 46% number of switchers who had lower premiums, government subsidies had to be taken into account.”

According to the Kaiser report four in ten people in ACA-Compliant Plans say it is difficult to pay monthly premiums.

The majority of the Non-Group Enrollees (independent market) are confident about being able to pay for routine care with the high deductibles from the exchanges. They are less confident they will be able to pay the deductibles for a major illness.

 Obamacare is not affordable according to the Kaiser family foundation survey.

The Obama administration is heavily subsidizing people who are making less that $50,000 a year. The taxpayer is paying for the subsidy. It will be even worse for taxpayers when the healthcare insurance companies make less that their stated goal.

President Obama has by executive order put machinery in place to bail out the insurance industry to deliver the insurance industry’s expected profit at the taxpayers’ expense.

5.” Young people not signing up, and death spiral.

Reality: Pretty good demographics.”

These two references have nothing to do with the facts or the point Paul Krugman wants to make. He is pretty confident no one would read them the references.

“It’s still the case that just 28 percent of those sign-ups were between the ages of 18 and 34, far short of the administration’s target of 39 percent.”

The real truth is that the President needed 39% enrollment by young persons in order to make Obamacare financially viable in the individual healthcare insurance marketplace. President Obama ended up with only a 28% enrollment of young people.

Kathleen Sibelius announced that 28% was good enough.

6.” Soaring health costs.

Reality: Health costs are below anyone’s expectations.”

Does anyone believe the Obama administration when they tell us there is no inflation?  If you leave food and fuel out of the index there is no inflation. Food and fuel is what everyone buys and inflation is skyrocketing.

Health insurance premiums are also skyrocketing. Deductibles and co-pays are becoming unmanageable. The profits of the healthcare insurance industry unconscionable.

“Insurance firms participating in New York’s ObamaCare health exchange are seeking double-digit hikes for patient medical premiums in 2014.’

“Leading the charge is Excellus Health Plan, which is seeking to sock more than 24,000 customers with a 19.7 percent hike.”

“Health Republic Insurance of New York — the largest on the exchange with more than 68,000 members — requested a 15.2 percent increase for individual plans.”

Paul Krugman seems to have no interest in the facts.

Paul Krugman says, “It’s about politics and ideology, not analysis. But while this observation isn’t particularly startling, it’s worth pointing out just how completely ideology has trumped evidence in the health policy debate.”

Paul Krugman’s ideology trumps evidence. He is not even close to the truth. It is pure disinformation.

He is the one that is zero for six not his critics.

President Obama and Paul Krugman are concealing the truth about Obamacare’s failures.

What is worse is the traditional media and in particular the New York Times is letting them get away with it. 

What the public needs to do is obvious.

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

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