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Debunking Health Care Reform Myths In The 11th Hour

While this blog was written one day prior to a watered version of the health care reform act moving to its final vote, there are still many in the U.S. who continue to wade through the misconceptions. Far from following the health care  models of other countries and after over fifty years of fighting for some form of reform, if you're a 'dummy' like me, you may still not be as knowledgeable as you'd like regarding this revolutionary new legislation. However when dealing with the facts on some of the major issues, I was able to research some of the more topical myths that can be debunked. 

A Government Take-over.  Dissimilar to Canada and Britain, the government will not take over hospitals or other privately run health care businesses - and physicians will not become government employees.  The U.S. government intends to help those who purchase insurance from private companies, but not pay all the bills like the system in Canada. Medicare and Medicaid will stay in tact, and the government would create health insurance exchanges for those who have to buy insurance on their own. This will be done so that Americans will be able to comparison-shop.

Employer insuranceEmployer insuranceEmployers Don't Need To Provide Insurance. Employers will not be required to buy insurance for employees, but larger employers with more than 50 workers may be subject to fines if they don't provide insurance. Congress apparently wants to encourage employers to offer insurance to all their employees, Fines will be issued to larger employers if their employees buy insurance on the exchanges and qualify for a low-income credit. Fines will be based on a sliding scale according to the number of employees, 50 and above.

Insurance Companies Will Refuse Certain Coverage. By 2014, when the exchanges open, insurers won't be able to deny customers for pre-existing conditions. There will also be minimum services they must cover and they will have to pay out a certain percentage of premiums for patient care. This is not to say that insurance companies won't be able to charge more for those insured that require pre-existing conditions.

Insurance premiums will continue to increase.  The bill will prevent health insurance from escalating at the current high double digit percentages. For the four out of five who get insurance through their employers, the savings would land in the 0 to 3 percent range by 2016, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Those who buy insurance on their own and don't qualify for government subsidies would incur a maximum increase of 13% (but the high end would be for policies that offer premium services).

Increase The Deficit. The most recent estimate of the plan, released by the Congressional Budget Office, said that it would spend $940 billion over 10 years. But new taxes, penalties and cost savings would offset that spending, the CBO said. So overall  - the plan pays for itself, dropping the deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. Obama has said the plan will save more than $1 trillion in the second 10 years, but that estimate, according to the CBO, is highly speculative.

Medicaid Will Be Restricted. Medicaid, a joint federal-state program for the poor, will cover all of the poor, instead of just a few groups. Right now, to qualify for Medicaid, a person has to be poor and also disabled, elderly, pregnant or a child. Under the new plan, all poor adults would qualify.


Abortions Will Be Covered. The government won't pay for elective abortions. But under the Senate plan, people will be able to buy insurance that covers abortion on the insurance exchanges, as long as the insurance company pays for the services with patient premiums, not taxpayer subsidies. Medicaid has an exemption for cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Creating Death Panels. Numerous media outlets have now debunked right-wing claims that the House health care reform bill would encourage euthanasia of the elderly, including Sarah Palin's claim -- forwarded by the conservative media -- that the bill would create a "death panel" and the related claim -- initiated by Betsy McCaughey -- that the bill would "absolutely require" that seniors on Medicare undergo end-of-life counseling "that will tell them how to end their life sooner." Media Matters for America has identified more than 40 instances of media reporting that these claims are false.

A Universal Health Care Bill. Based on the final bill being watered down, what will become law is neither universal health care nor universal health insurance. According to the Congressional Budget Office:

    * Total uninsured in 2019 with no bill: 54 million.
    * Total uninsured in 2019 with Senate bill: 24 million.

Will Lead To Socialism. The same was said about Social Security back in the 40s and Medicare in the 60s. But what was proven over the course of the last 60 years, both of these programs were actually responsible for lifting millions of people out of poverty and have lived longer lives as a result.

 
Need To Start Over. On March 17, MyBarackObama.com issued the following YouTube video, with the message, "if we fail to act on health reform, everything stays the same, right? Wrong. If we turn back now, the health care system we currently have will quickly start to unravel.



I am sure there are many other myths that can be debunked. So I ask the readers to post those that I have not covered in this blog. Whether you are on the right or left of this debate, it is important that we work with the facts versus 'scare tactic' mentality and politically-twisted logic. Health care has proven successful in countries that pay dearly for it - and at greater costs than the watered down U.S. bill that will be passed into law. I just hope that after we are on the other side of the vote, and the dust settles, these debunked myths will fade quickly and we can all deal with the pressing matters of living longer and healthier lives.

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Comments
Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

govt hasnt fixed anything

I'd be curious to hear from someone who thinks this is a good thing put down a list of what the govt has accomplished in our lifetime. IMO the govt is completely unsuccessful in everything its done since WWII. Its a corrupt bunch, and that list wont be hard to produce.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

driving without insurance

we already do, a lot of people on the street that don't have insurance
mostly illegals, that also can't read

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

This bill turns me into a criminal

The myth-busting of this article is BS in its purest form. As for me, I am resigned to deliberately violate the law for the first time in my life because I will refuse to follow government mandates that order me to buy something and I will also refuse to pay any imposed fines for refusing to follow such a mandate. "Give me liberty or give me death."

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

You mean I don't have to ay

You mean I don't have to ay income tax?

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Health Care Reality

While much of the legislation is righteously intented, it has so many unintended consequences.

For one, it doesnt tackle the true costs. The truth in American Healthcare is that Costs are fixed by the government, mandating prices on Medicare and Medicaid. And then stipulate that you cant offer a price within a percentage of the fixed price. IE, the market doesnt generate costs, the govt does.

Also, Costs are not transparent. You cant compare costs by insuranace company or doctor. You wont know what the costs are until you get the bill. Doctors submit to insurance companies by codes, and insurance companies price by these codes. Doctors know the reimbursement rates, but you dont.

Here's how it works: Insurance companies need doctors in their networks. To get them, they offer 'acceptable' reimbursements. This means that if doctors dont agree to the the reimbursements, they dont accept that insurance. Without the doctors network, they cant get the best plan to offer to employers. If they dont get enough employers, they cant collect enough premiums (with which to reimburse doctors at the highly demanded rate). Costs are driven up by the fact that insurance companies need high volume of employers in their plans and high volumes of doctors accepting. And for this to happen, they have to provide high reimbursements.

If you could price comparison shop for doctors, the leverage comes back to consumers. It forces the costs to be market driven, not fixed, and then raised by doctors.

Real reform must break the binds between doctors and insurance. Insurance also needs to be portable - so you can take it from one employer to another. The cost of a service should be the cost of a service, and the reimbursement should be based on that cost - not a behind the scenes negotiation you are not a part of.

Proce transparency will drive costs down and allow more people to afford insurance.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

America is better as a Marxist State to save the environment

Government Health Care will help us to stop global warming.

Once heath care is passed we can then use our mandate to pass Cap & Trade and save the earth from global warming.

The Capitalist will try and stop Cap & Trade and Health Care!

Workers of the world unite, help destroy the America Capitalist System bring about global equality. Support your leader Obama and follow the path to true equality for ALL!

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

illegals

If 30,000,000 illegal alliens receive amnisty will they be covered? If so do you think my costs will rise? If pre-existing conditions are alowed does that control the rise of health care costs? I'm on board with the pre-existing conditons. I think thats a wrong we can right. However I don't want illegal alliens to receive amnisty because they are illegal. If you want to control the cost of health care tackle tort reform, tackle illegal imigration, and allow health insurace companies to compete accross state lines. I believe this bill will hit me in the wallet on my taxes and on my health insurance. Besides after Obama is gone whos to say they won't tax the middle class. This whole bill leads down a road I don't want to go. Everytime I look at my pay check I wonder if I'm going to see my social security (Currently paying more than it takes in). Medicare is broken...hmmm medicaid is broken.....California is broke (liberal state) Illinoise is broke (Liberal State) Hawaii is broke (Liberal State) Massachusetts is broke (Liberal State) and it has a form of health care that is similar to what is about to be pushed onto all of America. Statistically speaking the government doesn't have a good track record of telling you the truth about cost analysis. 940 billion in my mind is 2 times more and the savings is a lie. A bold face lie. I hope I'm wrong but I know I'm not. Social Security has been misappropriated for years and in my mind that is stealing. Isn't theft against the law? I am frustrated that republicans didn't do something about it before. I agree that they have been the party of no for so long however I'll take "no" over this proposal.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

constitutionality

The necessary and proper clause is not a blank check for federal authority to pass any law that "compels" citizens to do anything Congress wants to them to do, no matter how well-intentioned. I know of no federal statute that compels citizens to purchase a product, either from the government or a private corporation. States that require auto insurance also permit citizens to substitute cash liability -- the laws are in fact liability statutes, not compulsory insurance statutes -- but even if they were, the states have the power to pass such laws, while it is not clear that the federal government does. Lincoln justified emancipation and the repression of civil liberties under his war powers during a civil war. No such extremity exists right now, and no analogue of war is reasonable or justifiable to pass this health care bill. And I haven't seen an precedent cited for the use of the interstate commerce clause to compel people to buy a product they do not want. The feds can find ingenious ways to make people do things, but the mandates in this bill are highly questionable under the constitution.

Another not-so-old history professor

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

good Democrat talking points cut and paste

Alright, so you're good at cutting and pasting from a self-absorbed congressmen's e-mail. Unfortunately, you're wrong on many levels. First, this bill is not a reform. It does nothing to curb the cost of health care. Realistically, it will increase the cost of health care. You want to know why, because this system will put more people with health insurance in the system. The story that was pushed was that if people had access to someone else paying their medical bills i.e. health care reform, that they'll have access to more primary (sold as preventative) care services. However, studies have shown that would actually cost more money. So, they stopped making that argument. The next argument and the one being pushed is equally fallacious. It's that people are denied health care and, therefore, they die. That's another fallacy, as was proven by the Cleveland Clinic last week when BHO trotted out the lady who claimed she couldn't get her cancer treatment because she lost her health insurance. The Cleveland Clinic called BS on that. They pointed to around 10 different resources that would help her pay her bills. The reality is people in this country have become a bunch of whiny, self-centered leaches expecting everyone else to pay their way.

Alright back to the fallacies of these talking points. CBO scores are based on assumptions presented by the Democrats in support of the bill. One of those assumptions is that there can be $500,000,000,000 in savings from Medicare. First, that's a load a crap. Second, if $500B could be saved from Medicare, why haven't they done it, yet, rather than Medicare being on the brink of insolvency just like Social Security. While I'm on the topic of Social Security, I contribute the maximum to SS and Medicare, both of which will be insolvent by the time I retire, so the government will have soaked me $8k per year to redistribute it to others. So, in essence they've taken from me to give to others. Sounds pretty damn socialistic if you ask me.

This will lead to a government takeover. Here's why. It will be a fine to not carry health insurance, but the fine will be much less than premiums would be. So, here's what a lot of slugs will do. They'll pay the fine, not carry insurance, and, then when they get sick, go buy a policy because they cannot be denied because they cannot deny coverage for someone with a pre-existing condition. The insurance carriers will then be on the hook because they're not permitted to deny someone because of a pre-existing condition. Now, the insurance carrier will have to pay out costs that have not been factored by an actuary. Leading to the private market drying up and next thing you know, we've got the single payer system that those in Britain and Canada hate but people who want to control others enjoy.

Death panels-They might not be called "death panels" but the practical effect of the end of life provisions will be death panels. When they're deciding whether to provide chemotherapy or some other type of expensive therapy and decide it's too expensive based on the person's health or age, that's a panel deciding life and death aka death panels.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

what are the doctors saying?

I guesss I care what the Dr's think. If this reform creates disgruntled Dr's or chases them into other professions, then we're all hosed. It will be the long term repurcussions, not the short term ones, that concern me. Hopefully America gets mad and votes in some common sense if this program fails.

FLEMINGTON, N.J., March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- A new media study among 900 physicians revealed that the majority of physicians (71%) reported that they are not in favor of the Obama administration's plans for health care reform.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Comparing Auto Insurance Requirements to Health

It is not valid to use the requirement for Auto Insurance as basis to justify requiring everyone to buy health insurance.

First of all, auto insurance is not required unless you own a car and operate it on a public road. Owning a car is an elective activity and the insurance is tied to the car, not every operator who might drive it. If a licensed driver operates your car with or without your permission and gets into an accident and has no car insurance of his/her own, your policy covers them under the uninsured motorist rider.

Secondly, the only auto insurance your County or State (not Federal) government requires you to purchase for your car is liability which insures that the property and/or health/life of others will be covered. If you choose to finance a car (vs purchasing one for cash outright), the lender will require you to carry more coverage to protect their interest. This is not a requirement from the federal government.

Again, for emphasis, the requirement is for the protection of others, not yourself.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

America is run by Capitalists - America stole from Mexico

All Mexicans have a right to America as you took our land. We should get Health Care and education. This all will come to pass as America is being put in its place. America MUST pay for every person who is here as a LAW.

America will pay for it's crimes. WE WANT FREE HEATH CARE, EDUCATION, HOUSING AND MONEY FOR STEALING FROM MEXICO.

I voted for Obama for my people to get their rights. We have rights and we will get what is due to us!

My vote counts more than some rich guy because I'm a worker not a RICH PIG.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

It might be, it couldbe, it

It might be, it couldbe, it is a home run well done.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Health Care is a Human Right even for Illegal Aliens are people

Any person should get free heath care. Why should only American's get it?

If you are in America you should get everything. With so many rich people why do we have to pay for their big houses and fur coats.

People should read Marx and Lenin to learn about equal rights

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

laymen

And thats to say that they don't already. Where have you been?

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Sunday 3/20/2010 - WE TAKE OVER AMERICA

Workers of the world will once again take their right place in history.

America has become rich and fat on the back of the working class.

Now we can take control and bring about a better world.

Once we have our victory tomorrow in health care we must now move on to save the environment through stopping global warming.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Tax the RICH and save America

The RICH are evil. It's time they pay their fair share. Health Care for should be paid for by those who live in big houses.

We'll see who wins! The FAT Americans or those who have rights as WORKERS!

Obama will change America so can be united and destroy the upper class that feeds off our labor.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

re:

who will pay for your medical bills if you get sick or injured and end up in the emergency room. Unless of course you are going to stand by your principle and refuse also taxpayers to pick up the tab

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

idiot

you want to turn your health care over to idiots? do so, leave me out! retard!

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

yet another

RE: Bottom line is it is not constitutional to force people to buy something, ANYTHING.

Car insurance comes to mind.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Argument based on talking points.

Any reasonable person will tell you that health care needs to be reformed. Your argument is based on talking point. You are pretending that ObamaCare is the only solution.

President Obama would be proud of a sheep like you. Ever-time he puts up a straw-man argument you eat it all up.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Thank you Mr. Callari for

Thank you Mr. Callari for casting some sunshine on the subject. It is refreshing to hear some clear – and honest - commentary on the issue. There has been precious little of that of recent.

Mar 20, 2010
by Anonymous

Medicare is cheaper than private insurance

Medicare operates cheaper than private insurance. Medicare Advantage is a privatized version of raditional Medicare. It costs 13% more than regular Mdicare. The current bill will do away with those extra payments -- one reason the insurance companies are spending so much to kill this bill.

On a more general level, I see your argument as saying the U.S. cannot afford national health care. Yet Canada, Japan, and European countries, including some rather poor ones, like the Czech Republic, have it -- no problem. Even the state of Hawaii has it.

And to anticipate a criticism, they're health care systems don't provide substandard care. Most of those countries have healthier populations than the U.S. -- lower infant mortality, longer lifespans, fewer chronic condition illnesses, etc. I like Canada's system -- single payer, see any doctor you want, and you can have your own additional insurance if you want more coverage than the govt. plan provides. The main problem with their system is that in smaller towns and rural areas, health care is difficult to get -- just like in the U.S.

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

Single payer for all!

The plan being voted on today is nothing but another ripoff by the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. If it passes, just wait for the giant fubar.

What is wrong with you people who don't want government run healthcare? Single payer, like the Canadian plan, would lower the cost drastically for every individual in this country. Wouldn't you rather pay $100 a month premium and have NO deductibles, NO co-pays and NO out-of-pocket expenses? Why are you afraid of a socialist healthcare system? Social Security and Medicare are government plans which every employed person pays into now. Will you turn those benefits down when you reach retirement age? Only if you're wealthy.

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

America better as Communist Country?

Get out of my Country you moron!!!!!

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

baldrick

This post reads like it came directly out of Pelosi's of Obama's office. It takes the valid arguments and tries to say "No way guy, look over there," then hopes people are gullible enough to believe the arguments against the bill are myths.

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

Correction about Medicaid

I want to point out that you do not have to be a poor disabled adult to recieve Medicaid. I am just poor with a child and in the state of Ohio I qualify for Medicaid. The stipulation is that I only get it for a limited amount of time and my son will be covered until I can provide other insurance for him. With that being said I also want to point out that I am halfway through earning my Bachelors degree and I work so I am not just sitting on my behind letting the government and hard workers pay my bills.
I have to say that your breakdown is nice and easy to read but there are still many things I see wrong in how they are trying to reform the health care and many unanswered questions that I think the government either hopes will go away or they must think they can deal with it as it comes along. There is no denying that health care in this country is out of control and costs are way too expensive. There is a wrong way and a right way to solve this problem and I don't think this is it.

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

Can we rethink that?

"I care not whether Man is Good or Evil; all that I care is whether he is a Wise Man or a Fool. Go, put off Holiness and put on Intellect. . .

So... let's have a men who are evil and wise, who forget the virtues taught by morality (holiness) and have them use only their intellect.

Yay Hitler!

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

I can't believe how stupid

I can't believe how stupid the average person is in this country. Grab your guns and ammo, because you are going to need it in the near future. Don't think that this is a joke either. Taking a little of our freedom at a time is the next step to us becoming the USSR revisited. Talk to any Russian from the soviet era and they will tell you the real truth about the communism that you so dearly want.

Mar 21, 2010
by Anonymous

Yes, but I can choose not to

Yes, but I can choose not to drive and not get fined.