Shameless NYT Defense of Obamacare
by Stephen Lendman
Obamacare is a healthcare rationing scheme. It enriches insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains.
Universal, single-payer coverage alone works. Obama and complicit Democrats spurned it.
They prioritize taxing more, rationing care, placing profits above human need, and forcing ordinary people to bear a greater burden than previously.
Not according to NYT editors. On March 23, they headlined "Report on Health Care Reform," saying:
Obama's Affordable Care Act delivered "considerable benefits (to) millions of peopleâ€¦."
It "thr(ew) a lifeline to people at high risk of losing insurance or being uninsured, including young adults and people with chronic health problems, and it has made a start toward reforming the costly, dysfunctional American health care system."
Obamacare rips off most Americans. Wellpoint, Inc. wrote it. It's America's largest managed healthcare company. It benefits from provisions it included. So do other healthcare giants.
Higher costs are assured. Providers charge what they wish. Doing so deprives millions of vitally needed care. It's unaffordable.
On March 22, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Health Insurers Warn on Premiums."
They said "premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans."
Obama promised Americans affordable care. Insurance premiums would be lower, he said. Reality proves otherwise.
"(H)igher premiums have become the latest focal point of the political tussle over the health law."
UnitedHealth Group Inc. told brokers that "premiums for some consumers buying their plans could go up as much as 116%, and small business rates as much as 25% to 50%."
Estimates reflect higher medical costs. Obamacare provisions add more burdens. Other insurers project similar increases. They're "not being shy (about saying) premiums are going to increase in 2014."
Affordable care is a figure of speech. Reality prices millions out of coverage. Many others can't afford enough. Times editors mislead readers. Perhaps they don't care.
Obamacare denies more benefits than gained. Providers take full advantage. They game the system. They designed it. Profits are greater than ever. They're gotten by ripping off consumers.
Obamacare permits it. Affordable Care Act provisions assure it. Perhaps Times editors didn't notice.
"Although Republicans contend the law will drive up insurance premiums," they said, "thus far it seems to have reduced them."
The Journal and similar articles explain otherwise. Wendell Potter's a former health insurance company executive. He's now an outspoken critic.
His book "Deadly Spin" reveals insider secrets. It's an "expose" and "stark warning." Industry spin "destort(s) democracy."
"Clandestine meetingsâ€¦.leave no paper trail." Third party front groups serve industry interests. Corporate giants want dirty secrets suppressed. At issue are high stakes and rising profits.
Industry propaganda betrays consumers. So do complicit politicians. Media scoundrels support what demands condemnation. Times editors are some of the worst.
Healthcare spending in America rises annually. It does so exponentially. Economic hard times constrained it modestly. In 2014 and thereafter, Affordable Care Act provisions reverse things.
Projected costs will increase 7.4%. If insurance premiums rise sharply, they'll be much higher. Times editors didn't explain.
US healthcare is outrageously expensive. It's double the cost of other developed nations. It performs poorly by comparison. It does so in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, preventive care, and affordable services.
Profiteers explain why. Private insurance costs billions. Doing so provides no care. Revenues go for PR, overhead, underwriting, billing, sales, huge profits, and outlandish executive pay and bonuses.
Doctors and hospitals maintain costly administrative staffs. They have to. Dealing with bureaucratic mandates requires it. Doing so wastes billions of dollars. It amounts to over 30% of healthcare spending. None provides vitally needed care.
Single payer works best. Potential savings exceeds $400 billion annually. It's enough to provide universal care. It's more affordable. It assures all medically necessary services.
They include doctor visits, hospital treatment, preventive care, long-term care, mental health, reproductive care, dental, vision, prescription drugs, and medical supplies.
Doctors can practice medicine unconstrained. Hospitals can function more efficiently. Patients can choose providers freely. Predatory private insurers aren't needed. Costs will be systemically controlled. Doing so is long overdue.
Physicians for a National Health Program's (PNHP) Dr. John Geyman says Obamacare "props up an inefficient and exploitive private health insurance industry."
Vitally needed affordable care is denied. Millions are shut out unconscionably. Privatization games healthcare for profit. Market-based bureaucracy and fragmentation "worse(n) health outcomes." Americans pay more for less coverage.
Exorbitant premiums, high co-pays, and coverage gaps leave patients vulnerable to financial ruin in case of serious illness. Most personal bankruptcies result from medical costs too great to pay.
Decades of alternative plans failed. America experimented with HMOs, PPO's, high-deductible plans, health savings accounts, pay-for-performance, capitation and disease management. None worked.
Profits matter more than health. Providers game the system. Complicit politicians let them. Insurers are worst of all. They're predatory middlemen. They provide no care.
Single-payer works best. It's efficient, equitable, publicly accountable and affordable. Everyone in. No one out. Bureaucratic waste is eliminated. Illness assures treatment.
Market-based fundamentalism prioritizes profits over care. Uninsured and underinsured numbers rose. Provider choices decreased. Consolidation created oligopolies.
Escalating costs, public health, trauma centers, mental health services, long-term care, unaffordable services, frustrated physicians, and dissatisfied patients followed.
Times editors endorsed it. They did so unconscionably. They suppressed what readers most need to know. It's standard Times practice. It supports corporate interests. It spurns popular ones.
It claims Medicare and Social Security aren't sound for the long run. It lies saying so. Both programs work. Proper administration requires only minor adjustments. Privatization schemes fail.
Times editors substitute managed news misinformation for truth. Their healthcare reform report card turned it on its head. It suppressed what most needs explaining.
Obamacare shifts costs to consumers, offers inadequate or unaffordable access, mandates higher deductibles, provides less coverage, leaves millions uninsured, leaves many more underinsured, and ends up doing more harm than good.
Don't expect Times editors to explain. They support wealth, power and privilege. They betray regular readers in the process. An open letter challenged them.
It urged them to act responsibly. It said doing so is its own reward. It said try it sometime and see.
It asked why they support wrong over right. It said it's never too late to change. It proposed an offer too important to refuse. Try publishing "All the News That's Fit to Print" for real, it urged.
It touched the right nerves. It got widespread readership. It fell on deaf ears. It showed in claiming Obamacare works. It's a healthcare rationing system. It's for private enrichment. It bears repeating. Don't expect Times editors to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.