Diagnosis for Democracy
Insights into the State of Our Union
A Blog by Rob Tenery, MD


If Obamacare Comes Off the Track

By Rob Tenery, MD on May 31, 2016

 “If you read Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, it talks about the need to ridicule. It also talks about never having a real conversation with your adversary, because that humanizes them and your job is to dehumanize them. Therefore, we see people coming out and saying bad about those who oppose Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). For instance, that they want older people to die and they want kids to be deprived of food and all these things are just straight out of the (Alinsky’s) text.

What’s really interesting that is Vladimir Lenin, one of the founders of socialism and communism, said that socialized medicine is the keystone of the arch to the socialist state. In other words, you’ve got socialized medicine as the foundation because it gives you control of the people. Once you have control of them, you can do whatever you want.

What’s really surprising, and is very serious, and is being missed in this whole discussion is that the fundamental relationship between the people and the government is shifting, and has shifted, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. It puts the government now at the pinnacle of the power structure. So we are now government centric as opposed to people centric.

I don’t think the average person understands what’s going on. This is very serious.”

Benjamin Carson, M.D., live interview on the Kelly File, October 9, 2013.

“On paper, the Affordable Care Act, which you probably know better as Obamacare, looks to be chugging right along in spite of naysayers. By the end of the 2016 enrollment period, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, about 12.7 million people had enrolled, including more than 9.6 million through the federally run HealthCare.gov and 3.1 million through the one dozen states operating their own marketplace exchanges.

More importantly, the rate of uninsured adults in the U.S. continues to fall. Gallup-Healthways' latest Well-Being Index on uninsured rates showed a drop of 90 basis points in the first quarter of 2016 to 11% from 11.9% in Q4 2015, the lowest reading since the duo began tracking this statistic in 2008. A lower uninsured rate would suggest that hospitals and physicians are writing off fewer services rendered as uncollectable, and that insurers are spreading their medical expenses over a greater percentage of the population.

Things aren't what they appear. 
But dig below the headline numbers and things aren't exactly going according to plan. How do we know? Look no further than the white flag that the nation's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, has been waving for the better part of six months. UnitedHealth, which actually operates in nearly two-thirds of all U.S. markets, has predicted it could lose $500 million on its individual Obamacare plans in 2016 and recently announced that it's planning to exit the vast majority of exchanges come 2017. UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley has blamed higher medical utilization rates for Obamacare members, as well as the ease of switching plans, for his company's Obamacare woes.

It's pretty scary thinking about the largest healthcare provider being unable to turn a profit in most states. But it's an entirely different story when the data suggests this isn't just a UnitedHealth problem. A huge study released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association recently analyzed the medical claims of millions of Obamacare and employer-based members and found that Obamacare members are 22% costlier than employe-based members. Obamacare enrollees also tend to be sicker, coming with a host of chronic or expensive-to-treat conditions.”

Comments from Marilyn Tavenner, the former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in late 2013 and early 2014 when Obamacare was initially rolling out, imply the worst may be yet to come.

Some would claim that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was doomed from the start. The plan was designed to have the younger, healthier patients pay for the usually sicker, older population, until they qualified under Medicare. It’s not working out that way!  The younger population is continuing under their parents’ coverage longer or are willing to pay the fine and remain uncovered. 

If Dr. Carson’s assertion is correct, there may be a more ominous plan with the creation of Obamacare.  “Socialized medicine is the keystone of the arch to the socialist state. In other words, you’ve got socialized medicine as the foundation because it gives you control of the people,” Dr. Carson quotes.  

The answer, by many so-called experts who have supported the Obamacare program from its inception, is to move into a single-payer system if the program fails. “Medicare for all,” as proposed by Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. By anyone’s definition that is socialized medicine.

It seems as if this country's current administration is following Saul Alinsky’s playbook, Rules for Radicals, to the letter. Obama’s ardent followers and the throngs of young supporters who lineup behind Bernie Sanders, may well see the dawning of a new day, not too far off in the future, and they won’t like it!





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