The Uncovered

Originally posted at The Left Shue

By now everyone here knows that I am not riding the same train as my friends in the Democratic Party over the recently passed Health Care "Reform" bill. I am not pleased with the fact that the new law is based on a Republican premise of funneling public funds to private industry. I definitely am not pleased with the lack of a public option or government option to compliment the mandates to individuals who will be required to purchase health insurance. And I am absolutely pissed with the blatant disrespect toward Progressives in the process. However, there is another aspect of this law that really is doing its best to fly under the radar - the total misrepresentation of this law as somehow being "universal healthcare".  Take into consideration this from Kaiser Health News:

"When President Obama signed health care overhaul into law Tuesday, did he fulfill a campaign promise to "bring health care to all?"

The short answer is no. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the overhaul law, as it expected to be amended by House fixes, would eventually cover 32 million more Americans. But that would leave 23 million that would still be uninsured by 2019."

23 million uncovered sure seems to be less than "universal coverage" to me. So who are the 23 million? I'm glad you asked that question. Well let's start with everyone's favorite scapegoat, undocumented workers. One of the first groups to be tossed from the program (even before there was a program) were an estimated 7 million undocumented workers who, while they may be providing a benefit to the country (certainly to the employers who hire them and the communities in which they live and shop) have been deemed unworthy of healthcare coverage under our shiny new "universal" health care law. But then again, they have grown accustomed to the ERs and community clinics or simply hoping they can outlast the infection with some aspirin and prayer.

That still leaves another 16 million who will not be covered for a variety of reasons. Some, mostly young adults who don't believe that they will be in any immediate need of major healthcare coverage, will simply choose to pay the IRS imposed annual fine rather than monthly premiums. Yet others will be exempt due to religious objections, or if they are American Indians or if they are simply between coverage for less than three months. And then there will be my favorite category:

"Some people will be exempt from the mandate to purchase coverage because they will be unable to find affordable coverage," Jennifer Tolbert, the principle policy analyst at the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, told us. (KHN is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)

That includes a large group of people of limited means who would be exempt from the individual mandate to get insurance. These folks wouldn't have to pay a penalty for going without insurance if the cheapest available plan would chew up more than 8 percent of their income. People whose income falls below the threshold for filing a tax return with the IRS also get a pass. The problem is that some of these people might earn too much to qualify for Medicaid."

Yep, that's right, the folks who most need access to health care - the poor and underprivileged will not benefit from this historic "Socialist" health care reform because they will not be able to afford the most basic private plan and our Democratic leaders decided there should be no public option to serve as a real safety net for our most needy.

And so, while many will be headed out to rallies and celebrations of the great Democratic victory over the Republicans and the Tea Baggers, remember that, while you certainly should defend against the absurd charges of Socialism and Government Takeover of health care; please do not counter with the equally absurd claim of "Universal Health Care for All".

Chad (The Left) Shue

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--will be when enough people realize that their premiums and copays will still be skyrocketing.  Right now, people who are observing the total batshit craziness of Obama's opponents want to be in favor of whatever the crazies are against.

by eridani on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 11:57:33 AM PST

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This bill does not create real cost control and will not bring down premiums for most Americans. Congress and state legislatures need to adopt real cost control measures like: drug re-importation, Medicare direct drug price negotiation, a public insurance option, Medicare buy-in, or a central provider reimbursement negotiator (all-payer system). These changes would save the government and regular Americans hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.

Secondly regulations are only as good as the strength of the agency tasked to enforce them. This bill is dangerously lacking in this area, leaving enforcement mainly up to the same state insurance commissioners that now often lack the will, funding, or power to hold the private insurance companies honest. Only a national exchange and a federal insurance commissioner would have the power to make sure the new regulations are more than over-hyped window dressing.

by kenblueswell76 on Thu Apr 15, 2010 at 10:55:24 PM PST

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