Who benefits? Follow the money. Wise old principles that lawyers use to cut through the smoke to see the truth. While we as Americans are not a uniquely greedy bunch, we have refined the art considerably in our political process.
Ever since the 2010 election, we’ve been hearing about how Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) must be repealed. “It’s a job killer”. “It’s a government takeover of health care”. “It’s supported by Liberals.” [added]. If you’ve given it any thought, you may be wondering if the first two are true.
The CBO says that the measure, in it’s entirety, reduces the projected deficit. I think coverage for individuals like me and my family is improved with elimination of preexisting conditions and enhanced preventive coverage. As might be expected, there are some things that should to be changed, but why exactly am I supposed to throw the baby out with the bath water?
The American Medical Association doesn’t seem to think Obamacare a bad thing. Check out their advocacy statement on their website. They call it “An important first step”.
So back to the money, and who benefits. It seems to me that insurance companies, drug companies, and large hospital conglomerates have a great thing going for them right now.
Competition for health insurance has been eliminated by dividing up the territory. Here in New Hampshire, there is only one provider of individual health insurance coverage. More than 70% of the entire insurance market, individual and group, is dominated by two companies. They control the premiums paid by you and/or your employer and they control the amount that doctors are paid for their services.
Drug companies have a huge stake in the repeal. In 2003 they succeeded in getting an outrageous provision into the Medicare part D law that actually prohibited the Government from negotiating prices for drugs. (You remember, the law passed by browbeating opponents in the middle of the night.) The VA can negotiate and pays much less than Medicare. Canadians and Brits even less. The drug companies say negotiation would lead to the Secretary of Human Services price fixing at higher prices – LOL. When the Democrats regained control of the house in 2007, they passed a bill to allow negotiation. That bill was killed in the Senate. Obamacare makes a back door pass at it and reduces the price of Medicare drugs across the board.
Large hospital conglomerates that operate hundreds of for-profit medical facilities are in no mood to be compelled to change their practices. They have a good thing going with doctors feeding them patients for tests and treatments that are of questionable effectiveness but high profit. The Affordable Care act establishes the mechanisms to determine the effectiveness of services and make that information available to consumers. There are a few not-for-profit providers out there who have shown better results at lower cost using a more informed approach with better prevention and early intervention.
Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the country and a premier growth industry. There are trillions of dollars at stake, and American enterprise will go to the mat to protect the cash cow that they have built. But hey, they’re just spending those millions opposing the bill because it’s bad for consumers.