With so much going on around the world and here at home, it’s easy to overlook a minor story about the president having a sore throat, but President Obama’s doctor visit is illustrative of some of the problems with the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare was sold to the American public as a panacea for all the nation’s health care difficulties. It was going to enroll millions of people who allegedly couldn’t afford health insurance, it was going to make care more affordable, it was going to guarantee that you could see a doctor.
The Left is just ecstatic about Obamacare’s performance. “Better than expected!” is the rallying cry — which implies the people who foisted the Affordable Care Act on the country in the first place had much lower expectations than was evinced in their sales pitch.
Some 30 million-plus people remain uninsured in this country: approximately the same number that was tossed around during the ACA debate as the reason we needed to rework our health system.
Yet the supporters of Obamacare tout a vast improvement in the number of insured adults, with the uninsured plunging from around 18 percent in 2013 to 13.4 percent in 2014. So which is it? Is the number of uninsured about the same, or has Obamacare netted an impressive decrease of nearly one-third?
The correct answer is “both.”
Back when Obamacare was first passed, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the number of uninsured adults in the United States was around 14.4 percent. In the first quarter of 2014, it was 13.4 percent, a meager improvement of only about 1 percent of the adult population.
That big improvement the Administration and its flying monkeys brag about was only possible because under President Obama, up until 2014, the number of uninsured soared by almost 50 percent. Once Obamacare kicked in, the numbers came back down. Rather than a big improvement, Obamacare enrollment represents a return to the previous status quo.
Obamacare has also done little or nothing to improve costs. According to a poll by Kaiser, “couldn’t afford it” remains the No. 1 reason for people being uninsured, cited by nearly 2 in 5 uninsured adults. An additional 13 percent said they didn’t know about the Obamacare requirement to have health insurance, and 14 percent didn’t think the requirement applied to them.
From the medical side, there continues to be a doctor shortage, and it’s getting worse. The Physicians Foundation conducted a poll recently that found 81 percent of primary care doctors consider themselves at full capacity or over-extended. The poll also found 44 percent of doctors planned to cut back on the number of patients they see, retire, or even close their practices to new patients altogether.
According to a recent Associated Press story, medical authorities believe most patients are still getting the care they need, but they are waiting longer, driving farther and often being forced to see an assistant or a nurse practitioner rather than a doctor. Patients who are forced to go out of plan can expect to foot a much higher percentage of the bill.
All of the above brings us back in a roundabout fashion to President Obama’s sore throat.
One of the many complaints about Obamacare is that even with huge monthly premiums it provides nowhere near the level of care that Washington’s elite enjoy for free on the taxpayer dime.
When President Obama complained of a sore throat, he was taken immediately to a top-notch medical facility where the doctor used a fiber-optic scope to inspect Obama’s throat. Confirming that there was some inflammation, Obama was rushed into a same-day CT scan at Walter Reed.
Perhaps needless to say, if you or I were to go to a doctor complaining of a sore throat, we wouldn’t get that kind of treatment. Forget the fiber-optic scope and CT scan, most of us would be lucky to get a mint-flavored tongue depressor before the doctor wrote us a prescription for a bag of Ricolas.
Obama’s diagnosis turned out to be acid reflux, what moms around the country know as an upset tummy. Perhaps he’s having trouble swallowing all the lies he and his Administration churn out daily, or perhaps the Tea Party is getting to him.
In any event, the whole health care “crisis” that spurred the push for Obamacare in the first place was not such a big crisis that the Democrats and president felt like actually “fixing” health care for the rest of us.
It has always been about power and money. As the Supreme Court decided, it was a tax increase, plain and simple.
The elites continue to get their gold-plated care, while the rest of us foot the bill.