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Arthur Schaper: ObamaCare-Less in RI

Friday, March 14, 2014

 

The Affordable Care Act’s careless implementation and uncaring implications have exposed that Obama-Care-Less about the health and wealth of Rhode Islanders, believes Arthur Schaper.

Obamacare horror stories, far from being lies, according to US Senator Harry Reid, actually hit close to home, and not in a good way. Aside from friends and acquaintances of mine who have complained about the loss health insurance, or an unexpected and unaffordable rise in their insurance premiums, the statistics across the country regarding the unintended and unconscionable consequences of Obamacare cannot be ignored, let alone dismissed as lies.

In Maryland and Oregon, legislators are scrambling to make up for never-ending computer glitches, which have drastically reduced the number of people whom state leaders were expecting to sign up.

CNN reported on the rising demand coupled with the increasing shortage of doctors in the wake of Obamacare’s rollout. A rural doctor and other specialists are boycotting the “most successful” state exchange Covered California. Other agents signaled a growing backlash to receiving patients enrolled in the state exchanges. Even an LA Times article challenging the argument that seven out of ten doctors were boycotting the California exchange, acknowledged about one hospital that “there are reports that some may see patients only in non-exchange plans”.

CNBC reported a federal study, which determined that two-thirds of small businesses will size rise in health care premiums because of Obamacare.

What about Rhode Island? RIPR exposed that the state exchange has not taken in nearly enough healthy, young people, the bulk of whom would subsidize the poor and sick flocking to the program.

Dr. Dan Harrop, associate medical director for Aetna Heath, acknowledged that Obamacare enjoyed some popularity: “Clearly there are people who are able to get insurance who could not get it before.” Still working part-time as a psychiatrist, Harrop added: “I have more business because of Obamacare.” He then acknowledged that the program was unsustainable:

“I can tell you the trends that are bad for the whole program. Don’t worry about the insurance companies. They will eventually make a profit. The issue is how much the government will have to underwrite these insurance plans.”

Sharing personal anecdotes of people who lost their health insurance, doctor, or hospital of choice, Harrop affirmed that without young and healthy people signing up, the whole system will collapse.

Go Local Prov Health/Business expert Amy Gallagher works as a benefits administrator, and she had nothing but bad news about Obamacare, citing businesses would face rising premiums beyond the normal 7%. “A defense contract based in Rhode Island will face a 26% hike in health insurance premiums because of this law.” She further commented on other statewide firms which face no other option beyond raising the insurance premiums on their employees just to manage the costs associated with Obamacare. She did not disclose specific names, for fear that those firms would face political retaliation, like losing key contracts with the state.

Beyond the statements of the benefits administrator, General Assembly legislators are sounding the alarm about Rhode Island’s embattled, unsustainable healthcare exchange, Health Source RI.

Patricia Morgan (R -West Warwick) investigated the Governor’s budget to find expenses related to the health exchange. Despite the initially projected cost of $23 million per year, Morgan discovered costs for media, the call center, and the staff which amounted to $35 to 38 million. Morgan shared another open yet secreted aspect of the budget: "There's twelve jobs in one line time: $2.2 million, and $1.3 million for fifteen more, all for the health care exchange, with average salaries of $146,700 and $108,300." Then she added: “The names of the jobs are not listed in the budget.”

Because of the exceeding costs of the exchange, in conjunction with structural deficits expected to rise from $150 million to $450 million in four years, Morgan submitted H7817, which would mandate that no state funds would support the health exchange.

Cosigning the legislation, Assemblyman Jan Malik (D-Warren) stated: “I just don’t think we can afford it because of the situation we are in right now. Let the feds pay for it.” Making a point that the costs of the state healthcare exchange would increase substantially over the next four years, Malik rejoined: “The issue for me is the dollars and sense. If we could afford it, we should keep it.”

Eleven cosponsors signed on to H7817, including Arthur Corvese (D-North Providence), Ray Hull (D-Providence), Michael Chippendale (R-Johnston) and John DeSimone (D-Providence).

Responding to a telephone inquiry, Chippendale commented that as a member of a permanent joint committee on health care oversight, “It became clear to me that it was nothing but smoke and mirrors. This committee had no say on really anything that the lieutenant governor was doing to set up the exchange.”

About the impact of Obamacare on his constituents, Chippendale added:

“Insurance is being dropped. Some of the elderly are starting to see gaps in their Medicare coverage that didn’t exist before, that now suddenly do. Businesses are frantic. They simply cannot afford to put their employees on these very expensive health care plans.”

Despite claims for accessibility and affordability, from rising health care costs to spiraling government debt, the Affordable Care Act’s careless implementation and uncaring implications have exposed that Obama-Care-Less about the health and wealth of Rhode Islanders.

 

Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance. Follow him on Twitter @ArthurCSchaper, reach him at arthurschaper@hotmail.com, and read more at Schaper's Corner and As He Is, So Are We Ministries.

 

Related Slideshow: New England’s Healthiest States 2013

The United Health Foundation recently released its 2013 annual reoprt: America's Health Rankings, which provides a comparative state by state analysis of several health measures to provide a comprehensive perspective of our nation's health issues. See how the New England states rank in the slides below.

 

Definitions

All Outcomes Rank: Outcomes represent what has already occurred, either through death, disease or missed days due to illness. In America's Health Rankings, outcomes include prevalence of diabetes, number of poor mental or physical health days in last 30 days, health disparity, infant mortality rate, cardiovascular death rate, cancer death rate and premature death. Outcomes account for 25% of the final ranking.

Determinants Rank: Determinants represent those actions that can affect the future health of the population. For clarity, determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community and Environment, Public and Health Policies, and Clinical Care. These four groups of measures influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these inputs will improve outcomes over time. Most measures are actually a combination of activities in all four groups. 

Diabetes Rank: Based on percent of adults who responded yes to the question "Have you ever been told by a doctor that you have diabetes?" Does not include pre-diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy.

Smoking Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are current smokers (self-report smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke).

Obesity Rank: Based on percentage of adults who are obese, with a body mass index (BMI) of 30.0 or higher.

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/

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6. Rhode Island

Overall Rank: 19

Outcomes Rank: 30

Determinants Rank: 13

Diabetes Rank: 26

Smoking Rank: 14

Obesity Rank: 13

 

Strengths:

1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. High immunization coverage among adolescents

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians  

Challenges:

1.High rate of drug deaths

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in heath status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/RI

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5. Maine

Overall Rank: 16

Outcomes Rank: 25

Determinants Rank: 12

Diabetes Rank: 23

Smoking Rank: 29

Obesity Rank: 28

 

Strengths:

1. Low violent crime rate

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Low prevalence of low birthweight  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High rate of cancer deaths

3. Limited availability of dentists

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/ME

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4. Connecticut

Overall Rank: 7

Outcomes Rank: 15

Determinants Rank: 4

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 4

Obesity Rank: 12

 

Strengths:

1. Low prevalence of smoking

2. Low incidence of infectious diseases

3. High immunization coverage among children & adolescents  

Challenges:

1. Moderate prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low high school graduation rate

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/CT

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3. New Hampshire

Overall Rank: 5

Outcomes Rank: 7

Determinants Rank: 5

Diabetes Rank: 16

Smoking Rank: 11

Obesity Rank: 22

 

Strengths:

1. Low percentage of children in poverty

2. High immunization coverage among children

3. Low infant mortality rate  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2.High incidence of pertussis infections

3. Low per capita public health funding

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/NH

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2. Massachusetts

Overall Rank: 4

Outcomes Rank: 14

Determinants Rank: 3

Diabetes Rank: 10

Smoking Rank: 7

Obesity Rank: 2

 

Strengths:

1. Low prevalence of obesity

2. Low percentage of uninsured population

3. Ready availability of primary care physicians & dentists  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. High rate of preventable hospitalizations

3. Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/MA

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1. Vermont

Overall Rank: 2

Outcomes Rank: 12

Determinants Rank: 1

Diabetes Rank: 4

Smoking Rank: 9

Obesity Rank: 5

 

Strengths:

1. High rate of high school graduation

2. Low violent crime rate

3. Low percentage of uninsured population  

Challenges:

1. High prevalence of binge drinking

2. Low immunization coverage among children

3. High incidence of pertussis infections

Source: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/VT

 
 

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Comments:

The trouble is, Arthur, there were "unintended and unconscionable consequences" resulting from the lack of attention to the nation's failing medical system prior to Obamacare. I am friends with two families whose personal finances and the quality of life (and possibly the very life on one)of their special needs children were saved by Obamacare. As I've said before, we can have a war of anecdotes, but it's just a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing but partisan hyperbole and sensationalism. If you want to discuss Obamacare with any level of intelligence, you must look at the numbers--from non-partisan sources. Remove all the ideology from the issue and the ACA is just another bill that must be judged on its level of success in relation to its intended goals.

Comment #1 by John Onamas on 2014 03 14

Mr. Schaper aside from your obvious biases about the Affordable Care Act and the citing of those particular political leaders who seem to support your narrative you ignore the cold hard facts about the number of people who are benefitting from having health insurance for perhaps the first time in their lives. And more importantly by way of clarification...didn't you think it important in your quoting of psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Harrop...that you also mention he is a republican candidate for mayor of Providence...and may not because of his own personal biases be the most objective source in this matter? No? Didn't think so! Why let the nitty gritty details and facts get in the way of another nasty critique

Comment #2 by Thomas Kolodziejczak on 2014 03 14

MR TK ----its great that some people have health insurance for the first time.

but what about all the folks that had health insurance and can no longer afford it.

and the employees that have hours cut so they don't have to pay for health insurance.

this is no easy answer.

BUT I DO KNOW ONE THING

the planning, design and execution of obamacare was extremely costly, not well thought out, politically motivated, and horrendous.

and I don't think you can argue with that.

Comment #3 by john paycheck on 2014 03 14

TK:

I contacted Democratic and Republican lawmkers. Jan Malik was willing to speak with me, and I shared his thoughts on the state exchange. It's not my fault if the other cosponsors did not return my calls. For the record, how come Speaker Fox and Senate President Paiva-Weed have not made any mention of this overblown spending on the state health exchange? Don't attack me for bias. Call your reps and demand that they explain why the Affordable Care Act is so unaffordable for Rhode Island.

Did you not notice that Dr. Dan Harrop writes that he is getting more business because of Obamacare? What difference does it make whether he is running for mayor of for COngress or any other office.

In the words of US Senator Lindsey Graham (Yes, a Republicans): "Obamacare sucks."

And a growing number of residents in Rhode Island, as well as businesse and lawmakers, no matter what their party affiliation, agree.

Comment #4 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 03 14

The crying PAID ACTOR "mother" with tears running down her face in the anti-Obama Care (aka Mitt Romney Care) TV commercial with her kids (not her children but really cute kids who are also PAID ACTORS) reads a PHONY letter from a PHONY health insurance company, The original commercial (which never aired) used a real health care companies name but their lawyers nixed that knowing that would guarantee a massive law suite.. how deceitful .LOL


Tell a lie often enough and people will think its the truth The draft-dodging pro-war chicken-hawk liars Cheney, Limbaugh, Bush and Ted Nugent are perfect examples . Conservatives are really good at exploiting the unsophisticated RUBES in their base. If they can manage to get a oversimplified narrative out quickly and loudly it will drown out the truth. The really sad part is that thousands of people will be so convinced of CONSEVTIVE lies they will deny themselves access to services that would save their lives.
"Facts are optional" .....for righties
Ronald Reagan

Comment #5 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 14

A concerned citizen shared with me her thoughts on the issue:

"Why isn't anyone talking about the real problem w ACA in ri -that bcbs [Blue Cross Blue Shield] hijacked it. They have used it as an excuse to raise premiums and to include less coverage. Patients in my office have increased deductibles and copays with less coverage. Plans available to me and my employees are more expensive and cover much less. We have always had the pre existing clause here. I wish we had access to the federal exchange then maybe bcbs ri would get competition instead of just owning this state.

"Universal coverage run by neighborhood health would also definitely be better than anything bcbs offers."

President Obama had argued that the state health care exchanges would create a competitive market for health care. Another promise that simply was not true.

"how deceitful .LOL" Sammy would say, although I would remove the LOL, since higher health care premiums and less acccess are not laughing matters.

Thanks again for sharing, Go Local Reader!

Comment #6 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 03 14

Why don't we talk about how Republicans blocked single payer? Maybe if the insurance companies had to compete with a system that wasn't out to make huge profits year after year by squeezing people more and more for share holder value, insurance rates wouldn't be so high. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I feel health care is a human right. People have a right to be healthy and it shouldn't come at so high a price. I have no problems with companies making a profit, but the increases that we saw in the health care industry year after year was obscene. People shouldn't have to go bankrupt or die so others can enjoy huge profits.

Comment #7 by Phil Paulson on 2014 03 15

Sammy,

We keep hoping that one day you might actually come up with something intelligent to say, something that might add to the debate, something that would allow a a rational response. Apparently it is not to be.

Comment #8 by Michael Byrnes on 2014 03 15

Mikey, who is 'we'?

Comment #9 by James T on 2014 03 15

"Why don't we talk about how Republicans blocked single payer?"

I would rather not merely talk about it, but celebrate it with my hands in the air. Single-payer is a singularly bad idea. From Canada to Great Britain, and even France, the failed price controls, the rationing, the massive waste, fraud, and abuse are both unsustainable and unconscionable.

Single-payer is a terrible idea. Any political party, any politician who opposes single-payer, deserves a standing ovation for taking a stand against such a terrible policy.

"Maybe if the insurance companies had to compete with a system that wasn't out to make huge profits year after year by squeezing people more and more for share holder value, insurance rates wouldn't be so high."

I agree that insurance companies should not be granted such wide sway in the health care market place. Aside from catastophic concerns, most medical expenses should be paid directly between medical professional and patient. Allow people to purchase insurance across state lines. Get rid of the red tape which forces doctors to seek licensures in every state and forbids them from opening up smaller practices with other doctors. Competition and pricing would engage more accountability and efficiency than anything that the government could come up with!

Comment #10 by Arthur Schaper on 2014 03 16

How, exactly, did "the Republicans" "block" single payer. I must have missed it. This Healthtax was passed by a democrat party with "supa" majorities in BOTH houses of congress. They could have had ANYTHING they wanted and the stooge in the White House would have signed it. Republicans were told by Pelosi to vote for this abortion "or else". I don't recall democrats saying (out loud) that they would have rather have had single payer. So, afte watching how badly the democrats bleeped THIS one up we want to jump on their bandwagon with ANOTHER dumbo idea? I think not. "You can KEEP your health plan" right Obama?

Comment #11 by G Godot on 2014 03 16

SURE there are malingerers "delighted" with their new healthcare subsidy, the subsidy which comes out of OUR pockets. "somebosy else gonna PAY, I'm for it all the way"

Comment #12 by G Godot on 2014 03 16

The beauty of Sammy the prevaricator is we all know what he is going to say before he says it. He's a one trick pony, a one track railroad a one way street and a one fruit salad, all rolled into one. The truth means nothing, it's the outcome which counts. You're a waste of oxygen, Sammy and there isn't that much of it down in the basement, is there? One of these days you'll realize that you're now nothing more than Billy Joel's "angry old man". Enjoy.

Comment #13 by G Godot on 2014 03 16

Wow Sammy, looks like you've got G Godot's giant panties in a bunch. He may begin to cry.
Good post Sammy, keep speaking the truth....

Comment #14 by Alan Partane on 2014 03 16

Thank You Mr Partane
The liars in the Arizona GOP (and other red states) are warning the College Republicans and other young people that if they sign-up for Obama Care, they could be forced, against their will, to donate a kidney too a black or brown gay man in San Francisco, and they would have to pay the deductible for BOTH operations. Then if they don't fully recover from their surgery there are the Obama "death panels" that the loony Sarah Palin "invented" LOL

Comment #15 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 03 17

Mr./Miss/Mrs. Gadot... again you show your ignorance. Here we go again trotting out the "Democrats had a super majority" card again. Let's review this again, and focus on the Senate because that's where the majority of this distortion takes place. A supermajority in the Senate would be 60 Senators in order to have a filibuster proof majority. That's what we're talking about here. Did the Democrats have 60 votes. Let's see how that played out.... The 111th Congress began on January 15, 2009, at which point there were During that election cycle, there was a tight race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. Coleman continued to challenge that election until he gave up and Al Franken was seated on July 7, 2009. The Democrats did have a filibuster majority at that time. On August 25, 2009, Ted Kennedy died, so again the Dems no longer had a filibuster proof majority. On September 25, 2009, Paul Kirk was assigned to take over Kennedy's seat until the election which Scott Brown won and took that seat for the Republicans in January of 2010. Congress was also on vacation for most of July and August. Therefore, the Dems really had a filibuster proof majority for at most 5 months. Now, if you have no knowledge of the Republicans blocking single payer, maybe you should do some research on your own. Of course it's easier for you to keep throwing bombs and making stuff up as you go. So, I assume since you condemned Sammy that the truth means something to you, so maybe it would be a good time for you to accept some facts and admit this card has been overplayed.

Comment #16 by Phil Paulson on 2014 03 18




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