Monday, October 1, 2012

37. Follow the Money

37.  Follow the Money


So if this Obamacare thing is so terrible, you ask, why did the AMA, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and the AARP all endorse it?  Unfortunately, the answer is simple:  Follow the money.


Obamacare cuts $716 billion from Medicare.  $136 billion of that comes out of Medicare Advantage—a Medicare option wherein patients can buy an upgraded Medicare policy thru a private insurer.  The federal government subsidizes these policies to keep the premiums low enough for seniors to afford.  That subsidy will go away over the next 10 years.  Since this option won’t be available for seniors, the market for supplemental health insurance for Medicare patients will increase…a lot.  And guess who sells a lot of supplemental health insurance policies---you guessed it, AARP.  So the AARP sold out their members so they could rake in the profits.


The American Medical Association sold out their members as well.  They have a monopoly on the publication and sale of the codebooks that every healthcare provider has to use in order to bill for services, so they can get paid.  Every provider has at least one set of these books in their offices. The AMA makes about 5 times as much money on these books as they do in membership dues.   Guess who granted the AMA the monopoly on the code books?   Yep, the federal government.  Think that entered the discussion at all when the administration was asking for their endorsement of Obamacare?


We talked about how the insurance industry sold out their agents and brokers with the Medical Loss Ratio and the state healthcare exchanges.  Imagine how many more policies they anticipate issuing because of the Individual Mandate requirement that every American now have insurance or pay a tax.  And the American Hospital Association loves the Accountable Care Organization model that puts them in charge of the patients for a change, instead of the doctors.  The hospitals will get to choose how the money is distributed in most of the models.  How could they resist that?


Politicians were bribed, and if that didn’t work, they were threatened.  The list goes on and on.  This law brought out the very worst of politics.  And in my opinion, it will destroy the very best of America.

(Note: This commentary is by Dr. Jill Vecchio.)

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