No one likes Obamacare. OK, that’s an exaggeration. According to a new CNN/ORC International Poll conducted earlier this month, 12% of Americans said the law is a success and want to stay as it is. Granted, 12% isn’t a lot, but it’s bigger than none.
There are others. Earlier this week, Nancy Pelosi said that Obamacare is “beautiful,” which is interesting but unsurprising. The law has her fingerprints all over it, and if history judges it a failure, her “legacy” as a one-time House speaker will suffer with it.
Finally, you have the law’s tireless defenders on the extreme left. You have the likes of Brian Beutler, who is aghast (aghast, I tell you) that Republicans are suddenly concerned (feigning concern?) over the Veterans Administration’s scandalously allowing patients to die when these same pols don’t care that civilians, absent Obamacare, would face a similar fate. This Beutler finds both hypocritical and heartless, although he admits that the parallel is rather extreme:
We still don’t know whether we can attribute any of these [VA] deaths to lapses in care. But if you believe, as most Affordable Care Act supporters do, that lacking access to health care is a risky business, then you know it’s possible.
Beutler confuses access to health care with access to health insurance, which is really what the ACA is about. And so far the law is doing a less-than-stellar job of providing the latter and a wretched job of providing the former. You have countless stories of people thinking they are enrolled until they attempt to use their health insurance and find out they are not. You also have people being turned away from one doctor after another and longer waits for treatment once they do find a provider who accepts Obamacare than was previously the case.
Another impassioned defender of the Affordable Care Act is Salon’s Joan Walsh, who insists in her latest opus that the “GOP is losing the Obamacare war.” As evidence of her premise, she focuses specifically on KyNect, Kentucky’s ACA exchange, which she explains is an unparalleled success. But therein lies the problem with her premise. If KyNect is running first, that may because it is in a field of one. Covered California, the nation’s largest exchange, reportedly signed up more than 1 million enrollees but is inundated with complaints, both from customers who can’t confirm their enrollment and others who can’t find doctors or hospitals that will accept their policies.
Nor, writes Victoria Colliver at SFGate, is the problem “limited to California”:
A study released last month by the consulting group McKinsey found that many plans sold through the federal health law are using “narrow” or “ultra narrow” networks — physician and hospital lists that are limited to lower costs.
In more than two-thirds of all exchange networks analyzed by McKinsey, at least 30 percent of the largest 20 local hospitals were excluded. Insurers say the move to limit the number of doctors and hospitals on a network was necessary to keep the costs of premiums low.
This is barely scratching the surface. Add in the bombshell the White House quietly dropped on the press and the public over the three-day Memorial Day weekend when it announced that employers won’t be able to “dump employees into the exchanges,” and you have a major catastrophe in the works.
Is it possible all will end well for Obamacare? Of course. Anything’s possible. When the law encountered its first major obstacle in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts inexplicably saved the law — and the administration’s bacon — when he declared that the penalty Americans would incur for not buying health insurance was a “tax.” No one saw that coming either.
- Poll: 12% of Americans believe Obamacare is a success
- Bombshell: WH rules employers can’t dump workers into health care exchanges
- Obamacare’s penalties on hospital readmissions will kill off the sick and elderly
- Nation’s top cancer hospitals not covered under Obamacare
- Obamacare losers aren’t people, they’re statistics
- Covered California still dismal at insuring the previously uninsured