As an eleven-year cancer survivor, I have developed a network of healthcare providers who I not only trust, but also assist me with my financial situation and insurance carriers. Back in 2002, when I was first diagnosed, I was working as a temporary employee with an income that was barely above the poverty level and was receiving Charity Care from my local healthcare facility. So, when my professor opened up a class discussion about a Wall Street Journal article that was written by a cancer survivor, I took immediate notice and decided to address it in this week’s blog. The article, entitled: You Also Can’t Keep Your Doctor by Edie Littlefield Sundby (2013) is about the insurmountable red tape encountered by the author, a seven year stage-4 gallbladder cancer survivor, as a result of the Affordable Care Act law. The arduous effort to maintain her healthcare providers has made life unbearable for this cancer patient, who was recently informed that her health insurance coverage will be canceled Dec.31. To make matters worse, the White House Administrative Advisor, Dan Pfeiffer, responded to the article with the following:
Given the fact that Mr. Obama had an unprecedented social media public relations campaign during his Presidential candidacy, one can not help but question what happened to that brilliant team of tacticians who engaged and wooed the support of thousands of constituents. Dan Pfieffer could have better addressed this in a thoughtful, empathetic editorial response instead of the 140 character blurb he sent from Twitter. In fact, he could have linked his editorial response to other social media platforms to promote trust, transparency and engagement in a more positive light. The article Dan Pfeiffer links his Twitter response to is entitled The Real Reason That The Cancer Patient Writing In Today’s Wall Street Journal Lost Her Insurance (Vokski, 2013), which was written as a response to E. Sundby’s article. The article states the following:
And then there is the company’s own justification for leaving. “The company’s plans reflect its concern that the first wave of newly insured customers under the law may be the costliest,” UHC Chief Executive Officer Stephen Helmsley told investors last October. “UnitedHealth will watch and see how the exchanges evolve and expects the first enrollees will have ‘a pent-up appetite’ for medical care. We are approaching them with some degree of caution because of that.” (Volsky, 2013)
Below is Edie Sundby’s response to the above from her interview with Fox News:
Insurance is “big business,” and insurance companies are scouring for loopholes to protect their profits. Since my The Drama Continues with Obamacare… post I have received numerous emails from readers regarding the issue. One of my academic colleagues, a Princeton Doctoral Candidate wrote: “In my own opinion (since the law was passed), and as many people in the US have realized recently, it’s a bad business…” So, why didn’t the Administration recruit business experts to assist when the idea was merely a schematic on paper? With a $17 trillion deficit looming overhead, why were basic business practices overlooked, such as cutting expenses and building revenue? According to D. Morgan (2013) on his article about the financial impact of the Affordable Care Act, he states the following:
Obamacare’s contribution to spending is expected to diminish after 2015 as retiring baby boomers shift the momentum toward the Medicare program for the elderly and disabled.
Annual healthcare spending growth is expected to average 5.8 percent for the decade, or about 1 percent above GDP, and below historic growth rates that reached nearly 12 percent in the 1990s.
If Affordable Care Act spending is expected to diminish after 2015, does this mean that eventually individual States will take over the Medicare program? By the same token, does this mean that the increased premiums insurance companies are posing on their clients will go away? Not only insurance companies have upped their premiums, they are forcing consumers to subscribe to coverage’s that they would normally not need. As an example, why would a couple in their late 50’s, early 60’s need birth control coverage or even maternity care? Or, why would someone in their 20’s need the same healthcare as a geriatric patient? The article states that younger insurers would only need prescription and physician services as opposed to hospital care. Many consumers and even small business owners would rather pay a penalty than dole out money that is needed for other expenses. As such, paying school loans, getting married, buying a home, or even a car, are now memories of an American Dream gone awry. Will middle-class America become extinct? How can Obamacare assure positive, ethical business practices back from an era where “Mom and Pop” stores were the main source of economic prosperity?
What are your thoughts?