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Why Obama Health Care Act Should Be Named "Obamacare for the Few and ObamaDon'tCare for the Majority"

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From the Black Agenda Report

http://blackagendareport.com/content/why-obama-health-care-act-should-be-named-%E2%80%9Cobamacare-few-and-obamadon%E2%80%99tcare-majority%E2%80%9D

President Obama uses the term "universal" to describe his health care plan. But "well over 100 million American citizens will NOT be covered with a health insurance Plan that makes their health care costs "affordable" when they get sick." There is only one solution: "a publically-led, single payer, Health Care system that takes the profit-motive out of providing access to quality health care."

Why Obama Health Care Act Should Be Named "Obamacare for the Few and ObamaDon'tCare for the Majority"

by Dr. Reginald Clark

" Only a small proportion of citizens will end up owning 'affordable' health insurance that will give them reliable access to 'affordable' medical care when they get sick."

I believe federal statute P.L. 111-148, which is the health care policy that President Obama signed into law on March 23, 2010, was misnamed. The evidence shows that the popular name given to this statute, "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (PPACA), does not accurately describe what it actually provides to American citizens, workers and employers. This paper will show how the PPACA legislation does not provide most uninsured citizens with access to "affordable" quality health care when they get sick. Nor does the legislation "protect" most patients from maladies brought on by a need for medical care, such as onerous medical debt and premature death amenable to health care. [1] In fact, perhaps the most accurate word in the name of President Obama's signature health care legislation is "Act." It is written in a manner that ACTS like it is going to do something that it is not capable of doing. What it actually will do is quite troubling because it is discriminatory and unjust.

Martin Luther King Jr. tellingly observed that, "Of all forms of injustice, discrimination in healthcare is by far the most cruel and inhumane." Obama's so-called "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (PPACA) discriminates against a large proportion of citizens who will NOT fully and equitably benefit from the provisions of the legislation. While ALL taxpayers will pay for it, only a small proportion of citizens will end up owning "affordable" health insurance that will give them reliable access to "affordable" medical care when they get sick . I will tell you why. But first, here are a few interesting facts about the PPACA.

" When President Obama authorized the PPACA in 2010, he handed the health care industry a gargantuan piece of political pork that eventually will total over $2 trillion."

Many aspects of the PPACA are similar to proposals put forth 20 years ago at the conservative Heritage Foundation. [2, 3] Many observers have noted that in most respects the PPACA is "essentially the same plan that Republican Sen. Bob Dole co-sponsored with ideas suggested by a conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation." [4] The PPACA was written by members from the health insurance industry and members of Congress. The PPACA is written in a manner that that first and foremost favors the financial profit interests of private health insurance corporations and health care corporations, not the public's health interests. President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law in 2010. When President Obama authorized the PPACA in 2010, he handed the health care industry a gargantuan piece of political pork that eventually will total over $2 trillion. The PPACA lays out an expansive set of 158 new programs that are scheduled to be implemented in segments over the next 8 years. It has been pitched to the American people as the "solution" that will "fix" the ongoing problem of citizen's access to affordable health insurance, and as the "solution" for making the overall costs of health care more affordable for U.S. citizens.

Now, the main PPACA vehicles for providing increased access to affordable health care are Medicare, Medicaid, and four insurance Plans that will be offered through State-run " American Health Benefit Exchanges ." Two of these vehicles foster injustice because they are discriminatory: (1) the Insurance Plan structure in the State-run " American Health Benefit Exchanges" and (2) the expanded Medicaid program.

" The insurance Plans available in the Health Benefits Exchanges are inherently structured such that a small subset of citizens who have the financial resources to afford the highest quality insurance Plan will be favored."

The most discriminatory component of the PPACA is in the inherent inequity of the four insurance Plans offered in the State-run Health Benefits Exchanges. These health insurance exchanges are considered to be "a pillar of the new health care reform law." [5] In 2010 the CBO estimated that by 2019, these Health Benefits Exchanges will "serve as a gateway for an estimated 29 million people to access coverage." [6] The four insurance Plans offered by the Health Benefits Exchanges are tasked with providing citizens with "protection" from financial difficulty in obtaining health insurance and access to quality care when they need medical help. [7] Citizens are eligible to purchase one of the four insurance Plans when they have "low and modest incomes," will not be on Medicaid or Medicare, and will be non-disabled and under age 65.

But, as I show below, the insurance Plans available in the Health Benefits Exchanges are inherently structured such that a small subset of citizens who have the financial resources to afford the highest quality insurance Plan will be favored. Citizens who lack the financial resources to afford that Plan will be saddled with an inferior insurance Plan.

Among the four PPACA insurance Plan options available in the American Health Benefits Exchanges, the Platinum Plan is MOST CAPABLE of making sure citizens' health care costs will be "affordable" when they get sick because it is the Plan that pays the largest portion of a patient's medical bills (90%). The Platinum Plan is the best among the four Plans because it pays the highest percent (90%) of medical costs and requires the least amount out-of-pocket costs. In this way, the Platinum Plan puts citizens at the lowest risk of financial ruin and/or premature death when they get sick. [8a, 8b] Therefore, the Platinum Plan will do the least amount of harm to citizens who need medical care. [9]

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Dr. Reginald Clark has written on the health care issue at the Black Agenda Report.  For More information on Dr. Reginald Clark, see his blog.

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