Obamacare Verdict In: President Lied About Costs, Doctors

BarbWire BWThe staff at BarbWire daily peruse a lot of news and information and the stream of negative information about the realities of Obamacare never stop. How much of this actually reaches the public at large, however, is another matter. Here is just a sampling of recent reports that are troubling, to say the least.

First, from the Galen Institute’s Grace-Marie Turner:

Cold Realities Lie Ahead On ObamaCare’s Costs

The White House is trying to manufacture good news about ObamaCare, but cold realities lie ahead that will reveal the truth about the law’s success or failure. All we have to do is follow the money.

Who has paid? This is crucial to determining how many of the eight million that the president says “enrolled” in federal and state exchanges actually completed the purchasing contract by paying the premium. If the news were good, we’d assume the administration would have released it.

A McKinsey survey estimated that only 53% of previously uninsured enrollees had paid their premiums, while 86% of previously insured enrollees had paid.

Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens said that insurance companies participating in the ACA exchanges in his state have received payment from only about half of those who applied for coverage. Georgia insurers received more than 220,000 applications for health coverage, but premiums had been paid for only 107,581 of those policies by the end of March.

Read more: Forbes

Next up, a review of a Daily Beast article (of all places) from the National Center for Policy Analysis:

Why America’s Doctors Are Unhappy

America’s doctors are increasingly unhappy in their jobs, says Daniela Drake, a Board Certified Internist in private practice in Los Angeles.

A whopping 9 out of 10 doctors discourage others from joining their profession, and more and more physicians are dissatisfied with their line of work. Why?

  • Being a primary care doctor is not the highly lucrative career that it is made out to be.
  • And it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a profitable primary care practice. Processing insurance forms alone cost $58 for each patient encounter, meaning that doctors have to increase the number of patients they see in order to make their practices sustainable.
  • The result? The average face-to-face visit between doctors and patients lasts only 12 minutes.
  • And doctors are worried that the Affordable Care Act does not fix this problem — it codifies it.

Read more: NCPA

Lastly, from health care policy expert Greg Scandlen:

Can Anything Be Trusted in This Administration?

The new announcement that the Census Bureau is completely changing its Current Population Survey (CPS) questions about health insurance coverage (see previous post here) is devastating for those of us who do health research.

We have all known for years — decades — that the CPS count of the insured isn’t especially accurate. The questions it asks are about full-year coverage but people tend to answer based on their current status. It chronically under-reports Medicaid enrollment — the actual head count from Medicaid programs is always higher than indicated in the survey. The same is probably true for employment-based coverage. It has often been criticized for being weak on foreign language questions. Massachusetts, for example, has a significant population of people who speak Portuguese and that state thought the CPS failed to capture those people.

The Census Bureau recently (in 2007) revised its numbers because the software was misallocating people who reported that everyone in their family was covered. More on this below.

Read more: John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog