3 years late, L.A. Times finally notes huge flaw in Obamacare

Feb. 11, 2013

By Chris Reed

In April 2010, three weeks after Obamacare was signed into law, The New York Times got around to writing an analysis of the measure that looked at how a key provision had worked at the state level in New York. Here’s what I wrote about the ridiculously overdue analysis:

“[The Times noted that] New York’s health insurance system … [was] ‘a working laboratory for the core provision’ of Obama’s planned health overhaul: guaranteeing insurance would be available ‘even for those who are already sick and facing huge medical bills,’ and that these individuals would not have to pay higher rates.

“The Times’ analysis was grim: ‘Premiums for individual and small group policies have risen so high that state officials and patients’ advocates say that New York’s extensive insurance safety net … is falling apart.’

“Why? Because New York’s requirement that ‘insurers within each region of the state charge the same rates for the same benefits, regardless of whether people are old or young, male or female, smokers or nonsmokers, high risk or low risk’ made premiums much more expensive for healthy people, many of whom promptly dropped their coverage.

‘The pool of insured people shrank to the point where many of them had high health care needs. Without healthier people to spread the risk, their premiums skyrocketed, a phenomenon known in the trade as the “adverse selection death spiral.’”

Now, in keeping with the American journalistic tradition of only acknowledging the immense flaws of Obamacare after it is law, The Los Angeles Times has an analysis that finally noted a huge headache for California that I’ve been writing about for years:

“SACRAMENTO — As the state moves to expand healthcare coverage to millions of Californians under President Obama‘s healthcare law, it faces a major obstacle: There aren’t enough doctors to treat a crush of newly insured patients. …

“Currently, just 16 of California’s 58 counties have the federal government’s recommended supply of primary care physicians, with the Inland Empire and the San Joaquin Valley facing the worst shortages. In addition, nearly 30% of the state’s doctors are nearing retirement age, the highest percentage in the nation, according to the Assn. of American Medical Colleges.”

If they gave reverse Pulitzers, much of the national media would win prizes for its coverage of health “reform.”

Here’s a confident prediction: At some point this year, a reporter for the N.Y. Times, L.A. Times or Washington Post will look at internal documents on how the Obama administration plans to keep health-care costs down going forward and will figure out that sharply reducing the costs of caring for extremely sick people in their final months and years of their lives is a de facto federal priority.

And this reporter will write an article saying, you know what? Sarah Palin was right about death panels!


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  1. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 11 February, 2013, 11:57

    NYT, LAT, WaPo, et. al……..the blood is on their hands.

    Hyperbole? I suppose. But not much.

    Reply this comment
  2. us citizen
    us citizen 11 February, 2013, 15:17

    So when the facts are pointed out at the very beginning, the media refuses to report the truth. And what we get is a bunch of morons voting for a president who doesnt have a clue. Just wait until this slaps them in the face, if they are smart enough to get it.

    Yeah, my premiums have gone up about 4 times since 2010! This is going to get really ugly and really fast.

    Reply this comment
  3. Don't rag on them too much
    Don't rag on them too much 11 February, 2013, 15:31

    They’re just trying to make the world a better place – that’s why they became “journalists” after college instead of greedy investment bankers and management consultants. I’m sure many in the newsroom resent these analyses as kowtowing to corporate America.

    Reply this comment
  4. Hondo
    Hondo 11 February, 2013, 18:09

    Instead of educating new amerikan doctors, most likely Obama will import thousands of third world doctors, giving us third world treatment and robbing those third world countries of any doctors. That’s what has happened in England.
    Maybe I ought to apply to med school. I’ll graduate just in time to retire.

    Reply this comment
  5. us citizen
    us citizen 11 February, 2013, 19:08

    Hey the hot ticket now is to be a physicans assistant………..only 1 year of med school. They make about 100-200 grand a year. You dont even get to see a full fledged doctor now and they are still raking in the dough. I think Ill join you in med school. You are right about 3rd world doctors now…….and dentists. I cant even understand some of them. This is bad.

    Reply this comment
  6. Dyspeptic
    Dyspeptic 11 February, 2013, 20:33

    Hondo & US citizen, I know you’re being tongue in cheek about med school but it wouldn’t work even if you were serious. The Obamanoids will eventually reduce health care worker compensation in a desperate attempt to lower costs. Soon we will be treated by med school graduates who have had their student loans forgiven so long as they promise to practice medicine for peanuts for a decade or two. Imagine how enthusiastic and competent your bright young MD will be working as a wage slave for the Federal bureaucracy.

    They will spend most of their time filling out mindless and confusing forms and explaining to your loved ones why you have to die because your life saving medicine was just removed from the Federal drug formulary. That’s when the third world doctors with medical degrees from some Caribbean voodoo college will take over. I bet $50,000 a year for working 60 hour weeks will look pretty good to someone from Haiti or The Dominican Republic.

    Reply this comment
  7. andthepointis?
    andthepointis? 12 February, 2013, 07:23

    about the NYT excerpt: Doesn’t Obamacare require people to have coverage? So those healthy people who “dropped out” must get coverage somewhere or pay the ACA tax. If the insurer participates in the exchange don’t they then also have access to a pool of healty insureds that serves to offset the adverse selection that occurs otherwise?

    about the LAT excerpt: supply and demand? Patients can come into the system faster than doctors can be made. Don’t understand why that’s any sort of revelation. And so… is there reason to believe more patients, higher demand for medical services, won’t lead to production of more doctors via medical colleges and more technicians and …ologists through medical trade schools? Or is there meant to be a suggestion that medical providers should have been trained first so they’re ready and waiting to treat the additional patients as they come into the system? That would be a huge startup cost to make supply exceed demand. And how would that happen. Certainlly business wouldn’t foot the bill to make doctors before there’s demand. If gov’t proposed to pay for the training that would be huge additional costs for such a program.

    So why isn’t supply lagging demand an expected outcome and not something to be criticized? What other model is one that wouldn’t be criticized?

    Reply this comment
  8. jimmydeeoc
    jimmydeeoc 12 February, 2013, 10:22

    “That’s when the third world doctors with medical degrees from some Caribbean voodoo college will take over.”


    The funniest thing I have read in years.

    Reply this comment
  9. Hondo
    Hondo 12 February, 2013, 12:44

    That 3rd world doctor problem happened to my family a while back. My grandfather, who was in his 80’s, had prostrate surgery. His after care doctor was from India and could barely be understood. His after care turned out to be letting my grandfather die through neglect. My mom and her two sisters stormed the hospital, read the doctor the riot act, and got him replaced. My grandfather lived another year and a half before dying of a stroke. Maybe the voodoo Indian doctor was right.
    We asked why they had such a third world doctor there. Turns out in that small desert community, the practice wasn’t lucrative enough for Amerikan doctors. The old folks home hospital lured him from India.

    Reply this comment
  10. Hondo
    Hondo 12 February, 2013, 12:48

    Remember GHW Bushes ‘Voodoo economics’. Well, Obamacare is gonna have third world voodoo doctor death panels. My family already dealt with one.

    Reply this comment

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