Are your friends and colleagues like Paul Ryan (R-WI)? Are they still trying to fight the last health care battle? Do they whine and complain about Obamacare? If so ask them the following 3 simple questions ...
If you support and embrace abolishing a fully funded Obamacare program ...
... why didn't you have anything to say (and still don't say anything) about President Bush's unfunded Medicare Part "D" giveaway?
Here's your argument: Medicare Part D ...
1. Forbids Medicare (in anti-market like fashion) from negotiating prices with the pharmaceutical industry, which produced billions in additional profits for drug manufacturers in its first two years (2006 and 2007), and ...Seriously, why say something about a program that is paid for (even if the wealthy and the "moochers" aren't happy about it) and then turn around and say nothing about a trillion dollar program that was not?
2. Is projected to cost our nation about $1.08 trillion more between 2012 and 2021, (2012 Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Federal Hospital Insurance and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Funds, p. 122, "Table III.D3-Operations of the Part D Account ...").
Think about what this means.
Medicare "Part D" is unfunded and forbids the government from negotiating prices with the pharmaceutical industry, which Medicaid and the Veteran's Administration are allowed to do. The argument is that the insurance industry is supposed to negotiate prices. If this is the case, they're not even doing as good a job as the Veteran's Administration and Medicaid, which can negotiate prices. Check it out.
The VA pays between 40% and 58% less for similar drugs than Medicare (e.g. the VA pays about $782 for a year's supply of Lipitor but Medicare pays between $1120 and $1340 per year), while Medicaid pays substantially less too (about $112 billion less over ten years). Score one for the government.
So, yeah, let's get rid of Obamacare and say nothing about Medicare Part D.
Why do you want to repeal Obamacare today but stood by and said nothing while health care premiums went through the roof and ate away at the wages of workers during the Clinton and Bush Administration?
Why don't you say anything about the Obamacare requirement that mandates that the insurance industry spend at least 80 cents of every dollar they take in on patient care or else the insurance company must issue rebate checks to its customers?
Here's your argument: The Obamacare rebate requirement has already led to over $1 billion in rebate checks being sent out. In addition to putting downward pressure on premiums (all insurance companies aren't cooperating because of concerns over profit levels) new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections tell us that both current spending and the long terms costs of health care costs are going down.
And they are projected to continue going down long into the future.
To be sure, you might have friends complaining about rising health-drug plan costs. This is real in many cases. There are several responses here.
First, average premium costs for Medicare Part D are going up, and will continue to go up. The reason? Congress has forbidden Medicare from negotiating price reductions (Q#1 above). See how that works?
Second (and relatedly), during Obamacare negotiations Congress turned down an amendment that would have allowed imported drugs (from Canada, no less) to compete with price rigged drugs here in the U.S. Nice (for the drug companies, that is).
Third, in 2009 America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) commissioned a report from Price Waterhouse (notorious for helping clients hide money) which they used in a thinly veiled threat to raise premiums if Obamacare became the law of the land. What they don't say is that the health care insurance industry planned to raise rates all along (they were predicted to rise by 6% per year anyways) but now enjoy using Obamacare as their reason for raising rates.
At the end of the day we want to keep one thing in mind. Health care costs over the long term are projected to slow down, significantly. This is something no one could say before the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
UPDATE: For the serious students of Obamacare, check out Forbes', "Proof That Obamacare 'Rate Shock' Is An Ugly Insurance Company Deception." The comment section, with author Rick Ungar responding to the party hacks, is especially good.