The Widdershins

When will the crazies stop? (rhetorical question)

Posted on: April 2, 2014

spiral-300x300Click here (turn down volume) opens another link

I apologize for not being able to embed the link but apparently we don’t support embedding mp3 files or I can’t figure out how.  Nevertheless, you get the picture, or rather the sound.

Now, I know that we are all intelligent folks here at TW, able to read and comprehend.  Our conservative or Republican friends, or however you wish to describe them, do not think we are capable of such actions.  That is the only conclusion I can come to when I read something like this:

Obamacare Is a ‘Haves and Have Nots’ Health System

“Oh noes!”, says I when I read this headline.   Well we know where we’re gonna end up, now don’t we?  Yep, we’re the have nots.  Except though, it is, in my opinion, a falsehood.  Although this is a Yahoo Finance article, it is taken from on online publication called “The Fiscal Times”.  It is obvious when you read it that it’s got a Republican or righish tilt.  The author is Jacqueline Leo and when you read about her you can more or less confirm the right wingedness.  As an example to prove her thesis Ms. Leo tells us an ancedote about an incident when she was in her salad days.

My first boss was a millionaire. I was one of his three secretaries, making a pittance and attending college at night. One night I fell leaving the subway while rushing to class. I didn’t think much of it until my boss noticed I was limping a little. He insisted that I see his orthopedic specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York — one of the most elite institutions of its kind.

The doctor fixed my hip, and my corporate insurance covered the cost. Over the years, as I worked for different companies and built my career, I passed on my top docs to people who worked with me. There was never a question about lower-paid employees affording a top doctor for a sick child or an elderly parent — or themselves.

She goes through a few statements made by Ezekiel Emmanuel about how “corporate insurance” and a one size fits all concept of healthcare will disappear under the A.C.A. and basically says the plans on the Obamacare Exchanges will not let you go to the “good” hospitals or restrict your choice of doctors.

Even now, as the bulging baby boom moves from private insurance to Medicare, more than 150 million Americans have employer-provided health insurance, not all of which, of course, is as generous as a Cadillac plan. Nevertheless, the unintended consequence of this move away from a “one-size fits all” corporate plan institutionalizes a health care system of “haves and have nots.” Why? If you have insurance through Obamacare, your odds of being accepted by one of the nation’s top hospitals or having access to top doctors is seriously diminished.

She goes on to cite Watchdog dot org (not linking to it) and states that Watchdog:

investigated how many of the nation’s top hospitals were opting out of Obamacare. They used the U.S. News and World Report list of best hospitals for 2013-14. “Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare,”

She then goes further and quotes an individual from the Foundation for Government Accountability( related through some twists and turns to the Kock Bros.[I meant that] ) who says:

“In many cases, consumers are shopping blind when it comes to what doctors and hospitals are including in their Obamacare exchange plans,”

These patients will be in for a rude awakening once they need care, and get stuck with a big bill for going out-of-network without realizing it.”

Okay, well and good, but there are a couple of things to point out.  First of all these are individual plans.  Since the time I have been in need of them, I have never found an individual plan that was as good as what you can get with a major employer.  I’m referring to the G.E.’s, Boeing, the federal government and similar groups.  Second, if Ms Leo had the same plan as her millionaire boss she was indeed fortunate.  Where my father worked before his retirement, there was a difference between the plan offered to “company” employees and the one offered to hourly wage employees, the company plan being the better of the two though neither was bad back then.

Next they cite the ‘won’t get into the good hospitals” thing.  When I read this I thought “okay, let me check my insurance out.  Specifically what she wrote was:

The result, of course, is that the nation’s high-end teaching hospitals — where the best research facilities and some of the best doctors in the world practice — will be mostly available to rich people. And perhaps just super rich people like Warren Buffett and the Koch Brothers. Clearly a paltry millionaire couldn’t afford more than a week at a NICU and still pay the mortgage on a Tribeca loft.

So I went to the website for BCBS-AL and did a lookup for a hospital.  Had to indicate “not in Alabama” and then I used the drop down and picked, oh, NY as an example.  I put New York City as the location and type in Sloan Kettering and hit OK.  Well a few seconds later up pops Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 and it was further notated that THIS FACILITY IS IN YOUR NETWORK!  Well yay for that!  That means in-network prices, no out of network higher costs, none of that.  So getting more curious I did another search and this time it was for The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland OH.  So, whirl, spin, rotate and voila!  I see Cleveland Clinic 2049 E 100th St, Cleveland, OH 44106 and again a notation that THIS FACILITY IS IN YOUR NETWORK!  So going two for two I decided to try another and started another search for St Luke’s Hospital in Houston TX, home of the Texas Heart Institute and quell surprise, again it was in MY network!

Leo goes on to say:

The problem with the president’s plan is that you’re flying blind when you’re shopping. You don’t know if what you’re buying will really meet your needs or whether you will incur additional costs when you “implement” the plan.

Well ya know what Jackie?  Not quite.  Had so many of the Republican Red States not thrown so many roadblocks into the path of allowing “navigators” to do their work at signup for folks, people would have had assistance in making their decisions about which plans to look at.  In Bama it was fairly simple because only two companies were offering plans:  BC-BS of Alabama and Humana, and the Humana plans weren’t offered in all counties.  It was a simple choice for me because I called my doc’s office and was told that they didn’t take Humana and I further found out that most of the doctors I might need didn’t accept it either.  So, decision made by default.

Now in a similar article, again my Fiscal Times, they again start the stuff with the watchdog dot org site and how all of these hospitals aren’t going to take obamacare policies.

Both Ohio and California have a dozen insurance companies on their exchanges, yet two of the states’ premier hospitals — Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center — have only one company in their respective networks.

and

Amid a drive by insurers to limit costs, the majority of insurance plans being sold on the new health care exchanges in New York, Texas and California will not offer patients access to Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, two top cancer centers, according to the Financial Times.

All I can say is that I checked my policy and all of these hospitals were listed as “in network” for the policy. Now will that be the case for all of the policies written under Obamacare?  Most probably not.  And I cannot say it will stay this way with the policy I have.  BCBS-AL does have the right to change things around. However, this is an individual policy folks are buying and caveat emptor still applies.  As I said above, if a number of these states had allowed the navigators to come in and work with folks, fewer of them might not run into sticker shock when they need to use their insurance.  Now, I did a final check on my policy for Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and yep it”s in my network and further it’s a Blue Distinction Center, whatever that means.

So what’s the meaning of writing two articles such as those from Fiscal Times?  Personally I think it’s to just do another beat-down on Obamacare and to frighten people.  But then, how is that different from anything else the Repubs and right wingers have done since the A.C.A. passed and was upheld by the Supremes?

I’ll close with a youtube song that Charles Pierce uses on occasions.

This is an open thread.

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15 Responses to "When will the crazies stop? (rhetorical question)"

The crazies will not stop. Why should they?? I;m certain that somewhere in the Bill of Rights is the right to be insane.

See that horse over there they’re beating on? It’s dead.

Oh, it’s way dead.

Fredster, I was thinking about this very issue last night. I’m like Chat, the crazies will not stop, this is an unending buffet of crazy food along with an unending cup-o-crazy juice.

For instance, the other night on Chris Hayes’ show before he went on paternity leave, there was a rightie-woman who was so far out in la-la-land she needed a GPS. She was spouting things like the ACA raising the poverty level to $94K and when she was challenged on it, she, of course, immediately went into Capt. Victimhood mode — “How dare you question me, blah, blah, blah…”

You can see it in full bloom over at Faux News — now the talking point is how many have paid their premiums — if they cared to look, it is about 90% according to estimates. And of course, they are still trotting out confused anecdotal folks who believe the Earth is flat and good healthcare has fallen off the edge.

It looks like the ‘Splainer in Chief is going to take to the campaign trail in the fall — the crazies had better push themselves away from the buffet. Of course, there’s always Benghazi.

Prolix: I saw that…one of the few times I’ve watched Chris Hayes because most of the time he works on my very last nerve. I googled that woman and she’s a very high-ranking Tea bagger in the PA tea bag party. The segment got posted to youtube so I”ll put it in here in the comments.

I just thought the scare tactics of these two articles were funny as hell. I know that some folks will not sign up (need to put it in past tense now) for a plan where they may get to seek treatment at the “top echelon” hospitals or whatever, I just have to wonder why she’d write such stuff when it’s so easily checked? As I said, my plan currently covers going to Sloan-Kettering, The Cleveland Clinic, Cedars and the rest. However, it is an individual plan. There”s no biggie corporation that contracted with BCBS for my coverage. My contract is between me and them and they can change it (network hospitals) at a moment’s notice.

now the talking point is how many have paid their premiums

Oh yes! It’s being repeated all over the place. Don’t know about anyone else, but when I went through the exchange I had the choice to go ahead and put in the info and make my first payment right then. I did so. Now, it took BCBS about two days to *find it* and get it credited to me, but the first payment was done right then. Since then, I’ve just kept paying a month ahead. I figure better to stay ahead on it than take a chance and miss a payment.

Wacko woman on Chris Hayes’ show. Clip is about 15 mins in length.

@5, Fredster, this gets way down in the weeds in healthcare financing, but the big, name brand hospitals simply can’t afford “not” to accept most plans because of their millions and millions in grants and federal money. I’ve had the occasion to visit with many of the execs of some of these hospitals through leadership training and they all say the same thing — essentially, we are too big to be insurance selective. The black eye they would get from a marketing standpoint isn’t worth turning most insurance plans away. Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule, but overall, as you point out, the scariness of a two-tier system is just another talking point.

Prolix@8: Thanks for that info. As a lay person, consumer, I couldn’t see how they would ever completely exclude an insurance company. Now, a particular place might not be in network for some ins. companies, but excluding them completely? Nah, I don’t buy it.

Jesus H. Christ! Another shooting at Ft Hood!

Yep. “up to” 8 victims, “up to” 2 shooters. Sounds a little murky.

Sounds a little murky.

Yes indeed.

Seems as though there’s just something about Waco……..

chat@13: Heh…could be.

I figured I better like my own post! 😆

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