Health reform omissions

Half-truths are always fun. I’ve used them before when defending my own poor decisions: like too much shopping (saying I only bought a couple things when really those couple things were more than I could afford), or speeding (explaining that the speeding tickets I racked up in my teenage years to my father were because the cops were busting everyone that day, while failing to mention I was in fact going 20-plus miles over the speed limit).

It’s a great tactic to use to make yourself look or feel better. So it’s no wonder everyone on the ObamaCare ship is embracing the half-truth.

Nearly every week it seems I get a new press release from the Health and Human Services Department, where Kathleen Sebelius begins each with “thanks to health care reform…" and then goes into something great the Obama administration has done for health care.

This week, Sebelius tells us the new health care law’s pre-existing condition coverage clause extends insurance to nearly 50,000 people with high-risk pre-existing conditions nationwide.

I have to admit—that sounds like great news. I’ve seen this pre-existing condition problem firsthand, hearing about my mother constantly getting rejected for insurance because of her history of cancer. It’s a really sad and ridiculous thing to have to watch people go through, considering most have endured so much already.

But this new HHS report comes drenched in continued criticism that the program is not meeting its own goals. The Medicare actuary originally predicted the program would enroll 375,000 people by the end of 2010, but high enrollment costs are frequently blamed on keeping people away.

And what about the overarching goal of health reform—to reduce costs for care while expanding coverage? That simply isn’t happening.  Five billion dollars has been set aside alone for the pre-existing plan.

And here are some other gems: The number of Americans getting health insurance from their employer continues to drop, with a record low 44.6 percent getting employer-sponsored coverage in 2011, according to Gallup numbers.

Meanwhile, the percentage of uninsured Americans also has increased, rising to 17.1 percent this year, the highest seen since 2008. Either some workers can no longer afford the rising cost of health insurance the employer offers, Gallup research notes, or simply put, the employer is not offering health insurance any longer.

Plus, nearly half of small businesses say health care costs and government regulations is why they aren't hiring (or plan on hiring) employees.

Not to mention the breach of religious freedom and conscience through the contraceptive mandate.

But apparently, these few examples are just minute details—not worth any mention as Sebelius continues to hit the campaign trail harder than Rick Santorum.

So sure, I’ll admit the administration is right about something: Health reform is causing things to change. But the problem is none of it seems to be any good.

About the Author
Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer is Managing Editor for Benefits Selling magazine. She can be reached at kmayer@sbmedia.com

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