by Jim Tynen
Even as the Obamacare rollout grows more muddled, some issues are becoming clearer — including why North Carolina should be glad it isn’t more entangled in this mess.
First, defenders of the Affordable Care Act have been saying that the state-run exchanges are running better, so North Carolina should have run its own exchange.
Um, it depends on what you mean by “better.” According to a recent TV report: “A CBS News analysis shows that in many of the 15 state-based health insurance exchanges more people are enrolling in Medicaid rather than buying private health insurance. And if that trend continues, there’s concern there won’t be enough healthy people buying health insurance for the system to work.”
In other words, instead of being signed up for private insurance, more people are being added to Medicaid, which threatens to bankrupt states. In North Carolina, Medicaid has had cost overruns running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Yet patient health outcomes have grown worse. North Carolina shouldn’t expand Medicare until it can be truly and thoroughly reformed.
Which brings us to North Carolina’s refusal to expand Medicaid under the ACA. Another key article (from Reason.com) points out additional problems with expanding Medicaid.
First, as we have pointed out in the past, and the above report confirms, Medicaid does little or nothing to improve health outcomes for poor people as a group. Why add thousands and thousands of people on to it?
Second, as Gov. Pat McCrory and other leaders have said, How long will that federal money for Medicaid keep flowing? Washington faces a debt of $17 trillion. Congress could decide tomorrow to slash how much it pays for Medicaid, leaving the states holding the bag.
Meanwhile, those who want to buy private insurance continue to encounter frustration and misinformation from the web site. CBS News found that a new feature may give people a misleading report on how much insurance may cost them: “CBS News ran the numbers for a 48-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ineligible for subsidies.
According to HealthCare.gov, she would pay $231 a month, but the actual plan on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s website costs $360, more than 50 percent higher. The difference: Blue Cross and Blue Shield requests your birthday before providing more accurate estimates.”
Remember that when the Obama administration dredges up someone who claims to have gotten a good deal on Obamacare. That person may get a shock when the real costs become apparent.
And remember that the website is just one part of Obamacare. If the government can’t do that right, how is it going to handle health and financial data for every American, while providing affordable, effective health care?
Ominously, there are signs other parts of the health boondoggle are flopping. Michelle Malkin, who spoke at our Conservative Leadership Conference, has highlighted how the law’s demand that all medical records be put into electronic formats is also wreaking havoc.
Instead of concentrating on care, she wrote, doctors face exhausting regulatory battles over the definition of “meaningful use” of technology, skyrocketing costs and unwarranted Big Brother intrusions on the practice of medicine.
This is just another fruit of top-down, centralized control, which is the hallmark of Obamacare. Without a doubt, more “glitches” will come to light at time goes on.
Obamacare is not just flawed execution; it is a flawed concept. A relative handful of bureaucrats in Washington can’t possibly create and run an effective, affordable health care system that covers every American.
Let me repeat: it’s impossible. North Carolina is better off trying not to get entangled in it, and waiting for a chance to make genuine reforms.
—Jim Tynen is communications director of the Civitas Institute in Raleigh.