The Middle Class Is Getting Destroyed by Obamacare

NA-CL366_MEDSPE_9U_20160825163913

This really should be no surprise to anyone. You were told prior to 2012 that Obamacare was just making a bad situation, our healthcare costs, worse.  You were told that this was just wealth distribution, where much of the population was being heavily taxed to cover the costs of others.  Sure, they made it seem that the ultra-rich would be the target but that is the same trick they use every time for new taxes and this was one of the biggest tax increases for people in history. In a recent WSJ article it was pointed out that:

  • Overall, health-care spending across the economy reached 18.2% of gross domestic product as of June, up from 13.3% in 2000, according to Altarum Institute, a health research group.
  • One group, the rich, can afford health care easily. The poor can access public assistance. But for lower middle- to middle-income Americans, “the income struggles and the health-care struggles together are a really potent issue,” he said.
  • A June Brookings Institution study found middle-income households now devote the largest share of their spending to health care, 8.9%, a rise of more than three percentage points from 1984 to 2014.
  • By 2014, middle-income households’ health-care spending was 25% higher than what they were spending before the recession that began in 2007, even as spending fell for other “basic needs” such as food, housing, clothing and transportation.

But at least the rise in insurance premiums have gotten people more healthcare for their money, right?  Not so fast:

NA-CL367_MEDSPE_16U_20160825180606

  • The Kaiser Family Foundation, a health-care research nonprofit, found deductibles for individual workers have soared in the past five years, rising 67% since 2010 without adjusting for inflation, roughly seven times earnings growth over the same period.
  • A separate Kaiser analysis of tens of millions of insurance claims found patient cost-sharing rose by 77% between 2004 and 2014, driven by a 256% jump in deductible payments.
  • In 2015, 8% of Americans’ household spending went toward health care, up from 5.8% in 2007, according to the Labor Department.

The middle class is getting destroyed by this travesty called Obamacare.  Do not let anyone convince you that this has worked.  It has all been smoke and mirrors. Even those who have supposed insurance rarely use it due to the high deductibles.  It needs to be dismantled and quickly.  Bring back the cheap, bare bones major medical plans and let Americans shop around for their healthcare.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  12 comments for “The Middle Class Is Getting Destroyed by Obamacare

  1. Carl Gessner
    August 31, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    All part of the grand and original plan to make people beg for single payor “Medicare for all”.

  2. Elliot Wortzel
    August 31, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    And the insurance companies, hospital corporations, and drug companies have nothing to do with the ridiculous cost of medical care??? This wasn’t going on before Obamacare passed??? I am an old Doc and I have witnessed many of the changes that have taken place. I walked down 1st Ave in New York in the early 70’s and passed a newsstand with Time and Newsweek running cover stories by a young Obama announcing the advent of proprietary medical care and touting the benefits and efficiency it would bring. Back then HMO’ s like Kaiser were a small part of the system. That changed with different HMO models for example the original Gold Plus Plan in Florida. The owner signed up healthy Medicare patients from his practice but made no provisions for hospital care. The cardiologists on call at the hospital initially took care of the Gold Plus patients but they never got paid for their services. The Med exec committee wrote a letter demanding a call list from the HMO for each specialty. The Med exec received a cease and desist letter from the feds, written by then federal clerk Obama, to prevent further harassment of a federally approved HMOs. Ultimately the original owner had financial/legal difficulties and fled the country. The Gold Plus plan became a Humana property and they put ads on TV sucking medicare patients in by promising free care with no copays or deductibles. Of course it doesn’t work that way anymore, almost totally because of Obama’s inattention. Also in the early eighties I attended a quality assurance meeting representing my hospital. Instead of doctors speaking about improving the quality of medical care, there was one nurse who introduced and described the concept of severity of illness and intensity of care, as determined by her company, to be the ultimate justification for hospital admission and for the allowable the length of stay, rather than as determined by the attending physician. To be fair, I saw a black man there who looked a lot like a young Obama, so probably all of this is on him as well. Oh and the financially oppressive Medicare part D, would definitely have been in Obama’s platform if he hadn’t already been “Trumped – might as well get him in the discussion” by “W”.

    Notice I have not written one word in favor of anything Obama has said or done. I’m just trying to point out the absurdity of blaming where we are now mainly on Obama. Medicine has been divided and unable to help it self for all the years I have been associated with it. I don’t know why, but for sure blaming it all on Obamacare and curing it all with direct primary care for everybody is going nowhere.

  3. robert l erickson md
    August 31, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    This ain’t Obamacare but insurance company greed!

    • Doug Farrago
      August 31, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      If you believe Obamacare has nothing to do with it then you are on the wrong site. Find a liberal spin medical site.

      • Sudha Prasad
        September 2, 2016 at 9:30 am

        This is a very interesting discussion because it shows that even we doctors aren’t sure how we ended up in this terrible healthcare mess. AS some of the commenters here have stated, I believe that like many government programs, it was short sighted with unintended consequences. We all like to blame Obamacare but really, I think we were headed towards this point all along. Hillary wanted this type of care back in the 90’s. Paul Ryan claims to have a health care plan in place he would like to execute but the little I have heard about it, it sounds like a slightly different spin than the plan we have now. Is it realistic to think that it won’t kowtow to the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies? Really? The real people in power of the healthcare system have the structure they want and always have had it their way.
        What we know is that health care is a huge percentage of GDP and it accelerates way over income earnings. We also know that there are many greedy and corrupt players in the system like hospitals, insurance companies and big pharmaceutical firms. They throw their weight around and influence politicians with money, threat and intimidation on a Monsanto level. NO political leader would dare do less than this plan. The only difference is the colors that they paint the outer shell with in order to make it seem more palatable to their base.

        The doctors are the “poor players who strut and fret their hour upon the stage.”
        The true tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.
        I paraphrase from Macbeth because their are many similarities. Of course, we didn’t necessarily commit murders to get to where we are but we walked into the power struggle unprepared for it.
        Does anyone really think that if we had had different presidents in the last few elections, that our health care system would be any different than it is now, other than in name?
        The problem is really our willingness to jump into bed with these “power brokers” and let ourselves as doctors be easily divided. Doctors sell out quickly.
        Years ago, when my physician husband started a hospital based practice with others, he bought a book meant for hospital administrators. In it was a chapter on the group characteristics of doctors and how to manage them by easily dividing and conquering.
        It allowed them to take away any leverage we had and now we find ourselves with no cookies in our cookie jar and a public who still thinks that we are whiny and overpaid, much to the glee of the forces that put us here.
        What is the way out of this mess?

    • Pat
      August 31, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      Robert, if you are concerned with greed, then what about the greed of the retiree generation, furthering our bankruptcy by preventing entitlement reform? What about the greed of welfare recipients having more and more children on the taxpayer dime, and clogging ER’s with trivial complaints? What about the greed for adoration and power of politicians, do-goodness advocacy groups, and way, way to many doctors who want to “do good” with other peoples’ money? Yes, the insurance companie’s crony corporatism is utterly corrupt. But who encouraged this latest money grab?? Obama, the Democrats (and some spineless Repub’s), a thoroughly ignorant, whiny public, and the doctors who cheered them on.

  4. RSW
    August 31, 2016 at 8:23 am

    Looks like from the graph that deductibles were sky-rocketing as far back as at least 2004. And Obamacare caused all this?

    Not a big fan of Obamacare, but hate to see docs blame what was already happening on this one piece of legislation.

    • Pat
      August 31, 2016 at 12:01 pm

      ObamaCare was merely an accelerant on the dumpster fire caused by Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, decades of unjustified automatic spending increases, Medicare Part D, and an entrenched entitlement mindset that will not allow any reform of these market perversions. That said, ObamaCare was a joke from the start, blatantly the worst sort of crony corporatism, and a lot of our colleagues bitching about it now should admit that they supported it, and were dead wrong in doing so.

      ObamaCare was designed to ultimately lead to a single-payer system, which is where this is all headed.

      • RSW
        August 31, 2016 at 2:23 pm

        Don’t necessarily disagree with you, but the issue here is rising deductibles. It would be hard to blame that on Medicare (deductibles have been kept artificially low) or Medicaid (no deductibles). I think what we’re looking at here is more due to the greed of the private insurers and the large hospital corporations, who collaborate on highway-robbery fee schedules.

  5. Steve O'
    August 31, 2016 at 8:04 am

    And it is worse than just “Obamacare” and “Hillarycare.” The assumption is that the model of large corporations, Wall Street funding, market adjustment, overseas manufacture – all that – can be applied to anything.

    Look at the numbers above. Clothing is the sector to which this Retail Corporate business model fits the best. Medical care is the sector which fits it the worst.

    For about 20 years, we’ve been trying to shoe-horn medical care into the Wal-Mart model. We do that for the same reason that the Soviets shoe-horned everything into the Workers’ Paradise model. It MUST fit, by intellectual decree! In the old Soviet Union, it worked tolerably well for steel manufacture, but awful for retail products. Ask any Soviet planner today if that’s not true!

    You can’t stick to a bogus business model that doesn’t work. The Russian model blew out in the ’80’s funding their military, and ours is blowing out funding retail healthcare.

    Lenin blamed his early failures on the rich, unhelpful peasants. Obamacare blames the doctors. But the system of rich peasants funded their food supply. The system of doctors used to facilitate our health supply. Taking them out behind the barn to be shot is satisfying revenge, but then what?

    The real savings in healthcare will come when the capacity to understand, diagnose and manage illness rewinds back to the Dark Ages. People who die from Evil Humours don’t require a lot of healthcare management. It sounds absurd – but so does placing an insurance tele-auditor over physicians decisions.

    If I told a doctor of 20 years ago that I CAN NOT ADMIT a patient to a hospital, they’d be baffled. I have to tell the family to drive the patient to a half-staffed ER and be sent home with amoxicillin. I CAN NOT ADMIT a sick patient to a hospital. They stand there like a private nightclub, to which I don’t have the connections to get in.

    What will we unveil to be regular, unremarkable atrocities come up over the next five years? Sending patients home for “routine labor and delivery” as part of “patient empowerment?” What part of the Third World are we using as our model?

  6. Thomas Guastavino
    August 31, 2016 at 7:01 am

    Don’t waste your breath. The majority population has bought the democratic Kool-Aid of freebies provided by the rich. Plus, HRC is going come down hard on health care for the slight she experienced during Hillarycare.

    • JoAnne Fox, NP
      August 31, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      You are so right. “Healthcare” cost now includes a multitude of people who care about nothing except maintaining their place in the bureaucracy interfering with the provision of that care, and as a society the expectation is that all healthcare cost the individual nothing. We absolutely need to get back to insurance being a contract between an individual and a company to cover unusual huge costs from unexpected catastrophes and that same individual being responsible for their own health and routine care. I’m afraid I’m about a hundred years too late in this journey to socialism.

Comments are closed.