Monday, April 14, 2014

The Rest of the Health Care Safety Net Comes Down as State Bets Lives on Obamacare

This is all just so predictable.  In fact, I did predict it, but it was so obvious that it should not be any big deal that I did so.  The movers and shakers in this state are betting the lives of poor adult Arkansans that Obamacare will work and is sustainable. They are also betting that their mostly cosmetic modification of Obamacare which they mis-named "The Private Option" will work.

Legislators were pressured into voting for the bill with claims of "people are going to die" if they don't.   The truth is, people are always going to die and in the long run there is nothing the state can do about that.  If Obamacare works exactly as designed, some adults may get extra years of life at the expense of the children who will have to pay for it (since it is now being paid for with debt) spending extra years of their lives working to pay off the debt incurred to do so.   If Obamacare fails, or if it finally leads to a collapse of the dollar due to the world losing faith in our ability to keep our fiscal house in order, then many, many more people are going to die due to a lack of health care.

You see even poor people who did not have access to traditional health insurance plans, or who had conditions not covered under those plans, still had a patchwork system of health care services in place.  This was through a combination of private charity outreaches, community health clinics, and hospital provided clinics (to keep those same people out of their emergency rooms).   What is happening now is that this network of healthcare, the system the poor used prior to Obamacare coming in with all its big promises that it has no means to keep, swooped in and for a time made them appear to be superfluous.

Here is an excerpt from a recent "Mena Starr" article, but the same thing is happening all over the state, heck all over the country in places where, like Arkansas, Medicaid was expanded to comply with the demands of Obamacare....
“Because people are qualifying for insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, our free medical clinic will not be needed anymore,” Stacey Bowser RN, 9th Street Ministries Clinic Director, stated. “We’ve gone from seeing around 300 people a month on a regular basis, but as people were enrolling in Obamacare, the numbers we were seeing have dropped. We were down to 80 people that came through the medical clinic in February, all the way down to three people at the medical clinic in March. Our services won’t be needed anymore, and this will conclude our mission. ..."
To the left, this is a triumph.  To the wise, this is a tragedy.  The almighty state has stepped in and rendered the need for a private charity null and void.  You can be sure that this is not only happening in Mena, but throughout Arkansas and every other state which expanded Medicaid.  Thus, our state's network of private clinics withers and passes as all chips are placed on government's number.  And not just "government" as a whole, but the central state, as in Washington D.C.   The one which even Rahm Emanuel, the current President's former Chief of Staf,f called "dysfunctional" and is working to get his city less dependent on.

You see not only did private charities have a network of clinics for the poor, but state and local government have one as well.  Though there political pull might still save them, they too are in danger of being put out of business due to Obamacare.  After all, why provide a network of state and county health clinics when all the poor can get access to medical care via Obamacare?

Private hospitals often sponsored clinics which gave free medical care to the poor out of their own self-interest- just to keep those people out of the emergency room where by law they had to get some treatment. Those too can go away since their former clients can now sign up for Obamacare. What the hospitals once was doing for free will now be paid for by the federal government laying more debt on your children.  I say "free", but the reality was that the up-charged everyone else to pay for the clinics.  Will we get that money back now?  There is no sign of that happening. This looks like a multi-billion dollar windfall for hospitals.

The bottom line is this, the politicians in Arkansas have fixed it so that we are placing all of our chips on Obamacare.  It is not just the middle class who lost their existing health care coverage when Obamacare went through, it now turns out that poor people are losing whatever health care coverage they had too, on the hopes that Obamacare will be better.  The existing health care infrastructure for poor adults is going away due to Obamacare.  If in a few years we realize that we can't afford Obamacare, the poor will be far worse off than they are now.  "
This is my prediction for what will happen.  We will get into this thing and in a few years FEDGOV will try to shift costs to the states or something else will happen which will cause it to fail.  We will then realize that the money to pay for all of these promises does not exist.  The money to pay for it never existed, they only said it did in order to gain control over your family's health care.  We will have dismantled our existing health care structure for the poor only to see the single federal system the state's leaders pinned all of our hopes on fall apart.  

The window of opportunity to avoid disaster is rapidly closing.   If we can escape this thing in the next year it may not be too late to keep much of our existing health care infrastructure for the poor in place, and bring back on line that which we have lost.   Five years from now, I believe it will be too late.  The people will have wandered off, the equipment will have been dispensed with, the facilities put to other uses.  \


Mark is an advocate for a philosophy of government called "Localism."


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