Opinion: Good news on health care in 2014, but we’re still spending too much

Wendell Potter
Wendell Potter

Former CIGNA executive-turned-whistleblower Wendell Potter is writing about the health care industry and the ongoing battle for health reform for the Center for Public Integrity.

The end of the year is always a good time to reflect on what went right and what didn’t and to speculate about what might happen in the coming 12 months.

So let’s take a look at how the U.S. health care system changed in 2014 — the first year of close-to-full implementation of Obamacare — and take note of what we need to address sooner rather than later as we get ready to ring in the new year.

There is plenty of reason to celebrate and, as you can imagine, the White House wants us to believe that we can thank the Affordable Care Act for all the good things that happened. While I’m willing to give the law its due, the reality is that, as written, it will never get us to universal coverage or do nearly enough to control health care costs. But first, some of the good news:

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.


6 responses to “Opinion: Good news on health care in 2014, but we’re still spending too much”

  1. Martin Tagliaferro

    Sir: The current healthcare law will not and cannot work in the long term. Even if you don’t believe (as I do) that the true intent of the ACA was to set us on a path to a single payer system, the fact is that forcing people to buy insurance they don’t want, don’t need, can’t use and can’t afford to fund insurance for others is not, and can never be, a self sustaining program.

    The title of the article says, “..but we’re still spending too much.” I guess that depends on the definition of “we”. Those of us who are paying – are certainly paying too much. Those of us “taking” are getting a pretty good deal.

    We were promised costs would come down – they didn’t. We were promised we could keep our current plans – we can’t. We were promised we could keep our doctors – we can’t. We were promised everyone would get access to affordable care – yet you yourself say there will still be 30 million uninsured.

    Expanding government intervention into any free market system causes costs to go up and services to be reduced. Read “Road to Serfdom” as there is not space here to explain why.

    The solution to healthcare costs is tort reform, healthcare savings accounts, cafeteria-style plans, buying policies across state lines, reducing mandates, fewer regulations, free market competition and an expectation of personal responsibility.

    Anything else boils down to, “I have a problem – I expect someone else to pay for it.”

    Which works just fine – until you run out of other people’s money.

    Government intervention is part of the problem – not part of the solution.

  2. Ryan

    I could’nt have said it better myself.

  3. Scott

    . Not does it cost more for less coverage oft also penalized companies that were taking care of their employees with good policies. The cadillac tax destroyed any benefit that people had worked hard to be in a position to have. It is the classic redistribution of wealth. Rainbow fish has to give away his/her bright and colorful scales.

  4. anon

    @Martin, spot on

  5. sofaman

    “Anything else boils down to, “I have a problem – I expect someone else to pay for it.”

    Congratulations Martin, you’ve just defined how insurance works.

    The rest is typical right wing nonsense that fails to grasp that the ACA has been a huge success at getting millions to pay for healthcare. Which it exactly why it was a Republican concept originally. Prior “private only” models have been a massive failure. Both sides of the aisle recognize this.

  6. Martin Tagliaferro

    Sofaman – Ah…no. Insurance is purchased to cover risks. I do not have a risk for pre-natal care, maternity leave or even a sex change operation – however – I’m now covered for those non-existant risks.

    Forcing people to buy coverage they don’t want don’t need and can’t use is not insurance – it’s extortion.

    Also – it matters not whose ideas it was originally – a bad idea is a bad idea.

    And getting millions to pay for healthcare was accomplished by canceling their previous desired plans for new, more expensive plans most people don’t want.

    If “private only” models were “a massive failure” why did the vast majority of people say they were happy with their previous plans?

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