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Studies Prove Obamacare Saves Lives, But the GOP is Still Attacking it

Studies Prove Obamacare Saves Lives, But the GOP is Still Attacking it

Obamacare is going to save lives. Real lives. Before, that was just an extrapolation. After all, if you give people health insurance who didn’t have it before, they will see doctors for preventative care, they will treat illnesses before they grow into diseases, and they will be able to care for their diseases if they do develop because they will no longer have to worry about maximum coverage in hospitals or being rejected for pre-existing conditions.

All of this was just theory, however, until now. A new study by the Harvard School of Public Health has looked at the change in mortality rate in Massachusetts since the state passed an identical form of health insurance reform, and the results were clear. “They found that from 2007 to 2010, overall mortality among Massachusetts residents aged 20 to 64 declined by 2.9% relative to control groups in other states. Mortality from causes amenable to healthcare declined by 4.5%,” reports the LA Times. “The reduction was even larger in counties with higher pre-reform rates of uninsurance and low income, which of course are the main targets of Obamacare.”

In short, the study reports, for every 830 people who get health insurance, one death is prevented each year. With Obamacare putting 20 million Americans insured, that means about 24,000 deaths a year would be prevented.

It could have been more, of course, if the GOP were more interested in the health of their constituents than in scoring points against the president. Between repeated attempts to defund the program, block Medicaid expansion and end tax credits, signups haven’t been nearly as high as they could be if everyone worked together to get the uninsured insured and for as affordable an amount as possible.

That GOP governors tried to torpedo the ACA isn’t in doubt. Now, they are condemning it for failures that they themselves caused it to suffer. Salon’s Simon Malloy reports on Florida Governor Rick Scott’s ongoing battle to torpedo Obamacare in Florida. “Rick Scott went a step further and turned the state into a laboratory of anti-Obamacare activism,” writes Malloy. “He and the state Legislature passed a law last June that temporarily suspended the ability of state regulators to negotiate with insurance companies on premiums for individual insurance plans. At the time, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson accused Scott of doing pretty much exactly what he’s doing right now: ‘Nelson … contended in his veto request that legislators removed state rate regulation in order to blame the health care overhaul if rates go up.’”

Which is exactly what Scott is saying. “Obamacare is a bad law that just seems to be getting worse,” Scott said on Monday, according to Sunshine State News. “First, the president said you could keep your doctor. That wasn’t true. Then, he said you could keep your insurance plan if you liked it. That wasn’t true, either. Now, another broken promise — Florida families are going to be slammed with higher costs. Obamacare has failed to live up to its promises in nearly every way.”

Scott and his allies in Florida have made it impossible for the state to reap the benefits of affordable health insurance. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, meanwhile, is going to try to keep suing Obamacare to death. The Republican is trying yet again to sue to get Congress members and their staff exempted from being forced to enroll in and receive a subsidy from the D.C. exchange if they don’t have other insurance. “The Office of Personnel Management rule is not the most egregious example of this administration’s lawlessness, but it is one in which the president’s unilateral actions were specifically directed at members of Congress, and thus it is one I believe I have standing to challenge,” Johnson wrote. “After all, it affected my health insurance, required me to take action to designate my staff and provided special treatment that drove a wedge between me and my constituents.”

Johnson’s suit is mostly ploy to both keep the ACA in the news and work on the death by 1000 papercuts plot to bring the whole insurance scheme down, but is also meant to continue the GOP talking point that a “lawless” President Obama is doing things on his own, without congressional backing, and in some form of unconstitutional executive power trip. The lack of insurance that could come if Johnson somehow is successful won’t affect him (he has insurance through his family) or likely be that large of an issue for the 38 Republican politicians who signed onto his lawsuit. Who it would hurt, especially if subsidies are removed, are the lawmakers’ support staff, who unlike the politicians don’t have vast personal wealth to back up their jobs.

But that’s the quintessential GOP move when it comes to Obamacare: fight it, knowing the fallout will never hurt them, and block those whom it could benefit from ever getting access to it. All in name of politics.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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131 comments

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10:44AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

One day Obamacare will be the first step to a decent medical system in this country and republicans can't stand the thought of a black president who is a democrat going down in history as the guy who started it all.

10:37AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

Darryll G......You can find any stats you want to fit your POV.... I AM Canadian and not only that, I worked in healthcare for over 30 years.....Rationed care????.... what sources are you getting this from?......here's a news flash, Darryll, we can pay for anything private here too if a patient thinks they want to do that....we also send some patients to the US (paid at Canadian rates).
Your system gouges and will continue to do so until you realize that greed has taken over your system.
We may pay more in taxes in some instances but we think more of our population to let them go without health care...MOST of us pay or paid into health insurance all our working lives as we do Employment insurance, Canada pension, etc....
We know we can do better but a system like yours would have all Canadians up in arms......Enjoy yours.....
BTW... if I want an appointment to see my Doctor, I call in the morning and see her that day....I DO live in a larger area, but your figures are just wrong

10:19AM PDT on Sep 3, 2014

whats even funnier is more and more states are beginning to expand medicaid very quietly. While pulblicly still politicizing their hatred ot Obamacare. The ACA is working. NOt prefectly yet by a long shot. But it is working

4:32PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Lol, it is funny how all the complaints about the Canadian healthcare system always come from American conservatives, of course if you talk to Canadians they love their healthcare system.

2:13PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Darryll~~~~~~~~~~

And WHO are they? They still agree with me that cost p/c is 5/8 of the US.

BTW publishing another's work product without attribution is plagiarism.

1:11PM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Darryll~~~~~~~~~

Yet another unattributed cut and paste which provides claims without data from the ultimate Plutocrat's apologist.
TRy some FACTS, d:

Canada: ranked #17 worldwide in health care; efficiency 53.4%; life expectancy 80.9; % of GDP for health 10.8%; cost per capita $5.6K

United States: ranked #46 worldwide; eff. 30.8%; life expectancy 78.6; % of GDP 17.2%, Cost p/c $8.6K

Source;http://www.bloomberg.com/visual-data/best-and-worst/most-efficient-health-care-countries

I will grant you if you have all the money in the world, the US is the place to go. But if you live in center city Detroit or Appalachia, you would be better off in Cuba (#28; 46.8% eff.; L/E 79.1; % of GDP 11.3%; Cost $606.00)

11:27AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Canadian single payer system from a Canadian reporter-To keep a lid on healthcare costs, Canadian officials ration care. As a result, the average Canadian has to wait four-and-a-half months between getting a referral from his primary care physician to a specialist for elective medical treatment — and actually receiving it.

Bostonians face the longest wait times for an appointment in America, according to Merritt Hawkins, a consultancy. That’s no surprise, given that Massachusetts essentially enacted Obamacare in 2006, four years before it went national.

Even so, the average wait in Boston is 45.4 days — about three months less than in Canada.

“Elective treatment” in Canada doesn’t mean Botox or a tummy tuck. We’re talking about life-or-death procedures like neurosurgery, orthopaedic surgery, or cardiovascular surgery.

And these wait times are only growing. The average 18-week delay plaguing Canadians today is 91 percent longer than in 1993.

There’s also a severe shortage of essential medical equipment. Canada ranks 14th among 22 OECD countries in MRI machines per million people, with an average wait time to use one at just over eight weeks. The United States, by contrast, ranks second.

Canada ranks a dismal 16th of 23 OECD countries in CT scanners per million people, with an average wait time of over 3.6 weeks. The United States ranks fifth.

11:26AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Every Canadian is technically “guaranteed” access to health care. But long waits and the scarcity of medical technologies leave many untreated.

When people aren’t treated in a timely fashion, their conditions worsen, and they often end up requiring significantly more expensive and extensive treatments.

The Center for Spatial Economics, a Canadian research organization, estimates that wait times for just four key procedures — MRI scans and surgeries for joint replacement, cataracts, and coronary artery bypass grafts — cost Canadian patients $14.8 billion every year in excess medical costs and lost productivity.

Once Canadian patients finally receive treatment, it’s far from “free.” Their government levies heavy taxes to pay for the system. According to Nadeem Esmail, a scholar at the Fraser Institute, a Canadian think tank, “Some 68 per cent of personal income taxes paid in aggregate are required to cover the cost of Canada’s taxpayer-funded health care program.”

Patients may only have to pay a nominal fee when services are rendered. But the typical Canadian family pays about $11,300 in taxes every year to finance the public insurance system.

11:25AM PDT on Aug 26, 2014

Vermont is experiencing this high-tax reality firsthand, as it prepares its single-payer system. One Democratic state representative has admitted that the system will “cost more” than the initial estimate of between $1.6 billion and $2.2 billion annually. Avalere Health, a consultancy, estimates that Vermont will have to essentially double its tax revenue to pay for the system.

Because of the low quality of care and long waits in their home country, an enormous number of Canadians travel to the United States to receive medical attention. In 2012, over 42,000 crossed the border to do just that.

Many of these line-jumpers are part of Canada’s political elite. The national healthcare system may be good enough for their constituents, but it’s apparently not good enough for them.

Former Member of Parliament Belinda Stronach spent her career vigorously opposing privatization of the national health system. But when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, she flew to Los Angeles for surgery.

In 2010, the premier of Newfoundland flew to Florida for heart valve surgery. When questioned about the decision, he said, “This was my heart, my choice and my health.”

Millions of ordinary Canadians would surely love to have that option.

12:55PM PDT on Aug 19, 2014

Darryll G.~~~~~~~

Who said anything about the UK? Canada is doing well with single payer. France is rated as the best in the world by the WHO. The US is #38, between Costa Rica and Slovenia.
After all, YOU are the one who objected to the ACA giving "profits to insurance companies".

VERY Socialist of you.

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