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Health Reform Without Apologies

Have you ever seen a fair, unbiased, evenhanded explanation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Have you ever seen anything that even appeared to be objective? I haven’t.

So to fill the gap, my colleagues and I have produced “What Does Health Care Reform Mean To You? A Consumer’s Guide,” which explains how the new health care overhaul works, in a question-and-answer format. You can also get a pamphlet version— ideal for doctors’ offices, clinics, work places and everywhere else that people meet and socialize.

That it’s the first effort anyone has made to even try to be objective is in itself rather amazing. See if you agree on whether we succeeded and give us your comments.

During the nine-month period leading up to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Americans were subjected to more than $200 million worth of TV, radio, newsprint and Internet ads. Almost all of these — pro and con — were pure propaganda.

Even today, the White House and leaders of both political parties offer us little more than sound bites crafted for the evening news. A taxpayer-funded mailing to Medicare enrollees has been accused of selling more than informing. The government’s own Web site, while containing much valuable information, touts only the benefits of reform and ignores the costs. A 24-page PowerPoint presentation, prepared for members of Congress who voted for PPACA, advises on words to use and words to avoid. It’s all about spinning, not about informing. And, according to the LA Times, both sides are gearing up for another massive dose of TV ads as we move closer to the fall elections.

Most of the mainstream media has published “talking points” lists of the benefits, prepared by the White House. We don’t know of any regular news source that has reported in a similar way on the costs. Even health policy journals have largely ignored the costs of reform and who will bear them. On the other side, Internet screeds warning of “death panels” have exaggerated from the opposite direction.

Many people are rightly confused about what to expect and why. We hope this publication will clear the air. Our goal is a balanced overview, with all important content sourced from government reports and other reputable documents.

John C. Goodman, PhD, is president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis.  He is also the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care. The mission of the Wright Fellowship is to promote a more patient-centered, consumer-drivenhealth care system. Dr. Goodman’s Health Policy Blog is considered among the top conservative health care blogs on the internet where pro-free enterprise, private sector solutions to health care problems are discussed by top health policy experts from all sides of the political spectrum.

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control mentallolkillroy71F. CastleMatthew Holt Recent comment authors
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control mental
Guest

I really like reading a post that will make men and women think.
Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

lol
Guest
lol

what kind of biased bullshit is this?

killroy71
Guest
killroy71

I guess if you really like HCR for philosophical reasons, you wouldn’t like the curtain pulled back on the murkier aspects of whether PPACA can actually accomplish what people want: quality care that won’t bankrupt them. I scanned this and thought it was the first thing I’ve read that really tells it like it is. Not one single thing about the system will remain untouched, and we have no idea yet the extent to which that will be for better or for worse. This documents points out both. Guess that’s what bothers most of these posters.

F. Castle
Guest
F. Castle

Nov. 2, the political hacks who created this unbelievable mess will be OweBama-unemployed. Example: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703369704575461840575037482.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop#articleTabs%3Dcomments “Facing a nationwide backlash, Democratic congressional candidates have a new message for voters: We know you don’t like ObamaCare, so we’ll fix it. “This was the line offered by Democrat Mark Critz, who won a special election in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district after expressing opposition to the law and promising to mend it—but not to repeal it. As a doctor I know something about unexpected recoveries, and this latest attempt to rescue ObamaCare from repeal needs to be taken seriously ..” Can’t wait for Nov.… Read more »

Matthew Holt
Guest

How about we issue a one page pamphlet that says this: In order to have a rational health care system, it is decreed that healthier wealthier people have to transfer money to poorer, sicker ones, and the organization of health insurance has to be changed so that it’s sustainable under those circumstances–which includes the healthier & wealthier transferring money. And let’s acknowledge that if you run an extreme right wing think-tank that’s based on the notion (and funded by unbelievably rich people who believe) that taxation is theft and government regulation is fascism, you’re not going to like a policy… Read more »

JC
Guest
JC

Excellent analysis. Sarah Palin would be proud. Now, where is the fair and unbalanced pamphlet readers were promised?

Wendell Murray
Guest

“Isn’t this more objective than anything else out there?” “Under the law, Medicare fees paid to doctors are required to drop by 30% in the next three years. • Medicare fees paid to doctors and hospitals will fall below Medicaid levels by 2019 and going forward will fall increasingly behind the rates paid by other patients. • By 2050, Medicare fees are projected to be only one-half of what the private sector pays. • By 2080, they will be only one-third.” From Dr. Goodman’s piece. Bullet point one is correct. That is the law, as the bullet point itself states.… Read more »

John Goodman
Guest
John Goodman

Seems like there is a lot of petty nit-picking here by a lot of sour pusses. People in the photos look worried? What’s wrong with that? Aren’t there good reasons to worry? Do you want to see photos of seniors with “what, me worry?” Alfred E. Newman smiles?
Question: Isn’t this more objective than anything else out there?
More Questions: Is there any major benefit we have omitted? Any major cost we have suggested? Any factual errors?
By the way, almost all the references are to the government documents.

MG
Guest
MG

I will say that the first part of the pamphlet about likely difficuly in scheduling appts with doctors is very apt and appropriate. Just wish the rest of the pamphlet had stuck to more feasible criticisms of the Act instead of resorting to fearmongering among Seniors to run on this in the fall and duplicate what happened with the 1988 Medicare Catatrophic Coverage Act.

MG
Guest
MG

2/3 of the NCPA pamphlet is about the budget cuts to the dubious Medicare Advantage subsidies? My favorite scaremongering line though is that ‘1/7 of hospitals may close.’ Now that’s a real stretch and would love to see what crazy analysis this is based on. This is typical ‘conservative’ progranda. Only to happy to run rough shod over the Constitution and Bill of Rights when it supports their positions and more than happy to spend money on issues/causes they support. Goodman isn’t a ‘conservative’ in the classic sense but is really a corporatist shill wrapped in liberterian clothing which is… Read more »

Alex
Guest
Alex

You people have no shame. This “objective” pamphlet reads like a Sarah Palin speech with the grammar cleaned up.
Why do you feel the need to go through the whole scholarly pantomime? Wouldn’t it be easier to just make some mailers or leave flyers on cars or something?

rajesh
Guest

Although, I agree with your discussion. I still feel that as professionals instead of focusing on the ‘business’ aspect of healthcare, we should direct our efforts in making our clinical skills more sound. Below is a nice website, where you can start.
Rajesh
http://www.Rxnotes.net
1. Central searchable repository of a pharmacists ‘curb-side’ notes.
2. Transition between hospital and retail settings, your notes can transition with you, not your job!
3. For access from anywhere, when I do not have direct access to my references/websites.
4. For the Pharmacist, BY the Pharmacist.

Juan
Guest
Juan

I was disappointed to find that the pamphlet clearly had an ideological bias against the health plan, when it was advertised as an objective evaluation.

Bill Jones, MD
Guest
Bill Jones, MD

Baucus never read the complete Law. Sad and pathetic. Most who voted had no idea about what they voted fore.
One thing is clear, hospitals ar desperately seeking merger partners and patients are grist for their cash registers.

jacksmith
Guest
jacksmith

I’M PROUD OF YOU LABOR!. Keep standing up. The lives and health of all the American people and the World are in serious jeopardy. Further, unemployment healthcare benefits are critically needed. But they should be provided through the Medicare program at cost, less the 65% government premium subsidy provided now to private for profit health insurance. Congress should stop wasting hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money on private for profit health insurance subsidies. Subsidies that cost the taxpayer 10x as much or more than Medicare does. Private for profit health insurance plans cost more. But provide dangerous and… Read more »