My View From The Country

Numbers Don’t Lie, But Nobody Knows The Obamacare Numbers

In the end, Obamacare won’t solve the national health problem, nor will it be the national catastrophe some want it to be.

Sadly, the Affordable Health Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, is going to be one of those gifts that just keep giving. It’s rare in today’s world of a 24-hour news cycle to have an issue dominate two elections, but Obamacare has not only managed that but promises to be a key issue over the next several election cycles, too. Of course, the most obvious reason is that the law’s full implementation has been delayed now until after the 2016 election; many doubt that it ever will be fully implemented.

We were bombarded this week with numbers from both sides. There was jubilation and cries of vindication in President Obama’s speeches this week as he trumpeted the figure of 7.1 million people having signed up for Obamacare, thus meeting the administration’s announced goal of 7 million.

At the same time, however, critics dispute those figures and argue that the overwhelming majority of enrollees are those who lost their coverage as a result of Obamacare in the first place. The critics also argue that premiums for the majority of those who lost their health insurance due to Obamacare have risen dramatically. Obamacare proponents’ retort is that the increase is because Obamacare provides better coverage.

Meanwhile, nobody seems to know – except for those who lost their insurance – if the new enrollees in Obamacare are those who are highly subsidized, unhealthy, or were forced onto the marketplace by losing their company-provided health care.

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A huge aspect of the law – the employer mandate – has been delayed once again, and we really won’t know how viable the program is from a pool and cost standpoint for a while yet. Will the government be able to lower costs, will the healthy and young sign up to make it viable?

Still the debate over numbers will continue because the answers won’t be certain for quite some time. This debate, however, distracts from the real issue. The polls that depict consumer disapproval over the inept rollout of the program are valid, but they distract from the real topic of what the program will cost. Anyone who believes that providing health care – and at higher levels of coverage – to those who couldn’t afford it or didn’t want it will result in lowering the costs of health care is simply defying logic. The question is whether the program’s benefits to society will outweigh the costs? And are the costs sustainable? It would have been nice to have known those numbers before the law was passed, but it appears that we won’t know those for at least a decade. Thus, the debate will rage on. 

This whole issue has become as much political as it is about health care. In fact, fixing the health care crisis in this country has become almost a distant conversation. Obamacare is symbolic of differing world views and the clash between capitalism and socialism, statism and individual responsibility and liberty. As a result, both sides of the spectrum are vested in its success or failure, and that has become the focus instead of the results.

My prediction is that, in the end, Obamacare won’t solve the health problem or be the catastrophe its opponents want it to be. Instead, it will be election fodder for years to come, and both sides will have the numbers to prove their point.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 10

Calfdoc (not verified)
on Apr 4, 2014

I am a little disappointed in Troy. I am against Obama care and I can prove that it costs more for less. It has hurt me. I have friends who are even suffering more than me from it. I can prove Obama and the liberal progressives lied about it. "If you want your plan you can keep your plan". We are putting a huge part of our economy in the hands of government bureaucrats. We are giving up our right to chose if we want insurance and what insurance we want. We are forced to give up our right to pick our doctor. In short we are having one more aspect of our freedom taken from us. Thousands if not millions of people are being reduced to part time jobs because of the cost of Obamacare. Companies are afraid to hire because of the cost of Obmacare. You admit this is a battle between socialism and capitalism, statism and liberty. How is this not a catastrophe?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 4, 2014

So when people who choose not to have health insurance show up in the emergency room who pays for them?

My health insurance bill is higher because of the free loaders that don't have health insurance. It's about time everybody pays what they can for health insurance so that the responsible folks won't have to totally subsidize them the way we did before the Affordable Care Act.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 4, 2014

Way to play both sides of the fence Troy. This is why we are in this mess with Obama care as well as the rights we continue to lose daily. Too many people lack the courage to take a stand and call it what it is: GARBAGE.

on Apr 4, 2014

The "battle between socialism and capitalism" all depends on the type of boots you wear. Clean off your goggles and take a clear look at the Farm Bill and consider all the facets of agriculture and medical industries. Which is more capitalistic? I think it is a toss up - but I don't have the numbers either.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 4, 2014

Troy - did you think our health care system was fine just the way it was, or do you have a better plan than ObamaCare?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 10, 2014

As a husband of a doctor, you don't have a clue what is coming. The regulations that are arriving are absolutely overwhelming. By 2017 you all will be begging for the old system, but it will be way too late! Pray for our country!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 10, 2014

Your ambivalence is exactly what happened to our reps in Washington. This is should be an issue that you stand or..........fall on. However you are right. It will possibly be an issue that's debated an voted on for years thanks ambivalence and a president whose lack of comprehension defies logic.

on Apr 12, 2014

I believe President Obama does comprehend what's happening. I believe it's deliberate and calculated to further our fall into a socialist system of society.

Psychosis of the left:
Political exploitation of tragedy or environmental measure in the guise of "progressive and forward thinking" the left's sociopathic tendencies of intolerance demonstrated through the use of Bolshevik tactics with the intent of altering the fundamental ideology of the United States with the sole purpose of destroying the current capitalist based republic thus subjugating the population to a socialist regime.

The trouble with collapsing the capitalist system is:
Who's left to pay the bill?

Keith Evans (not verified)
on Apr 10, 2014

The Affordable Health Care Act is helping people right now. Young people get to stay on their parents' insurance until they are 26. People over 26 need health insurance and many will come to realize this when they look into how the program works. They can obtain coverage at a very reasonable price. If they opt out they face the prospect of being wiped out financially by a short stay in the hospital for something as small as a severe kidney stone, to say nothing of a serious accident.

What's more, I know people who now have insurance that they couldn't afford prior to Obama-care. More and more people will find this to be the case. Are there problems? Sure. But they can and will be worked out.

All this talk about socialism, shows that most people have no idea what socialism is. Or, they know and just use the word as a scare tactic. It is illegal to drive a car without having proper insurance, and you pay a fine if you don't.

We all need health insurance, and the insurance company watchdogs to see that the program isn't misused. Obama-care is a sensible blending of a government program and private enterprise.

This program was originally designed by Republicans and implemented very successfully in Massachusetts by a Republican governor. So we need to quit bitching and get on with improving the health care of everyone in the country.

Keith Evans

Tom Stewart (not verified)
on Apr 11, 2014

The nature of insurance is that everyone participates and shares the risk. If someone doesn't want to participate they should then be accountable for the entire bill, even if it takes getting a loan to do so. The high cost of medical care is largely a function of persons getting service which is absorbed by the system because the patient cannot pay.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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