Obama's hubris about healthcare
"We know what works,” then-President Barack Obama said at the Global Center for Health Innovation in 2015. “We know what we have to do. We’ve just got to put aside the stale and outmoded debates. Reject failed policies. Embrace the policies that we know work. Embrace the promise of the future.”This is another example among many of how Obama screwed up because he thought he was the smartest man in the room. Liberals are still coving for his screwups. His main accomplishment with Obamacare was to bend the cost curve up instead of down.
What Obama claimed with such overweening confidence was that a few technical changes might fix most of the problems with healthcare delivery. But he and his allies pushing Obamacare were just plain wrong. His technocratic arguments that the 2010 law could bend the cost curve downward have been refuted again and again since its passage. Now, two new studies are out that explode critical assumptions people made in debate about medical bankruptcies and electronic medical records.
The first study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, deflates bloated assumptions about electronic health records. These enjoyed bipartisan support when Obamacare was passed from the likes of Hillary Clinton and Obama to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn. The 2009 stimulus bill subsidized them, and then Obamacare made them mandatory for providers in Medicare.
The claim in 2009 and 2010, based on a RAND Corporation study, was that electronic records would save $81 billion a year and also improve patient care. To say those savings have not materialized is an understatement. Administrative costs have increased at the same pace as was forecast if electronic records were not used. It gets worse. In other industries, automation typically reduces workload. But in medicine, government-imposed automation is heaping more work on doctors’ shoulders, not less, and it's contributing to physician burnout.
The second study demolishes a claim first made by a research team that included Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in her days as a Harvard academic. Obamacare champions repeated ad nauseam that half of all bankruptcies stem from medical expenses.
Democrats parroted this bogus statistic dozens or hundreds of times. It took on a life of its own. So much so that Obama liked to reframe it by asserting that healthcare “causes a bankruptcy in America every thirty seconds.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., inflated the claim yet further, saying on the Senate floor, “Realistically, it is about 70 percent of the people who file for bankruptcy, file because of healthcare costs.”
Had any of this been true, Obamacare would have brought immense financial relief to tens of millions of people. Bankruptcies would have plummeted between 2013 and 2014, rather than smoothly returning to pre-recession levels from a 2010 peak.
But none of this happened, for the claim was false. The New England Journal of Medicine, being more rigorous than Warren was a decade ago, finds that the share of bankruptcies caused by medical problems is about 4 percent. Among those lacking health insurance, it is a mere 6 percent of bankruptcies.