Former HHS Secretary: Yes, There Is A Point In Saying That Obamacare Is Killing Rural America

Posted: Mar 13, 2017 7:00 AM

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius agreed to two points made by NBC’s Chuck Todd: a) Americans in rural America are getting financially killed by Obamacare. Bill Clinton was not incorrect in saying that the law is the craziest thing in the world; and b) health care choice is a rare event outside of the cities. Remember during the 2016 election, where the former president ripped Obamacare, saying that middle class families can’t afford it because their level of income does not allow them to accept the subsides under the bill.

“You’ve got this crazy system where all a sudden 25 million more people have healthcare and then the people are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half,” said Bill at a campaign rally in Flint, Michigan last October.

Current HHS Secretary Tom Price defended the new GOP replacement bill on Meet the Press saying, “I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we're going through.” Guy will have more on this later this morning.

The New York Times and The Washington Post have pushed pieces showing how Trump supporters will be badly hit by this bill by their projections. The Post had a lengthy piece about the rural poor and health care.

“They are poor, sick and voted for Trump. What will happen to them without Obamacare?” was the teaser below the headline: “In a place of need, an unhealthy contradiction.”

Yes, it’s not really all that subtle. It’s a way to show how Obamacare is great. One story in the Post piece sowed how Medicaid covered a patient’s visit when before that wouldn’t have been the case. Still, what about choice? What about liking your plan and keeping it? Those turned out to be the biggest lies used to sell this terrible law. Have costs gone down? No, even though more people are insured.

In rural America, there is very little choice regarding health care, and Sebelius agreed. In fact, in 2017, one-third of all counties will have just one health care insurer. Yes, some patients can get doctor’s visits covered by Medicaid, but is Medicaid good, quality care? No. Let’s circle back to the UVA study on the program that health care policy wonk Avik Roy wrote about [emphasis mine]:

Despite all of these adjustments, surgical patients on Medicaid were nearly twice as likely to die before leaving the hospital than those with private insurance.

Patients on Medicare were 45% more likely to die than those with private insurance; the uninsured were 74% more likely; and Medicaid patients 93% more likely. That is to say, despite the fact that we will soon spend more than $500 billion a year on Medicaid, Medicaid beneficiaries, on average, fared worse than those with no insurance at all.

Yeah—people with no insurance fare better than those enrolled into this government program. That’s a red flag. With already poor quality of care in rural America, couple with skyrocketing premiums, it’s not like the Left has the high ground on this subject. Everyone agrees Obamacare needs fixing, even Democrats.