Saturday, January 7, 2017

Repeal Obamacare? We South Dakotans Need To Look Before Leaping.

     The ongoing harangues against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) among our U.S. reps has been de rigeur among congressional Republicans since the act's inception in 2010.  But now that those dogs have caught that particular car, they seem a bit befuddled.  Vowing to repeal
Noem, Rounds, Thune
Obamacare? Grrrrr . . .
Obamacare, which Senator Rounds called a "sinking ship" last week, our federal reps, including Senator Thune and Congresswoman Noem, seem utterly clueless about how to proceed.  For one thing, Rounds has already referred to a "gradual transition" toward a replacement, which means he's bereft of ideas on what to do next.  Meantime, Congresswoman Noem says she wants to "retain safeguards for pre-existing conditions and allowing kids to stay on their parents' plans."  Telling the Rapid City Journal last month that "we need to give people more choices, not more mandates," Noem doesn't understand the linkage between ACA's individual mandates and insuring for pre-existing conditions.  We can't "choose" our way around that reality. Senator Thune hasn't said much on the subject of replacement, though he's voted to end Obamacare numerous times over the years, no substitute in sight.

     I think all three of them are just doing their partisan best to convince South Dakotans that repealing Obamacare will be good for us, details to be provided later.  What they haven't done is make a case for replacing a status quo that in the aggregate seems to have been pretty good for this state when it comes to health insurance.  We've seen significant declines in the uninsured rate, per data from the U.S. Census Bureau.  Findings from the Department of Health and Human Services show that 6,000 young adults now get coverage through their parents, and in a well-documented fact sheet put out by Families USA, 74,000 South Dakotans could lose their health coverage altogether if
We Better Look
Before We Leap
Obamacare is repealed outright, most of them among the 346,000 of us who have pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes or cancer. Meantime, if 2016 premiums in South Dakota grew at the same pace as the national rate, families on average are spending $1,400/year less on health insurance than they would have if pre-

ACA rate increases were still in force.
     There doesn't seem to be much doubt that ACA has had some significant statewide benefits for South Dakotans, a fact that suddenly seems to be dawning on our Republican U.S. reps and their partisan colleagues in Congress.  It's looking more and more like a slower-motion process will turn the chest-thumping and reckless rhetoric about immediately repealing Obamacare into the deliberative process that it needs to be. I admire that Pubs want to keep the best of ACA but am dubious about how they can do that by repudiating a system that most Americans (75%) either want left intact or abandoned only if a suitable replacement is found.  


  1. John,
    You've done it again, using reason and not rhetoric. If Noem was given an Indian name, surely it would be "Princess Running Mouth". She knows not much of what she speaks of.

    I guess some Republicans don't get that you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. They need to work on and present some thoughtful proposals rather than continue to make thoughtless comments.

  2. While our so called leaders in South Dakota all want to repeal Obamacare, what solution's have they come up with to replace it? They have had years to work on a replacement plan, but to date have come up with zip, absolutely nothing. This country is crashing and burning around us and these three buffoons are more interested in waiting for the orange clown ring leader to get into office instead of doing what is right for the people of South Dakota. They are so out of touch with the people they are not listening to the day to day struggles we are having. Like paying for healthcare, seeing our utilities go up 58%, food prices in the rise, but our paychecks staying at the same low rates because "South Dakota is an employer friendly state". They don't understand that if people don't have money to feed their children, take them to the doctors when they are sick, or even afford to pay for utilities, then they are going to move elsewhere. People are fed-up with these politicians selling out the people to corporate interest. They should have paid closer attention to the history lessons in school. History has taught us that when you oppress the people, the people will only tolerate it for so long before they rebel. We have seen some of the greatest Empires in history fall because of this same behavior. They have forgotten that WE THE PEOPLE hold the real power. Personally I think its time all three of them get fired with no benefits or retirement package. It's time they get a real job and see how life is for the rest of us.

  3. I wonder if the Obamacare opponents who enjoy their Medicare are aware that a full repeal of the ACA will also eliminate Medicare benefits.

    An article in the January/February issue of the AARP Bulletin avows the ACA
    "Improved Medicare’s financial outlook by slowing the growth of spending and clamped down on fraud, waste and excessive payments. It also enabled tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries to get free preventive services such as flu shots and screenings for cancer and diabetes. And between 2010 and 2015, nearly 11 million Medicare beneficiaries saved $20.8 billion on prescription drugs—an average of $1,945 per person — because of the gradual closing of the coverage gap known as the doughnut hole.”

  4. Why do the people of SD continue to send these clowns back to Washington. Do you still think they are there representing you. They will always stand with their party, whether it's good for SD or not. It's time to stop talking and start acting, get out there and help on the campaigns of those who actually represent the people of this state.

  5. John, while I like Senator Thune the best of the three of them, I think that he probably disappoints me the most on this issue. He was quoted a few years back that our healthcare was taking nearly 15% of our GDP, nearly double what it had been just 20 years prior.

    I personally think that the ACA has done little to rein in the cost of healthcare, simply because it dropped the public option like a hot potato as soon as there was token opposition to it.

    The Human Genome Project launched in the 1980s, gained US Government participation in 1990 and was completed in 2003. All of that research added more things that can be done to overcome sickness and disease. Sanford is opening a multimillion dollar research facility later this year, which will be able to take samples of your DNA and predict which diseases you are susceptible to and how they can be treated, even in advance of contracting the disease. Does anyone think that these types of thing are going to be free and will not add to the cost of healthcare?

    It is amazing to me that people did not have any problem with the government getting involved in the HGP, but can't stand to then make sure that the resulting healthcare is available to all.

    If we are ever going to rein in the cost of healthcare, we need to get the insurance companies out of the equation. Either healthcare is a right for all, or we need to stop spending any government money on healthcare.

  6. I rather feel since all these people have been yelling about repealing it, with no replacement plan in sight, they need to do that and let the chips fall where they may. I don't think people will have any idea of what they gained under the ACA, or what they are actually asking to lose, unless this happens.

    I've heard there are people who are fully supporting the repeal of Obamacare, but don't want anyone to touch the Affordable Care Act, nor realizing that Obamacare IS the Affordable Care Act, and that if you repeal the one, you've repealed the other.

    The Republicans got into that mess all by themselves, it's up to them to get themselves out, and I have no sympathy for them.

  7. Great article, Mr. Tsitrian. You've noted that people are paying $1400 less than they would be paying without Obamacare and that 75% of people want it left intact if no valid replacement is passed.