Only on Fox News would the finding that Americans’ life expectancy has fallen cause a host to speculate that maybe Americans are getting too much health care. But that’s exactly what Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt was suggesting when she “just asked” if “government health care” was the cause of the drop.
On Tuesday, Earhardt introduced a discussion on the subject as a banner read: “WAS IT WORTH IT? BILLIONS SPENT ON ACA, LIFE EXPECTANCY DROPS.”
EARHARDT: It is a startling statistic about health in America. Life expectancy is now down for the first time in more than two decades. We’re not living as long. But, as the life expectancy drops, government health care rises. Are they related?
The guest was radiologist Dr. Nicole Saphier. She calls herself a “healthcare advocate” but she, too, suggested that Americans are getting too much health care. Saphier’s prescription for better health in America seemed to be to make the system better for doctors and harder on patients.
Saphier noted that cancer deaths have gone down but, she added, “Many other of our other leading causes of death have all worsened, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes. And if you notice, something startling about that is, all of those risks may be drastically reduced just with behavioral and lifestyle modifications.”
Earhardt responded by nudging Saphier to consider blaming Obamacare.
EARHARDT: I thought with Obamacare, with more people having insurance … Wouldn’t you think life expectancy would go up? Are they related?
Saphier didn’t want to go there. But she certainly didn’t want to say that millions more Americans getting health insurance was a good thing, either. “The data is a little slow to come out showing if we’re actually improving health and wellness,” she said. “It’s just not there yet. So I can’t say for sure.”
But what she could say is that Americans are now getting too much health care:
SAPHIER: What has happened with the implementation of the ACA is we’re in the midst of a physician burnout and shortage crisis due to all of these newly insured patients.
I’d hope that a doctor overwhelmed with new patients because health insurance is more widely available would think that more practitioners would be the solution. But not this doctor.
SAPHIER: What we need to be doing to improve health care in America is, we need to foster the doctor/patient relationship. We need to make our doctors happier. We need to treat them better. But we also need to start holding patients accountable for some of their lifestyle choices that are negatively affecting their health.
How would Saphier like to hold patients accountable for bad health choices? By denying them health care? Making them pay more if they eat too much or don’t exercise enough? Earhardt didn't ask.
Whatever Saphier had in mind, Earhardt seemed to like the idea of giving patients less and doctors more. She nodded and murmured agreement as Saphier made those last comments. “Great information,” Earhardt said. Then she ended the discussion.
Watch it below, from the December 13, 2016 Fox & Friends. And hope Dr. Saphier is never your doctor.
It’s this line of thinking that explains why the GOP will be unable to come up with any real replacement plan for the ACA. It’s why they never had a plan in the first place after they happily killed the Hillary Clinton idea in the early 90s. Most of them, particularly the “Tea Party” members of the House, have no interest whatsoever in a government health plan beyond the one they get as part of their Congress work. And enough of them follow the Libertarian mode Limbaugh is stating here: “IGMFU”.
I’m sure that insurers will now provide policies for people with pre-existing conditions (against Limbaugh’s better judgment of course), but those will come at a much higher price, which means those patients won’t be able to afford them. And you have to admire the ethic Limbaugh embodies on the notion of a chronic medical condition – insurers shouldn’t be told to cover you because it’s your fault that your sick. That’s a YP not an OP.
We can also look at the Tom Price version of things that will be offered – personal health savings accounts. Meaning that you put away money for a rainy healthcare day and then you use your money for your healthcare as bills come up. I love it. Hope it takes care of things like an unexpected complication that generates a few thousand dollars of tests and prescriptions…
As a side note, I’m really puzzled by this notion that’s now running around that “Trump’s really a Democrat and he’s really not going to do all that stuff because he hasn’t been a Republican that long and he does things differently anyway.” That’s flat-out nonsense. Trump is setting himself up as a FAR FAR Right Wing President and Pence is establishing the cabinet infrastructure and policy to make the Bush/Cheney White House look like pattycakes. Anyone counting on Trump to suddenly veer to the center is setting themselves up for an even rougher few years than we’re already getting. It’s one thing to know that these guys are going to do a lot of damage – and another to keep hoping for them not to do the damage and then be bitterly disappointed when they do it.
I get Rush Limbaugh was too stupid to graduate from college so didn’t, like myself, have the opportunity to take a business college course on insurance. Still, how far does Rush’s head have to be shoved up his ass to miss the fundamental and well publicized core insurance principle of spreading risk? It’s scary how ignorant his followers must be to listen to his total bullshit on health insurance.
Laissez faire doesn’t work in the individual private health insurance market because unlike buying apples at a grocery store the costs to an insurance company are variable based upon the customer’s risk assessment. This is true of health, car, life, housing or any other sort of insurance. In the case of health insurance this leads to the irony those most motivated to purchase health insurance – people worried about their health due to illness or being in a population at higher risk of illness – are those the insurance companies are least interested in insuring.
So even if the government prohibits by law insurers from not offering products to all Americans regardless of risk – a regulation I’m sure Social Darwinist Rush would have an immoral fit over – they still easily exclude at-risk customers from their products by pricing them out of anyone but Bill Gate’s household budget.
Which is why the vast majority of people getting health insurance not tied to the government get it through their employers because they’re able to pool risk.
The second part of Rush’s never ending stupidity on health care is people can just charge up their MasterCard for everything but what catastrophic insurance would cover is as immoral as it is insane as it is ignorant. Why? Because the price private citizens pay for drugs and routine medical procedures is far, far higher than people who are insured. Insurers use their mass buying power to negotiate huge discounts from hospitals, pharmacies and doctors within their approved network.
Anyone who’s ever looked at an insurance bill realizes this. You’ll see what the provider charged which is some outrageous figure people without insurance would get gouged with. Then there’s what the insurance company pays which is a huge discount often exceeding 50%.
Sorry to rant.
It’s a variation of Fox News’ conspiracy factory using six degrees of separation to demonize Obama for everything awful in this world. Flooding in Tibet? Obviously it’s Obama’s fault! Just give “Fox & Friends” a minute to connect some dots.
The first is that one supposes that life expectancy will be increasing in the USA after January 20th, when the ACA will be effectively toast. (It will exist in name for a while longer, but with all its key parts repealed and the government funding gone, there really won’t be any substance to it.)
The second is this gem from Rush Limbaugh as of yesterday. He’s in fine form here, using a fun graphic titled “REPEAL BUT DON’T REPLACE”: “Now, as the free market I am, what do you mean, replace? Just get rid of this monstrosity and let the markets take care of this. But people are too afraid to let that happen. That’s putting too much faith in the insurance companies, which everybody’s supposed to hate. And that’s just too risky. There has to be a replacement. Why does there have to be a replacement? Isn’t the fact that the federal government’s involved in the first place one of the reasons nobody can afford health care?”
“Shouldn’t the objective be, the longtime objective to have health care priced like anything else is? There are various levels of it that you can afford, and that’s what you get. Like there is in hotels, like there is in airline seats, like there is in cars and TV sets and whatever. There’s higher tier, middle class tier. The left says, ‘No, health care shouldn’t be any different. The poor should have the same access as the rich.’”
“Well, I understand the emotional aspect of that, but then why shouldn’t the poor have access to every car the rich do? ‘Well, that’s not health care.’ What do you mean? What’s magic about health care? ‘Well, health care is an entitlement. We’re all entitled to not get sick.’ Really? ‘And then we’re all entitled to get well.’ Really? Really. Well, that’s what people think…”
“…There ought to be insurance for catastrophic health incidents, major, major things like an automobile accident or an act of God-type of thing or acquiring a terminal disease that takes years. But you’re not even talking about insurance. Pre-existing conditions? It’s not insurance. You’re talking something entirely different. I’m a big believer that words mean things, and it’s not insurance to insurance against preexisting conditions. We don’t let you buy insurance when your house is burning down. We do not allow people to buy insurance in the middle of a catastrophic event. If we’re gonna say we do that in health care, we got to call it what it is. It’s a subsidy, it’s this or that, but it’s not insurance…”
“But I’m just telling you: Take care of the catastrophic side of the insurance and get this whole thing down to where the vast majority of daily, ordinary visits to the doctor and even some ordinary tests are things that you could put on your MasterCard and deal with it. That ought to be the objective.”
It would be interesting to see what kind of pretend fantasy make believe Faux would cook up to try and get us not to notice all the corpses.