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ACA Helps Reduce Bankruptcies; GOP Plan Breaks More Americans

Our morally bankrupt Republican members of Congress want more Americans to be medically bankrupt… or so seems to be the logical conclusion from their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

Allen St. John, "How the Affordable Care Act Drove Down Personal Bankruptcy," Consumer Reports, 2017.05.02.
Allen St. John, “How the Affordable Care Act Drove Down Personal Bankruptcy,” Consumer Reports, 2017.05.02.

The economy has gotten better since 2010, but we cannot ignore the impact of the ACA helping people pay medical bills that sank their financial boats pre-Obamacare:

The many experts we interviewed also pointed to two other contributing factors: an improving economy and changes to bankruptcy laws in 2005 that made it more difficult and costly to file. However, they almost all agreed that expanded health coverage played a major role in the marked, recent decline.

…“It’s absolutely remarkable,” says Jim Molleur, a Maine-based bankruptcy attorney with 20 years of experience. “We’re not getting people with big medical bills, chronically sick people who would hit those lifetime caps or be denied because of pre-existing conditions. They seemed to disappear almost overnight once ACA kicked in” [Allen St. John, “How the Affordable Care Act Drove Down Personal Bankruptcy,” Consumer Reports, 2017.05.02].

Do what John Thune, Mike Rounds, and Kristi Noem have proposed, make 22 million more Americans uninsured, and more Americans will go broke:

“The evidence here is to the point where it feels like a pretty robust fact,” said Matthew Notowidigdo, an associated professor of economics at Northwestern University who specializes in health and labor economics.

“If you were to roll back the Medicaid expansion, that’s going to lead to more bankruptcies,” he added [Jennifer Calfas, “The Senate Health Care Bill Could Lead to More Personal Bankruptcies,” Time, 2017.06.26].

But apparently Thune is less worried about your personal finances than about his party’s political fortunes and his desire to resist the Democrats’ ultimate rational policy solution:

Thune added that a more dire argument is beginning to circulate among Republican leaders.

“If we don’t get this done and we end up with Democratic majorities in ‘18, we’ll have single payer. That’s what we’ll be dealing with,” Thune said [Burgess Everett, “Inside McConnell’s Plan to Repeal Obamacare,” Politico, 2017.06.22].

Warren Buffett says single-payer would bring down costs for business more than tax cuts would. Canada’s single-payer system keeps Canadians from going bankrupt due to huge doctor and hospital bills (although prescription drugs, dental care, and work income lost due to illness still take a toll). We can build on the Affordable Care Act to solve this problem in America, or we can follow John, Mike, and Kristi’s faith in lies and the slogans of voodoo economics to make medical bankruptcy surge again.


  1. mike from iowa 2017-06-29 13:54

    With all the good effects on our economy, the ACA should be renamed the Swiss Army knife of healthcare and economy. Or maybe duct tape of such.

  2. jerry 2017-06-29 14:08

    Tomorrow, the elderly will once again be on the chopping block of Thune/Rounds/NOem/Daugaard care. The wealth transfer from the nursing homes must happen or the manbabies like trump, will soil themselves. Looks like it is about time to start a war or something like Bush did in 2003 to get that health mandate stuff jammed through.

  3. Vance Feyereisen 2017-06-29 15:36

    Somewhere I read that high healthcare and prescription drug cost was a deliberate move by the greedy to control more of the wealth. When a poor man goes bankrupt it is not another poor man that ends up with what the 1st poor man lost. His loss will go to someone richer. Within the capitalistic system there is always the undercurrent of most of the wealth eventually ending up in one place. Case in point, we are pretty much controlled by corporations already and the mergers continue.

    Back in the day when empathy, honesty, integrity and morality still had a foothold in society politicians attempted correct this transfer of wealth upwards. The Estate Tax, progressive taxation and the alternative tax all tend to at least slow the movement of wealth upwards. And when we really have to fix things we throw in some of that evil socialism. Odd how often socialism comes to the aid of the capitalistic system.

    Have you seen this—

  4. mike from iowa 2017-06-29 15:38

    NRA basically stated they need to start shooting liberal protesters. There’s yer war, Jerry.

    Not an attempt to hijack thread. We need to find a more appropriate setting for this.

  5. jerry 2017-06-29 16:32

    I read that mfi, the NRA has basically declared war on anyone who disagrees with trump. The basic idea to me has always been that to bankrupt people is to make their property primed for a fire sale deal. The wealthy can then swoop in and take control of it. This way, they can do it with the threat of armed ruffians.

  6. jerry 2017-06-29 16:36

    Thune/Rounds/NOem and Daugaard want to keep a lid on the direct numbers of deaths directly attributed to their health plan

    Add that to the number that we already know we lost here in South Dakota due to their failure to pass Medicaid Expansion. That number will more than double due to their negligence on protecting citizens for the payoff they are receiving with their tax breaks. Blood money.

  7. Greg "Comrade" Deplorable 2017-06-29 18:01

    If Republicans change one word of Obamacare millions of Americans may die says the media.

    On a side note no motive has been found in the case of a Sanders supporter trying to gun down Republicans at a charity baseball practice.

  8. jerry 2017-06-29 19:30

    Actually the CBO proves that in their report. Some folks have difficulty reading English so maybe this may help. You always go from left to right and then down the page.

    The news was full of the lesbian police officer who put the kill shot in on the feller just after he shot ol’ Scalise in the arse. She and her partner were honored by both Republican and those that you hate at the game. To bad you missed that. You fellers are all anti gay and stuff, but they shoot pretty good, so there is that.

    A suggestion, you really might need to start with remedial reading to get that tee vee stuff out of your melon, Sesame Street is still cool. Word is that Fox and Friends are not user friendly to the reading class. They are more audio visual which could help explain what you are missing.

  9. jerry 2017-06-29 20:54

    What about the aging doctors in rural areas? Anyone think that this is not gonna be a real problem for South Dakota is “Deplorable”. Couldn’t resist, or should I say “I always resist”, much better. Turn off Fox and pull your head out dude, this is gonna be bad for you.

    “3. The silver tide could drown them…especially rural hospitals: Many U.S. care providers’ primary source of predictable financial margin is patients with commercial insurance. By comparison, they tend to break even on Medicare (perhaps) and lose money on Medicaid. This is why providers who offer their own health plans have been so interested in the commercial markets and health exchanges of late.

    Right in the middle of the projected 22 million that could lose coverage in the coming years are the baby boomers, who will be aging out of commercial plans and into Medicare in droves. This shift alone could put those hospitals already operating on thin margins at risk of complete failure. The combined uncertainty with the ACA plus the silver tide of baby boomers creates instability for virtually all provider systems and most do not have good solutions to address this challenge. Cost and quality can be tackled to some degree by implementing value-based care approaches—if they’re well executed—but systems need a leader with that vision, adequate capital to try new things, and, probably, willingness to find a third-party partner to help them get there quickly. Urban systems with strong balance sheets may be able to weather the coming storms but many rural systems may not survive.

    4. Their doctors are getting older, too: The bulk of our practicing doctors and nurse practitioners are baby boomers. More than one-third will be 65 or older in the next decade, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges; the same report cites a 2016 Physician Foundation finding that 47 percent of physicians plan to accelerate their retirement due to changes in the health care system, up from 39 percent in 2014. Very few systems today are adequately focused on building a sustainable 2025 clinical workforce along with the infrastructure they will need to attract the talent they’ll need by that point in time. Team care is the only way we will have enough capacity to care for the baby boomers, so this is the era in which we need to transition and incent value-based care in scalable, team-oriented operating models”

  10. jerry 2017-06-30 07:14

    Cult republicans and the Russians have been working together for some time now. The Department of Homeland Security, really the Department of we don’t give a damn, does not want to take a look at the voting machines for tampering. The Department of we don’t give a damn loves the status quo as that is the only way they can stay in power.

    By working all the angles, it is clear that the objective is to financially break as many Americans as possible. The more bankruptcy filings there are, the better the fire sales of these desperately sick Americans to pay down their medical bills. More money for the wealthy with more property.
    Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose.

  11. jerry 2017-06-30 07:40

    Anyone remember the liar in chief’s words about everyone being covered by health insurance? Now, he is wanting to stop the stench in his house about abusing a woman with his tweet’s, with declaring that ACA/Obamacare must be killed immediately and then they will do something about it later. Thune/Rounds/NOem/Daugaard and Can’ttell are all in on this for the money they will be showered with. Let the bankruptcies begin. There is a patient in Iowa that goes through 1 million bucks a month in medical bills. $1,000,000.00 a month! It drove Wellmark out of the market completely, but did not cause them to go bankrupt. Funny how it all works with those that pull the strings as opposed to us puppets.

  12. jerry 2017-06-30 07:59

    “[N]one of the changes Senate Republicans are about to make will be for the purpose of ensuring that Americans have better health care. God forbid that. They don’t want that. Giving people better health care isn’t why they’re doing this. If you look back over the history of this country, I don’t think you can find a single prominent instance when conservatives have supported broadening access to health care for American citizens. […] Tax cuts, of course, have been one of the secret reasons for doing health care “reform” too. Everything but improving people’s health. If they wanted to do that, they could fix what’s wrong with Obamacare easily enough. But why should a health care bill be about that?”

    This has always been about the money, always. Cult republicans all believe that you would not be sick at all if you just worked as hard as they do trying to steal from you. When they get sick, it is an act of their God, if you get sick it is because of your lack of will.

  13. Jenny 2017-06-30 08:18

    The US is the only industrialized country in the world where a person can go bankrupt because of medical bills. I guarantee you there will be many more bankruptcies if this mean bill passes.
    Not only will this bill increase bankruptcies in will bring us into a recession in around 18 months or so. People don’t spend when they’re financially insecure.

  14. jerry 2017-06-30 08:29

    Healthcare equals financial equality in so many ways. By having the safety net of guaranteed healthcare, a financial institution can feel more confident in helping you with your finances. When you go into a bank for your working capital for the year ahead, health insurance is always put in as a ag expense, and a relief to bankers. Banks are not solvent enough to absorb huge medical bankruptcies that can be devastating to the working capital of the bank itself. Banks hold a lot of paper for sure.

    If there were to be these one million dollar claims a month on a few of their customers, it could bring down the bank itself. We are aging, and health issues have appeared during the time of the relationship with the lender. The bank makes you a huge loan so you can make a purchase, in addition to what you purchased for collateral, they may want you to have a life insurance policy as well, just in case. The health coverage is no longer a factor, thanks Obama, but now you are a few years into your loan and boom, you have an accident or a sickness. You are still able to function, as the 12 million dollar person in Iowa and work, but your medical bill could be coming home to roost. If a million a month can drive an insurance company like Wellmark out of the market, what will it do to the corner bank? Cult republicans could give a damn about healthcare as its own means, but what about the financial losses of the banking institutions that may hold their ill gotten gains? What happens when they start to go bankrupt? The ghost of Hoover rises.

  15. MC 2017-06-30 15:43

    We all must be insane!
    We keep doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

    There are two very basic facts we have to acknowledge.
    #1. People will still present themsevles for medical care, and they will receive it.
    #2. Somebody is going to pay for that care.

    None of the plans presented, including the ACA, expanding Medicaid or anything else will address the root of the problem, runaway healthcare costs. Until we get the cost of health care under control, all the plans are just shifting the responsibility around. From the Federal level to the states, and local hospitals.

  16. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-06-30 17:26

    I will grant that we have not yet tackled cost control. I will grant that MC’s #1 and #2 are entirely correct. Whatever the cost, we need to figure out the best way to pay that cost. Sharing that cost among all citizens seems a fairer plan than shifting costs to poorer, older, and sicker Americans to fund tax breaks for the richest Americans. Since neither the status quo nor the proposed GOP plans address cost control, we drop back to the next voting issue of fair burden sharing, on which issue the GOP plans are inferior to the ACA.

  17. jerry 2017-06-30 18:25

    How it works in Europe is you pay more in your Social Security for your health coverage. This added portion to your tax also covers family leave, disability and unemployment and survivorship and on the job accidents. Of course, your pension is also part of this as well. Public hospitals, public doctors and drug costs that are a fraction of what they cost in South Dakota. There are also private hospitals and private doctors. What happens when you get real sick with cancer of something that is a dread disease, then you go completely to public hospitals and doctors for the best treatments.

  18. leslie 2017-07-01 17:22

    deplorable–huh?? “If Republicans change one word of Obamacare millions of Americans may die says the media.”

    MC-HRC as 1st lady tried. Eight years was consumed fighting you over the ACA which “you” walked out on. “Affordable” is what the ACA is attempting. You are sabotaging it.

  19. mike from iowa 2017-07-01 18:11

    From Immoral Minority- A number of Republican Senators are begging Mitch McConnell to cancel the August recess for fear of what they may face from constituents this 4th of July after failing to make progress on a health care bill.

    They should be afraid to face their victims . You are going to allow many of these constituents to die because you are callous, hard-a##es you should be forced to face them and listen to every one of them. Who do you think you are working for, the koch bros?

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