October 15th, 2013

What’s in a name: healthcare.gov

It has not escaped my notice that the Obamacare website is named “healthcare.gov.” That sounds innocuous enough, so why am I calling anyone’s attention to it?

It’s emblematic of the insidious nature of the language around the ACA that we hardly notice. But I very doubt doubt the site’s name was chosen casually. It is a very deliberate attempt (although almost beautiful in its subtlety) to make the populace think that what Obamacare—and government—dispenses is health care itself.

Government as healer, and as beneficent portal to doctors, nurses, hospitals, and medication; to treatment.

But what the government is actually offering here is health insurance. “Healthinsurance.gov” is not too unwieldy a phrase for a website URL. Of course, health insurance facilitates the procuring of health care for the majority of people (although the price of health care has risen so much partly as a result of widespread third-party coverage).

You won’t be seeing the website renamed “healthinsurance.gov” any time soon. Or any time at all. Even if we went to single payer—in which case it really would be healthinsurance.gov—the government would call it something else. In Britain, for example, they skip the “care” and just call it the National Health Service.

11 Responses to “What’s in a name: healthcare.gov”

  1. Dirtyjobsguydmoelling Says:

    Has anyone figured out a reason (except political) why policies in the public exchange have to be bought on-line? I am an owner of a small business and we buy insurance through our state business association. It functions much the same as the exchange with levels of coverage etc and several carriers. But we buy it through a local insurance broker. He helps us a lot both with comparing products from the association, Medicare issues for our oldest employees, and problems in general. I’m coming to believe avik roy’s conclusion is that the administration did not want the true costs revealed. The complete exclusion of insurance industry professionals will destroy this. Since the GOP can it get this repealed now, they need to develop and publicize a rescue plan for US health insurance. JAnuary 1 2014 will be a nightmare for many people.

  2. Ray Says:

    To point out the obvious, health is a personal condition, not a comodity or service you can buy therefore you can’t buy health insurance or health care. If you could really buy health insurance or health care then Michael Jackson and Teddy Kennedy would still be alive. It’s like buying life insurance believing it will cause you to live longer.

  3. Matt_SE Says:

    You’re right…they ought to change the name to “happyhealthyfuntime.org”.

  4. parker Says:

    “It’s like buying life insurance believing it will cause you to live longer.”

    :-)

  5. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Buying life insurance is actually a bet. You are betting that you will die early and your spouse will get a financial payoff. Like all gambling casinos the insurance company has the edge. They know exactly what the odds are that you will live a long life. And they make money off your money as you pay it in over the years.

    Health insurance is a bigger gamble for the house. It’s not easy to predict who will require a lot of health care. But they know, if they avoid pre-existing conditions, about what the average person will require up until they reach 60. That’s why health insurance is expensive to begin with. It becomes much more expensive when they are required to take people with pre-existing conditions. The insurance companies are not in business to go broke. They don’t really know what their costs are going to be going forward with having to take pre-existing conditions. Thus, they are factoring in big increases in premiums and deductibles.

    In Washington State, a deep blue state, (I don’t call it the People’s Republic of Puget Sound for nothing) the exchanges are all set up and running reasonably well. The insurance brokers have all gotten hooked up to the exchanges and are prepared to help people get coverage. Except for the sticker shock, it is going as planned. But those who have looked (One of whom is our daughter, the sole proprietor of a small business.) have seen 50-200% increases in premiums and deductibles. The premium is $425/month for a bronze policy for a 46 year old female. It sports a $7500 deductible and 30% copay after the deductible is reached. She earns too much (Over $42,600) to qualify for a subsidy. Before the Obamacare regulations she paid $225/month for similar coverage, but with a $2500 deductible and 20% copay after the deductible. So there it is. $12,600 out of pocket before the insurance company picks up a dime. The potential cost, if you need a lot of care, is $1050/month plus 30% of anything over that. Of course, if you can afford it, you have to have it. Any simple surgery and hospital stay will be billed at $20,000-$30,000. Something more serious – $30,000 and up. A car wreck and the care required afterwards could easily bankrupt you unless you have insurance. The cost is not going to be easy to manage for millions of people. Many people will have to pay for health insurance and forego other expenditures like cars, houses, TVs, vacations, etc. That can’t be good for a struggling economy. Just another reason why this is not going to be good for the country.

  6. Don Carlos Says:

    Dirty Jobs:
    “Since the GOP can it get this repealed now [ NO, THEY CANNOT ], they need to develop and publicize a rescue plan for US health insurance [NO THEY DON'T; THEY DIDN'T DIG THIS HOLE, SO THEY NEED NOT FILL IT UP]. JAnuary 1 2014 will be a nightmare for many people [DOCS AND HOSPITALS ESPECIALLY].”

  7. M J R Says:

    Dirtyjobsguydmoelling, 4:46 pm — “Has anyone figured out a reason (except political) why policies in the public exchange have to be bought on-line?”

    For what it’s worth . . .

    I am in the process right now of lining up a medical policy for my daughter. The company with whom I’m in touch is offering policies that are already ACA-compliant. I can get her a policy right now, without ever having gone through or to any government website.

    I haven’t bought it on-line, but I’ve gone to the company’s website and they’re straightforward as to “this policy is ACA-compliant, but that policy ain’t.” (I chose the one that *is*, because I don’t want her to have to be applying again soon.)

  8. Ymarsakar Says:

    Even if health costs are fixed by somebody, the Left would just make some other problem crop up and use it as a crisis. Social security. Borders. Military recruitment. Something.

    The problem is never the problem. The problem is always the Leftist alliance.

  9. Beverly Says:

    Neo, I am compelled to make a double post: I put this on the other thread as well….

    Folks, I keep telling everyone, I WAS able to get through to the NY State Exchange (2:30 am, Oct. 1), and they DON’T COVER PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS for the Bronze and Silver tiers!

    And they DON’T SUBSIDIZE the working class/lower middle class people — you can make TOO LITTLE to qualify for the “subsidies.” That’s right — TOO LITTLE to qualify for subsidies.

    Yet make, at the same time, TOO MUCH FOR MEDICAID.

    Sorry for the all caps, but I’ve been frustrated beyond belief: I feel like I’m shouting into the whirlwind! No one can believe me, not even my Republican friends.

    You see, the Left has LIED ABOUT IT ALL again! And, being honest and honorable folk, we find it grotesque and difficult to believe that the Left are such amazing liars, so utterly brazen.

    So ask yourselves: what is the purpose of this denial of subsidies to the lower middle class and working & genteel poor?

    I have a theory: (1) The Leftists want everyone on the govt. teat, right? But so far, the bourgeoisie, whom all of them from Marx and Lenin on down have wanted to Eradicate, have been notoriously resistant to getting on the dole of any kind.
    (2) The bourgeoisie will be getting subsidies that, in terms of need, should go to poorer folk. So they’re getting the govt. “crack,” just a little taste. . . .
    (3) The Leftists have played all sorts of sordid games to disguise the true cost of even this “short-sheeted” version of Govt. Hellcare — taxing us for FOUR YEARS before doling out any cheese, e.g. All to keep the “price tag” under the magic number of $1 Trillion.
    (4) It’s a calculated risk, not covering the genteel poor comme moi, because they figure that most of us will vote for Them anyway, and those of us who hate them are too powerless and moneyless to do anything much about it except bitch, moan, and die.

    Thoughts? Any of you manage to get behind the Curtain and see what’s back there in other states?

    One more thing: for all you boycotters, in NY State at least, “non-grandfathered plans” will cost DOUBLE YOUR CURRENT PREMIUM when you try (or are forced to) enroll.

  10. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m pretty sure, Beverly, the Democrat local pols are getting their cut. And that’s probably either skimmed off the top, or confiscated entirely from certain politically powerless groups. So, hence the difference in benefits. The benefits WILL BE DOLED out. But only to those from the poor class that are loyal Demoncrats first, not second.

  11. Ymarsakar Says:

    There has been some rumours about unions getting their benefits cut. They need those benefits to keep their loyal goon dogs in line.

    So if the unions can’t keep the loyalty of the poor this way, and local governments aren’t dishing out the benefits, then all that’s left is Obama’s revolutionary organizations and Obama’s regime itself.

    How that will play out, I don’t know.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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