Here in North Dakota, the mantra from proponents of implementing Obamacare like Rep. George Keiser are fond of saying that they don’t like the law but that it’s the “law of the land” now so it must be implemented. Except, for Rep. George Keiser (who was one of the loudest proponents of implementing the Obamacare exchanges in the state, and helped orchestrate a House vote to expand Medicaid) he really thinks Obamacare is good policy.
He wouldn’t speak out about that here in North Dakota, but in Washington DC at the National Press Club? Well, that’s different:
Another speaker, North Dakota state Rep. George Keiser, a Republican who is a former president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators, lauded PPACA, even though he represents a conservative state that rejected his proposal to establish a state exchange.
Like the Obama administration, Keiser refers to the law as the ACA.
“From my perspective, the ACA was an attempt to use a patchwork approach to save the current health care system,” Keiser said.
“The old system wasn’t working,” Keiser said. “Whether it works or not, I don’t know. But it is an attempt. But this is what the affordable care act is trying to do.” …
Keiser’s justification of PPACA was interesting because he comes from such a conservative state.
He said that from his perspective, the healthcare law was an attempt to use a patchwork approach, to save the current healthcare system. “What systems did we have for funding health care?” Keiser asked.
“I really compliment HHS,” Keiser said. They looked at this from 30,000 feet and said, where are the doughnut holes?”
“We have small groups, individual market, small group markets, Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children’s Health Insurance Plans, workers compensation and auto insurance,” he said.
He asked, “What didn’t we fund? We need to cover the 26-year-olds. These kids are going to college a little longer, they are very healthy, but we need to bring them in under their parents.
“What did the Medicaid expansion do? It filled another doughnut hole. What did the penalties, the incentives on providing insurance with subsidies do? It filled doughnut holes,” Keiser said.
In general, Keiser said, the bill was an attempt to look at the doughnut holes systemically, and tried to plug them.
“Will it work,” he asked. “Well, the average family pays over $1,000 a year due to cost-shift from those who don’t have insurance and go to emergency rooms,” Keiser said.
Keiser also said at the hospital in North Dakota on which he serves as a board member, 6 percent of those visiting the emergency rooms as their medical plan have dental problems only. “There is not a thing you can do except provide them with medication,” he said.
With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?