Dan Freeman calls Obamacare, “as a whole, a striking success” (The Daily News, May 1). 

I would spell “whole” in that phrase differently, as in “hole,” to describe Obamacare the way the majority of Americans see it.

That is, Obamacare is digging the nation into a deeper economic hole in order to expand entitlement programs.

And, yes, it is an entitlement program, rather than just insurance you buy, in that it will cost the government more than $1 trillion in the next decade to keep it running.

Take one of Freeman’s arguments, for just one example. 

He said “the Affordable Care Act can be improved by extending Medicaid aid in all states, using federal exchanges and requiring tougher negotiated rates” (with health care providers). 

Apparently, the reason for this argument is a couple of dozen states refused to set up state exchanges (required by ACA) to handle the massive expansion of Medicaid.

And, no, the reason why those states opted out of the state exchange program was not, as Freeman puts it, “in a fit of pique over the constitutionality of Obamacare.” 

The main reason was they saw a freight train of higher Medicaid expenses coming at them down the road. 

Obamacare only promised to pay for this wholesale expansion of Medicaid for a couple of years. 

After that, the states would shoulder this backbreaking load.

The majority of states are already having a hard time with Medicaid expenses. 

It is a major factor for them in not being able to balance their budgets.

A doubling of that load (or whatever exponential increase) would put them so far in the hole they could never climb out without federal assistance. 

Which means more government debt. Surprise.

Which brings us to the reason why about 60 percent of the public didn’t like Obamacare in its gestation and still don’t like it five years into its young life: the cost of it will just push the nation further, and more quickly, down the bankruptcy slide we are already in.

Entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, already have an unfunded liability debt of $100 trillion. 

Without major changes in structure, these programs alone will push the U.S. into insolvency in 30 years or less. 

Obamacare probably puts the nation in that position in the “or less” category since it will restrict economic growth.

This ham-handed takeover of one-sixth of the economy will further cripple an economy already in trouble and suffering under one of the worst recoveries from a recession in the past 60 years. 

The simple fact is — and it is one that President Barack Obama and his left-wing followers refuse to acknowledge — the more the government grows, the more the private sector economy shrinks.

But not to worry, folks. 

Even though tens of millions of you will pay shockingly higher health insurance premiums and deductibles indefinitely, everything will be all right eventually. 

Obamacare is a striking success, don’t you know.

Bob Fields lives in Santa Fe.

(36) comments

Walter Manuel

It's mind boggling how our government can still say that Medicare and Social Security is an "Entitlement" program when Medicare is funded by 2 trusts, the Medicine Trust Fund and the Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund, as well as, FICA taxes paid by employers and employees.

The Medicine Trust fund is funded by payroll taxes and by most employers, employees and those people who are self employed. Other sources come from income taxes paid on social security benefits, interest on the trust fund investments and Medicare Part A.

Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund is funded by funds from congress, premiums from people enrolled in Medicare Part B and Medicare prescription coverage Part D, as well as, other sources like interest on the trust fund investments.

Social Security is paid for by employees, employers and self employed persons who pay social security and Medicare taxes. Social Security and Medicare taxes are used to fund the social security system.

So how does this become an "entitlement" program when we are the one's paying for it while the government is doing a poor job trying to manage our money?

Since the government has lost people's confidence in the word "entitlement" when talking about social security checks for the elderly and disabled, they are now choosing to call it a "Federal Benefits Payment".

Give me a break,,,,,

J. Shaffer

The government doesn't consider Social Security an entitlement program. It's the writer of the opinion letter that makes that false claim.

I don't see the ACA as an entitlement program, either. Making sure that people pay for insurance and are therefore covered when (not if) they need health care is helping people take personal responsibility.

Wasn't that supposed to be what conservatives wanted?

PD Hyatt

Yes the government does call SS an entitlement program.... Even Obama himself has called it that....

Gary Miller

If Obama calls it an entitlement it must not be an entitlement.

Chris Gimenez

NJ, what else would you call an mandatory federal program that takes money from one person to give to another in the form of a subsidy? It's an entitlement plain and simple. Personal responsibility is not something that can be dictated by the federal government-it's something done by an individual voluntarily.

While it's a common theme from the left that if someone doesn't like this poorly constructed government entitlement program then they don't want the uninsured to have health care, it's really nothing more than a red herring of an argument. Having a health insurance policy with impossible deductibles, that severely limits the number and accessibility of doctors and hospitals, and is encumbered with exchanges that can apparently cannot track enrollment, payment, or policy information with any accuracy might seem like a solution to our national healthcare problems but it really isn't. It's more like doing something rather than nothing even if doing something makes it worse.

It all goes back to Nancy Pelosi stating the bill needed to be passed so everyone could find out what was in it. Anyone who believes in any way that was the beginning of a well-thought out plan for solving the healthcare problem in this country is kidding themselves.

Gary Miller

Pelosi said that because the law ceated 149 new agencies authorized to write the rules.

George Croix

HOW is anybody 'making sure' about anything in the ACA?
The Administration itself claims to not even know how many have paid for their 'insurance'. They claim to not know how many 'signs ups' are even DUE to the ACA, and how many were forced out of their own insurance into Obamacare, and how many were Medicaire eligible already anyway. Repeating their gibberish claims is utterly meaningless, because they are GUESSING at best, and hiding, at worst
The Administration itself has given a BLANKET waiver to ANYONE who CLAIMS they have been unable to get signed up for the ACA, and NO PENALTY will be applied to them.
The Administration has given out over 2000 waivers so their supporters do not have to sign up, and do not have to pay penalties.
The Adminsitration has waived the employer mandate part of the ACA until 'after the election'. So there's nO WAY to know what effect THAT would be having right now, but the effect it had until it was waived indicates that it will be looking at positive in th erear view mirror.
The Republicans did nOT kill the ACA.
Barack Hussein Obama wiped most of it away with his 'pen and phone'.

Walter Manuel

According to wikipedia:

"[3] Examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, most Veterans' Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs.[4][5]

Originally, the term "entitlement" in the United States was used to identify federal programs that, like Social Security and Medicare, got the name because workers became "entitled" to their benefits by paying into the system. In recent years the meaning has been used to refer also to benefits, like those of the food stamps program, which people become eligible to receive without paying into a system".

So you see, I suppose this is done to make others feel a little better that everyone is lumped into the government "entitlement" programs whether you have actually paid into any particular system or not?

Miss Priss

I can see that Mr. Fields has not spoken to anyone currently enrolled in Obama Care. Nor has he he visited the medicaid site and flow chart of the structure Texas had setup prior to 2009. It clearly shows what a piece of you know what this state has made of Medicaid.

The only issue here is to be concerned what issues the insurance exchanges will do if they had not learned from the mistakes Texas state elected officials have made in Medicaid delivery in the past.

Curtiss Brown

Here is what I think . . . It seems to me that if the State of Texas adopted the Medicaid expansion lots of Texas property taxpayers would directly benefit. The Indigent Health Care population that they pay for through their property taxes would come under the expansion and they would not have to pay that cost any more. So more money to the property taxpayers. Then, the infrastructure built to service that population would see new income as well. Taxpayer pays $10 to cover the cost of an Indigent Health Care visit; then after the expansion the taxpayer doesn't pay $10, but the infrastructure gets $10. (net swing of twenty bucks) The taxpayer spends his $10 on lottery tickets or whatever and the infrastructure spends its $10 on general stuff and the state taxes more and ultimately has no impact. So they underfunded Medicaid expansion bug-a-boo is a myth.

George Croix

"In the United States, an entitlement program is a type of "government program that provides individuals with personal financial benefits (or sometimes special government-provided goods or services) to which an indefinite (but usually rather large) number of potential beneficiaries have a legal right...whenever they meet eligibility conditions that are specified by the standing law that authorizes the program. The beneficiaries of entitlement programs are normally individual citizens or residents, although sometimes organizations such as business corporations, local governments, or even political parties may have similar special 'entitlements' under certain programs."Examples of entitlement programs at the federal level in the United States include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, most Veterans' Administration programs, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, and agricultural price support programs.
Originally, the term "entitlement" in the United States was used to identify federal programs that, like Social Security and Medicare, got the name because workers became "entitled" to their benefits by paying into the system. In recent years the meaning has been used to refer also to benefits, like those of the food stamps program, which people become eligible to receive without paying into a system."

There it is.
A duck quacking...is a duck...

Curtiss Brown

In recent years the term has become toxic. So, really, printed definitions are not going to apply. A word cannot become politically toxic and still have the same definition.

Further, Social Security is a financially stable program for years to come. And any course corrections are well understood. To lump Social Security into the same 'entitlement' basket as Medicare is to speak with forked-tongue.

Mr. Fields typically brilliant article lacks one simple thing. What would he do to meet the needs of these 'entitlements?' Maybe there is another 500 words coming on that subject.

George Croix

I'll bite.
How is a program that has a 'trust fund lock box' filled with nothing but IOU's, for years now, a financially stable program? Especially when it's looking at an ever increasing decline in payroll receipts due to the 'fundamentally changed' economy of fewer and worse jobs with fewer people working, and an ever increasing number of Boomer retirees?
What 'course corrections' are well understood, and if so, why isn't anyone correcting the course?
The goverment happy face on SS is optimistic in the extreme.
Plus, we've been killing off eventual payees into the SS system for 40 years now, as 'choices', the War on Babies, about 50 million of them, at least half of whom might well have been employed and paying FICA taxes, BO time, anyway.
The system, with a nod to Mr. Ponzi, requires more paying in than taking out to remain viable, now that both Parties robbed that 'lockbox' long ago.
Anyway, it's certainly reported as stable now. Maybe we'll get a different look 'after the election' in 2016, since time is now measured in political 4 year blocks as the standard for telling the electorate whatever they want to hear to get them to vote for the tellers.
Let's all remember that 'Years' is anything more than 1...[wink]
And also remember that even though we pay into SS with our money, one will, even if they paid the MAXIMUM tax each year on max earnings (something not widespread before BO time, and unlikely in BO time) , use it all up as they get payments in about 10 years or less, then, somebody else is paying for us.
Hey, but why worry, we're so impossibly behind the money curve on anticipated Medicare payouts, that we'll go broke just on that program alone.
Note to 'progressives'...sooner or later, ya gotta pay the bills...with real money...

Gary Miller


Note to 'progressives'...sooner or later, ya gotta pay the bills...with real money.

They know that Gecroix.
They expect to pay for it with somepne elses money.
Pelosi has a bill pending to rescue Medicare by confiscating all tax defered retirement accounts like 401 K and IRAs. She says tax defered money belongs to government because it was not taxed.

Chris Gimenez

The Left can't seem to wrap their heads around what Medicaid is and why it's ranks are burgeoning. Medicaid is in the strictest sense of the word an entitlement that is funded with our tax dollars. The government's contribution is ours and the state's contribution is ours. Doctors who accept Medicaid patients are weaning themselves from the program because the reimbursements are shrinking. The states who-thank God Texas is not one of them-accepted the federal government's enticement will rue the day they did so.

The democrats are driving us over the cliff in an effort to secure their dream-having more than 50% of the voting-age population of this country securely in the federal government's entitlement grip. What those people need are jobs-not handouts. But then again, jobs tend to make people independent rather than dependent and that is counter to the philosophy of the democrat party.

George Croix

To too many on the left, not all, but too many, 'entitlrement' is a synonym for 'right'. n There are some who know better (Craig Eiland, for one...) but are only slightly more in number than hen's teeth, imho.
The left is big on rights (ironic, isn't it...).
Especially those that other people pay for, in part or in whole. NO Program is too big for somebody else to have to pay for, or subsidize.
Here's a clue, lefties:
Economic 'equality' can only come from getting up off your duffs and working and saving and handling your money wisely, just the like the people had to do who are paying too many of your bills for you, while you do not do that.
The 'government' is NOT a creator of wealth, just a consumer of it.
You will NEVER getn ahead on 'minimum wage', even if the Fundamental Changer raises it, because it was never intended to be a lifetime employment pay scale.
If you rob Peter to pay Paul, all you get is a sore....well, you get the picture.
If you want to REALLY do something for the poor and middle class, STOP voting for incompetent ideologues on the left who are only interested in giving you enough to keep you dependent on them.
Vote for job creators...real jobs, in the private sector..........IF there's one left by the time this huckster from Chitown exits....

Curtiss Brown

The Social Security "IOUs" are obligation of the United States. They have the same authority as Tresuary Notes.

Curtiss Brown

The "Right" believes that the only people who should get medical care are people who are rich enough to afford it. That is not the country I live in. And fortunately that is not the country you live in either.

Chris Gimenez

isleshire, that's a straw man statement. The "Right" believes in creating an environment in which people can prosper based on their own efforts. As your dictator-in-chief so famously stated about those who've worked hard to be successful, "You didn't build that, someone did that for you". That's the insanity of the Left that has crippled our country. The Left wants the country segregated by class with the largest class being the entitlement class. The Right wants the government to stop stealing our hard-earned dollars and for this country to grow businesses that provide opportunity for ownership and for employment.

We need jobs in this country rather than forcing them overseas or thumbing our noses at high-paying jobs (the Keystone pipeline) in order to appease those who are sucking up our tax dollars being wasted on green energy.


Your dictator-in-chief seemingly could care less about the 30% of this country that's chronically unemployed even as he golfs and vacations and wistfully wishes for pixie-dust dreams and unicorns.

George Croix

"The "Right" believes that the only people who should get medical care are people who are rich enough to afford it."

If you are saying that about all of us conservatives, then what you said is a lie.

"The Social Security "IOUs" are obligation of the United States. They have the same authority as Tresuary Notes."

Except in bankruptcy, or economic collapse and complete devaluation of currency.
What authority do Treasury Notes have then....?????
Our current debt is equal to the value of ALL of our output and wealth.
The former is increasing, while the latter is decreasing.
THAT is no lie.....

Curtiss Brown

If all that happens Croix, then we have much bigger problems than Social Security payments.

Curtiss Brown

If only. Utopian beliefs of ideological purity don't work in the real world. Especially in this world of outsized differentials of economic realities. Obamacare would disappear in a puff of smoke if this were a world of economic justice. Try to work in that direction.

George Croix

There is no such thing as 'economic justice'. Pretending there is is just another leftist tactic for divide and control. Like the phony 'war on women', who are themselves killing their own female progeny daily....the real 'war'.
'Economic justice' is 'Utopian' in the extreme.
Too much needs doing to work in the direction of fantasies.
There never has been, and never will be, universal equality, if for no other reason than there are no universally equal individuals, and no universally equal situations.
If you want to think that the ACA was all about trying to help equalize the nation's insurance and health care, go right ahead. The lead architect of it has counted on that level of support from the beginning.

Chris Gimenez

This is a small example of the failed ideology of the Left and their unwillingness to utilize critical thinking when it comes to believing the federal government can cure all social and economic problems if they just throw enough tax dollars at them and their complete and utter disrespect for the efforts of hard-working people to earn those tax dollars.


So how much health care could have been provided to the uninsured for the $4.5 BILLION that has already been wasted on obamacare? But who cares because the idea of obamacare was never to provide for the uninsured and uninsurable. It is about expanding the federal government and ensuring that as many people as possible are enslaved to handouts.

Does anyone wonder why you never see factual statistics from commenters on this forum showing the statistical successes of obamacare? Because there are none. It's a dog-and-pony show being put on by a snake-oil salesman who has never accomplished one significant achievement in his life other than to divide this country between class and race like no other before him.

Curtiss Brown

I think it is reasonable to give Obamacare a chance. It is ludicrous on its face to suggest that a program that uses private insurance as its base is some sort of leftist pipe dream. We all know the original outlines for this program came from the conservative Heritage Foundation as a Republican plan.
Why did conservatives put forth such a plan? To sucker unsuspecting Americans to blindly follow the Republican party? Maybe. But probably for the same reason that Clinton and the Hillary Plan sought to bring more health care to the country. Because the future curve of health care costs were going to bankrupt the country. That is why everybody, with any sense, has been trying to solve this problem over these many years. Unfortunately for you most of the sense ultimately resided in the Democratic party. The Democrats have been motivated to solve the problem both from the point of view that the pursuit of happiness can't be achieved without adequate health care and that there is a fundamental unfairness in our country, that doesn't exist in other modern nations, that the rich should live and the poor should die. Combined with the need to get a handle on health care costs Obamacare has become the law of the land. A persistent, ugly, drumbeat of lies and misrepresentations coming from certain mainstream media has put doubt in people's minds but that doubt will eventually give way to understanding.

Chris Gimenez

It it's the "law of the land", why does the dictator-in-chief keep changing it, delaying, or ignoring it to the tune of more than thirty times? And that's mostly because of the impact it will have on the democrat candidates in the 2014 elections.

"A persistent, ugly, drumbeat of lies and misrepresentations coming from certain mainstream media has put doubt in people's minds but that doubt will eventually give way to understanding"

The lies have all come from the Regime in order to conceal the ugly truth about what this debacle is really doing to the country. If it's so good why won't they provide the documentation to back up their enrollment numbers? You can keep smearing lipstick on this pig but guess what it still is at the end of the day.

Lars Faltskog

Response to gecroix posted at 7:44 pm on Sat, May 10, 2014:

You seem to have this grandiose belief that the only folks who support the "left" and/or democrats are poor, non-working people. NOT TRUE. It is the struggling middle class, mainly the young 20/30 somethings who, in this current set-up, cannot possibly attain the level of their moms/dads.

We need champions for the middle class, not ivy-league empty suits who tell people to ask their parents for money to go to college. Yes, we need "economic justice". We need the stinking rich to pay taxes in the proportions that they deserve to pay. I can't believe you defend the rich. They worry nothing about us.

Lars Faltskog

Response to isleshire posted at 10:19 pm on Sun, May 11, 2014.:

Amen, isleshire. Folks need to listen to the President of Ireland. He says it best about the Tea Party "wankers whipping up fear", so that their ill-informed followers can perpetuate the misconception that it's a "bad" thing to have basic health care. We all know they are the fringe "right" who have disgust that our country has diversified and hs joined the rest of Europe and Canada in progression.

So, all of you soothsayers...you need to get with the program. ACA is here to stay, and Hillary (who 1st supported it) will keep it going when she's elected in 2016.

Chris Gimenez


Curtiss Brown

"If it's so good why won't they provide the documentation to back up their enrollment numbers? "
BVresident you are confused. Probably because you don't get the correct information from your main stream media.
Obamacare is not a program that one subscribes to. People buy private insurance in a state exchange where that state's insurance department has managed to corral some number of private insurance companies and negotiate a set of rates that benefit that state's citizens.
As you know, Texas and a number of other states have declined to set up exchanges in a political snit that ultimately injures, not benefits, the state's citizens.
Those citizens are left with using the national exchange. But that exchange is also divided by state and only associates applicants with private insurance companies.
The reason your question hasn't been answered is that Obamacare isn't one program of insurance that people sign up to. The 'documentation' you demand is held by private companies and is proprietary information and basically none of your business, or mine for that matter.

Chris Gimenez

ilseshire, there's obviously someone who's confused here but it's not me. So you state that by using the national exchange, people are harmed. My point exactly. Your convoluted argument that there can't be any documentation regarding enrollment, payment, etc. is ridiculous at best. What is private is an individual's personal health history-the fact that they have enrolled and paid and are listed namelessly as nothing more than a number is not private or "proprietary" as you incorrectly state. The ACA was and is a debacle created by the Left that has caused more than 6 MILLION previously insured (who btw were quite happy with their plans) individuals to lose their coverage. And don't blow smoke about it being the fault of the insurance companies because they are mandated to bring policies in line with the ACA requirements if they make so much as a word change.

As your dictator-in-chief so famously lied about more than two dozen times, you can't keep your doctor or your policy. It's the height of arrogance-and ignorance-to believe that this massive takeover of the healthcare system will do anything other than become another federal black-hole in which our tax dollars are wasted in an effort to convince the low information voter the government is here to help us. You don't answer why there have been more than thirty delays or changes to this law that couldn't be changed only a year ago. As usual, this administration and the liar-in-chief continue to lie to the American public in an effort to prop up his record of fecklessness, his disdain for those who believe in personal accountability, and his Socialist ideology.

Curtiss Brown

People are not harmed by using the national exchange, except and only insofar as the State of Texas did not work to get insurance companies to join a Texas Exchange where the insurance department could negotiate lower rates and better plans. People are harmed in Texas by the juvenile attitude of our Governor that failed to set up an exchange and failed to extend Medicaid. And did so only because they were trying to make a political point. The 'reasons' they give are spurious.

I am not going to defend the President's comments. If he knew, which he should have, that some people would have to make changes he should not have said what he said. But I wouldn't be so upset with the changes in implementation that have been made. This is well within the authority of the President as Chief Executive and will have political impacts if only to bulge your veins.
You are correct that you are not asking for HIPAA related information; but you are really naive when it comes to business if you think companies are going to reveal numbers that might give competitors an advantage or stock manipulators information they might use. Not only is that what you are asking for; but you are asking it of many different private companies operating in the 50 states. What you are asking for is unreasonable and unknowable.
There is no Socialism involved in anything we are discussing with the possible exception of your demand that private companies surrender proprietary information based on YOUR definition of what is proprietary and not the private company.

Chris Gimenez

Here's a rundown of the success of state exchanges (mostly democrat run) and how (un)successful they've been. I guess when it's OPM it doesn't really matter how much is wasted when it's in pursuit of a political agenda by the Liar-in-Chief.


George Croix

It's no wonder the nation is in the shape it's in....

Curtiss Brown

Since that says nothing; I am going to assume that it is a signal that the debate is over.

George Croix

Although you are not the only poster in this thread, yet saw fit to assume you are, and since my time spent further countering something that amounts to nothing of substance is equally useless, I will go ahead and agree, anyway. No sense for further debate.
There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents anyone from believing anything they want. It's the cornerstone of the current Administration's efforts for 'fundamental change'.
They're doing well at it, and have a lot of support in it.
Have a nice rest of the day...

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