Scandlen is an accomplished writer, researcher, and public speaker. He is considered one of the nation’s experts on health care financing, insurance regulation, and employee benefits. He testifies frequently before Congress and appears on such television shows as the O’Reilly Factor, NBC Nightly News, ABC News, and CNN. Scandlen gives three dozen speeches a year to organizations representing employers and labor, hospitals and physicians, insurers, and pharmaceutical companies.
He has published many papers on topics such as health care costs, insurance reform, employee benefits, individual insurance programs, HSAs and HRAs, and every aspect of consumer-driven health care.
Scandlen has worked for several Washington-based think tanks, including the Cato Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis, and Galen Institute. He was president of the Health Benefits Group, a benefits consulting firm, and founder and executive director of the Council for Affordable Health Insurance, a trade association of insurance companies.. He also spent 12 years in the Blue Cross Blue Shield system, most recently as director of state research at the national association.
- “Insurance Companies as We Know Them Are About to Die” (New Republic)
- “In Health Care, Choice is Overrated” (The New York Times)
- “You Don’t Need a Doctor for Every Part of Your Health Care” (CNSNews write up of a Bill O’Reilly interview)
- “Inside the Making of ObamaCare” (Wall Street Journal)
- “Progress with Caveats: At least 12 million have received coverage directly through a provision of the law” (Wall Street Journal)
In every instance his message is that he knows better than you do what is good for you. He knows a better way to do insurance than you do, he knows that you don’t really need a choice of doctor or hospital, he knows that you don’t really need a doctor at all for most services, and he knows that “things are actually going well” for ObamaCare despite the fact that you and most Americans don’t like it.
One has to wonder what is going on with this guy. Why is he so confident in offending so many Americans? Either he is triumphant in the idea that what we think doesn’t matter anymore because Obama is firmly in control of our future, or he knows that ObamaCare is such a disaster that he can finally say any damned thing he wants because none of it will ever happen anyway.
In either case, he provides a fascinating window into the minds of the Leftist elite. What do we see in there?
Mostly we see an astonishing level of hubris and arrogance. We see an academic living in a world of dreams and “big ideas” divorced from both political realities and real-world practicalities. We also see an intellectual bubble of group think in which expressing a contrary opinion is seen as a betrayal, rather than a welcomed reality check.
In his telling of how ObamaCare came to be, he says he was pushing for bundled payments, at least for Medicare, as the panacea for controlling costs. We have written before about the limits of bundling but Zeke is not deterred. Unfortunately, he says he “hit a brick wall” because the people who actually run the Medicare program told him it wouldn’t work — “the Medicare bureaucracy wouldn’t budge.”
And this is how it goes in Zeke’s brain. The people who actually know what they are talking about irritate him by getting in the way of his pies-in-the-sky.
This hubris is evident in everything Zeke says or writes. He thinks existing insurance companies will be replaced by Accountable Care Organizations. Although these companies are “in their infancy,” in the next decade they will –
“…succeed at integrating all the components of care and provide efficient, coordinated care. They will have the physician and hospital networks. They will have standardized, guideline-driven care plans for most major conditions and procedures to increase efficiency. They will have figured out how to harness their electronic medical records to better identify patients who will become sick and how to intervene early as well as how to care for the well-identified chronically ill so as to reduce costs.”
How does he know this? Is there any evidence to support it? Well, no. What evidence is available shows quite the opposite, but Zeke won’t let that get in the way.
More recently, he pronounced that 12 million people have already gotten coverage due to ObamaCare. He cites the Gallup survey as showing that “the percentage of uninsured Americans declined from 18% in the middle of 2013 to 15.9% in the first quarter of 2014.” Yes, the Gallup survey does show that but what is curious about this survey is that the rate of uninsured soared from 16.3% in late 2012 to 18% in mid-2013. Either the survey is flawed or the anticipation of ObamaCare caused a whole lot of people to lose their coverage in 2013. In either case, the rate of uninsured has barely budged (from 16.3% to 15.9%) in a year.
More importantly, Zeke reports that 3.1 million young adults are now covered under their parent’s plan without mentioning that most of these were previously getting coverage from their employers, and that 4.5 million are newly eligible for Medicaid without mentioning how many actually enrolled and how many of those were previously covered, and the 5 million have selected a plan without mentioning how many have paid their premiums or how many of these got kicked out of their prior coverage thanks to ObamaCare.
So, now Zeke has gone well beyond just fantasizing to actually lying about the available data. And that is the ultimate lesson from the mind of Zeke Emmanuel and most other Leftists — when their dreams turn into garbage, they lie about the truth.
Or as Nancy Pelosi told us the other day –
As if repeating a lie enough times will make it true.
[Originally published at National Center for Policy Analysis]