One Disaster Under ObamaCare

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about Pamela Weldin, a Nebraska woman who has lost her health insurance four times under ObamaCare.

The article reports:

A former dental hygienist, Weldin has all the hallmarks of a consumer intended to benefit from the Affordable Care Act.

She has been denied coverage in the past because of a pre-existing condition related to her career as a dental hygienist.

Additionally, Weldin qualifies for a tax credit, which she has received every year since 2014.

As a result, her premiums are low when compared to consumers who don’t qualify for financial assistance: In early 2015, Weldin purchased a plan through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska that cost her $232 each month.

This year, premiums for her silver-level plan with Medica are $161 per month after her tax credit.

But though Weldin has benefited from aspects of the law, she hasn’t been immune to the changes in the health insurance market that have occurred in last few years.

“I’m a person who has been denied because of pre-existing conditions,” Weldin, a Pampered Chef director, said. “I’m on Obamacare and have lost my insurance four times in three years. I understand the challenges, but it’s not sustainable.”

It gets worse:

It wasn’t until after she paid her first month’s premium, however, that Weldin learned from the insurance company that any doctor located more than 100 miles from her rural Nebraska home wasn’t in her network.

If she wanted to see her doctor in Colorado—considered out-of-network now—Weldin had to meet a $20,000 out-of-network deductible before Aetna would start covering her medical expenses.

That information, she said, wasn’t listed on HealthCare.gov when she was shopping for plans.

“$20,000 for a deductible? Are you kidding me?” Weldin said. “How is that affordable?”

If the Republican Party ever wants me to support one of their candidates again, they need to make sure ObamaCare is gone permanently by June. Otherwise they might as well be Democrats.

Why It Is So Difficult To Drain The Swamp

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as ObamaCare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010. It was passed with only Democratic votes in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. In September 2009, The Tea Party organized a march on Washington and protests in other cities. The protestors were opposing the proposals for ObamaCare, increased federal spending, bigger government, and higher taxes. In 2010, the Republicans were elected to a majority in the House of Representatives and in 2014, the Republicans were elected to a small majority in the Senate. So why, after the elected Republicans promised smaller government, lower taxes, and less spending, did the government continue to grow? At the heart of the matter is the difference between process and policy. There is also the element of showmanship—the Republicans voted to repeal ObamaCare on a regular basis knowing that even if they had the votes to repeal it, they did not have the votes to override a Presidential veto that would surely occur.

So how does the process impact the policy? The following notes are taken from a Heritage Action Sentinel Brief explaining how Washington actually works.

The GOP Pledge to America included the following:

“We will end the practice of packaging unpopular bills with ‘must-pass’ legislation to circumvent the will of the American people. Instead, we will advance major legislation one issue at a time”

Well, that promise was quickly broken.

The Heritage Action Brief explains:

Congressmen may claim that they had no other choice but to vote on the package once Leadership made the decision. That is not true; it was not a fait accompli. As is custom, right before the House voted on the CR (Continuing Resolution), Leadership holds a procedural rule vote to consider every bill and set the terms of the debate. Any member who did not like the process whereby the subsequent provisions were to be considered has the opportunity to vote against the rule. This would prevent Leadership from packaging in unfavorable legislation, like the Ex-Im reauthorization or a myriad of other bad legislation.

Hiding Policy in Process. For more than a decade, GOP Leadership, when in control of the House, has promulgated the view that procedural “rule” votes are routine, party line votes that should be approved without a second thought. This has given them a relatively free license to bring bills to the floor not supported by conservatives, and they rely on Democrats for the necessary votes to pass them. The concept of “logrolling” bad bills into a crucial funding measure or, worse, a matter of foreign policy, is a compelling reason (one of many) for challenging a procedural rule. Not to mention, the American people voted this type of legislating out of office in 2010 when House Republicans adopted the Pledge of America, which precluded the packaging of unpopular legislation together.

Remember this the next time your Representative tells you they have no choice but to vote for more bad policy. Usually they only need to vote NO on the rule to change the process and allow better policy.

The longest serving congressman in history, former Michigan Representative John Dingell once said, “I’ll let you write the substance…you let me write the procedure, and I’ll [beat] you every time.” In other words, process is policy, and Congressmen who vote on auto-pilot on process fail to represent their constituents on a vast number of votes.

This is the swamp that needs to be drained. The best thing President Trump could do would be to give the conservatives in Congress the courage to stand up against the process status quo. It is time to make Congress more transparent and more responsive to the voters. We saw in this past election that the voters will speak up. It is time that our representatives started listening.

The Facts You Need To Fight The Current Spin

Yesterday Investors.com posted a story about what the repeal of ObamaCare will actually mean. The story separates the lies we are being told from the actual truth.

These are the five main points from the story:

  1.  Repealing ObamaCare will not add 20 million to the number of people without health insurance.
  2.  Repealing ObamaCare will not increase the deficit–leaving it in place with significantly increase the deficit in coming years.
  3.  Repealing ObamaCare will not mean that people with pre-existing conditions cannot get health insurance–the replacement plans being considered will have a place a way to cover pre-existing conditions.
  4. Repealing ObamaCare will not increase health costs. The article points out that the rate of increase in premiums for employer-provided insurance had also slowed before ObamaCare took effect. The shift in the employer market toward Health Savings Account plans — which Democrats hate — is largely responsible for that.
  5.  The claim that the voters do not want ObamaCare repealed is also false. The passage of ObamaCare strictly along Democratic Party lines lead to the loss of the House of Representatives by the Democrats in 2010, the loss of the Senate by the Democrats in 2014, and the loss of the Presidency by the Democrats in 2016.

Please follow the link above to read the details of the above points. We need healthcare to be allowed to function under a free-market system with as little interference from the government as possible. That will provide the most cost-efficient and most available healthcare for everyone.

How The Repeal Of ObamaCare Will Impact Your Taxes

ObamaCare has not been good for everyone. There are a few people that it has helped, but it has increased the cost of medical insurance and healthcare for the majority of Americans. Some Americans are now paying more for health insurance than they pay for their mortgage and car payment combined. If they don’t pay for health insurance, they are fined and take the risk of major medical expenses. So what happens if ObamaCare is repealed?

The American Spectator posted an article today about the impact of repealing ObamaCare.

The article states:

Now that the last significant obstacle to Obamacare repeal is finally packing his bags and preparing to vacate the White House, the defenders of the law are desperately casting about for some talking point that will convince the public that the risibly titled “Affordable Care Act” should be left in place. Having failed to get anywhere with doomsday studies claiming that repeal will render tens of millions uninsured, they have reverted to an old lefty refrain. The Republicans, they tell us, are in a rush to get rid of Obamacare because they want to give tax cuts to the rich.

We’ve heard that song before.

The article explains the actual facts:

In fact, as Howard Gleckman reluctantly admits at the TPC blog, “Overall, dumping all the ACA taxes would cut taxes by an average of $180 per household in 2017 — a 0.3 increase in after-tax incomes.” So, how have the social justice warriors in the media concluded that Obamacare repeal is a tax cut for the rich? The answer lies in the way they have chosen to define the word “rich.” All of this journalistic dudgeon is about the repeal of one tax on investment income aimed at Americans with annual incomes exceeding $200,000 (individuals) and $250,000 (couples).

…A far less obscure “tax” is that which you must pay if you fail to comply with Obamacare’s individual mandate. Obamacare’s apologists thought Chief Justice John Roberts was doing them a favor when he “fundamentally transformed” this fine into a tax in 2012, but that surreal ruling is now coming back to haunt them. In addition to the schadenfreude Obamacare opponents will enjoy when that tax is cut, the TPC study clearly shows that those in the lowest income brackets will benefit the most from the extirpation of this most hated provision of the unpopular law.

This is not what we are being told by the Democrats and their media co-conspirators. Using typically Orwellian logic, they tell us that repealing Obamacare’s subsidies will somehow increase taxes on the poor. In reality, these cuts will merely stop forcing hardworking Americans to pay for coverage they themselves cannot afford because of the “Affordable Care Act.” Meanwhile, these Obamacare dead-enders also insist that any revenue policy that fails to punish successful Americans amounts to “tax cuts to the rich.” This is why their side keeps losing elections.

There are a few things to note here. Does it strike you as odd that those claiming that the Republicans support ‘tax cuts for the rich’ are Democrats whose net worth is generally measured in millions? Is it just a coincidence that their wealth and income are structured so that they avoid the taxes that both the ‘rich’ and the poor pay? I would also like to note that the definition of ‘rich’ is very flexible in the minds of those screaming ‘tax cuts for the rich.’ Because much of tax revenue comes from the Middle Class, many middle-class people in areas where the cost of living is unusually high often find themselves classified as ‘rich.’ When the income tax was initially introduced in 1913, the top bracket was 7 percent (applied to incomes over $500,000–when adjusted for inflation, that number is actually $12 million). The lower bracket was a 1 percent tax. For an example of how the government views income taxes, I suggest you read “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. The mouse’s perspective mirrors the government’s perspective on taxing Americans.

At any rate, repeal of ObamaCare would be a blessing for all of us. A healthcare system based on free-market principles would be better able to meet the needs of the both the ‘rich’ and the poor. Some of the things that would work in a replacement for ObamaCare might be healthcare that goes with the person–not the employer, tax breaks for the cost of individual healthcare would be a good idea, portability across state lines would increase competition and lower prices, risk pools for preexisting conditions might also help. There are many things that could be done to improve healthcare in America. ObamaCare was not one of them, and going to a single-payer, government system would not be helpful either. It is time for the business people that Donald Trump has nominated to his cabinet and the people in Congress who understand economics to put together a healthcare plan for America that will benefit all of us.

What Do You Want Washington To Do With ObamaCare?

Drastic premium increases are coming this year in ObamaCare. Scott Johnson at Power Line posted a story today about those increases. The article included this picture of a sign on a Minnesota VW:

healthinsurancepremiumsThe article points out:

Obamacare premium rate hikes have hit big time in Minnesota, which has gone all in on Obamacare courtesy of Governor Mark Dayton. Governor Dayton professes himself shocked that the Affordable Care Act is “no longer affordable.” Thanks, guy. Gee, who could have seen it coming?

Dayton is trying to create some distance between Democrats standing for election to the legislature and the unfolding catastrophe of Obamacare. He must think we’re really, really stupid and, like President Obama, he’s got the electoral success to prove it.

The answer to the healthcare insurance problem is a free market system that operates with minimum interference from the government. Government regulation tends to skew the market, making health insurance more expensive by impacting competition, and creating a situation where companies will withdraw from the market. That is part of the problem with ObamaCare. There needs to be enough regulation to ensure that everyone can get insurance, but not enough to skew the market. Insurance companies use actuary tables to calculate rates. When the government got involved in health insurance, they had no knowledge of how these tables worked. Therefore, they managed to ruin a health insurance system that was working for most Americans. The Democrats who voted for ObamaCare (there were no Republican votes for ObamaCare) have managed to ruin healthcare for a majority of Americans. If you want full government healthcare, vote Democrat, but before you do that you might want to look at the wait times for medical care in the United Kingdom, which has government healthcare. If you want healthcare to be a private enterprise that actually works, vote Republican. It is that simple.

 

Using Taxpayer Money To Prop Up Health Insurance Providers

Hot Air posted a story today with the following headline, “GAO report: HHS owes taxpayers billions in Obamacare reinsurance money.”

The article gives a synopsis of the story:

In 2014, the industry-funded reinsurance program was supposed to provide $10 billion to insurers and $2 billion to the federal Treasury. But when total collections from insurers amounted to only $9.7 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services opted to funnel all of the money toward insurers. The agency paid insurers $7.9 billion in claims for 2014, the first year of exchange coverage, and held over the remaining $1.7 billion for future payments.

Republicans asked the GAO to weigh in on whether or not HHS had the authority to interpret section 1341 of Obamacare in such a way that it could withhold payments to the Treasury. The GAO report concludes HHS clearly does not have the authority to do so:

ObamaCare has been a disaster from the beginning and will probably totally collapse under the next President. The problem then becomes how to rebuild the damage to American healthcare that ObamaCare has done. If Hillary is elected, we will go to total government healthcare. If Trump is elected, the hope is that he will lean toward a system that favors the free market.

The article concludes:

Just to put this in perspective, there have been weeks of stories about the scandal of phony accounts at Wells Fargo bank. That’s a legitimate scandal in which bank employees created millions of unauthorized new accounts (and credit cards) in order to secure bonuses for themselves. However, the total amount set aside for refunds in that case was $5 million dollars. That’s apparently how much customers were ripped off by the shady practices at Wells Fargo. For this legitimate scandal, Wells Fargo is paying over $150 million in fines and has already fired over 5,000 employees.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration withheld $3 billion dollars belonging to taxpayers and essentially redirected it to private companies. It has not paid back the money. It has not been punished for taking it without authorization. No one at HHS has been fired. And Elizabeth Warren is not demanding HHS Secretary Burwell resign.

Will there be any accountability for HHS and the Obama administration for what amounts to the intentional misdirection of billions of taxpayer dollars to the president’s pet project? Will the media devote 1/4 of the attention to this that it has to the Wells Fargo story? We shall see but my advice is don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

I realize that this is not an exciting story, but it is an important story. Not only did HHS exceed its power, it essentially stole money from the taxpayers. This sort of behavior by government agencies needs to be dealt with severely.

 

More Bad News From ObamaCare

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about some of the recent developments in ObamaCare. As ObamaCare quietly implodes, it is deeply impacting the cost of healthcare and health insurance in America.

The article reports:

Just over half of employees this year have a health insurance policy with a deductible of at least $1,000, according to a survey of employers from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

It’s the continuation of a multiyear trend of companies passing more of the costs of employee health care back onto workers.

Overall, health insurance premiums for a family covered by an employer health plan rose an average 3 percent this year to $18,142. Of that, employees pay an average of $5,277.

The thing we need to remember is that insurance companies are in business to make a profit. If they don’t make a profit, they won’t be in business. The percentage of profit of insurance companies is well within the range of other businesses. If you want to complain about the salaries paid to heads of insurance companies, also take a look at the salaries of other corporations–including nonprofits. You may argue that you think the salaries are out of line, but remember that stockholders make those decisions in public companies.The decisions about insurance rates are based on actuary tables which predict their cost of the coverage they provide to their policy holders. When the federal government gets involved and chooses to ignore those actuary tables, they skew the business model and things do not work the way they would in a free market.

The solution to health insurance costs is to go back to the free market. The competition will bring the price down faster than any government program. We need health insurance that goes across state lines, that follows the insured, rather than being provided by an employer, and that provides only the insurance the person being insured wants or needs–sixty-year-old grandmothers do not need pediatric dental coverage or birth control coverage. ObamaCare has been a disaster–it is time to replace it with a free market system.

The Unintended Consequences Of ObamaCare

Breitbart is reporting today that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is reporting that businesses in New York have reduced their number of employees due to ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Asked whether they were changing their health plans in response to Obamacare, three in five respondents — in both the manufacturing and service sector surveys — said they were. The most widely reported adjustments involved higher deductibles, increased co-pays, and higher out-of-pocket maximums for employees.

About 83 percent of firms indicated that they would be paying higher total healthcare premiums in 2017. As a result:

  1. 73 percent of firms were raising employee premiums;
  2. 65 percent were raising employee out-of-pocket expenses; and
  3. 67 percent were increasing employee co-pays.

Due to Obamacare, about 14 percent of manufacturers and 18 percent of service firms indicated that more employees are now being covered by health insurance; 2 percent of manufacturers and 8 percent of service firms said that fewer employees are now being covered.

When asked if they were making specific changes to certain fundamental business measures, owing to effects of the Obamacare, “roughly 17 percent of service sector firms and 21 percent of manufacturers said they were reducing the number of workers in response to” Obamacare. The vast majority of respondents in both surveys said they were not changing the proportion of part-time workers that are ineligible for Obamacare.

This is another example of the impact federal policies and regulations have on the economy. The American economy functions best when the free market is allowed to work–ObamaCare short circuits that process. We need a new administration in Washington that will lessen the burden the government places on Americans and American businesses. It is obvious that Hillary Clinton will be four more years of government burdens on Americans. At some point the economy will collapse under that burden. A vote for Hillary is a vote for the collapse of the American economy.

Another Broken Promise

Remember how ObamaCare was going to keep health insurance premiums from increasing more than a small percentage every year? The following was posted by a friend on Facebook:

ObamaCarePremiumsIt is not only time to repeal and replace ObamaCare, it is time to repeal and replace every Washington politician who has not repealed and replaced ObamaCare already!

I Guess Things Didn’t Go As Planned

ObamaCare is touted as one of the crowning achievements of the Obama Administration. Like some of the other achievements touted, the benefits are somewhat questionable. The two main promises of ObamaCare–if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it, and if you like your doctor, you can keep him–have not really worked out as claimed. Now the claim that ObamaCare has cut the cost of health insurance seems to be in doubt as well.

Forbes Magazine posted an article on Thursday disputing the claims of Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg of the Brookings Institution that health insurance premiums have decreased under ObamaCare. The authors cite a 2014 Brookings study that concluded premiums have increased.

The article reports:

While I will discuss the relevant evidence of the ACA’s effect on premiums in depth, there are three data points worth emphasizing. First, unlike Adler and Ginsburg’s approach, Brookings 2014 study used actual data and found that “enrollment-weighted premiums in the individual health insurance market increased by 24.4 percent beyond what they would have had they simply followed…trends.” Second, S&P Global Institute found that average individual market medical costs increased substantially between 2013 and 2015, up an estimated 69%. Third, 2014 insurer data shows that premiums for individual market Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), ACA-compliant plans certified to be sold on exchanges, were much higher than premiums for individual market non-QHPs, mostly plans in existence before 2014 that did not comply with the ACA. Relative to non-QHPs, insurers collected more than $1,000 per enrollee in higher premiums and more than $2,300 in higher premium revenue per enrollee in 2014 after accounting for large premium subsidy programs for their QHPs.

The article includes the following graph:

PMPM Chart - Mercatus

The data shows a huge increase in PMPM costs in the individual market between 2013 and 2015. According to S&P, PMPM costs increased 38% between 2013 and 2014, and another 23% between 2014 and 2015. The two-year increase (69%) is the product of the two single-year increases.

…It is worth noting that the individual market includes both ACA-compliant plans as well as non-ACA-compliant plans. If only ACA-compliant plans were included in the post-2013 data, the spike would likely be much larger.

I do wonder how much of this will be reported by the mainstream media. The fact that most people will experience this on a personal level means that the public will become aware of it.

 

 

 

Another Reason Your Votes Matter

On Friday, The Federalist posted an article about ObamaCare explaining where we are and where President Obama would like to go next in American healthcare. It really isn’t good news.

The article reports:

President Obama recently published an overview of the results of ObamaCare in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

It’s a pretty extraordinary article, because in important ways it acknowledges that ObamaCare has basically failed—and it lays the cards on the table for what we always knew was going to be his next step.

…Forcing insurers to cover people who are already sick and to charge them the same rates as healthy people has jacked up insurance premiums for everyone else. So because the law didn’t make insurance affordable, Congress has to make it affordable by heavily subsidizing it with even more of the taxpayers’ money.

Obama also somewhat vaguely acknowledges the problem of rising deductibles. One way of staunching the rise in premiums has been to offer plans with very high deductibles—the amount a person has to pay upfront before his insurance kicks in to cover the rest. This keeps the premiums affordable at the cost of making the actual care less affordable by whacking you with huge payments if you actually get sick. Last year, the New York Times acknowledged that under ObamaCare, “sky-high deductibles…are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage…. ‘We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.’”

Obviously ObamaCare is not working in a way that is helpful to the American people. So what happens next? Don’t say you weren’t warned–you were.

The article explains the next step:

Like I said, this was predictable and predicted from the very beginning, but now it’s all out in the open. ObamaCare was always just an exercise in planned obsolescence, cobbling together a system nobody really thought was going to work, just so they could exploit its failures to push for the socialized medicine they really wanted all along. It’s telling that in this article, Obama boasts that the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of people who are insured, but his own data shows that the biggest driver of that is an expansion of Medicaid, which is not insurance but welfare—the system he wants for everyone.

As I noted back in 2009, a decade-long exercise in deliberately wrecking private health insurance is the most callous and destructive way to pursue that goal.

If that surprises you, look at Venezuela. When has the Left ever shied away from smashing everything to pieces in pursuit of government power? So we shouldn’t expect anything different here.

If we are going to stop this runaway train, and it is not assured that we can, the only possible solution is to elect people in November who do not support socialized medicine. How do you find this people? You look at the voting records of anyone who was in Congress when ObamaCare was passed. You listen to the statements of the candidates.

I have one final note. ObamaCare was passed through a budget reconciliation process rather than as a standard bill. This was because that type of bill could not be filibustered in the Senate. No Republicans voted for HB3590, the predecessor to ObamaCare, or the reconciliation. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts (who was voted in after Ted Kennedy’s death) never got a chance to vote on ObamaCare because the Attorney General of Massachusetts delayed the certification of the election until after any Senate vote would be taken. The shenanigans involved in passing ObamaCare in the first place were disgraceful. It is also disgraceful that the Republican House of Representatives has not made a serious effort to defund ObamaCare. We need to elect people who will end ObamaCare and bring the free market into healthcare. Then America will have a strong healthcare system that serves all Americans.

What Goes Around Comes Around

The American Spectator posted an article today about the latest chapter in the ObamaCare saga. The article reminds us that the health insurance providers were initially supporters of ObamaCare. The article also reminds us that the insurance companies knew that they would not be able to make a profit under the rules of ObamaCare, but the plan was to have the taxpayers make up the loss.

The article reports:

In Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, the sinful sawbones eventually thinks better of his bargain with the devil and does his best to weasel out of the deal. A number of health insurers, having made similarly cynical arrangements with the Obama administration, are now attempting to use the court system to escape the consequences of their cupidity. Knowing full well that they couldn’t make legitimate profits selling coverage through Obamacare’s exchanges, they relied on Democrat guarantees that their losses would be covered by the taxpayers. But a funny thing happened on the way to easy profits. Congress refused to appropriate the funds.

The insurance companies in question were told by the Obama administration that they could expect to have their bottom lines propped up by the “risk corridor” program. The magical thinking behind this boondoggle was that insurers enjoying big profits from Obamacare would pay into a pool from which less fortunate plans would be subsidized. In late 2015, however, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that profitable insurers had paid in a mere $362 million while their unprofitable counterparts had requested $2.87 billion to cover their losses. Thus, the losers would be paid only 12.6 percent of their requests.

In 2012 the Republicans took over the House of Representatives and in 2014 they gained a majority in the Senate. The House of Representatives failed to appropriate the funds.

The article concludes:

…The performance of these Republicans has been disappointing in many ways. Still, by making the risk corridors budget neutral, they exposed the fundamental fiscal instability that defines Obamacare. This requirement was inserted largely due to a quiet effort by Senator Marco Rubio for which he has been savaged by the “news” media. The Washington Post, for example, described the Rubio contribution as follows: “a poison pill that is killing Obamacare from within.”

This is not an exaggeration. The restriction on using general funds to keep Obamacare afloat will drive the few remaining CO-OPs out of business and the remaining insurers out of the exchanges. Neither the Obama administration nor the congressional Democrats with whom they made their cynical deal can save them. In the end, the Devil will have his due.

The obvious answer here is to reintroduce the free market into health insurance. Let competition lower the cost. Create a risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions, much like the auto insurance industry does. Allow competition across state lines, and have the insurance follow the person so changing jobs is not a problem. Provide tax deductions for the cost of health insurance–if you don’t pay taxes, you don’t get the deduction. Also, take twenty-five-year-old adults off of their parents’ policies–it is time for them to take responsibility for themselves!

Numbers Don’t Lie

The numbers on ObamaCare are now starting to come out. They don’t look good. Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the latest statistics. National Public Radio collaborated with Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to survey Americans’ recent experience with health care.

Here are two graphs from the article:

ObamaCareStatisticsWhen you look at the numbers, ObamaCare is not a success.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

Fox News reported yesterday that illegal immigrants and others whose citizenship status was unclear received up to $750 million in ObamaCare subsidies as of June 2015.

The article reports:

The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums. It found that as of June 2015, “the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence.”

The review found the credits went to more than 500,000 people – who are illegal immigrants or whose legal status was unclear due to insufficient records. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed to FoxNews.com on Monday that 471,000 customers with 2015 coverage failed to produce proper documentation on their citizenship or immigration status on time – but stressed that this does not necessarily mean they’re ineligible.  

The people who make comments like “that does not necessarily mean they’re ineligible” have obviously never raised teenagers.

The Senate report states that it is doubtful that the IRS will be able to recoup the money as there is no concrete plan to locate the people who illegally took the subsidies.

The article concludes:

The Senate report says the IRS and HHS initially failed to coordinate on a plan for recouping funds, and claimed that a subsequent plan from the IRS to recoup the money is still “ineffective and insufficient.”

In a July letter to Johnson, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen assured that the agency is “committed to identifying and efficiently addressing” improper payments. He reiterated that anyone “not lawfully present” who enrolls for ObamaCare coverage “must repay” the advance premium credit payments, and would be breaking the law if they don’t.

And the government has suddenly become efficient????

The Financial Legacy Of Barack Obama

On Wednesday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the financial consequences of eight years of Barack Obama as President. The article includes the following chart:

EDIT3-CBO-012816

Some comments from the article:

“Government has failed to fully confront the deep, systemic problems that year after year have only become a larger and larger drag on our economy,” Obama said in his inaugural budget plan, promising to make “the tough choices necessary to … put our nation on sound fiscal footing.”

Seven years later, a new Congressional Budget Office report reveals that Obama will bequeath chronic and rising deficits, rapidly expanding debt, and exploding health care costs to his successors.

First, there’s the deficit, which the CBO says will top $1 trillion in six years, and continue climbing. Over the next decade, deficits will total more than $9 trillion. The CBO’s outlook has worsened significantly since its last forecast, mainly because it expects the economy to grow more slowly.

…And while Obama had promised that his health care reform would “bend the cost curve down,” it has instead turbocharged federal spending on health care. In fact, in 2015, for the first time ever, federal spending on health care programs exceeded Social Security spending.

The CBO says that Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaCare and other health program costs climbed 13% last year, are expected to go up another 11% this year and double over the next decade. ObamaCare’s annual subsidy cost will hit $109 billion by 2026. By 2026, health spending will account for nearly a third of all federal spending.

President Obama did not create this problem alone. He had the help of Congressmen who represent the Washington establishment rather than the American people. It is time for ALL Americans to take a good look at their Congressmen (and Congresswomen) and their voting records. If your Congressman has consistently voted for more spending and voted against ending ObamaCare, it is time for him to come home and live under the economy he created. It is time for state governors to take a good look at the concept of nullification to see if they can regain the state sovereignty they have lost in recent years. Even the small step of refusing federal money in an area can have a very positive effect on a state’s economy (one example). Our current fiscal policies will not lead to future success.

The article concludes:

The CBO report also makes clear that Obama’s tax hikes have been swamped by out-of-control spending.

Revenue as a share of GDP will be slightly above 18% over the next decade, which is higher than the 17.4% average for the previous 50 years.

But federal outlays — which averaged 20% of GDP over the previous 50 years — will climb from an already high 21% this year to 23% by 2026. Worse, almost two-thirds of the entire federal budget will go towards entitlement programs.

Not only did Obama not solve any of the problems he promised to, he’s also made all of them worse. This isn’t the legacy Obama and his supporters will brag about. But it is the legacy that future presidents will have to confront.

Do Bad Government Programs Last Forever?

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about the recent enrollment numbers in ObamaCare. It seems that the program is not reaching the people it was designed to reach and is costing far more than the American people were told it would cost.

The article reports:

The Congressional Budget Office issued a new estimate for the next decade under the Affordable Care Act that lowers the enrollment projection by 40% in 2016. In fact, according to the CBO, next year’s enrollment is now expected to barely grow at all from 2015:

ObamaCare will enroll significantly fewer people than expected in 2016, ending the year with about 13 million customers, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said Monday.

The figure, which was included in an expansive budget report, is a decline of about 40 percent from last year’s enrollment prediction of about 20 million people.

The latest projections confirm the Obama administration’s previous assessment that fewer people are signing up as the marketplace closes in on its third enrollment season — the final one under President Obama.

…Similarly, subsidies that help people who meet income and other eligibility criteria to purchase health insurance through exchanges and to meet their cost-sharing requirements, along with related spending, are expected to increase by $18 billion in 2016, reaching a total of $56 billion.

The politicians who designed ObamaCare (it was obviously not designed by healthcare experts) did not understand actuary tables or human nature. Young, healthy people do not consider health insurance a necessity and do not sign up for it. So far the fines have been cheaper than the insurance, so there is no incentive for young, healthy people to sign up for ObamaCare. Thus, you don’t have the young paying enough premiums to cover the expenses of those who are older or less healthy.

The article concludes:

Defenders of ObamaCare argue that the program has still succeeded in lowering number of uninsured Americans. However, millions of people got their previous coverage canceled, forcing them into the exchanges, so a significant percentage of the 13 million represent a reshuffled status quo rather than an improvement. Furthermore, Democrats pushed for this policy by arguing that having 40 million or more uninsured Americans constituted a crisis that required overhauling a market that covered 88% of Americans in 2007. Having forced six-to-ten million of those Americans to buy needlessly expensive and inefficient coverage isn’t success — it demonstrates that the solution applied to that problem has failed, all while causing enormous damage to the market it “reformed.”

Hopefully the 2016 presidential election will free us from ObamaCare.

The Quote Of The Week

From a DC Clothesline article posted last week.

First the background story of the quote:

Cindy Vinson is one such supporter (she supported President Obama in 2008). This month, like many Americans who have health insurance through their employer or private insurers, Vinson got an unwanted awakening to the reality of government sponsored wealth confiscation and redistribution:

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurancethey were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four.

“I was laughing at Boehner — until the mail came today,” Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.

“I really don’t like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family’s pocket each year, that’s otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy.”

Both Vinson and Waschura have adjusted gross incomes greater than four times the federal poverty level — the cutoff for a tax credit. And while both said they anticipated their rates would go up, they didn’t realize they would rise so much.

This is the Quote of the Week:

“Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”

Bernie Sanders supporters, take note.

Now The True Cost Of ObamaCare Begins To Show

This was posted on Twitchy today:

ObamaCareBill2015

This is the bill that an Indiana man named Benjamin Miller received because he did not have health insurance. He failed to purchase health insurance because under ObamaCare his previous insurance was cancelled and his premiums increased by over $1,000 a month, which he could not afford. I guess I am curious how the government expects people who can’t afford health insurance to pay a fine for not having it.

Notice that the penalty for not having health insurance is called an unpaid shared responsibility payment–not a tax. Also, think about this for a moment. If the man needs medical attention, the hospital is required by law to provide it. Because he has no health insurance and probably not a lot of money (because he couldn’t afford health insurance), chances are the hospital will lose money on the deal. Logically, the hospital should be the one getting the ‘shared responsibility payment’ because they are incurring the expense. However, in the true form of government overreach, the money from the ‘shared responsibility payment’ will go to the government to be lost in the abyss of government spending. If you ran a business that way, you would be arrested.

How’s That Government Healthcare Working For You?

On Saturday, Forbes Magazine posted a story about the current state of ObamaCare. Basically, the article reports that the government is not very good at running anything and should be discouraged from doing so whenever possible.

The article reports:

The two largest state health insurance co-operatives created as part of a grand ObamaCare experiment have announced they are closing at the end of this year, joining others that have failed and even more that are insolvent and likely to fail.

The Kentucky Health Cooperative announced on Friday it is going out of business and will not enroll new members next year, leaving 51,000 members to find other coverage.  It had the second-largest co-op enrollment in the country, garnering 75% of people who enrolled in coverage through the state’s health exchange.

It joins Health Republic Insurance of New York—the largest health co-op with more than 150,000 members—which announced last month that it was folding.  That follows the declaration of insolvency by CoOportunity Health in Iowa and Nebraska and the failures of the Louisiana Health Cooperative and Nevada Health Co-Op.  A total of 400,000 citizens are being impacted—so far.

Wasn’t ObamaCare the program the newly elected Republicans promised to get rid of if the voters gave them the House and the Senate in 2014? Then the Republicans elected the same leadership and the promise was broken.

It is very obvious that ObamaCare is a bloated government program that is not working very well. It is time for some elected official to develop enough of a backbone to say that it should not be funded. It is time to end the Continuing Resolutions and actually act like men (and women) with principles and pass a budget.

I realize that in defunding ObamaCare, Congress faces a Presidential veto and a government  shutdown. Either one of these events should be laid at the feet of the President. President Obama is a failed President in so many areas, this might be the time to challenge him on another failed policy.

Please follow the link to the Forbes Magazine article to see how badly ObamaCare has failed.

When Former The Newspaper Of Record Chooses To Leave Common Sense Behind

On July 3rd, The New York Times (formerly known as the newspaper of record) reported that health insurance companies around the nation are asking for rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more. What is that about? It’s about human nature and economics. Healthy people have not signed up for ObamaCare, sick people have.

The New York Times reports:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.

This has to do with something called an actuary table. Actuary tables are generally used to determine life insurance premiums. They determine expected life spans based on information including health habits, family health history, and other variables. They then establish an insurance rate that will provide life insurance and still make a profit for the company. It is important to remember that companies are in business to make a  profit. Similar charts are used in health insurance to make sure that both healthy and sick people will have the insurance they want. The problem with ObamaCare is that young, healhty people are paying higher rates to cover the cost of older, less healthy people.

The article further explains:

In their submissions to federal and state regulators, insurers cite several reasons for big rate increases. These include the needs of consumers, some of whom were previously uninsured; the high cost of specialty drugs; and a policy adopted by the Obama administration in late 2013 that allowed some people to keep insurance that did not meet new federal standards.

Healthier people chose to keep their plans,” said Amy L. Bowen, a spokeswoman for the Geisinger Health Plan in Pennsylvania, and people buying insurance on the exchange were therefore sicker than expected. Geisinger, often praised as a national model of coordinated care, has requested an increase of 40 percent in rates for its health maintenance organization.

Insurers with decades of experience and brand-new plans underestimated claims costs.

What ObamaCare has done is to disrupt health insurance for 80 percent of Americans who were happy with their health insurance in order to insure the other 20 percent. What has actually happened is that the 80 percent have been disrupted and the 20 percent have not signed up. It really would be a good idea to simply scrap ObamaCare and replace it with something that was free market based. I am sure something could be worked out to help low-income Americans afford the insurance they need.

The Government Does Not Know How To Run The Healthcare Insurance Business

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the steep rise in ObamaCare premiums.

The article reports:

Last week, IBD reported that BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee wants to jack up its ObamaCare premiums by more than 36%; CareFirst in Maryland by close to 30%; and Moda Health in Oregon by almost 50%.

Since then, North Dakota has reported rate hike requests of 43%, Kansas 38% and Iowa 18%.

Insurance companies (and all other companies–even health insurance companies) stay in business because they are profitable. When they stop making a profit, they go out of business. Insurance companies use something called actuary tables to assess risk, set premiums, and maintain profitability. Unfortunately, the people in the government responsible for ObamaCare do not seem to have any idea what an actuary table is–they can’t understand why the premiums keep rising. Meanwhile, the infirm are signing up for ObamaCare and the healthy people who would balance the load are not signing up.

The article concludes:

First, ObamaCare imposes a pile of costly rules and regulations on the insurance industry — mandating generous coverage, outlawing risk rating, and so on.

Then, to cope with these costs, insurance companies employ large deductibles and co-pays to keep premiums within the realm of reasonable.

Now, the same Democrats who created this problem want to force insurers to lower deductibles and co-pays so health care will be more “affordable.”

Never mind that this would, if enacted, produce yet another round of massive premium hikes.

Someone needs to instruct these Democrats on a fundamental truth of economics: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Someone might also tell the Democrats that the government has never successfully run anything–much less an industry that is a major part of the American economy.

 

Wasn’t This Supposed To Make Things Better?

On Tuesday, Investors.com posted an article about the Congressional Budget Office‘s report on ObamaCare.

The article included this chart:

The article states:

Thanks to ObamaCare, the CBO now expects that 10 million workers will lose their employer-based coverage by 2021.

This finding stands in sharp contrast to earlier CBO projections, which at one point suggested ObamaCare would increase the number of people getting coverage through work, at least in its early years.

The budget office has, in fact, increased the number it says will lose workplace coverage every year since 2011.

The latest CBO finding also thoroughly debunks the many promises ObamaCare backers made when selling the law — about how those with work-based coverage had nothing to worry about.

Scott Brown was elected to the Senate to stop ObamaCare. Because the Democrats used an unusual parliamentary procedure to avoid letting him cast that vote, ObamaCare was not stopped. The Republicans now have majorities in the House and in the Senate. We have seen enough damage caused by ObamaCare to know that the American people were lied to and that all ObamaCare has done is disrupt healthcare for Americans who were satisfied with their healthcare. It is time for the Republicans to do what they were elected to do–repeal ObamaCare.

Why The Republicans Need To Repeal ObamaCare

Hot Air posted an article yesterday reporting that according to the Congressional Budget Office, ObamaCare will cost about $50,000 per person.

The article reports:

If you want to read the report yourself, it’s tucked away back in Appendix B of the document. (.pdf format) The total bill over ten years is closing in on the two trillion mark, and the various taxes and fees imposed under Obamacare are only going to make up for $643B of it. So I guess we really did have to pass the bill to find out what was in it.

The article concludes:

The plan is covering 27 million people with estimates of that growing by 25% over the next decade. A mid-range quality health care plan through most employers – including the employer contribution – can be had for roughly $5,400 per year. That works out to a little less than 150 billion dollars to just buy all of those people a health plan under the old system and the insurers would have been thrilled. The crippled, complicated government web site could have been stripped down to just ask how much you make each year and, based on that, issue you a voucher for a health insurance plan from a company that covers your area. We wouldn’t have liked it, but it would have come in at one heck of a cheaper rate and the debate would be over.

Rather than an exit question, we’ll just close with an observation. You were lied to. Again.

At some point, we need to elect a Congress that understands that the private sector does things better. It would have been much cheaper and easier to set up a system of tax refunds for health care premiums run by the private sector. The plan could easily have included insurance for children in college, portability across state lines, tort reform, and other ways to insure the previously uninsured. Unfortunately, Congress had a better idea–which wasn’t.

 

Sometimes Irony Is Just Fun

This week we heard stories about the faculty of Harvard University being upset that the ObamaCare Health Insurance that they supported affected them in a negative way. Yesterday The Chicago Tribune weighed in on the subject. The article reminds us that MIT economist Jonathan Gruber boasted that one of the reasons ObamaCare was passed was that the American voters were stupid (uninformed would have been a kinder word, but he said stupid).

The article illustrates that even smart Americans got caught in the ObamaCare trap:

Turns out, however, that some smart people at Gruber’s alma mater, Harvard, also are flummoxed by the health care overhaul that many of their fellow Harvard brainiacs championed into law. They believed the whopper from President Obama, Gruber et al. that Obamacare would spend billions to cover millions and tame health care costs. And, oh yes, if you liked your coverage, you could keep your coverage.

…Harvard profs are learning, extremely belatedly, what smart people knew from Day One: Obamacare is disruptive and expensive. All of that free care is not free. Someone has to pay. Make that: Everyone has to pay. No exceptions for Harvard professors.

There is a lesson here all Americans need to learn–there is no free money. The government has no money of its own. All the money the government has it has taken from either individuals or businesses. Actually, there are really no taxes on businesses or corporations–taxes put on businesses or corporations become business expenses and are passed along to the consumer in the form of  higher prices. There is no free lunch. Most Americans who have to keep to a household budget have figured that out; evidently Harvard professors have a different learning curve.

The article has a suggestion for the Harvard professors:

A modest proposal: Harvard profs helped lead the charge to ram Obamacare into law. They should now lend their fierce intellectual firepower to a Republican-led effort in Congress to roll back some of the law’s most pernicious and costly effects.

The article has a few suggestions as to things that could be done to fix ObamaCare and change it into a reasonable law. Personally, I would like to see ObamaCare replaced with health insurance that includes three things; tort reform, portability of health insurance across state lines, and insurance that stays with the persont regardless of job changes. We need to get the government out of the insurance business and let the people who understand actuary tables run their business,. Health insurance companies have one of the lowest profit margins of all American businesses. They are not the money-grubbing control freaks Congress and the Obama Administration have accused them of being. Actually, if ObamaCare is indicative of anything, it illustrates that the money-grubbing control freaks seem to be located in government–not in the insurance business.

Adding To The Confusion Of ObamaCare

CNN posted an article today about how the subsidies paid to ObamaCare subscribers are going to impact their taxes. No one told them this was going to be taxable!

The article reports:

Obamacare enrollees who received subsidies to help pay for coverage will soon have to reconcile how much they actually earned in 2014 with how much they estimated when they applied many, many months ago.

This will likely lead to some very unhappy Americans. Those who underestimated their income either will receive smaller tax refunds or will owe the IRS money.

That’s because subsidies are actually tax credits and are based on annual income, but folks got their 2014 subsidy before knowing exactly what they’d make in 2014. So you’ll have to reconcile the two with the IRS during the upcoming tax filing season.

Filing taxes has never been any fun–ObamaCare just made it worse.

Subsidies were what kept the cost of ObamaCare down for subscribers:

We’re not talking chump change. Those who applied through the federal exchange received an average monthly subsidy of $264, according to the most recent figures reported by the Obama administration. They only had to pay $82 a month, on average, for coverage, Roughly 85% of total enrollees received help with insurance premiums. The administration last month said 2014 enrollment was 6.7 million.

Those who underestimated their earnings could owe thousands of dollars, though there is a $2,500 cap for those who remain eligible for subsidies. The threshold for eligibility is based on income – $45,900 for an individual and $94,200 for a family in 2014.

In June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether or not subsidies can be given in states that did not create healthcare exchanges. If the ruling says no, we can expect total chaos in the healthcare sector of the economy while everyone regroups. Meanwhile, the taxman cometh!