The Cost Of Keeping ObamaCare

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about what is happening to the cost of health insurance in Florida.

The article reports:

Obamacare plan premiums may increase an average of 45 percent in Florida next year due to health care insurers rate hike requests, according to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

There are six insurers in Florida selling plans on and off the exchanges in 2018 including Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Celtic Insurance Company, Florida Health Care Plan, Health First Commercial Plans, Health Options, and Molina Healthcare of Florida.

Molina Healthcare requested the highest rate increase of 71.2 percent. Individuals with this coverage can expect their monthly premium to increase from $402 to $688.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield requested a 38.1 percent increase, Celtic Insurance Company requested a 46.1 percent increase, Florida Health Care Plan requested a 26.5 percent increase, Health First Commercial Plans requested a 39.3 percent increase, and Health Options requested a 36 percent increase.

On average, consumers in Florida can expect their monthly premium to increase from $463 to $671.

Part of the problem is the lack of competition. The article explains:

The Florida office notes declining insurer participation since 2015. In that year there were 21 participating insurers. In 2016 there were 19, in 2017 there were 14, and in 2018 there are 9, which includes the companies that participate off exchange. They also report there will be 42 counties in their state that will only have one health insurer participating on the exchange.

ObamaCare needs to be totally gone. Meanwhile, President Trump is dismantling the parts of it that he can legally dismantle. Since so much of ObamaCare was written as it went along, much of it can easily be eliminated by the Executive Branch. However, the ideal situation would be to get rid of ObamaCare totally and let the free market take over. That would probably result in lower healthcare premiums for everyone.

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.

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!

Some Thoughts On Donald Trump’s Healthcare Plan

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about Donald Trump‘s plan to reform ObamaCare. Most Americans who have had to change doctors, had their health insurance premiums rise drastically, or had their deductible amounts skyrocket would consider almost anything on that front good news.

The article reports:

Trump’s written plan at least starts on the right foot, promising to repeal ObamaCare on Day One, and recognizing that Republicans have already developed replacement plans. “The President and a Republican congress,” Trump’s position paper states, must “lead the effort to bring much-needed free-market reforms to the health care industry.”

As with most GOP plans, Trump would lift restrictions on interstate sales of insurance, thereby letting consumers shop around for plans in states that don’t impose a host of costly benefit mandates.

He’d also expand Health Savings Accounts, the one reform that has been a proven success and a standard feature in every GOP reform, although he’s still vague on the specifics.

And Trump proposes to reform Medicaid by turning it into a fixed block grant to states. This is a must-do change, since as currently structured, Medicaid’s matching grant formula only encourages waste and fraud. Trump is right that with a block grant, “states will have the incentives to seek out and eliminate fraud.”

To remove the tax distortions between employer-provided insurance (which is tax exempt) and individual insurance (which has to be bought with after-tax dollars), Trump would allow taxpayers to deduct the full cost of their individual premiums from taxes.

The article goes on to explain that the changes would provide savings for wealthier Americans while not doing much for poorer Americans. However, since the wealthy pay more, you could easily make a case for that.

The article also points out the dangers of depending on Donald Trump to fix healthcare:

This is a guy, after all, who bragged not too long ago that he was “very liberal” on health care, and who often talks as though he still is. The plan says nothing about Trump’s oft-repeated and absolutely horrible proposal to have the government negotiate (that is, fix) drug prices for Medicare. He is still completely vague about how he plans to cover everyone and “have the government pay for it.” And the plan doesn’t mention Trump’s stated support for ObamaCare’s “guaranteed issue” regulations.

Which Trump would ultimately emerge is anyone’s guess. And, since Trump says that everything is negotiable, who is to say he wouldn’t start cutting deals with Democrats as soon as he gets the keys to the White House?

Voters who want ObamaCare replaced with real free-market reforms are taking a big gamble if they think Trump is the man to actually make it happen.

Don’t believe anything until the ink is dry on the President’s signature, whoever that President may be.

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????

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.

If Your State Has High Unemployment, Read This

Forbes Magazine posted a story last Tuesday about what has happened to the North Carolina economy. The change began in 2013 (just before we got here). At that point the North Carolina General Assembly was controlled by Republicans and a Republican was governor.

The article reports:

Unemployment insurance (UI) reform in North Carolina continues to be the gift that keeps on giving. The 2013 UI reform, made possible by the Republican-dominated General Assembly and Governor Pat McCrory, will enable $240 million in tax savings for state employers in 2016 alone, thanks to a UI Trust Fund that has grown to over $1 billion. In addition, the Tar Heel State’s 2013 tax reform bill will once again lower the corporate income tax rate, from 5% to 4% (it was 6.9% prior to 2013).

Please follow the link above to read the entire story, but here are a few of the highlights:

In February of that year, Governor McCrory signed a bill that reduced the maximum amount and duration of unemployment benefits to levels in line with those of neighboring states. This triggered the cutoff of long-term federal UI benefits being moved up by six months.

…Ironically, in his 2010 economics textbook, Krugman (Paul Krugman) expressed an opposing sentiment. “Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect,” wrote Krugman, explaining that granting more generous benefits “reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job.”

…Due to the reforms, however, the federal UI tax hikes were halted in 2014, and dropped back to standard rates after the debt was paid off last year. The result has been significant tax relief for job providers.

The second major change in 2013 was the recalibration of DES under the leadership of former state House Speaker pro-tempore Dale Folwell. Today, the call center answers 97% of incoming calls, up from a dismal 5%, and the average appeals process has been driven down to just 74 days from seven months.

…Today, North Carolina’s fiscal health is in far greater shape than it was in 2012, thanks to bold unemployment insurance reforms that will enable an additional $240 million in tax relief for state employers in 2016. For a roadmap to UI reform, states should look no further than North Carolina, where a crackdown on fraud has saved tax dollars and early debt repayment has enabled massive savings for job creators.

The numbers above are helping draw additional businesses and jobs to North Carolina. I like that, but I also wish that other states would follow our lead. The five-percent plus unemployment rate in America is a joke–the labor participation rate is dangerously low. I am hoping for all Americans to have a chance to find the jobs they want. Following the example set by North Carolina would be a step in that direction.

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.

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.

 

More Laws Not Written By Congress

Yesterday’s Washington Times reported that the Health and Human Services Administration has rewritten the rules in ObamaCare regarding birth control.

The article reports:

The Obama administration on Monday ordered all insurers to provide IUDs, the contraceptive patch and other birth control free of out-of-pocket charge to all women, thereby rewriting the rules after reports that some insurance carriers were refusing to cover all types of contraceptives.

Insurers must now cover at least one brand of contraception in each of 18 different methods outlined by the Food and Drug Administration, such as one type of oral contraceptive pill, one version of the emergency contraceptive morning-after pill and, notably, the vaginal ring, which some women could not get before without paying out of pocket.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article, but I am only going to focus on two aspects of the law. First of all–the Obama administration ordered all insurers. Insurers are asked to comply with a law that was never even considered in Congress. How does the implementation of this law represent anything the voters had any say in? Secondly, in what way is anyone in charge of implementing this law accountable to the voters? Has the government completely taken over the health insurance industry–telling them what they can cover and what they can’t cover?

The article further reports:

The Supreme Court last year ruled closely held corporations do not have to insure types of birth control that violate their moral beliefs, and the Obama administration is expected to update its rules soon.

Religious nonprofits, meanwhile, are still pursuing their cases through the courts, arguing that the “accommodation” the administration designed for them still leaves them complicit in contraceptive coverage.

America was established as a representative republic–our public officials are supposed to represent us and be accountable to us. ObamaCare is an example of what happens when a political class that is deaf to the wishes of Americans ignores the law. Meanwhile, members of Congress committed fraud to make sure that they and their staff were exempt from ObamaCare (rightwinggranny.com). It is time to reign in Washington and get back to government by the people.

 

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.

 

Was This What America Wanted?

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article about the new ObamaCare insurance premiums and the expected enrollment in 2015.

This is a chart from the article:

The article reports:

Just 9 million to 9.9 million people will be enrolled by the end of 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services predicted. That’s far below an earlier Congressional Budget Office projection of 13 million.

Instead of a near-doubling of the exchange population projected by CBO, the White House’s estimate amounts to a 25%-40% increase vs. the newly disclosed 7.1 million tally as of October.

It is becoming very obvious that ObamaCare is not working out the way the American people were promised it would work.

Meanwhile, sometime next summer we can expect the Supreme Court to rule on whether of not the federal government is allowed to pay the subsidies needed to make ObamaCare work.

The article concludes:

Excluding subsidies, the lowest-cost bronze plan will rise 3%, and the cheapest silver plan will go up 4%, on average.

The after-subsidy premium cost increase of the cheapest bronze and silver plans has to do with how the subsidies are calculated. As income rises, even just to match inflation, the amount paid in premiums before subsidies kick in goes up.

Further, individuals will pay more for the cheapest plans, after subsidies, if the second-lowest-cost silver plan premium increases less — or falls more — than premiums for the lowest-cost silver and bronze plans.

In 11 of the 34 cities, the subsidized lowest-cost bronze premium will rise by double digits, but the subsidized rate will be flat or negative in nine of the cities.

So, in addition to not being able to keep your doctor or your health insurance plan if you like them, you will be paying more for what you do have under ObamaCare.

Making Healthcare Political

Hot Air posted an article today about next year’s health insurance premiums–they will be available after the election.

The article reports:

The first alleged change – and the one the Obama administration would like you to talk about – is that the healthcare.gov website is supposed to not only work this time, but will be more streamlined and efficient. Instead of the daunting 76 screens which users had to navigate last year, this time it’s cut down to 16.

But there’s another change. As the Daily Caller reports, last year you had six months to make your way through the process. This time you’ll get just three. Why? The answer might tie into the fact that you’ll probably want to know how much the policy will cost you before you sign on the virtual dotted line. And you won’t be learning that until after you vote in the midterms.

Consumers will be expected to enroll in their insurance plans for the coming year beginning on November 15th. Last year they had the entire summer to register, but then that was not an election year.

It’s up to the voters of America at this point. Unless you make your opposition to ObamaCare heard at election time, it will never be repealed. Don’t vote for any Congressman who voted for ObamaCare–he obviously did not have the best interests of America in mind.

Some Goods News From The Government Accountability Office

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the Obama Administration’s plan to bail out insurance companies in case of losses due to ObamaCare (see rightwinggranny.com).

The article reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services cannot legally bail out the insurance industry for excessive losses through President Obama’s health care law unless the U.S. Congress approves language allowing the administration to do so, according to a legal opinion released on Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

The ruling could end up provoking a showdown between the White House and Congressional Republicans over Obamacare that has the potential to affect health insurance premiums.

The part of ObamaCare that is impacted by this decision is the “risk corridors” program. This is the program that was set up because ObamaCare chose to ignore the concept of the actuary tables that insurance companies use to determine risk and calculate insurance premiums. Under ObamaCare insurers are required to offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and limited in how much they can charge older and sicker patients. Like it or not, insurance is a business. Insurance companies need a reasonable profit margin in order to stay in business. When the government skews the actuary tables and fixes rates, the companies cannot exist without government subsidies. Either the subsidies will be paid or America will quickly morph into government health care (we saw how well that worked with the VA).

The article concludes:

In practice, this ruling may not make much of a difference. There’s no guarantee that Republicans will invite a confrontation with Obama over this, fearing that it would allow Democrats to shift blame to the GOP for any premium spikes that would result. The GAO opinion is not legally binding, and the Obama administration could simply choose to ignore it. It’s also possible that this won’t be an issue at all if — as the administration has insisted — payments collected from the program will be sufficient to cover any insurer losses. But the GAO opinion does provide more fuel to the argument of Republicans such as Sessions and Upton that the ultimate authority for covering any excess insurer losses rests with Congress.

Under Obamacare, the risk corridors program is scheduled to be operational for the 2014 through 2016 calendar years.

Unless we elect a Congress with the guts to stand up against this raiding of taxpayer money to support a plan that will not work, we will continue to see government spending grow out of control and government take more and more control of our lives. Your vote counts in November. Think about who and what you choose to support.

Corporatism In America

Corporatism is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the organization of a society into industrial and professional corporations serving as organs of political representation and exercising control over persons and activities within their jurisdiction.” It is a serious intermingling of politics and corporations. It is currently what we have created in America with the passage of ObamaCare.

In its October issue, Townhall Magazine features an article entitled, “ObamaCare’s Illegal Insurance Company Bailout.” The article explains the role of major insurance companies in the writing of ObamaCare in such a way that regardless of the impact of ObamaCare, the insurance companies would not lose money. If the law has a negative impact on the insurance companies, they will be bailed out by the American taxpayers.

The article reports:

…Obamacare’s authors created three programs to help socialize insurance company risk.

Reinsurance: Obamacare’s reinsurance program is paid for by a $63 tax on all health plans.  The money then goes to any health insurance company who spends more than $60,000 on any Obamacare patient in any single year. Since the tax applies to all health care plans, but the benefits only go to Obamacare plans, the reinsurance program is really just a transfer of wealth from those who had insurance coverage before Obamacare to those who are now covered by Obamacare.

Risk Adjustment: The risk adjustment program is designed to stop insurance companies from marketing or pricing their plans in such a way that they only attract healthy, and therefore lower-cost patients. The program accomplishes this by assessing the patient population of each insurer and then determining which insurers are covering healthier people and which are covering sicker people. The plans covering the healthy people are then forced to pay money to the plans covering sicker people. All transfers between insurance companies even out.

Risk Corridor: The risk corridor program is intended to encourage insurers to price their premiums low by protecting them from losses if their patients turn out to require more care than anticipated. The program uses a complex formula to take money from those insurers that do not spend a lot of money paying for patient health care, and then gives that money to other insurers that do spend a lot of money on patient care.

So where does the money come from if all insurers spend more money on patient care than anticipated? That is the billion dollar question.

The article quotes an HHS regulation published in May 2014:

“In the unlikely event of a shortfall for the 2015 program year…HHS will use other sources of funding for the risk corridor payments.”

The article explains that according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Obama Administration is expected to make $725 billion in net payments out of the risk corridor program in 2015 alone. When you include the increased reinsurance payments, the bailout will top $1 billion.

So why is this illegal? The article explains:

According to long-standing, federal rules, in order for Congress to properly authorize payment, both the directive to pay and amount, and the source of funds for that payment, must be identified.

And while the risk corridor program does identify who is to be paid (the insurance companies), it never identifies where the funds should come from.

This is neither free enterprise or market-driven. It is time to replace ObamaCare with something that respects the free market and puts patients and doctors back in charge of health care. We need portability of health insurance, tort reform, and risk pools (as are used in auto insurance) to equalize the burden among insurance companies. We don’t need government-run healthcare. Government healthcare benefits no one. We need to stop it before it is too late.

 

The House Of Cards Begins To Collapse

On Tuesday, the Daily Caller reported that the largest healthcare insurance company (with the lowest premiums) is dropping out of Minnesota’s ObamaCare Exchange because the government health-exchange is unsustainable.

The article reports:

PreferredOne Health Insurance told MNsure, the state-run exchange, Tuesday morning that it would not continue to offer its popular insurance plans on the marketplace in 2015. It’s “purely a business decision,” spokesman Steve Peterson told KSTP-TV. The company is losing money on administrative costs for plans offered on the bureaucratic and glitchy government exchange.

Part of the problem, according to PreferredOne, is that MNsure hasn’t even been able to verify its customers’ information. PreferredOne said that some of its customers have turned out not to even live in Minnesota.

Insurers are required to accept customers who’ve been approved by the exchange for coverage, but states and the federal government have been struggling for months to determine which applicants are actually eligible for the benefits.

Americans were told that if they liked their health insurance, they could keep it. Now people in Minnesota have lost their health insurance twice under ObamaCare and are facing large rate increases this fall. Can we please elect people to Congress who will make this monstrosity called ObamaCare go away. Enough is enough.

When Do We Admit ObamaCare Is A Bad Idea?

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that the HealthCare.gov website had been hacked. Evidently the hacker uploaded malicious software. Ann investigation concluded that no personal data was taken, so theoretically, if you used the site to purchase your healthcare insurance, you should not have to worry about identity theft (at least from that particular site).

The article concludes:

The attack comes as the federal government and insurance companies prepare for open enrollment, which begins Nov. 15. It is likely to be seized on by Republican lawmakers, who oppose the law, in fall campaigns as another sign of the health law’s flaws. HealthCare.gov suffered from crippling technology problems when it launched in October, though the government has since improved the site.

Taken with recent data thefts from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Home Depot Inc., and celebrities’ iPhones, the HealthCare.gov hack further underscores that large organizations haven’t yet mastered how to secure the troves of data they collect from consumers.

The government has no business doing health insurance–that power is not given to them in the Constitution. We are going to reach a point in America when we have to decide whether or not the U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. We can either choose to follow it or not. I think that during the past few years we have seen the consequences of not following the Constitution–government and government spending are out of control and all Americans pay a price for that–in terms of finances and in terms of privacy. It truly is time to take back the country from the Washington elitists who have been running it for a long time.

The Politics Of ObamaCare Premiums

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the collusion between the Obama Administration and health insurance companies to insure that healthcare premiums for consumers would not increase drastically just before the midterm elections of 2014.

The article explains:

New documents reveals that top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett personally conducted damage control with nervous health insurance companies after those companies saw no other way to hold premiums down under Obamacare without a taxpayer-funded bailout.

Their pleas worked.

A month later, the Obama administration issued rules to allow for a taxpayer-funded insurer bailout.

At a time when the federal budget is spiraling out of control, the Obama Administration is spending taxpayers’ money to avoid a political problem before the election.

The risk corridor program is set up so that consumers will not see the full impact of ObamaCare on their insurance premiums until 2017–after the midterm elections.

ObamaCare needs to be exposed totally for the disaster it is and ended as quickly as possible.

A Federal Appeals Court Rules On Subsidies

NBC News is reporting today that a Federal Appeals Court in Washington, D. C., has ruled that  that the Patient Protection and  Affordable Care Act, (ObamaCare), as written, only allows insurance subsidies in states that have set up their own exchanges. This ruling invalidated an Internal Revenue Service regulation that allowed subsidies in all 50 states. Thirty-six states did not set up the exchanges required by ObamaCare, so the federal government set up exchanges in those states. The court ruled that the federal government may not pay subsidies for insurance plans in those states.

The article reports:

Today’s decision reaffirms that the administration cannot rewrite the health law that was passed and it stops the Internal Revenue Service from doing the same,” said Andrew Kloster of the conservative Heritage Foundation. “The statute is clear in the Affordable Care Act that the subsidies are to be directed only to states that elected to set up insurance exchanges.”

This is actually the problem with the law–it has been rewritten as we go along. Mandates have been postponed, the stay-in-your-home provision for the elderly has been dropped altogether, and exemptions have been handed out left and right. It will be interesting to see if another Executive Order promptly makes its appearance.

One of the effects of ObamaCare (intended or otherwise) is the redistribution of wealth–it takes affordable healthcare away from those who already had insurance–some rates have gone up as much as $7,000 or $8,000 per year for people not eligible for subsidies, and provides subsidies for people with lower incomes (without demanding income verification). In one state, people whose incomes were well above the poverty level were eligible for subsidies, but one wonders if those subsidies will decrease after ObamaCare is fully operational.

It will be interesting to see if this decision stands–it will wind up in the Supreme Court.

 

A Hidden Cost Of ObamaCare

On Monday, Forbes Magazine reported on a little-known aspect of the ObamaCare law.

The article reports:

Want to know what’s happening with Obamacare? Good luck finding out. The White House recently adopted a new approach for updating Americans on the country’s most consequential law. I call it the “needle in a haystack” method: Bury the announcement in hundreds of pages of regulations and hope no one finds it.

The White House tried a test run several weeks ago. Hidden in the midst of a 436 page regulatory update, and written in pure bureaucratese, the Department of Health and Human Services asked that insurance companies limit the looming premium increases for 2015 health plans. But don’t worry, HHS hinted: we’ll bail you out on the taxpayer’s dime if you lose money.

Crony capitalism, anyone? But it’s more than crony capitalism–the White House wants to keep insurance premiums down because the health insurance rates will be released before the mid-term elections.

The article concludes:

These may not be the only examples where the administration has lawlessly rewritten Obamacare without letting the American people know. The law created at least 11,000 pages of new regulation, with more added every day. The White House got caught this time—but they’ll have plenty of other chances to hide the truth.

It’s up to the voters to inform themselves and act accordingly.

ObamaCare Can’t Even Follow Its Own Rules

Yesterday Investors.com posted an article about some of the basic problems in the administration of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

In a section titled “Other Issues,” an inspector general report released last week found that the HealthCare.gov marketplace couldn’t show it had been reconciling its monthly enrollment numbers with insurance companies.

That’s despite the fact that the law specifically calls for this reconciliation, and the fact that, as the IG report notes, “the federal marketplace obtained the services of a contractor to reconcile enrollment information.”

Obama administration officials “stated that the system to support reconciliations had yet to be developed.”

But as the IG makes clear, without this monthly reconciliation, the government “cannot effectively monitor the current enrollment status of applicants, such as … termination of plans.”

The article also reports:

Aetna says that out of 720,000 sign-ups, only about 580,000 were paid up by May 20, a payment rate of only 80.6%.

It’s also unknown how many have failed to keep up with their payments after making the initial one — the law gives consumers a three-month grace period before insurers can cancel their coverage. But the number could be significant.

A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 43% of those buying ObamaCare plans say they are having difficulty paying premiums, with 14% finding it “very difficult.”

That’s despite the fact that 87% of those who bought one of these plans through HealthCare.gov got taxpayer subsidies.

It is becoming obvious that ObamaCare is a disaster. We need to elect people in November who will practice free market principles–not crony capitalism–in healthcare policies. We are in danger of having the best healthcare system in the world destroyed. The American voter will be responsible for whether or not that happens,.

After A While, You Have To Wonder If This Is Intentional

Yesterday, the Daily Caller reported that one of the taxes in ObamaCare will result in the loss of between 152,000 and 286,000 jobs by 2023. The tax is the health insurance tax which charges insurance companies according to their percentage of the insurance market — the more health plans sold (Obamacare’s goal), the more insurers are required to pay.

The tax will actually impact small businesses, raising their insurance costs. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) estimates that 57 percent of the jobs lost will be in companies with less than 500 employees. Small business is the backbone of the American economy, the economic policies of the Obama Administration are undermining the strength of our economy.

The article reports:

The federal government expects to collect $8 billion from the tax in 2014, $11.3 billion in 2015, with the pot growing to $14.3 billion by 2018. While the Obama administration may have intended for the tax to take a hit at insurers’ profits, the cost of the tax will likely be passed along to those purchasing the plans — which in the vast majority of cases are employers.

The American Action Forum, a Washington-based free-market think tank, estimates that the health insurance tax will add $101 onto customers’ premiums in 2014 and $143 in 2015 and 2016.

ObamaCare is not good for Americans, and it is not good for the American economy. We need to elect people in November who are willing to repeal it. There are ideas in ObamaCare that can be included in new healthcare programs, but ObamaCare has to go.

Enhanced by Zemanta