Let us continue to today with some more horror stores, courtesy of the Federal government and Obama Care:
1) The Washington Free Beacon news organization ran an article on June 18, 2013 that covered a Senate hearing on the impact on health care costs of Obama Care. The bottom line conclusion from those present at the hearing, both those testifying and the Senators on the panel, is that Obama Care will NOT bring down health care costs as promised:
- According to the article, the committee scheduled the hearing to discuss Steven Brill’s 26,000-word article, “Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us,” which investigated why health care costs continue to skyrocket.
- Brill, who is a writer for Time, testified at the hearing that while Obama Care may end up extending coverage to some uninsured Americans, it does not include steps and processes to actually curb rising health insurance costs or the cost of providing medical services:
- “Obama Care does not address the fundamental problem, which is the high prices.”
- Brill testified that health care providers, drug companies, and other health care entities charge widely varying and outrageously high amounts for the same procedure or product, such as one hospital billing a patient $77 for a box of gauze pads. This trend that will not be arrested or corrected by Obama Care.
- Senator Bill Nelson of the Senate panel identified another unintended consequence of Obama Care. It is the consolidation of health care firms, a trend that results in fewer and fewer competitors in the marketplace, hindering the intent to drive down costs: “It’s a way of consolidating power by he who owns all the providers of services. This is contrary to the kind of competition we were trying to create in Obama care.”
- Senate panel Committee Chairman Max Baucus supported Nelson’s conclusion by noting that the unintended consolidation of health care entities appears to result in nicer facilities with higher prices, higher salaries and more buildings but not lower health care costs.
So, more experts and DEMOCRATIC politicians agree, that one of the major selling points of Obama Care, the reduction of health care costs, is not happening and is unlikely to happen. Surprise, surprise.
Why will it no reduce costs? Because as we pointed out in the second post listed above, Obama Care never understood the root causes of our rising health care costs and thus, never adequately addressed them.
2) On June 19, 2013, the General Accountability Office of the Federal government published two reports confirming the Obama Administration is ill-equipped and ill-prepared for the implementation of the federally operated health insurance and the Small Business Health Option Program (SHOP) health care exchanges created under Obama Care. The reports state the programs’ implementation delays and missed deadlines show potential for “implementation challenges going forward.”
How bad are the challenges? Consider the words and findings of the GAO reports themselves, as documented by the Minority Report blog on June 19, 2013:
§ States have yet to complete 85 percent of the required program activities. GAO found that, "…states had between 16 and 52 key activities remaining to be completed, or on average, about 85 percent of their total key activities [actions that must be completed before October 1, 2013]. "
- Core functions of both federal and state-based exchanges have yet to be completed. According to GAO, “[The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services] (CMS) has many key activities remaining to be completed across the core exchange functions – eligibility and enrollment, including development and implementation of the data hub; program management; and consumer assistance.”
- With less than four months before open enrollment, any other missed deadlines threaten the timely establishment of exchanges. The GAO reported that “…much remains to be accomplished by CMS and states within a relatively short amount of time.” The reports also noted that missed deadlines closer to the start of enrollment could impact the establishment of exchanges.
- HHS has yet to complete critical steps needed to determine eligibility for credits and cost-sharing subsidies. GAO found that, “CMS … still needed to complete steps to enable FFEs to be ready to test development of key eligibility and enrollment functions, including calculation of advance payments of the premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies, verification of consumer income, and verification of citizenship or lawful presence.”
- Key data sharing agreements between the federal exchange and its federal and state partners have yet to be complete. GAO reported that “…several critical tasks remain to be completed before the October 1, 2013, implementation milestone.” These tasks include Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between CMS and state and federal agencies, which are necessary to make eligibility determinations.
- Consumer assistance and outreach activities to individuals and employers has been delayed. GAO found that, “CMS has yet to complete many activities related to consumer assistance and outreach and some initial steps were behind schedule.” Such activities not yet complete include “…the federal call center, healthcare.gov website, media outreach, and consumer complaint tracking systems for the [Federally Facilitated] FF-SHOP and [Federally Facilitated Exchanges] FFEs.”
- The scope of CMS involvement in exchange activities remains unclear.If a state does not “make adequate progress,” CMS is expected to step in. According to the GAO, CMS has yet to grant final approval for any state seeking to operate an exchange. The GAO also notes that “some of these exchanges may be under conditional approval when enrollment begins.”
§ A key SHOP program to provide outreach and assistance to small employers and employees has been delayed. GAO found that “[f]unding awards and development of a training curriculum for a key SHOP program that will provide outreach and enrollment assistance to small employers and employees has been delayed by about 2 months.”
Again, listen to the adjectives used to describe the status of Obama Care’s implementation: delayed, yet to be completed, missed deadlines, unclear. Even if they somehow get this contraption in the air in October, does anyone really think it will fly for very long before it crashes under is own weight and absurdity? Unclear, delayed, yet to be completed gives one no faith that this is going to work.
The full article can be accessed at:
Although I have not included any of the Congressional member comments here, they can be accessed at the site listed. However, their comments point out the obvious: this is indeed a train wreck about to happen on so many levels.
Another day and another set of documented Obama Care failures. And the bad news is that we are not yet done, more bad news tomorrow.
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