Sunday, August 18, 2013

Part 1, August, 2013 Obama Care Update: Higher Insurance Rates, Less Competition, More Disgust with the Law

It has been about a month since we talked about the disaster that is Obama Care. That is not because the disaster has not continued to unfold. We will need a few posts, at least, this month to get up to date with how this horrid piece of legislation is falling apart in front of our faces and the collateral damage it is doing to American families, the economy, and our freedom.

In no particular order, rhyme or reason, the disaster that is Obama Care:

1) Remember how the President promised that if you liked your current health care insurance and your current doctors you could keep them under Obama Care? We have previously reported on how the Congressional Budget Office has officially estimated that seven million Americans will lose access to their current health care insurance plans and doctors, Obama’s promise not withstanding.

In an August 6, 2913 article on their website, the Heritage Foundation illustrated why this is happening from a real American family’s perspective. In Indianapolis, married couple Rod Coons and Florence Peace were happy and satisfied with their current health insurance coverage: “I’d prefer to stay with our current plan because it meets our needs.”

But their happiness is going to have to take a back seat to what Obama Care will dictate for their lives.  Their current insurance won’t qualify as “government-approved” coverage under Obama Care, meaning they will have to find different coverage if they do not want be considered criminals under Obama Care’s tenets and restrictions.

You see, their current plan has a $10,000 deductible, a fact that the couple are happy with.: “I’m only really interested in catastrophic coverage” in the event of a medical emergency like a heart attack or cancer. But Obama thinks he knows what is best for them, not what they think is best for them. 

By invalidating what had been a valid health care insurance option for this family, Obama Care will now force them to change health insurance plans to meet the laws’ mandate to purchase health insurance, as defined by the Washington political class. How does that happen in a free country?

2) Major components of Obama Care are supposed to start rolling out for implementation within the next 60 days. The administration has had years to get ready and to educate Americans on the benefits of Obama Care. How good of a job have they done, with less than two months to go to a major rollout of the law’s processes? Not well, if you believe a recent poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and NBC, as discussed in an August 5, 2013 posting on the Journal’s website:

  • 47% of Americans say the law overhauling the nation's health system is a bad idea, compared with 34% who call it a good idea.
  • More than half of working-class whites say it is a bad idea. 
  • What is really amazing,  48% of those Americans currently without health insurance, the Americans most likely to gain something from the law and the reason the law was enacted in the first place, also said that Obama Care is a bad idea. 
  • By a 30-point spread, political independents think they will be worse off under the law than previously.
  • Only about six in 10 liberals and a similar share of Democrats said the law was a good idea and that support has even dropped slightly in the past month. 
  • Just 30% of those making less than $30,000 a year, and 37% of young adults, call the law a good idea. That's a weak showing among two core Obama constituencies.
  • Suburban women, a key voting bloc for both parties, say, by 43% to 13%, that they will be worse off under the new law. 
  • Political independents say the same by a similar count of 42% to 12%.

We have always maintained and shown how poor this legislation is and it seems most of America believes the same thing. If these feelings and beliefs cannot be turned around with 60 days or so, the rollout of Obama Care processes will be met with a big yawn or outright repulsion and avoidance. 

What happens if Obama Care shows up but no Americans do? It is likely to die from its own weight because for this monstrosity to work, everyone has to go out and buy overpriced and under featured Obama Care health insurance policies and that is not going to happen if current opposition to the law stays where it is today. 

If Obama has not been able to sell this in the YEARS leading up to this point, I doubt he can sell it in the next few MONTHS. A quote from the article from Democratic pollster Peter Hart best sums up President Obama's health-law predicament this way: "He signed it, but he never sold it."

3) A July 23, 2013 article from the Washington Post looked at a different poll but basically came up with the same results:

  • Soon after Obama Care was passed in 2010, 74% of moderate and conservative Democrats supported the new legislation.
  • However, now, only 46%  of these same people support the law.
  • This level of dissatisfaction is down 11 points in the past year. 
  • Liberal Democrats, by contrast, have continued to support the law at very high levels – 78% in the latest survey.
  • Overall, 42% of Americans support and 49% oppose the law, a substantial difference from an even split at 47% apiece last July

Different survey, different source, same results: the majority of Americans correctly understand that this is one lousy piece of legislation.

4) One last poll finding. In late July, a CBS survey poll found that only 13% of those polled think Obama Care will help them, and almost three times that number, 38%, think the law will hurt them. Are we seeing a trend here? America does not like or want Obama Care. 

5) On August 5, 2013, Aetna, one of the country’s largest health insurance companies, announced it was withdrawing from Maryland’s new health insurance exchange under Obama Care due to insurance policy rate cuts. Obama Care would have required Aetna to drop its monthly health insurance premium that it charges its customers under the Obama Care exchanges by 29%, from $394 to $281 a month.

In a letter to Maryland Insurance Commissioner Therese M. Goldsmith, Aetna said that the plan “would not allow us to collect enough premiums to cover the cost of the plans.” Additionally, Aetna issued the following statement relative to its pulling out of Maryland’s Obama Care health insurance exchanges: “This is not a step that we take lightly. We believe it is critical that our plans not only be competitive, but also financially viable, allowing Aetna and Coventry [an Aetna subsidiary] to meet the long-term needs of the Exchanges in which we choose to participate.”

Aetna has also dropped out of the exchanges in California and Georgia, presumably for the same reasons: Obama Care’s rules and tenets are not financially reasonable or viable. Thus, what was supposed to be a highly competitive marketplace for health care insurance plans, through the exchanges, probably just a got a whole lot less competitive and fewer options for Maryland residents if and when any resident tries to get health insurance coverage through the Maryland exchange.

This is a perfect example of what we have been saying from day one. Obama Care never addressed the underlying, root causes and drivers of our escalating high health care costs. It tried to solve a health care cost issue with a Rube Goldberg-like health care insurance approach which never attacked the real reasons why our costs are so high. 

With the root causes not addressed and resolved, high health care costs will continue to get higher and higher, and cause companies like Aetna to look for other ways to remain financially viable. In the mean time, Americans will increasingly not be able to afford health care insurance because those underlying drivers are still driving up costs.

6) The Savannah Morning news reported on July 31, 2013 that Georgia may not start its Obama Care health exchange October 1 along the rest of the country. Apparently, the state submitted an emergency request to the Obama administration to delay its rollout of its Obama Care exchanges for one month.

Why the request for the delay? Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens asked U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for another 30 days beyond the deadline to approve the health plans submitted by seven insurance companies wanting to do business in the state‘s Obama Care exchanges because some of those insurance premium rates were 198% higher than current plans available in the state: “Georgia consumers cannot afford these massive rate increases,” Hudgens wrote in his letter to Sebelius.

A whopping 198% increase over pre-Obama Care’s rollout? Who would have thought? The real problem Georgia has, according to the article, is that independent actuaries have done their specialized analysis and found that six of the seven requests for substantial premium increases is justified under Obama Care guidelines. The seventh company is only 11% higher than what is justified, nowhere close to 198% higher. 

Another example of reality being just the opposite of what Obama, Reid, and Pelosi promised when Obama Care legislation was enacted. All across the nation, anyone getting close to implementing Obama Care exchanges are finding that insurance premiums will go up significantly rather than the promised drop in rate levels. What a train wreck, to quote Democratic Senator Max Baucus.

The Obama Care disasters will continue tomorrow. Increased prices, loss of current insurance plans, less competition, this legislation got it wrong on EVERYTHING.

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