To review the past discussions on this horrid piece of legislation, enter the term "unfolding disaster" in the search box above or just page through previous month's posts on the right side of this page and click on the various references to Obama Care. Very quickly, as your read the past posts, you will see that this is easily the worst piece of legislation ever passed by Washington.
Not only has it disrupted lives, stymied the economy, and increased healthcare costs in this country, it never addressed the various root causes of high healthcare costs. Thus, by never addressing some of the root causes listed below, the legislation has virtually no chance of actually reducing healthcare costs in this country:
- Americans eat too much of the wrong kind of food.
- Americans smoke too much.
- Americans do not exercise enough.
- The healthcare industry in this country needs serious tort reform.
- Federal government crop subsidies lead to our food chain being infested with unhealthy sugar and high fructose corn syrup.
- Current government healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, lose upwards of $100 billion a year to waste and criminal fraud, billions of dollars that could be used to reduce other healthcare costs in this country.
- Cross state line insurance competition needs to be made easier to do.
- The Obama effort never “followed the money” to actually map out where the high costs paid by Americans for healthcare actually end up.
So with that gloomy set up, let’s see what Obama Care disasters unfolded in the past month or so.
1) One of the selling points of Obama Care, if there is such a thing, is that the politicians who voted to enact Obama Care, all Democrats, insisted that themselves and their staffs would have to abide by its tenets, what they were subjecting Americans to they would subject themselves to also. Bold talk, fairness and all that.
But of course, as is the case most of the time politicians open their mouths, this too was an empty promise. Congressional people lobbied the Obama administration to exempt themselves from the very law they enacted with the promise they would be forced to abide by.
As a result, a number of efforts are underway to force these Washington politicians to abide by their promise. One of those efforts is the Let Freedom Ring organization that is collecting signatures to do just that. The text of that petition is below and a link to sign that petition is below the text of their following letter:
Dear [FIRSTNAME, Ringer],
Congress should not be exempt from Obamacare . When Congress enacted Obamacare with only Democrats voting for it, they did require themselves and the members of their staff to be subject to Obamacare instead of the gold-plated health plans they previously enjoyed at our expense.
But, in the same way that the IRS illegally directed that subsidies and mandates apply to people in states that did not set up State health care exchanges, the White House Office of Personnel Management (OPM) advised the leaders in Congress to submit deceptive and deceitful applications in order to illegally obtain for Members and their staff, health insurance subsidies that the law allows only for small businesses of less than 50 employees. Depending on how you count, Congress has from 13,000 to 20,000 employees.
Now, members of Congress and their office staff are receiving subsidies illegally, because an unidentified congressional staffer submitted a false application to the Washington, DC Small Business Exchange claiming that the United States Congress is a small business of less than 50 employees.
Unlike other aspects of Obamacare that need the action of Congress and the President or the courts to end unconstitutional and illegal action, this outrage needs only the congressional leadership to withdraw the false application and put Congress into compliance with the text of the Obamacare law.
But they have not done that yet. In fact, the Senate leadership, acting through Sen. Rand Paul, worked to defeat Sen. David Vitter’s motion in the Small Business Committee to subpoena the original false application to reveal the name of the staffer who signed it.
Let Freedom Ring is joining with Tea Party Patriots and other coalition partners to protest this act of bureaucratic arrogance outside congressional district offices next week, on Wednesday June 17.
I urge you to join this protest!
Colin A. Hanna
You can sign the petition at the followng link:
2) A recent article on the Affluent Investor website by Michael Pento lamented the fact that American households should have had a lot more money in their pocket over the past six months or so. Why? Well, the cost of oil fell from almost $100 a barrel in June, 2014 to almost $45 by the end of January, 2015.
According to his calculations, this dramatic drop in oil prices likely increased the average American’s household disposable income by about $750. This would have added between $100 and $125 billion into the economy, resulting in a substantial growth in the national GDP, an amount that should have increased GDP by half a percentage point. Sounds great, more money in our pockets resulting in greater economic growth.
But that reality never happened. Instead, there was actually economic contraction, not growth in the first quarter of 2015, a quarter that saw oil prices bottom out at half of its $100 run rate. What happened to that gas and oil windfall? According to Mr. Pento: “An increase in what the average American pays in health care costs as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has swallowed all the savings from the fall in gas prices.” Specifically:
- The increase in health care costs passed on by employers with 50 to 99 employees caused likely caused their workers to annually lose $935 in take home pay annually.
- Companies with 20 to 49 workers were out an average of $827 annually.
- Employees with individual insurance coverage now pay an average of $1,081 in annual premiums, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust report which is up a whopping 8.1% from a year ago.
- Although the Obama Care tax on robust company insurance policies, the so-called “Cadillac Plans,” does not take effect until 2018, companies have already started adjusting their employee health insurance plans, switching their current plans to high deductible plans, plans that will and already have also increase employee health insurance costs.
- Additionally, many Obama Care policy holders were hit with high tax bills this past spring when it was determined that their Obama Care subsidies were too high, resulting in additional tax payments and offsetting any financial gains from lower gas prices.
3) As most people know, Obama Care was passed without a single Republican vote. Which makes it pretty funny now, according to a recent Associated Press (AP) article that Democrats are now very concerned that high out of pocket costs for Obama Care policies are suppressing the nation’s ability to attain health care.
Which gets us back to a truism of Obama Care that we have talked about for years: the good news is you now have healthcare insurance. The bad news is that you cannot afford healthcare coverage.
This is being called “underinsurance” which is caused by the rise in the cost of insurance deductibles, the amount of actual medical costs that patients pay each year before coverage kicks in. Congressman Jim McDermott, a Congressional leader on health care, summed up this new Obama Care problem nicely: "We've got some 17 million more people covered ... but they can't access the care they seem to be entitled to. It costs too much to use the care. That's the deceptive part about it."
Several different organizations have recently focused on the issue and came to the same conclusions about Obama Care:
- A Commonwealth Fund study found that 31 million adults were underinsured last year. Half of them had problems with medical bills or medical debt. Seven million were underinsured due to high deductibles alone. "The steady growth in the proliferation and size of deductibles threatens to increase underinsurance in the years ahead," the study concluded.
- A study by Families USA concluded that one-quarter of the people with individual health insurance policies went without health care in 2014 because they could not afford the out-of-pocket costs, especially as it related to high deductibles.
- The Center for American Progress found that employers have begun shifting the increasing burden of health care costs onto workers.
Another day, another set of fiascos from the worst piece of legislation ever written:
- Congress continues to do a “do as I say not as I do” as they continue to illegally side step their Obama Care legislation requirements.
- Health care costs continue to go up.
- Health insurance access continues to go down.
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