Tuesday, August 18, 2015

August, 2015, Part 4, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: Sandbagging Information, A Scandalous Nomination, and Personal Obama Care Horror Stories

Every month for years now we have had to discuss how bad Obama Care is turning out to be under the continuing theme, “the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care.” This month is no different. As the legislation continues to march through America, driving up health care and health insurance prices as it serves as dead weight on economic growth, it cements it rightful place as the worst piece of legislation Washington has ever produced.

It never had a chance to be successful since it really never addressed the underlying root causes of our ever increasing health costs in the country:

  • Americans eat too much of the wrong kind of food, resulting in obscenely high obesity rates for the country.
  • Our food chain is infested with overdoses of high fructose corn syrup, salt, and other unhealthy additives.
  • Americans smoke too much.
  • Americans do not exercise enough.
  • The country is in serious need of health care tort reform.
  • Barriers to insurance company competition across state lines need to come down.
  • Obama Care never “followed the money” to find out who is actually profiting from the ever escalating healthcare costs in this country and how to get those factors under control.
  • Obama Care never got the immense amount of fraud and abuse in current government healthcare programs, Medicare and Medicaid, under control in order to save money to efficiently fund other government health care initiatives.
  • Obama Care never put serious research money towards curing the major diseases that drive high healthcare costs such as high frequency cancers and dementia type diseases.
You cannot resolve any problem unless you understand and address the underlying root causes. No difference here but with a big exception: Obama Care legislation never addressed these listed root causes and thus, has no chance of ever being successful.

Today is the final day of four that we have taken to look at the latest disasters from Obama Care, including the gathering evidence that Obama Care policy holders are in for a big and ugly financial surprise in their 2016 costs along with some personal stories on how Obama Care is causing havoc with American families.

1) A quick follow up to a discussion from yesterday. At that time we discussed the precarious financial position of most of the Obama Care co-ops that were set up to provide low cost insurance to the uninsured and compete with the big insurance companies in geographic areas that did not have a lot of competition. Some of the co-ops are performing so poorly that the Federal government, via the Centers For Medicare and Medicaid, have placed several of the co-ops into a special risk category called “enhanced oversight.”

Given that the American taxpayer gave the co-ops about $2 billion to get established, much of which will never be paid back, it is our right as citizens to understand which co-ops are performing so poorly. Well, despite Obama's bold claim that he was going to operate the most transparent administration EVER, this same administration is stonewalling attempts to get the names of the co-ops getting special oversight attention because of their incompetence.

Despite a legitimate, non-burdensome request, heck the list of poor performing co-ops is only four names long, government spokesperson Aaron Albright has refused to divulge the names of these poorest performing co-ops as requested by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Instead, he suggested that the Daily Caller News Foundation file a Freedom of Information Act request to get the names. 

Given that the Obama administration has a proven track record of trying to derail, block and delay other Freedom Of Information Act requests, it could be years before the American public rightfully finds out which co-ops are performing so poorly. Which raises the natural suspicion: what is really going on behind the scenes in these poorly performing co-ops that the Obama administration wants to keep secret? Whatever the secrets are, you can be sure it is just another unfolding disaster from the worst piece of legislation ever written.

2) The following discussion is not directly related to Obama Care but it gives you a sense of the type of people involved in operating the government’s health care operations. The Daily Caller website recently ran an article discussing the story about Andy Slavitt, Obama’s choice to run Obama Care, Medicare, and Medicaid.

According to the Daily Caller:

  • Seven years ago, Slavitt was linked to a massive fraud scheme that eventually resulted in the largest settlement paid out by an insurance company.
  • At that time, Slavitt was the CEO of a company called Ingenix, a healthcare analytics company.
  • The New York state attorney general and the American Medical Association alleged that Ingenix supplied databases to insurance companies that intentionally and fraudulently calculated payments for out-of-network medical services provided to policyholders.
  • The eventual settlement of the charges was $350 million. 
  • The attorney general charged that Ingenix and UnitedHealth Group, which owned Ingenix at that time, “rigged” reimbursement rates that forced patients to overpay up to 30 percent for out-of-network doctors and hospitals.
  • Additionally the attorney general claimed that Ingenix was running a “scheme” that sought “to defraud consumers by manipulating reimbursement rate. This involves fraud in the hundreds of millions of dollars, affecting thousands and thousands of families. Too many people have been hurt. It has to stop.”
  • At that time, it was estimated that years of data manipulation by Ingenix affected as many as 110 million Americans — about one in three patients — who used doctors, labs or hospitals that were out of their insurance network.
  • According to Senator Jay Rockefeller, who chaired a couple days of Congressional hearings on the scandal: “Everywhere experts have looked at this data, they have found what statisticians called a ‘downward skew’ in the numbers. For 10 years or even longer, this skewed data was used to stick consumers with billions of dollars that the insurance industry should have been paying.”
Despite all of this investigation by the New York attorney general, despite the massive settlement figure, despite the findings of a Senate investigation, Obama still named this guy to be in charge of Obama Care, Medicare, and Medicaid. Unbelievable insanity.

Many more details on this scandal and issue can be found at:


3) One topic we never discussed relative to Obama Care in much depth is that now that Obama Care has been through two years or enrollments, what do those enrolled in Obama Care policies think about them? We have often reviewed how Obama Care requirements destroyed the preferred medical and healthcare arrangements of millions of Americans, i.e. the promise that if you like your prefered doctor, your insurance plan or your hospital was a bold face lie. However, what do those Obama Care policyholders think about their policies?

Well, now we know. A recent article in the Washington Times by Tom Howell, Jr. reviewed the survey findings by the Deloitte consulting company of Obama Care customers' degree of satisfaction with their Obama Care policies:

  • The survey found that only 30% were satisfied with the health care coverage they were getting with their Obama Care policy.
  • Only one in four surveyed were confident they could get healthcare when they needed it.
  • Only 16% though they were financially prepared to handle future healthcare costs despite having an Obama Care insurance policy.
  • In a classic understatement, Paul Lambdin, a director for Deloitte said: “Those are not high numbers.” 
  • Fourteen percent of Obama Care health insurance exchange users said they were “not satisfied.” By comparison, those who have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid or plans through their employers had dissatisfaction rates in the single digits.
  • Also, only 35% had a high level of confidence that the exchanges are providing good information.
Just another failure of a failed piece of legislation, unmet or unfulfilled customer expectations for the money they are paying.

4) In past discussions of Obama Care we have often included the personal and often tragic stories of American families that had their lives, their wallets, and healthcare disrupted by Obama Care. The source of those stories with the website:


But it turns out that this is not the only website collecting the heartbreaking stories from Americans relative to Obama Care. There is another website doing the same service called:


So today and for this month, we will use this source to share with you some of the personal stories of the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care:

Mick - Mississippi: I was dropped from my wife’s insurance which I had been on for 10 years or more. They just came out and told us that all spouses would be dropped because of Obamacare. I had to get insurance through my company which added about $340 to our cost of insurance. Our premiums went up about 60%.

Laura - Texas: I am a truck driver and this past December I had to quit working due to my own health problems. I was driving for an owner operator so I didn’t have insurance in the first place. The first thing I thought I would do was to try and get on the county healthcare, but that was taking too long and they were wanting information that there was no way that I could provide. So, as much as I hated to, I thought I’d try to get on Obamacare. I needed health insurance bad. I could barely walk and was in a lot of pain. So, I went online and put in my info, and for me, not working with no income, the cheapest plan was almost $400! How is that suppose to help anyone? And the deductible/out-of-pocket was outrageous!

So how is this helping people that need insurance? It doesn’t!

John - California: We are in a small town with only one medical clinic. Wife retired as City Employee. City paid, as part of retirement benefits, our health insurance premium as well as a retirement check. Note: Health insurance premium is greater than retirement paycheck. December 2014, at an all-retirees meeting, City announced that increase in premiums due to Obamacare was more than city could handle and city would send us a check, we add to it, then pay our own health insurance. Insurance saw us as new enrollees, wanted 2 months premiums in advance. We paid 2 months, then city said they worked it out where city would pay towards our premium directly, we just pay the difference. Not enough to say that we are just prepaid, Insurance company said they wanted the difference sent in AGAIN, while they investigate the double payment. Now we get no retirement check, as that check didn’t cover the premium, we must come up with difference, and we are prepaid now 4 months, we cannot get a refund for the overpayment, and when wife went to doctor in Feb, we learned that our doctor no longer takes Blue Shield, because of Obamacare, and they will give no refund for our overpayment, and we have no insurance and we are a family not happy with Mr Obama. Thank you for giving me a platform to vent! In fairness, we are covered by health insurance, just not by any doctors that we know or who are in our geographic area.

Laurie - New Mexico: To begin with, I hardly make any money. I am a freelance writer, and that was my choice, so I don’t blame anyone for how little I make.

However, I also believe in personal responsibility. So, I had my own insurance through Blue Cross/Blue Shield. It was not always easy, but I always kept up my $120 a month payment. I only went to the doctor once a year, for my annual exam. Because it was an annual, it was paid for–I didn’t even have a copay. The insurance also paid for most of my prescription for the generic brand of Zoloft, which I need to handle depression and OCD.

Then I had my insurance taken away–apparently it wasn’t good enough for Obama, even though it suited me fine. Out of curiosity I went on the “exchange.” My premium would go up, but not by much–fine. However, the deductible would go up to $4,000! (Or $6,000, depending on which site I looked on.) The worst part–this insurance would pay for NOTHING until I met that deductible–no drugs, no annual, nothing. In essence I would be paying for all of my doctor’s visits, all of my prescriptions, AND insurance every month–what is the point of that??

Again, I have always hated this whole idea, so I felt slimey even trying this, but I went into the exchange to see how much of a subsidy I would get. It told me to go on Medicaid! So here we are. They have taken someone who is totally independent and tried to turn her into someone who is dependent on the taxpayer.

I do not have any insurance at all now. I hate to whine and complain, but the Zoloft generic is running out, and I can certainly tell the difference in how I handle things every day! The great irony, and what makes me the most mad, is the very idea that the government takes away my insurance, and next year I will be fined because I don’t have insurance!!!

Mike - Texas: I am a 60 year old single white male, non-smoker in excellent health. My employer-United AirLines, Houston, TX.

Prior to January 1st 2014 (and for the previous 10 years), I had a “Build Your Own Plan” policy with “0” Deductable and 100% coverage-no Out Of Pocket.

January 1st, 2014, (to “align” our corporate plans more with the Affordable Health Care options being offered), my premiums doubled and I have a 10% Co-Pay, even though I have NEVER used the plan or had a hospitalization.

Chelsea - Texas: Obamacare helped me in no way. I had to leave my apartment and move back in with my parents after the new health care reform took a toll on my job. I was once able to work 39 hours a week as a part time employee and i was comfortable with what i could afford. However, Obamacare changed the rules and all of the sudden my employer dropped my hours down to only 28 per week. This is a huge difference! Instead of helping me, all that Obamacare did was cut my pay dramatically. I should have known better than to think the government might actually be doing something for the good of the people.

But wait! Arlene from Minnesota had this good news relative to Obama Care: I went from $500.00 per month premium for $5000.00 deductible under Minnesota Comp to $442.00 premium per month for a $2000.00 deductible and no copay after the deductible is filled with MNSure. MNSure took patience to work through. It isn’t perfect but I have to say Thank You President Obama and Governor Dayton.

I am willing to look at other options, but I haven’t seen any.

So Arlene saw her insurance payments and deductible levels go down as a result of Obama Care. That is great news. But Chelsea, Mike, Laurie, John, Laura, and Mick saw high increases in their premiums and deductibles or had their lives complicated and endangered b y Obama Care. So despite Arlene's success story, the overwhelming number of people from both websites cited above have had very bad Obama Care experiences. It is truly an ever unfolding disaster.

That will do it for this month. Failed exchanges, failed co-ops, rising costs for premiums and deductibles, etc., one disaster after another. And you can be sure we will be back this time next month to continue this sad, sad saga.

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