Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October, 2015, Part 2, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care - Deductible Costs Up, Native Ameircans Get Screwed, and More

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.

But it is not just missing the root causes of our healthcare costs that makes Obama Care so horrible. It resulted in millions of Americans losing access to their favored doctors, hospitals, and insurance policies. It has caused deductibles and co-pays to escalate substantially. It will likely add trillions of dollars to the national debt. It has exposed millions of Americans to higher than necessary identity theft chances. It has created government bureaucracies that are wastefully spending taxpayer wealth and being exploited by criminal elements. It has stifled economic growth and job creation.

These are just a sample of the types of idiocy that we have been reviewing for the past several years in this blog relative to Obama Care., To read those past posts, just enter the phrase, “the unfolding disaster,” in the search box above.

For the next several days we will be reviewing the latest unfolding disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written by Washington:

1) According to a report in the Washington Times on September 23, 2015, while the number of employer provided health plans has not declined as a result of Obama Care, many of the holders of those employer plans are seeing substantial increases in the level of their deductibles, that part of medical costs that the consumer has to pay for before their health insurance kicks in. Some of those annual increases are upwards of a $1,000.

The average deductible for employer provided insurance plans has more than tripled, from $303 in 2006 to $1,077 in 2015. Some experts think that this is one reason why employee wage growth has been so lousy the past few years. Employers have diverted wage increases into paying for higher insurance costs. This is part of the explanation of why wages have flattened. These deductibles have increased more than seven times the increase in wages. 

And this trend may get worse in 2016. Next year businesses with over 50 employees will have to provide health insurance to their employees which will likely continue to depress wage increases while continuing to mute job creation and economic growth.

2) A recent Kaiser Foundation study found that Obama Care’s 13% tax on so-called “Cadillac” health insurance policies has led many companies to terminate those plans, insurance plans that were very attractive to those companies’ employees. Thus, more Americans suffer as a result of Obama Care, losing access to their very attractive and robust health insurance plans, replaced with less attractive policies. How is that progress?

3) Melissa Quinn, writing for the Heritage Foundation on September 21, 2015, reported on another perversion from Obama Care that we have not covered previously. The logic here gets a little convoluted but the end result is another tragedy for a certain subset of American citizens.

When Obama Care was passed, it exempted individual Native Americans from the individual mandate, the requirement that an American would have to get themselves health insurance or pay a fine. However, the law did allow Native Americans to purchase individual insurance from the Obama Care Federal health insurance exchange if desired. These people would also be eligible for Obama Care subsidies to pay for their Obama Care policies if they qualified from an income perspective.

Now, here is where it gets crazy and insane. The Obama Care legislation did NOT exempt Native American tribal governments from the Obama Care employee mandate. Since many of the Native American tribes are also major employers within their regional area, they have to provide health insurance coverage for their employees that are mostly Native Americans. 

This creates two major problems:
  1. Most of the tribes will have a very hard time affording health care insurance for their Native American employees and/or pay the Obama Care fines as required by the law. Thus, any policies they provide are likely to be bare bones and the least expensive required.
  2. On an individual level, the law also requires that individuals with access to coverage independent of the exchange cannot get the subsidies available on the Federal Obama Care exchange.
As an example, consider the case of Rebecca Bishop. She is a member of the Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming and is an employee at the Tribe’s Cee Nu Ku cafe. She has multiple pre-existing health issues.

She originally obtained an Obama Care insurance policy from the Federal exchange, The policy costs her $948 a month but the Federal subsidies provided under the law comes out to $815 a month, reducing her overall monthly insurance costs to $133 a month.

But she will likely have to give up that policy since the law requires her to be covered by her tribe’s employer provided policies at a cost that is likely to be higher than the $133 subsidized cost she pays now. Or she can keep her current policy and lose that $815 monthly subsidy. Talk about screwing around with people’s lives. Allow them to get decent insurance and then then force them to give it up because another provision of the same law screws them over.

4) As we often do with these unfolding disaster Obama Care posts, let’s end today’s discussion with the true stories of individual Americans and how the law is causing them tremendous amounts of stress and costs. These stories come from the website:

Chelsea from Texas on February 5, 2015

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.

Paula from Texas on January 20, 2015

My husband and I are in our 50’s and in good health. We own our own business and have individual health insurance. The policy we had before ObamaCare was a HSA catastrophic plan through BCBS. Our deductible was $10,000 for the family. Our new policy through BCBS has more than doubled and our deductible is $6000/individual and $12700/family with the new policy.

Mike from Georgia on January 6, 2015

Post COBRA purchased an individual plan for 2014 at a reasonable rate. (No preexisting conditions.) The new ACA compliant plan is about 300% higher. They said they do not offer any non-compliant plans. I understand there are only a couple of holes in the law. 1. Specific disease / malady insurance you can buy. Cheap but risky i.e. if you buy heart disease ins. and have gall bladder problems you’re not covered. 2. Short Term insurance – This I did purchase. It’s not great, coverage is only for 6 months and renewal is not guaranteed. There is no coverage for immunizations, and other important exclusions but it covers most of what I want. Provider is HCC. (Find on e-health insurance dot com.)

Note: Supposedly short term insurance is there for temporarily unemployed or a bridge to medicare. Both apply to me but I cannot imagine if, for example, you’re 50 and you’ve got 15 years to medicare that would be tough to bridge. Also, I’m single if you have a typical family of 4 I cannot see how you could afford a 300% increase in premium.

Subsidies- I don’t want, need nor feel I should be forced to receive a subsidy for something that should be affordable in a free market. Pray the powers that be trash, delete, repeal or whatever it takes to rid us of the not so Affordable Care Act!

That will it for today but more disasters tomorrow. Today, besides individual stories of Obama Care disasters, we learned that policy deductibles continue to rise, workers are losing access to their favored Cadillac health insurance policies due to Obama Care’s 13% tax on those policies, and Native American tribes and individuals are getting screwed in a very unique way.

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