Wednesday, November 25, 2015

November, 2015, Part 3, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care - More Co-op Failures, Turning Doctors Into Typists 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.

Over the past few days we have been reviewing the latest unfolding disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written by Washington. Let's see what is else is going sour int he world of Obama Care:

1) Dan Joseph, writing for the MRC TV website on October 20, 2015, outlined how the penalty under Obama Care for not having health insurance is going up substantially in 2016. The cost will be 2.5% of a household’s taxable 2016 income, more than double the fine in 2015.

But given that yesterday we saw that only one out of seven Americans without health insurance are expected to get it by 2016, it seems that Americans are saying that the fine is a better financial decision than paying more and more for Obama Care insurance policies that have growing premiums and higher and higher deductibles. Joseph’s article reiterates the information that we discussed earlier this week when Health and Human Services announced that it might get Obama Care policy enrollments up to 10.5 million, about half of what was originally expected.

Obviously, in most facets of life, missing your objective by 50% is usually a sign of abject failure. But in the Obama world of non-reality, it is not a missed goal it is just on “a much longer path toward equilibrium,” according to a senior government official. Talk about denial.

2) In reality, if the country does not find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia afflictions it does not matter what Obama Care’s performance is. As America ages, these types of aging diseases will overwhelm and break the nation’s health care system. This is one of the root causes of our higher and higher healthcare costs that we listed above.

How bad is the situation:
  • According to a recent article in BusinessWeek, Alzheimer’s kills 100,000 Americans annually. 
  • It affects 5 million Americans every year with deteriorating health and high health care costs.
  • Currently, these types of brain diseases already consume 20% of Medicare and Medicaid budgets and expenses every year.
  • By 2030, just 15 years from now, these diseases will account for half of Medicare and Medicaid’s expenses.
  • Despite Obama Care, the Federal government spends ten times as much each year on cancer research and five times as much on AIDS research.
  • Non-government resources for disease research raise $.03 for Alzheimer’s research for every $1.00 raised for cancer research.
So, it will not matter how many people have a gold, silver, or bronze Obama Care plan. Tens of millions of Americans will likely face these types of brain diseases as the population ages and the cost involved in serving them will blow the economy and Obama Care out of the water. And Obama Care does nothing to address this financial time bomb.

3) Charles Krauthammer, writing for the Washington Post last summer, asserted that doctors have been turned into typists by Obama Care. The electronic health records (EHR) mandate required all doctors’ offices to digitize their patient records by January 1, 2015. According to Obama, this would save the healthcare industry billions of dollars a year. 

The problem is, as would be expected by politicians that know nothing about running a medical practice, is that doctors now spend so much time trying to comply with Federal mandates that it takes time away from actually providing medical care. Krauthammer cites one study that found that 44% of doctors' time is spent filling out government forms vs. working with their patients. Thus, another aspect of Obama Care accomplishes the exact opposite of what it was supposed to accomplish: rather than improving efficiency and reducing costs this Obama Care mandate makes doctors and their practices more costly and less efficient.

4) And finally, let’s take another look at the failing Obama Care co-ops, a topic we have already hit hard this week. Recall that more than half of the original 23 state co-ops have already gone out of business or have announced they are shutting down by the end of the year because of financial troubles. An article in the December, 2015 issue of Reason magazine filled in some of the most troubling numbers from the co-ops:
  • The Louisiana co-op lost $5.7 million in 2014 one year after it opened its door for business, paying out $1.13 in benefits for every premium dollar it collected.
  • The Nevada co-op is going out of business after burning through $66 million in taxpayer wealth.
  • The Iowa co-op ran up a whopping $150 million in liabilities in less than two years and thus, went out of business since there was no way for it to repay those costs.
  • The Massachusetts co-op spent six times as much money on administrative costs than it collected in premiums or about $10,900 on each policyholder/customer.
  • This $10,900 level stands in stark contrast to a study that found that Medicare and private insurers spend about $150 a year per policyholder.
  • A potential co-op in Vermont never got off the ground but still burned through $10 million of Federal taxpayer money. 
What a mess. But there is two pieces of good news within this co-op disaster:
  1. The 23 co-ops burned through about $2.4 billion with very little benefit in return. Imagine how much more money would have been wasted if every state formed their own co-op under Obama Care?
  2. The original plan called for a single national co-op to be administered by the Federal government. Imagine how much more expensive and how much of a failure that would have been, given the experience and screwups in every other aspect of Obama Care.
How sad when a piece of legislation is measured by how much worse it could have been. 

That will do it for this today’s unfolding disasters that keep coming out of Obama Care. More tomorrow.

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