Friday, November 27, 2015

November, 2015 Part 4,The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: The Death Spiral Analogy 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) Edward Woodson, writing for the The Blaze on November 5, 2015, laid out the sordid relationship between the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Obama administration over the years as it relates not only to Obama Care but to the entire Medicare/Medicaid/AHA government cronyism scam:

  • Back in in May, 2009, as the Obama Care legislation was being put together, the AHA publicly announced its support for healthcare reform in general, reform that eventually turned into Obama Care.
  • When early drafts of the legislation were not as favorable to the AHA and its members as it would like, Obama’s so-called health reform czar, Nancy-Ann DeParle emailed an AHA operative, Linda Fishman, that, “I know you understand that you are much more likely to end up where you want to be if you don’t box us in.” In other words, relax, we got your back.
  • After Obama Care was passed, the AHA was so delighted with the results that it funded a million dollars worth of ad campaigns for 16 Democratic members of Congress to thank them for their support in getting the legislation passed.
  • That support paid off when the Department of Health and Human Services decided to further curtail a government audit program of hospitals that has already recovered billions of dollars in Medicare fraud and wasteful spending incurred by, surprise, AHA members.
  • In 2013, this audit program recovered $3.7 million of taxpayer wealth from crooked hospitals but the recovery rate dropped more than a third to $2.4 billion in 2014 as a result of the Obama administration putting stringent restrictions on the government auditors trying to recapture wasted dollars.
  • For example, current rules allow the auditors to only look at 2% of a hospital’s claims for government reimbursement and even worse, the Obama administration recently announced that it was dropping that restriction even further down to .5% of claims, less than 1%.
  • Now there is no more than a one in two hundred chance that an auditor will come across a bogus claim by a member of the AHA, and thus, the ability to cheat the American taxpayer and get away with it is greater today and greater than it has ever been.
Now, it could be that the more lax enforcement of criminal investigation of AHA members has nothing to do with the campaign money and support the AHA provided to the passage of Obama Care. More likely though, given the current atmosphere of cronyism that pervades the Obama administration, these events are all connected and the American taxpayer gets screwed again in the process. 

Given that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) testified in front of Congress this past October that the Federal government annually pays out $125 billion in improper payments from its programs such as Medicare, up from $105 billion in previous years, it is not as if everybody is being honest and forthright when it comes to accepting government payouts for services rendered. 

Of the $125 billion, the GAO estimated that $75 billion of that waste comes from just Medicare and Medicaid, two programs that are integral to Obama Care and AHA's hospitals' financials. By recovering only $2.4 billion a year, criminals and others such as the AHA may be getting caught a meager 3% of the time.

2) Richard Pollock, writing for the Daily Caller on October 22, 2015, dove more deeply into the GAO testimony and findings that we just discussed:

  • The GAO ran an undercover operation to see how easily they could cheat the government’s health care operations.
  • Ten out ten fake Obama Care applications were approved for government subsidies even though the ten people did not exist, they were just GAO fake identities.
  • The fake identities used fake Social Security numbers and fictitious employers.
  • The ten fake people were scattered across the country in different states.
  • The GAO also submitted eight fake people into the Medicaid system of which seven out of the eight got approved for Medicaid coverage even though they also were totally non-existent.

Totally inept and corrupt government programs and the processes that support them. 

3) Betsy McCaughley, writing for the New York Post on October 19, 2015, described how Obama Care is entering into a “death spiral:

  • In general, the death spiral is being caused because, “The Obama administration is having trouble selling insurance plans to healthy people. That’s a big problem: When the young and healthy don’t enroll, premiums have to be hiked to cover the costs of older, sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up."
  • In late October, the Obama administration announced that enrollment in Obama Care policies in 2016 will be less than half of what the original expectations were.
  • Despite a large increase in the penalty for not having health insurance in 2016, only one in seven uninsured Americans will have signed up for insurance for next year.
  • Without enough healthy people signing up for Obama Care policies, the existing pool of policies becomes very expensive and unprofitable for the insurance carriers offering them, which is causing the companies to raise the premiums of current policy holders to make up the difference.
  • David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group’s president, recently stated that higher premiums are required going forward since current Obama Care enrollees will “require more medical services than original expectations.”
  • The Robert Wood Johnson/Urban Institute analysis predicts that many states will see Obama Care policy costs go up 30% or more in 2016.
  • The Heritage Foundation estimates that Obama Care insurers lost 12% selling Obama Care plans so far.
  • Most of the Obama Care co-ops have already gone out of business, are going out of business, or are in dire financial straits which will result in hundreds of thousands of Americans seeking out other insurance coverage which is likely to be more expensive than the insurance they got through their now defunct co-op.
But none of this should surprise anyone who reads this blog or who has more than a passing interest in healthcare. The Obama administration never addressed the underlying causes of high healthcare costs in this country. They misunderstood a public health crisis with an insurance crisis and thus, applied the wrong solution to the wrong problem. And even worse, the insurance solution they tried to apply was a Rube Goldberg like contraption that was so onerous, confusing, and idiotic that it also has failed to reach even its ill founded goals and objectives.

More unfolding disasters tomorrow, disasters that never stop coming from the worst piece of legislation ever enacted.

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