Tuesday, December 1, 2015

December, 2015, Part 6, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: More Death Spiral Talk and Realities

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 health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 health care 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.

Let's conintue looking at the fiascos of the latest unfolding disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written by Washington:

1) A recent article by Bloomberg summarized many of the Obama Care problems and disasters that we have been reviewing:
  • UnitedHealth’s recent announcement that it might withdrawal from offering Obama Care policies in the near future is a potential sign that Obama Care is imploding onto itself.
  • While UnitedHealth’s Obama Care policies represent only about 6% of the Obama Care policies issued so far, if a large insurance carrier like UnitedHealth care cannot be profitable with Obama Care, expecting to lose half a billion dollars in 2016 with Obama Care policies, it makes one wonder if smaller carriers can ever be profitable within the Obama Care framework.
  • According to Larry Levitt, a health care insurance expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation: “The ACA [Obama Care] marketplaces are not yet profitable for most insurers. It’s going to take enrollment growth, especially among healthy people, to make it an attractive market for insurers. If enrollment stagnates, we could very well see insurers thinking twice about their participation.”
  • As we have discussed, not enough healthy people signed up Obama Care policies, healthy people whose good health and payments were supposed to be used to subsidize the less healthy Obama Care insurance policy holders.
  • According to the Robert Johnson Foundation, of the 24.1 million Americans who would be eligible and who could benefit from an Obama Care subsidy, only 8.6 million have actually signed up for an Obama Care policy, less than 40%.
  • Overall, according to McKinsey, insurers lost $2.5 billion on their Obama Care policies in 2014 despite getting subsidies from programs like the law’s risk corridors.
  • One of the problems that was forecasted long ago, is that sick people have signed up for Obama Care policies since under the law they cannot be turned away, received the expensive treatment and medical care that they needed, and then dropped their policy, knowing that they can sign up again anytime they want in the future.
  • As late as last March, 2015, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) was sticking close to its original enrollment estimate for Obama Care of over 20 million people being enrolled in an Obama Care policy by 2016.
  • Now, the CBO does not believe it will attain more than about half of the original forecasted enrollment and the March estimate, instead seeing Obama Care enrollment in the 9.4 million to 11.4 million range, about half of what was expected and promised.
While Anthem is a much larger Obama Care player than UnitedHealth, its chief financial officer, Wayne DeVeydt recent said his company would be “patient” relative to its Obama Care business, i.e. they are willing to stick around for a while, unlike UnitedHealth. But being patient is far from being exciting and happy.

2) A recent Breitbart article by Andrew Mark Miller on November 24, 2015 highlighted the five bad headwinds beating up Obama Care:

1. Insurance companies are withdrawing in droves - Possibly an overstatement but with the death of over half of the Obama Care co-ops and the high potential of UnitedHealth pulling out of the Obama Care market, the trend is not good. If another major company should decide to bail out and the remaining co-ops shut down, than droves is the appropriate term.

2. “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” was a cruel lie.
Obama continually promised Americans: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” After millions of Americans had their plans cancelled, Obama’s infamous fabrication was named the 2013 PolitiFact Lie of the Year. In fact, three Obama and Obama Care lies made the top ten list of their lies in 2013.

3. Still waiting on that $2,500 in savings Obama promised you? Beside continually promising that if you liked your current insurance policy, doctor and hospital you would be able to keep it under Obama Care, his other big deception was his continual promise that American families would see up to a $2,500 reduction in their annual insurance costs. Instead, premiums have increased, not decreased, deductibles have risen, and quality and choices have deteriorated.

4. Obama care customers say their plans are “useless” due to soaring deductibles. Not only have premiums gone up under Obama Care but deductibles have also risen leading to the problem that “you now have health insurance but you cannot afford health care." The New York Times recently described this type of experience Obama Care customers: “The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”

That same article reported that more than half of the Obama Care policies in effect have deductibles above $3,000 a year, making many of them useless for many Americans.

5. The Obama care “death spiral” conservatives warned about is real. According to Breitbart and the Obama Care death spiral: “Basically, too many sick people are signing up, and too few healthy people are doing so. This causes prices to surge, and that causes fewer healthy people to sign up. The death spiral continues until the insurance program collapse completely. The 20.3 percent price increase for 2016 is probably the cause of the current round of the Obscure death spiral.”

A former U.S. Senator from Montana once described Obama Care as “Train wreck.” Turns out that was one thing that any U.S. politician has gotten right in decades. It is a train wreck and that wreckage discussion will continue tomorrow.

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