Sunday, January 24, 2016

January, 2016, Part 2, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: An Insurer Cashes Out, Obama Causes Healthcare Costs To Rise andMOre

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) First Unitedhealthcare announced that it was seriously considering stopping its selling of Obama Care policies because of the unprofitability of such policies. But the bad news is that a real Obama Care insurer is actually taking the real step of actually getting out of the Obama Care business. 

Cleveland based HealthSpan insurance company recently announced that it would no longer sell Obama Care policies, it is disbanding its doctor network, and told its brokers to stop paying commissions. The company raised its premium rates for 2016 policies from 9% to 32% since it’s Obama Care policy holders were less healthy than expected. In addition, the law required the company to pay over $17 million into Obama Care’s risk adjustment program in 2014, more than what had been planned for. HealthSpan also laid off a number of employees that were servicing Obama Care policies.

This comes on the heels of Unitedhealthcare stating they were thinking about exiting the Obama Care world after losing almost half a billion dollars on Obama Care policies. Ana Gupte, an analyst for Leerink Partners, told investors that she expected Unitedhealthcare and other insurers would leave the Obama Care market if they could not break even by the first half of 2016. 

She said that she believes the Obama administration could make changes to the law. This opinion is especially funny since the Republicans, none of whom voted for the law, now control both houses of Congress so the chance of changes is absolutely zero.

2) Avik Roy, writing for Forbes on December 6, 2015, did a comprehensive review of where Obama Care is today:
  • The Obama administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its official estimates of the uninsured population and of health spending in the U.S.
  • In 2014, Obama Care’s expected expansion fell millions and millions of people short of enrollment goals.
  • Despite its goal of reducing healthcare costs in the country, it drove health care costs higher by the highest rate in 7 years. 
  • The legislation has reduced the number of uninsured Americans by only 2.7 percentage points.
  • Back in 2010, the law was expected to have enrolled 19 million uninsured Americans into Obama Care policies by 2014 and 30 uninsured million by 2016.
  • However, in late 2105, CMS admitted that from 2010 to 2014 the number of uninsured fell by only 12.6 million.
  • And Mr. Roy contends that 2010’s uninsured rate was artificially higher due to the Great Recession and if you use 2008 as the baseline prior to the effects of the recession, the number of uninsured Americans actually fell by only 6.7 million.
  • Thus, all of the agony of millions of people losing access to their current doctors, policies, and hospitals, all of the billions and billions of dollars spent on setting up Obama Care processes, co-ops, exchanges, and bureaucracies, all of the taxes and fees that have stunted economic growth in this country, all of that has reduced the percentage of Americans without insurance by only 2.7% and has left all of the root causes of ever rising healthcare costs intact.
  • This meager improvement in the uninsured rate is far smaller than expected and promised by Obama.
  • And as premiums and deductibles and co-pays go up and insurance companies actually leave the Obama Care world, the pipe dream of getting to 30 million enrollees gets more and more unlikely.
  • A set of economists and statisticians at CMS recently stated in the “Health Affairs” publication that the country’s 2014 spending on healthcare grew at an annual rate of 5.3%, the highest rate since 2007.
  • These economists and statisticians attributed the accelerating cost of healthcare to, wait for it, the passage of Obama Care: “The return to faster growth was largely influenced by the coverage expansions of the Affordable Care Act.” 
  • In other words, this is another Washington effort that actually did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do, rather than reduce rising costs it contributed to the acceleration of rising costs according to people actually in the Obama administration.
  • Even more distressing was that the accelerated spending in healthcare costs was especially high within the Medicaid program, going up 11.0%. Since Medicaid expansion is a major component of Obama Care, an 11.0% annual increase is a major factor why Obama Care is directly responsible for the overall increase in the nation’s healthcare cost increases.
If we go by the numbers, as Mr. Roy did, there can be no doubt that Obama Care is a failure across the board relative to its original goals. It did NOT reduce healthcare costs, it appears to possibly even accelerated their rise and it did not come close to hitting its expected enrollment goals, missing those goals by millions of enrollees.

3)We will finish today’s post as we have done many other times when discussing Obama Care with some real life stories of how this law has negatively affected real Americans and their families. These examples come from the website, which has compiled some of these heartbreaking stories of real Americans being forced to adjust their lives due to the stress that Obama Care put on them:

GRETA - WYOMING: Sen Enzi: In Wyoming alone, there are over 2,600 people who are losing health care coverage they like. I have received numerous letters from my constituents illustrating the scope of this problem. Greta from Laramie is one of them. Greta is in graduate school and paying for tuition out-of-pocket. She had the university's student BlueCross BlueShield insurance plan. In September, her husband and two daughters received notice that their family insurance policy was gone. They were happy with their coverage. Greta said their plan had very good coverage of maternity and well-child visits, low deductibles, and an affordable monthly premium. Her family can't afford a new health insurance plan which, according to her, ``costs more and gives me less.'' That is what we are facing as a Nation: Health care plans we can no longer keep and broken promises from the White House.

ROSE - PENNSYLVANIA: I can not believe what has happened to my health insurance at work. Last year it cost me about 85.00 a month with 80% coverage. This year it doubled! I now pay 171.00 and for less coverage, as with a very high deductible! When I went to the Doctors just recently, they paid only 0.896 cents. Last year they covered the cost at 80%, so I do not know how they calculate or what my deductible is! I have to get blood work done, sure it will cost a lot more this year! When I called my benefits office they claim it's because of the new laws. Tried to cancel my insurance due to the fact I can not afford to pay them, and they claim company policy I can not unless I have a different insurance or leave the job. Why shouldn't I be able to get rid of something I can not afford?

KYLE - ARKANSAS: My plan was not cancelled, it was transitioned to meet the new ACA requirements. The same plan that I had before, now costs me $70 more a paycheck. I have a family of 4, including 2 kids. I went from $204 a paycheck to $274 a paycheck. I get paid 2 times a month so that's $140 a month or $1,680 a year. That's money that would have been spent in the local community on buying goods and services. This figure does not include the slightly increased co pays when I go to the dr or the additional costs for prescriptions. I thought the ACA was going to save me $2,500 a year?

That will do it for today. High costs, lower enrollment, unkept promises, and family heartaches. Sounds about right for the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care. More disasters tomorrow.

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