Sunday, February 21, 2016

February, 2016, Part 3,The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: Identity Theft Threats In Colorado, Scandals In New York,and Adding to the National Debt Everywhere

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: 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 insurance premiums, 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.

The past two days we spent reviewing the latest unfolding disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written by Washington. I thought that is all that would be needed to discuss this month’s unfolding disasters of Obama Care but it turns out three more disasters just popped up that deserve review:

1) We have often reported on how just about every data system aspect of Obama Care left millions of Americans open to a new and dangerous threat of identity theft. These systems were done in such a rough, slipshod, and some cases illegal manner that adequate security protocols were either not deployed or deployed in a less than effective manner.

Elizabeth Harrington, writing for the Washington Free Beacon recently reminded us how bad the identity theft situation still is, at least in the Colorado Obama Care health insurance exchange:
  • According to a new audit of that exchange, the Colorado exchange faced “numerous weaknesses” and had “inadequate security settings” which left the personal identity information of Colorado enrollees vulnerable to identity theft.
  • The inadequate security processes had been in place for at least a year, according to the HHS inspector general review.
  • The deployment of the Colorado exchange did not fully comply with Federal government requirements and thus, failed many of the security checklist tests: “As a result, the weaknesses were collectively and, in some cases, individually significant and could have compromised the integrity of Colorado’s marketplace, thus increasing the risk that PII could have been exposed.”
  • The failure of the security protocols of the Colorado exchange existed despite the reality that state and Federal taxpayers paid a whopping $184 million to build it.
  • And the Colorado exchange is not the only Obama Care headache in the state since the state’s largest Obama Care co-op, Colorado HealthOP, folded down in October, 2015, leaving 83,000 state residents without health insurance coverage.
  • Despite getting the inspector general’s report and recommendations on how to fix the situation, the exchange only “partially remediated” the problems.
What a mess. And this was only in one state, it is likely this identity theft problem is still in place across many of the other Obama Care exchanges, years after the Obama Care legislation took effect.

2) Richard Pollock, writing for the Daily Caller website, recently discussed the ongoing scandal with the New York state co-op, one of at least a dozen Obama Care co-ops that have gone belly up in the past half year or so. Remember, these co-ops were established by the Obama Care legislation to provide insurance policies to people living in mostly rural parts of the country that had minimal choices in health insurance policies since they were served by very few competitors. About two dozen were set up with the use of billions of dollars of taxpayer wealth.

The New York co-op has been a particularly scandal-ridden effort. According to Mr. Pollock:
  • So far, New York state regulators has refused to release any documents that would help explain why the country’s largest Obama Care co-op failed.
  • The state’s investigation began back in September of last year and involved looking at alleged “substantial under-reporting” of the co-op finances.
  • The state refused a state Freedom Of Information Act request because it claimed that disclosure of the investigation results so far would have a “chilling” effect on its continuing investigation.
  • The New York co-op was originally given $355 million to get established back in 2012.
  • It was one of three Obama Care co-ops operated by Sara Horowitz, a New York liberal political activist who has previous personal ties to President Obama. 
  • Another of her co-ops, the one established in the state of Oregon, has also already gone financially belly up, her New Jersey co-op continues to operate.
  • The demise of the New York co-op forced over 200,000 mostly low income customers to lose their insurance coverage during the Thanksgiving holiday season in 2015.
  • The co-op owes New York hospitals about $200 million unpaid bills and owes New York doctors somewhere between $50 and $70 million in unpaid bills.
  • Top executives who had oversight responsibility for the co-op resigned throughout 2015.
Let’s review: billions of taxpayer dollars in play, denial of Freedom Of Information Act requests, hush-hush on the results of the ongoing investigation, and top officials resign in the midst of the investigation. Lots of smoke here, probably a lot of fire lurking around under that smoke also. The only thing we can be sure of is that a lot of taxpayer money is probably lost forever to the corruption involved and over 200,000 people lost their insurance coverage. Pathetic.

3) One last short discussion on the unfolding disasters that are Obama Care. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) recently released some very dire economic forecasts as it relates to the national debt:
  • If nothing changes, the debt should hit an unsustainable $30 TRILLION within ten years.
  • The current dip in the annual Federal government spending deficit is a short term fluke, annual deficits and consequently rising national debt will accelerate with in a very short time frame.
  • The Obama administration will add about $10 TRILLION to the debt load, about the same amount of debt accumulated by all previous Presidential administrations COMBINED.
And while there are many causes of the skyrocketing national debt, Obama Care is indeed a major driver for a number of reasons:
  • For the original business case, the Obama administration claimed that the Federal government operations cost of Obama Care in the first ten years would be about $800 billion. Turns out that it will be almost $2 TRILLION, adding over a trillion dollars to the original forecasts to the national debt.
  • But there are two unintended negative consequences to Obama Care, according to the CBO. First, some lower income people will find it more profitable not to work since by not working, or working only a little, their Obama Care subsidies are more profitable than if they had been working. So the tax revenue from these people who stop working because they can make more money from Obama Care is never generated for the Federal government, increasing the annual deficits and the national debt.
  • Second, some higher earners may find it not as attractive to work and earn a lot since increased taxes as a result of Obama Care will make every incremental dollar earned less attractive from a tax basis, which will result in lower earnings, less tax revenue, and higher debt.
  • Or in the CBO’s own words: “The ACA’s [Obama Care’s] largest effect on the labor market — especially as overall employment conditions improve — will come from provisions of the act that raise effective marginal tax rates on earnings, thereby reducing how much some people choose to work. The act also directly imposes higher taxes on some people’s labor income. Because both effects on labor supply will grow over the next few years, CBO projects, they will subtract from economic growth over that period.”
Unintended consequences are almost always bad unintended consequences when it comes to the limited foresight of today’s politicians. Obama Care is no exception.

That will definitely do it for this month’s unfolding disasters of Obama Care. Adding to the crushing load of an ever increasing national debt, scandal in New York and the wasting of hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer wealth, and identity theft threats in Colorado. More disasters next month.

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