Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April, 2016, Part 4, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: Rising Costs, Too Few Docotors, 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 its 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.

This week we will be reviewing the latest unfolding disasters from the worst piece of legislation ever written by Washington:

1) With more people getting insurance, one would have hoped that the backers and writers of the Obama Care legislation would have seen the obvious and put a plan in place to get more doctors into the industry to handle the newly insured. But alas, hoping that the political class and this Presidential administration do anything right is usually a false hope. 

The country is now faced with a severe doctor shortage throughout the nation, a shortage now made more acute by Obama Care. While Obama focused so much, and so poorly, on getting more people insured, he failed to realize that increasing the demand for a product or service should be matched by an increase of those supplying the product or service. Failure to do that increases prices, costs, and results in unfilled promises, in this case, unfulfilled medical care.

The shortage of general practitioner doctors across the country looks like the following:

  • Phil Miller, a representative of the physician search firm,Merritt Hawkins, recently estimated that “some 65 million people live in what’s essentially a primary care desert.”
  • One third of the states have less than half of the primary care doctors that are needed.
  • Connecticut has only 15% of the needed primary care doctors it should have, Missouri has only 30%, Rhode Island has only 33% Alaska has only 35%, and North Dakota has only 37% according to Federal government estimates.
  • Many other states have more doctors than North Dakota on a percdentage basis but still fall short of the 50% rate for primary doctors needed in their state.
And while this current primary doctor shortage has been building for years and prior to Obama Care, Obama Care made it that much more acute and was never addressed by the legislation. So we may now have the insane and ironic situation where an uninsured person now has health insurance but cannot use it because there are no doctors available to treat that person and allow them to use their insurance.

2) The President and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Ms. Marilyn Tavenner, recently predicted that the country should expect a “stark rise” in Obama Care health insurance rates in 2017. We have already discussed the serious and double digit health insurance rates of Obama Care policies in 2016 earlier this month. Now an expert in the field is predicting similar double digit rises next year.

And what makes her an expert? Ms. Tavenner’s previous job involved rolling out the entire Obama Care legislation and operations when she was a top executive in the Obama administration. Thus, she has seen the this disaster from inside government and inside the insurance industry. Tavenner’s exact quote is as follows: “I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like? I don’t know, because it also varies by state, market, even within markets. But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years. That’s my big prediction.” 

Tavenner identified several factors driving the higher insurance costs of Obama Care policies, most of which we have already identified and discussed in detail:

  1. Obama Care has done nothing to reduce overall medical costs and drug costs so insurance rates are a by product of these higher costs.
  2. Obama Care capped insurance company profits in certain areas.
  3. Obama Care set forth a ton of regulations that caused additional costs to be incurred in the industry.
  4. Obama Care required the Obama Care insurance carriers to accept anyone who applied even if they had serious pre-existing health conditions.
  5. The influx of younger and healthier customers to insurance companies never occurred.
Too bad Tavenner never said anything when she was an Obama agent, government employee, and Obama Care facilitator; speaking up then would have prevented millions of Americans from losing their current insurance policies and access to their favorite doctors and hospitals, it would have saved the American taxpayer untold billions of dollars, and would have prevented a myriad of other problems. 

3) We often end these blog posts with stories of real Americans relative to Obama Care. These are sad stories that make the bad numerical results we often discuss relative to Obama Care more human as these Americans saw their premium costs go way up, their deductible levels go way up, they lost access to their favorite doctors and hospitals, and ended up paying more in fines, fees, and Obama Care taxes. The source of these real life tragedies is:


RICHARD - MONTANA: I'm currently paying $229 per month on a plan from Humana that does exactly what I want. It'll keep me from going broke if something bad happens.

That Humana plan does not comply with ObamaCare. So it will be cancelled at some point. Originally it was scheduled to be cancelled at the end of 2014, now I'm not sure if it will be extended to 2016 or what.

The least expensive policy I could find that complied with Ocare was about $500/mo. and that was for this year. My understanding is that compliant policies for 2015 will be about 20% higher. I hope I can keep the current policy for next year, but I don't know. I am displeased.

MICHAEL - MICHIGAN: Insurance broker Michael Harp said small businesses, part of what's known in the industry as the "small group market," are used to seeing health insurance premiums climb about 10 percent a year, but it's never before been this dramatic. For Extreme Dodge to have kept deductibles and out-of-pocket costs at last year's levels, he said, would have cost the dealership almost 50 percent more than last year.

Harp says what is happening at this dealership is representative of the other small businesses he deals with. Businesses with 50 or fewer employees currently provide health insurance to about 17 million U.S. workers, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

He said the biggest surprise to him in how the law impacts small business clients is "how many people are losers versus winners. … There are some people who do come out ahead, but I would say the overwhelming majority, they're paying much higher rates and they have lower benefits."

RODNEY - MICHIGAN: Rodney noted that his yearly premiums have gone up by almost $1000 since ObamaCare's implementation began. 

Rising costs, doctors shortages, and more, the legislation that keeps on giving out bad news. More unfolding Obama Care disasters tomorrow.

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