Thursday, June 16, 2016

June, 2016, Part 2, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: Higher Costs In Texas, Less Choice In Virginia, and Another Co-opBites the Dust

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) Yesterday, we reviewed how insurance companies were applying for large double digit rate increases for their Obama Care customers in 2017. According to a recent Breitbart article:

  • In the state of Texas, the largest insurer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, is applying for premium rate hikes that are in the 60% range.
  • The insurer is looking to somehow recoup the “magnitude of the losses” from its Obama Care policies in Texas.
  • The company lost $220 million in 2015 which came on the heels of $416 million lost in 2014.
  • These losses came about as a result of a combination of unexpectedly high amount of claims and payment shortfalls from its Obama Care customers.
  • Its existing Texas customers can expect to see premium increases between 57.3% and 60% in 2017 if their rate hike increases are approved.
  • These increased costs will follow up on the decision of the insurer to switch from a PPO insurance arrangement to an HMO arrangement which caused the medical provider networks to narrow and give less choices to Obama Care policy holders.
  • The article points out that in 2016, a healthy, single millennial living in Houston after graduating college, who is a non-smoker, can get an Obama Care policy for as low as $2,333 a year but next year the least expensive comparable policy will cost $3,732.
  • To add a little insult to the increased cost is that the insurer will no longer accept credit cards for payment of premiums in order to reduce operation costs but will significantly increase the inconvenience of its customers.
  • Since Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Texas is often the only Obama Care insurer in rural areas of Texas, there is a good chance that rural Texans will decide to opt out of having health insurance, given the 60% or so increase in the company’s insurance premiums next year.
The Obama administration downplayed the massive rate hike request, telling the AP that ”consumers will have the final word when the vote with their feet during open enrollment,” which is tough to do if Blue Cross Blue Shield is the ONLY option in their areas. This is called “whistling past the graveyard.”

Just another state, another Obama Care insurer realizing that being an Obama Care partner is not a good financial arrangement, a situation that continues to drive up health insurance costs.

2) We have often discussed the reality that the vast majority of Obama Care co-ops, new companies set up in 24 states to provide low cost competition to existing insurance companies, have been an unmitigated disaster. As of last month, 12 of the 23 co-ops had already gone out of business because of financial failure and/or criminal activity. Of the remaining 11 co-ops, at least eight of them having their financials being examined by the Obama administration since they are likely on the verge of extinction also.

Well, since last month, the number of failed co-ops has increased to 13 as the Ohio co-op, InHealth Mutual has joined the scrap heap of failed Obama Care co-ops. This failure has caused its 21,800 customers to lose healthcare insurance for themselves and their families. Lt. Governor Mary Taylor told the press: “Our examination of the company’s financials made it clear that the company’s losses would prevent it from paying future claims should its operations continue.” 

With this latest failure, at least $1.2 billion of taxpayer wealth has been lost on these failed co-ops. If the other 8 endangered co-ops actually do go bankrupt, another $1 billion of taxpayer wealth could be lost. So much for Obama’s promises that the co-ops would pay back their over $2 billion investment and that the investment would be enough to fund the co-ops for 20 years. Much like his promise that Obama Care would reduce annual premiums by up to $2,500 a year, the co-op promises were also a farce.

3) A May 30, 2016 article by Dave Jolly on the website discussed two Obama Care related disasters. In an interesting twist that we have not seen so far in the Obama Care world, consider this situation in Virginia:

  • Most Obama Care health insurance exchanges have four levels of healthcare coverage with Bronze being the least expensive and least comprehensive coverage level and progressing through Silver, Gold, and Platinum polices that are more and more expensive as they provide more and more coverage and benefits.
  • An Obama Care insurance company in the state of Virginia, Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, saw that 60% of their Obama Care customers purchased Silver plans and 23% purchased Bronze plans.
  • But in 2017, this insurer is forcing their Bronze customers to purchase more expensive Silver plans.
  • If we make a realistic assumption that many of the customers purchased Bronze plans because they could not afford Silver plans, it is logical to assume that many Virginia citizens will decide to have no health insurance coverage in 2017 since they cannot afford the now mandatory Silver plans.
Thus, not only has Obama Care restricted the choice of doctors, hospitals, and insurance plans of Americans, once they have sucked people into Virginia Bronze Obama Care policies, the Obama Care process then starts to restrict what type of Obama Care policy they can have. Just when you think you have seen it all from this wretched law and new wrinkle pops up to make it even worse.

The article also provides a public service by listing about a dozen sources which outline the many failures of Obama Care. We list them below, you can go to the website to access the links associated with the following summaries of failures:

May 25, 2015 – Healthcare Insurance Companies Asking to Raise Rates Up to 50% and More

June 10, 2015 – Hawaii’s Healthcare Exchange Bites the Dust

June 17, 2015 – Obamacare Hurting Hospitals Even In States with Expanded Medicaid

June 25, 2015 – Oregon Tells Insurance Companies to Raise Healthcare Premiums Higher than Requested

July 3, 2015 – Obamacare Starts Punishing Businesses Who Help Employees with Healthcare

August 8, 2015 – 367,000 Texans Losing Health Insurance Due to Obamacare

August 31, 2015 – New Obamacare Tax Starting Tomorrow to Cost Policy Holders Hundreds of Dollars

September 1, 2015 – Obamacare Forcing End of Health Savings Accounts

September 7, 2015 – 15 Million Seniors Facing 52% Increase in Medicare Premiums for 2016

September 28, 2015 – Employer Provided Family Health Insurance Increased 27% Since 2010

October 5, 2015 – 100,000 New Yorkers Lose Healthcare & Taxpayers on Hook for Nearly $2.5 Billion

October 29, 2015 – Prestigious NY Medical Groups Drop Family Care to Expand Services for the Wealthy

December 1, 2015 – Largest Health Insurer Looking to Withdraw from Obamacare

December 26, 2015 – HealthSpan Driving Final Nail in Obamacare Coffin?

March 1, 2016 – Hospitals Cut Jobs While Obama Throws Away Billions to This Industry

March 18, 2016 – 740,000 Americans Lose Healthcare Thanks to Obamacare

April 6, 2016 – Survey Says 87% of Small Businesses Saw Increase in Healthcare Costs Under Obamacare

April 12, 2016 – Obamacare Is Destroying Families. Was That Their Goal All Along?

April 22, 2016 – The B.S. Obamacare Ship Takes Another Fatal Blow

Higher costs in Texas, less choice in Virginia, and another failed Obama Care co-op, the failures just keep on unfolding. More tomorrow.

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