Tuesday, October 25, 2016

October, 2016, Part 3, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: More Insurance Company Exits, The Silence of Hillary, and An Illegal Bailout Stopped

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) Over the past two days we have been reviewing how Obama Care is imploding across the country. It was a piece of legislation that was doomed to failure from Day One and now that reality is coming to past. Today and tomorrow we are probably going to sound a little redundant as we continue to review the implosions but it is important to understand how wide and how deep this disaster is becoming. So bear with us as we continue to document the impacts of the worst piece of legislation ever produced by Washington.

Let’s see what Michael F. Cannon had to say for the Cato Institute on August 30, 2016:

  • It is now impossible to purchase an Obama Care policy in Pinal County, Arizona as ALL Obama Care insurance carriers have pulled out of the Obama Care market there, leaving 10,000 people without health insurance coverage.
  • Aetna and Blue Cross had considered staying in the county if they could get an 86% and 65% increases in insurance premiums respectively approved by the state of Arizona but even then decided that even those huge increases in premium rates would not be enough to be profitable.
  • The highly touted co-op concept also fizzled in the county since the Arizona Obama Care co-op went out of business like sixteen of its brethren did across the country.
  • In a sad irony, those residents of Pinal County are still going to have to pay Obama Care fines for not having insurance even though it is impossible for them to buy Obama Care insurance policies in their county now.
So much for Obama's promise that the legislation would increase competition and reduce costs, it worked so bad that it eliminated ALL competition from the county, the exact opposite of the promise.

Mr. Cannon reminds us of Obama’s promises back in the early days of the legislation: “In 2009, President Obama promised that under Obamacare, “it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition” or “to drop your coverage when you get sick or water it down when you need it the most” or “to place some arbitrary cap on the amount of coverage you can receive in a given year or in a lifetime.” Obamacare would place a “limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses” and require insurers “to cover, with no extra charge, routine checkups and preventive care, like mammograms and colonoscopies.”

Weighty promises, none of which became true for people across the country who are losing access to most, if not all, Obama Care insurance carriers so it makes no difference if their costs of illness are limited or they get free services if they cannot even get a policy. The unfolding disaster that is Obama Care.

2) Reason magazine, via an October 3, 2016 article by Peter Suderman, came up with a very interesting observation: even though Obama Care is imploding in glorious and disastrous ways, Hillary Clinton has been very, very quiet of the mess. In 15 out of 16 speeches she has given over the past month, she only mentioned Obama Care once and that was because Obama was in the audience. 

As a politician who until recently thought that Obama Care was a great accomplishment, maybe she looks a little foolish with that statement given that:

  • The state of Minnesota state government announced that Obama Care premium rates would go up between 50% and 67% in 2017, with state officials calling it “an emergency situation.”
  • A few weeks before Minnesota admitted Obama Care was coming off the rails in their state, Tennessee officials declared that its Obama Care exchange was “very near collapse.” That state approved rate hikes for Obama Care policies in 2017 of more than 40%.
  • In Arizona, the majority of state counties will be served by only one Obama Care insurer with at least one county being served by NO Obama Care insurers.
  • In at least four other states, the entire state in 2017 will be served by only one Obama Care competitor: Alaska, Alabama, Wyoming and Oklahoma.
  • Janet Trautwein, the head of the National Association of Health Underwriters, a trade group for insurance brokers, was recently quoted in the The New York Times, "Employer markets are fairly stable, but the individual insurance market does not feel stable at all….In many states, the individual market is in a shambles."
  • Even Obama realizes to some degree that things are coming apart with his recent suggestion that the Federal government become an insurance company, an idea we have already debunked and ridiculed yesterday.
No wonder Hillary has been quiet as things have unraveled, she is on record defending what is a rapidly sinking ship, as summarized in the Reason article: “Clinton's silence is telling. Crucial elements of Obamacare are on teetering on the brink of collapse, and the only solutions that its backers have on offer involve spending more public money and giving the government even greater power over health coverage and care. Is it any surprise she doesn't want to talk about it?” If she had a solution, this would be a great time to step into the breech. Given her hesitation, it must assumed that she has no solution.

3) Things have gotten so bad that the Obama administration tried to an end run around the wording of the law and illegally funnel money to insurance companies in a last ditch effort to keep them financially sound and in the Obama Care world. 

Fortunately, their efforts were uncovered and ruled illegal by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Chris Jacobs, writing for the National Review on September 29, 2016 did a great job explaining how things went down: “...the reinsurance funds collected from employers had two – distinct purposes: first, to repay Treasury for the $5 billion cost of a separate program in place from 2010 through 2013; and, second to subsidize insurers selling Obamacare plans to high-cost patients during the law’s first three years. When collections from employers turned out to be less than expected, HHS [the Obama administration] prioritized the second objective to the exclusion of the first – an action that, according to the GAO, violates the plain text of the statute. As the opinion noted, “the fact that HHS’s collections ultimately fell short of the projected amounts does not alter the meaning of the statute.” The memo continued that, because agencies must “‘effectuate the statutory scheme as much as possible’ . . . HHS continues to have an obligation to carry out the statutory scheme using a method reflective of the specified amounts even though actual collections were lower than projected.” As a result, the GAO concluded that the Department has no authority to divert to insurers approximately $3 billion in reinsurance contributions that should be allocated to the Treasury.” 

Nice try if illegal. But we should not be surprised, the Obama administration has illegally changed the law and delayed tenets of the law many, many times. This attempt to illegally divert billions of dollars to insurance companies smacks of desperation and crony capitalism.

Another day, another set of Obama Care failures More of the same tomorrow.

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