Thursday, October 27, 2016

October, 2016, Part 5, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: HIgher Costs, Less Competition, An Alternative and Stories From America

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) Melissa Quinn, writing for the Heritage Foundation on October 17, 2016, provided some upfront and personal stories on ordinary Americans and how Obama Care was screwing up their lives:

  • Warren Jones is a veterinarian in Kansas City, Missouri, who has had a health insurance policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Kansas for 15 years.
  • In 2014, the year that Obama Care took effect, that policy cost him $318 a month to maintain.
  • In 2015, that same policy went up to $394 a month and then to $491 a month in 2016, about a 60% increase in just two years.
  • This is the exact opposite of what Obama promised when he claimed that people could see up to a $2,500 REDUCTION in their annual health insurance policy costs.
  • In 2017, that same policy will cost him $716 a month, much more than double what he paid just three years ago.
  • Despite paying so much more now, his policy no longer has vision and dental coverage and his deductible has also increased to $2,500 a year.
  • So he is paying a lot more and getting a lot less as a result of Obama Care.
  • Although he does not get his policy via the Obama Care exchange process, even if he did he would not qualify for Federal taxpayer subsidies since he earns too much money.
  • And insurance rates, especially for Obama Care policies are going to continue to skyrocket: “A lot of insurers didn’t understand that the market was going to be skewed in terms of income and health status as severely as it was,” Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Generally, the pool was much worse than anybody expected because of things the administration did that made it worse.”
  • Things are not much better in neighboring Kansas where the Kaiser Family Foundation says that six of ten Kansas counties will have only two Obama Care insurers to choose from, a far reach from Obama’s promise that Obama Care would spur competition.
  • Before Obama Care was enacted, there were 17 insurance companies operating across Kansas.
  • Kaiser also estimates that five states will have only a single insurer issuing Obama Care policies in 2017.
  • Rochelle Bird lives in Overland Park, Kansas where she is self-employed
  • She has had a non-Obama Care policy from Coventry, a subsidiary of Aetna, for two years.
  • In that short time her premiums have gone from $335 a month to $487 while her deductible has increased fivefold, from $1,200 to $6,200.
  • And then, adding insult to injury, Coventry then decided to cancel her policy altogether.
  • She was not optimistic that she would find a good replacement policy for herself: “I am now faced with the fact that unless something changes, there will be one health care provider presumably with two different health plans that I will have a choice of [while] living in the state of Kansas. That’s absurd. How is that helpful? I’m expecting (a) I’ll pay more, (b) I’ll have less, and (c) I may or may not have the same doctors. Those are always the moving parts.”

Regardless of whether or not you have an Obama Care policy, people across the country are seeing less competition vs. Obama’s promise of more competition, higher premiums despite Obama’s promise of up to a $2,500 decrease in premiums, and higher deductibles. 

2) We listed a bunch of root causes of high healthcare costs above, causes, that if properly addressed, would help reduce healthcare costs and improve the healthcare of every American. But we do not have a monopoly on good ideas to reduce healthcare costs. Consider another Melissa Quinn article from September 12, 2016, that talked about a unique approach for a group of people that is actually reducing healthcare costs:

  • Although Deirdre Folley of New Hampshire is one of more millions of Americans nationwide who is considered uninsured, she does not have to pay an Obama Care penalty for not having health insurance.
  • Folley and her family are members of Samaritan Ministries which is a so-called healthcare sharing ministry.
  • This organization is structured so that members share the cost of each other’s health care expenses.
  • This was especially useful to her when her daughter broke her leg which required visits to an urgent care center, a radiologist, and orthopedist which cost her nothing.
  • 600,000 Americans are getting healthcare coverage the same way as Folley via Health Care Sharing Ministries.
  • According to the article: “Health care sharing ministries facilitate the sharing of medical costs between members, all of whom have shared beliefs. The ministries don’t serve as insurance, but rather when a member has a medical “need,” other members “share” that person’s medical costs.” In some ministries, like Samaritan, members are encouraged to negotiate prices directly with providers to bring down the cost of their medical bills, like Folley did, and they pay in cash before being reimbursed by members of the health care sharing ministry."
  • According to Folley, being part of the ministries healthcare model allows them to not violate any of their religious beliefs either: “We didn’t want to buy into a plan where we were most likely going to be paying for abortions or not knowing whether or not we were paying for abortions. With Samaritan, we know we don’t pay for anyone’s abortions, we don’t pay for contraception, we don’t pay for sex changes or counseling for things we would object to. We know that our money isn’t taking part in anything that we have a moral objection to."
  • These options are obviously becoming very popular in the face of Obama Care with Folley’s organization almost tripling in size since Obama Care took effect.
  • Similar types of healthcare organizations have seen similar growth rates.
  • It costs Folley’s family $425 a month for her family of four to be a part of the ministries and she is directed each month where to send that monthly fee directly to another member in need.
  • Not surprisingly, the insurance industry is not happy these are not paying customers and users of their insurance policies: “The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has previously warned that health care sharing ministries are not insurance and therefore don’t have the protections of insurance.”
  • But given the poor record of insurance companies in the Obama Care world, they really should not be casting too many stones at others looking to keep their families healthy.
  • Folley and others like her have not seen the mega cost increases that Obama Care policy holders experienced on their Obama Care policies over the past few years nor the narrowing of the networks of doctors and hospitals they can use.
  • And since members pay members directly, there is no profit motive involved as there is with insurance companies which is a big reduction in health care costs right away.
So there are many ways to reduce healthcare costs in this country. Whether it is attacking the root causes of high costs we listed above or organizations like these ministries that are providing low cost, local medical needs financial support to their members, it is a shame that Obama Care more or less ignored what would work in place of what we now know does not work.

3) Let’s finish up today's and this month’s discussion on the unfolding disasters of Obama Care with some quick stories of real Americans that Obama Care has created havoc, stress, and agony for, stories that come from the website:

CHARLES, OKLAHOMA: 5 of my medications that I have to take everyday went from 60.00 to 90.00. I was given no warning . That is an increase of $180.00 -Those are not the only medications I have to buy. There is no way those kinds of increases are justifiable-- I have many friends that tell me the same thing is happening to them. Insurance companies are trying to re-coop losses by passing these kinds of increases onto the American public. I wonder who is my advocate? Senior citizens like myself cannot afford these kinds of increases. Not to mention my co-pays going up also. Especially when you only find out this ridiculous increase when you go to pay for your medications. I know some people who cannot afford them any longer and they will just do without them.

HARVEY, TENNESSEE: Anchor: Harvey Burniston owns a landscaping company in Butler, and hailed CoveredTN as one of the best decisions the state legislature ever made, splitting insurance costs between the employee, the employer, and the state. Now Burniston says the only plan available is triple the cost. 

Harvey: “A lot of small businesses like myself do not even - they’re not required to have health insurance, [and] I’m not either but I try to do that in order to keep high quality [workers] and take care of my people that work for me. Right now, the average is around $100 a month. When the insurance goes up the least expensive policy we can get is $296 a month, so it’s basically tripling in price.”

EDIE, CALIFORNIA: I am a stage four cancer survivor and I am about to lose my health care plan. When I wrote about my struggle in the Wall Street Journal, the White House directly challenged my account. No empathy was offered and it was suggesting that I was incorrect.

PAUL, UTAH: I learned last week our insurance plan was terminated under the Affordable Care Act, more than 3 1/2 months into our daughter's fight with undifferentiated sarcoma began. The options we are weighing have premiums that are more than double the premiums under our previous plan.

SHEILA: Obamacare takes away from the right to choose the healthcare we want.

Less choice, higher costs, interruption of critical medical care, same sad disasters every month.

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