Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November, 2016, Part 2, The Unfolding Disasters That Is Obama Care: Less Compeititon, Higher Deducitbles, Higher Premiums

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) We have been reviewing the 2017 disasters that are starting to arise as a result of the fatal flaws within the Obama Care legislation. Michael Tanner, writing for the National Review on November 2, 2016, gave a good review of just some of the bad news rolling down the road for Obama Care:

  • Obama Care has attained less than half of the number of people with Obama Care insurance policies that should have been attained and what were promised.
  • Despite not attaining even 50% of the number of insured Americans that were promised via Obama Care exchange policies, those that are insured via Obama Care policies are older and sicker than average, resulting in higher than expected insurance costs which is driving insurance companies out of the market.
  • Premiums for the Obama Care benchmark silver plans are expected to rise by about 22% on average in 2017.
  • In Arizona, that silver benchmark plan will increase as much as 116%.
  • That same plan will go up 69% in Oklahoma.
  • But deductibles are also going up quickly with an average family with an Obama Care silver plan facing an annual deductible that is over $7,400.
  • A family with a bronze Obama Care plan will face an annual average deductible of $12,393.
  • These previous two points prove our point that the good news is that you have health insurance but the bad news is that you cannot use it because the deductible is so high.
  • While about 77% of Obama Care policy holders will not have to experience the entire obscene price increases, the American taxpayer will have to pay for the rest of the increases and 23% of Obama Care customers will have to pay the entire increase.
  • With so many insurers pulling out the Obama Care market, thousands of Americans now have to find other insurance companies which means that they may have to change their doctors and hospitals….again.
More of the same again to start today: higher premiums, higher deductibles, more stress.

2) We have already talked about how many insurance companies have dropped out of the Obama Care marketplace or significantly reduced their presence, including UnitedHealthcare, Humana, Blue Cross in certain states, and Anthem. Ali Meyer, writing for the Washington Free Beacon on November 3, 2016, discussed how another large company is rethinking their Obama Care strategy:

  • Cigna will not expand its Obama Care footprint as previously planned.
  • The insurer lost $91 million on its Obama Care policies in a single year.
  • It will still sell Obama Care policies in seven states but will not expand to other states with Cigna CEO David Cordani saying that his company is taking a “cautious and slow” approach to selling Obama Care policies.
  • The company had originally planned to expand into three other states in 2017 but decided not to.
Another day another insurance company getting cold feet relative to Obama Care. So much for Obama Care increasing competition as promised by Obama. If anything, it is suppressing competition.

3) Let’s continue to pile on the misfortunes of Obama Care, as discussed in an October 31, 2016 Heritage Foundation article by Edmund Haisimaier and Alyene Senger:

  • 66% of the states, 33 in total, will have fewer Obama Care insurers offering coverage in 2017 vs. 2016.
  • Arizona and Texas will each be losing six insurers and Kentucky and Ohio will be losing four insurers in 2017.
  • Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming will have only one Obama Care insurer for the entire state.
  • Thirteen other states will have only two insurers to serve the entire state and in some states those insurers will not be serving the entire state.
  • Almost one third of all U.S. counties, 32.8%, will have only one insurer available and 35.9% will have only two options.
  • The Obama administration has admitted that Obama Care premiums will increase by an average of 25% in the 39 states that the Obama Care Federal exchange is in use.
  • And while 25% looks really bad for a year over year increase, “residents of 10 states using the federal exchange face average premium increases of 40 percent or more: Alabama (58 percent), Arizona (116 percent), Illinois (43 percent), Kansas (42 percent), Montana (44 percent), North Carolina (40 percent), Nebraska (51 percent), Oklahoma (69 percent), Pennsylvania (53 percent), and Tennessee (63 percent)." 
  • In at least one state running its own exchange (Minnesota) premiums are increasing by a similar rate (56 percent).
So, millions of Americans will either see great increases in their Obama Care premiums and deductibles in the coming months or they will be in the market for another health insurance policy once they find out that their insurance company is leaving their state. Not quite the great legislation that Obama promised.

4) Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS journalist and one of the few journalists in this country with a sense of integrity, recently did an interview for the Heritage Foundation with Robert Laszewski, someone she describes as a “policy and advisor analyst for the health insurance industry.” An important excerpt from her interview is included below, with my emphasis added:

Laszewski: The future is not good. The fundamental problem is not enough healthy people have signed up to pay for the sick, and not enough healthy people have signed up because the insurance plans that people are being offered just simply aren’t of good value.

Attkisson: What do customers see as wrong with the insurance product?

Laszewski: The insurance products consumers see are still too expensive in terms of premium. And the deductibles and copays are too high.

Attkisson: Can you explain in simple terms how the insurance companies are losing so much money if they’re charging so much for premiums and if deductibles are so high?

Laszewski: It’s real simple. If you only provide a health insurance plan that the sickest people buy, you can’t charge enough. You can never charge enough.

Attkisson: At it’s core, it was supposed the provide affordable insurance for everybody who needed it.

Laszewski: Yes. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to ensure that whether you were employed or unemployed or self-employed, you would have access to affordable health insurance. For someone who’s not getting a subsidy, who’s paying the full cost of the insurance, it’s likely they are now paying about double what they paid before under the old market, where only healthy people could get in.

A bad piece of legislation that keeps getting worse and worse: less competition, higher premiums, higher deductibles. More unfolding disasters tomorrow.

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