Friday, January 27, 2017

January, 2017, Part 1,The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: It is NOT 20 MIllion With Obama Care Coverage, 10,000 Businesses Snuffed Out

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) Obama Care supporters like to point out that the Obama Care legislation has led to an additional 20 million Americans having health care. Given those numbers, why would anyone want to repeal and replace Obama Care since it is doing so well? 

Before we squash those numbers, let’s look at reality:

  • Of those 20 million, about 10 to 11 million are from Medicaid signups and the other half from Obama Care insurance policies.
  • But Obama promised that by 2016, there would be 20 million people covered by Obama Care insurance policies so the legislation has missed its promised target by a whopping 50%.
  • The 10  to 11 million Medicaid signups are people that are stuck in a program that has narrow, lesser quality doctor and hospital networks in a program that is criminally and fraud infested, fiscally unsound, and which is crushing the state government budgets of several state governments.
  • The cost of premiums, deductibles and co-pays having been increasing substantially for Obama Care policies even though Obama promised that families would see up to a $2,500 annual decrease in health insurance costs.
  • Deductibles and co-pays have gone up so much that many Obama Care policy holders have insurance but cannot afford to use it because of the upfront costs.
  • And while Obama promised that Obama Care would increase competition for insurance policies across the country, the reality today is that across the country about 70% of the counties only have one to two companies offering Obama Care policies, hardly the increase in competition that Obama promised.
So the only partial victory that can be claimed by Obama Care supporters is 20 million signups for expensive or low quality insurance. Or can they not even make that claim? According to an article by Genevieve Wood, writing for the Heritage Foundation, that 20 million claim is probably invalid:

  • While there are about 10 million covered by Obama Care policies now, remember that about 6-7 million people lost their existing coverage and insurance policies because of Obama Care so the actually net gain of insured as a result of Obama Care is not about 10 million, it is between 3 and 4 million INCREMENTALLY insured, even further short of the 20 million that was the original target and promise.
  • Similarly, while the article asserts that 11.8 million have gotten Medicaid since Obama Care was passed, analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the infamous “architect” of Obama Care, Jonathan Gruber, estimate between 2 and 7 million people would have been eligible for Medicaid even if Obama Care had never been passed. 
  • Thus, so Obama Care did not get an incremental 11.8 million people Medicaid coverage, that number has to be reduced to between 4.8 and 9.8 million because 2 to 7 million people could have gotten Medicaid coverage WITHOUT the Obama Care legislation.

So rather than incrementally getting insurance for 20 million Americans, the true incremental gain is somewhere between 7.8 million and 13.8 million, far below what was supposed to happen. 

And having Medicaid coverage is often not that great idea anyway:

  • A University Of Virginia study found that for eight different surgical procedures, Medicaid patients were actually more likely to die than privately insured or even uninsured patients, getting back to the low quality of Medicaid coverage mentioned above.
  • And even if Obama Care did provide Medicaid access for a person, that does not mean that person is actually getting healthcare coverage since the program is so bad, often a Medicaid customer cannot find a doctor that takes Medicaid patients, as a Louisiana woman told the New York Times: “My Medicaid card is useless for me right now. It’s a useless piece of plastic. I can’t find an orthopedic surgeon or a pain management doctor who will accept Medicaid.”
Furthermore, the article identifies a reality of Medicaid that I was not aware of. The program was originally designed to help disabled Americans, including those suffering developmental disabilities due to traumatic brain injuries. But these original beneficiaries of Medicaid are now stuck on long waiting lists because of Obama Care because Obama Care “gives states more money to enroll able-bodied adults than it does to take care of disabled children and adults who qualified for Medicaid prior to Obama Care.”

Consider this real life Medicaid example in Arkansa. Since Obama Care was enacted, the Medicaid rolls in Arkansas have grown by 25%. However, at the same time, 79 people on Medicaid waiting lists in the state, state residents with developmental disabilities, have died. Shameful.

2) We have often showed how Obama Care just decimated the expansion and hiring plans of small businesses across the country with its onerous taxes and requirements, taxes and requirements that small businesses could often not afford. A recent article in the Washington Free Beacon by Elizabeth Harrington on January 18, 2017 quantified how damaging the legislation has turned out to be for small businesses:

  • According to research from the American Action Forum, about 300,000 small business (businesses with 20 to 99 employees) jobs were lost due to Obama Care and the higher healthcare costs that came with it.
  • The research estimated that the legislation cost the economy $19 billion in lost wages and forced 10,000 small businesses to go out of business.
  • “Research from the American Action Forum (AAF) finds regulations from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are driving up health care premiums and are costing small business employees at least $19 billion in lost wages annually,” the report said. “These figures varied by state, but in 2015 the ACA cost year-round workers $2,095, $2,134, and $2,260 in Ohio, New York, and North Dakota, respectively.”
  • “Premium increases, a prospect regulators predicted when issuing the first ACA regulations, also significantly diminished the number of business establishments and jobs nationwide,” the report said. “Across the country, small businesses (20-99 workers) lost 295,030 jobs, 10,130 business establishments, and $4.7 billion in total wage earnings. Florida lost 17,950 jobs; Ohio lost 19,000; Pennsylvania lost 15,680; and Texas lost 28,010 jobs due to higher sensitivity to rising health care premiums and the ACA.”
  • The analysis was based on data taken from the Census Bureau, the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It appears the study only looked at the damage so far. What is not in the above numbers and which is probably impossible to calculate are the opportunities that were squashed as a result of Obama Care. Which of those 10,000 lost companies could have hit it big and become the next Google or Apple, expanding the economy and hiring thousands of workers?  Remember, Apple started with two guys in a garage and grew from there. What future Apple-like opportunity was only a small business when Obama Care hit and went belly up before it could take off? So sad to think of what might have been.

That’s a good start for this month’s review of the unfolding disaster that is Obama Care. More failures to come in the following days.

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