Monday, January 30, 2017

January, 2017, Part 3, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: Eight Reasons To Kill Obama Care Now

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:

We have been talking of the many reasons why ObamaCare has been a disaster from the start which turned it into the worst piece of legislation ever passed by Washington. Alyene Senger, writing for the Heritage Foundation recently did a nice job of summarizing the eight primary reasons why Obama Care needs to go away:

- Costs - Obama claimed multiple times that his namesake legislation could reduce a family’s annual health insurance costs by up to $2,500 a year. Instead, Obama Care insurance policy holders have seen double digit increases almost ever year in their premiums and higher and higher costs for their deductibles and co-pays. According to an eHealth analysis and report, between 2013 and 2017, the average nationwide premium increase has been 99 percent for individuals and 140 percent for families.”

And do not forget deductibles. According to analysis done by HealthPocket, the average 2017 deducible for an Obama Care bronze plan is almost $6,100 for an individual policy and a whopping $12,383 for a family policy. This reality points out that less affluent people who can only afford a bronze plan may never get to utilize their policy, or a doctor, since they cannot afford these high deductible levels. The more expensive silver plans will average, in 2017, more reasonable deductibles of $3,572 for an individual and still high $7,474 for a family but the tradeoff is higher monthly premium payments which have been going up by double digits every year.

Not often mentioned in the context of Obama Care is the reality that insurance policy costs for those getting health insurance via their employers have also not been curtailed by Obama Care. According to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation, family policy premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance plans have gone up by 32% from 2010 through 2016, probably about twice the rate of inflation.

- Choice and Competition: We know that major insurance companies have already gotten out of the Obama Care market or curtailed their presence including UnitedHealthcare and Aetna. 2017 will be the worst year yet for Obama Care insurance company competition as many more companies have dropped than joined and those that remain tend to be bare bones companies that trade off cost for quality of care and access to the better medical options. Things are so bad that more than half the counties in the country now have access to only one or two Obama Care insurance companies, quite the opposite of the Obama boast that the legislation would boost competition and competitive options.
- Failed Exchange Enrollment: The Obama administration claims that 10.4 million people were covered by Obama Care insurance policies in 2016, more than 50% short of the promised enrollment goals, a disaster in itself. But according to the IRS in 2015, that year 12.7 million taxpayers claimed one or more exemptions from Obama Care’s mandate to purchase insurance coverage and another 6.5 million taxpayers paid the penalty rather than sign up for insurance coverage.
Thus, 19.2 taxpayers tried to get out of paying the Obama Care the required fine for not having insurance or just openly decided not to buy insurance, meaning that almost twice as many people tried to get out of buying mandatory insurance than actually bought the Obama care insurance policy.
- Obama Care Exchange Websites: The exchanges were supposed to the easy, efficient way for Americans to buy an Obama Care policy. They were unreliable and difficult to use in addition to not generating near enough customers that were promised. The American taxpayer sent almost $5 billion to the states to set up these state level exchanges but only 11 states and the District Of Columbia set up their own exchanges, the remaining states relied on the Federal government’s exchange. And that Federal exchange cost at least $800 million to build and on its first full day of operation signed up...six people.
- If You Like Your Plan, but the Government Doesn’t, You Can’t Keep It: This title is a play on words of one of Obama's biggest lies when he said over and over that if you like your current insurance policy, Obama Care would not force you to give it up. But that was far from the truth.
Early in the Obama Care era, there were estimates that 6-7 million people lost their existing health insurance policy because of Obama Care. Which means if we look at the true “net” gain in insured Americans, it is not 10 million as Obama claims but only between 3 and 4 million once you realize that the legislation caused 6 -7 million to lose insurance. That number was recently verified to some degree based on analysis by the Associated Press which found that 4.7 million insurance plans across 30 states were cancelled because of Obama Care. Extrapolating that 30 states results to 50 states easily gets back to the 6 - 7 million who lost insurance coverage.
- Co-Op Program: Obama gave 23 states an additional $2.4 billion in taxpayer wealth to create state level “insurance co-ops” to provide insurance policy competition in the 23 states. Within just a few years, 18 out of the 23 co-ops have gone belly up, with the remaining five in danger of following them, so far wasting $1.9 billion and causing hundreds of thousands of co-op customers to frantically seek out other insurance options when the co-ops usually went out of business very quickly.
-Medicaid - The other side of Obama Care disaster, Medicaid, has also been a disaster. Before Obama Care, Medicaid was a creaky, expensive, and low performing government health program. Rather than fix it first, Obama Care dumped about 12 million new customers on this wretched program, making it even more creaky, expensive, and low performing.
These Obama Care Medicaid customers are expected to add almost $1 TRILLION in incremental Medicaid spending in the next ten years for a whopping total Medicaid cost of about $4.8 trillion during the next decade. This comes out to an ANNUAL cost for EVERY American household of about $3,800 just to pay for Medicaid. This is not a good use of taxpayer wealth.
- Limited Access to Providers: Not only have costs gone up because of Obama Care, but access to quality doctor and hospital networks has become more limited over time. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation quantified network sizes for Obama Care plans in 2014, finding that: “Forty-one percent of networks are small or x-small: 11 percent of networks are x-small, meaning they include less than 10 percent of office-based practicing physicians in the area and another 30 percent are small, including between 10 percent and 25 percent of physicians. At the other end of the spectrum, 11 percent are x-large, which we define as networks including more than 60 percent of physicians.
What a mess. Costs up, quality down, Medicaid costs out of control, enrollment targets grossly missed, co-ops  collapsing, it is like you could not screw up more even if you tried. One more review of the unfolding disaster tomorrow.

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