Friday, April 21, 2017

April, 2017, Part 3, The Unfolding Disaster That Is Obama Care: More Illegal Actions By The Obama Administration and More Useless and Stupid Regulations

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.

1) We have often pointed out that not only was Obama Care a total failure in lowering the ever rising healthcare costs in this country, but its overbearing regulations put a major damper on economic growth since its passage. In fact, the Obama administration is the only Presidential administration that did not enjoy an annual GDP growth number above 3% and reigned over an economy that featured mostly stagnant wage and household income growth.

Now, not only do we already know that Obama Care’s regulations hurt the entire economy but an article by Drew Gonshorowski on the Heritage Foundation website on March 23, 2017 discusses the probable reality that its overbearing regulations also helped raise health insurance premiums, the exact opposite of what the law was supposed to do:

  • A new research study from Milliman shows that a chief reason that Obama Care insurance premiums continued to rise is because of the many regulations and taxes the legislation imposed on that segment of the insurance market.
  • For example, the law imposed a Health Insurer tax of 2.0%.
  • It currently imposes a Health Exchange Fee/[tax]that is currently 1.4 - 2.3% but which will increase to 2.8 - 3.7% by the year 2023.
  • A so-called Guarantee Fee is 15 - 30%.
  • Reinsurance is a 1.0 - 2.0% fee.
  • A Morbidity fee is 4.0%.
  • A Community Rating fee can increase insurance premiums for younger Obama Care insurance customers anywhere from 19 - 35%.
  • Essential Benefits requirements increases premiums by 8%.
  • An actuarial adjustment increases premiums by 8.5%.
Thus, the total increase national average impact on an insurance policy relative to Obama Care policies comes out to anywhere from 44.5 to 68% according to the Milliman research.

How can anyone expect the cost of health insurance to come down or gotten under control when just the logistics of the Obama Care legislation imposes a 44% burden before the actual health insurance costs are figured in? That is why it is a disaster and such a stupid and convoluted piece of legislation.

Note: the article points out that these are national averages and that the increases on health insurance premiums because of the above Obama Care requirements and regulations vary greatly by state meaning that some residents of some states (for example a state with a younger than average population) saw worse increases than the national average.

2) We have pointed out many times on how Obama himself violated the Obama Care legislation by unilaterally changing dates and other tenets of the Obama Care. Now there appears there might be another unlawful action that the Obama administration undertook. The legislation only allowed the IRS to use private citizen data to calculate what, if any, Federal subsidy a taxpayer should get if they obtained an Obama Care insurance policy.

But according to research and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the IRS may have illegally shared private citizen data with the Health and Human Services organization for the sole use of sending a formal Federal government communications to taxpayers who opted out of buying an Obama Care policy and paid the Obama Care tax. 

Specifically, the Judicial Watch organization filed a lawsuit looking for government documents related to this illegal action after numerous legitimate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests were ignored by the Obama administration. [On a side note, this sandbagging of FOIA requests should not be unexpected as the Obama administration was likely the worst Presidential administration ever when it came to complying with FOIA requests.)

Judicial Watch issued the following press release on April 16, 2017 which describes what is going on Apri: “Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for records about the sharing of private taxpayer information under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The lawsuit was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (No. 1:17-cv-00615)).

Judicial Watch filed the suit after the agencies refused to comply with its November 15, 2016, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to the IRS and Health and Human Services seeking all records concerning their efforts to reach out to individuals claiming an exemption or paying a penalty for failing to purchase the mandatory Obamacare health insurance, as well as records where protected taxpayer information was shared between the IRS and HHS or any other state or federal government entity.”

This lawsuit follows a formal Congressional letter that was sent to the IRS back in September, 2016 so there is at least two organizations that think that Obama and his administration have again violated Federal law. Specifically, it appears that Federal law 26 § U.S.C. 6103 regarding the confidentiality of private citizens private information was possibly violated. Another day, another potential illegal action from the worst piece of Washington legislation ever enacted.

3) One last piece of Obama Care insanity for today and it is related to your local pizzeria. One of the most inane tenets of Obama Care is that restaurants with more than 20 locations have to list nutritional information on EVERY item on their menu and even worse, EVERY possible variation of an item on their menu. Consider the stupidity of this Obama Care regulation:

  • Consider Domino’s pizza locations: when you consider every possible variation on Domino’s menu, from toppings to size to different types of crusts, you end up with 34 MILLION variations that Obama Care’s regulations require Domino’s to put on their menu or post in their stores, clearly an impossibility.
  • Since Domino's locations are operated and owned by individual businesspeople and franchisors, any attempt to post such a sign could add thousands of dollars to a business owners’ expenses, hindering their ability to grow their stores, create employment opportunities, and help grow the economy.
  • And since the vast majority of Domino’s customers place their orders on the Internet or call them in, the vast majority of customers are unlikely to ever notice or see any Obama Care sign or menu with the nutritional information even if a way was found to strictly comply with the need for 34 million combinations.
Another useless and expensive Federal government and political class effort. Expensive because it will cost restuarants to spend their thin profit dollars on a useless effort, useless because we have already discussed the reality that customers do not read nutritional signs in restaurants:

Useless and stupid Obama Care regulations, relating to food signs and unnecessary fees and taxes, and illegal actions by the slightly dysfunctional Obama administration when it came to the rule of law. More unfolding disasters to follow.

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