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Knoxville, Tenn – First US City Set To For Complete Collapse Over Obamacare

Knoxville, Tenn., could be the first city in the U.S. where Obamacare completely collapses, leaving tens of thousands of people without the option to buy a subsidized insurance policy.

Humana, the city’s only remaining insurance provider on its Obamacare exchange, announced it is exiting the market in 2018. If that happens, Knoxville citizens will be in a rough spot. Unless another insurance provider fills Humana’s place, some 40,000 people in the Knoxville area will likely be left without the option to purchase an Obamacare-subsidized insurance policy, CNN reports.

Knoxville is illustrative of one of the main problems with Obamacare: It doesn’t promote market-based competition. Insurers pull out of marketplaces where it is not cost-efficient for them to provide services, and, as a result, consumers are left with fewer options at higher prices.

Tennessee is one of the largest casualties of the current health care system. Three insurers have pulled out of the state entirely, the state’s co-op failed and premiums continue to skyrocket annually by double-digits. Tennessee’s health commissioner has all but given up, describing the state’s health care system as “very near collapse.”

As it stands, insurance providers have until July 1 to let state authorities know what plans they will provide, if any, on the exchanges in 2018. State officials expect a formal announcement from providers within two months.

Knoxville citizens would still have the option of purchasing insurance on the private marketplace. Without the Obamacare subsidy to purchase insurance, it is unclear how many consumers would choose to participate in the private insurance market.

To help struggling consumers in their state, Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee put forth legislation that would allow consumers to use Obamacare subsidies to purchase any state-approved insurance plan on the private marketplace. If the bill passes, it would remain in effect through 2019.

Alabama congressman files one-sentence bill to repeal ObamaCare

An Alabama congressman introduced a one-sentence bill in the House Friday to repeal ObamaCare.

Republican Rep. Mo Brooks introduced the bill as the Obamacare Repeal Act, AL.com reported.

“Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted,” the bill states.

Brooks introduced the bill after he announced he would oppose the Republican health care measure which was later pulled from a House floor vote because it did not have enough support to pass.

“If the American people want to repeal Obamacare, this is their last, best chance during the 115th Congress,” Brooks said in a statement. Those Congressmen who are sincere about repealing Obamacare may prove it by signing the discharge petition. At a minimum, the discharge petition will, like the sun burning away the fog, show American voters who really wants to repeal Obamacare and who merely acts that way during election time.”

The bill was not voted on and considered a symbolic jesture.

HEALTH INSURANCE REFORM AND THE AMERICAN ENTREPRENEUR

By John F. Di Leo –

Part One of the House GOP’s official plan to repair/undo/fix/replace Obamacare was released this week, to utter shock and dismay. The authors say that everything America needs will be in the full packet, so it’s unfair to judge Part One without seeing the rest. That may be true, so here, let’s just look at the big picture, whether it’s one part, two parts, three or ten.

America had a healthcare financing problem a decade ago. Conservative solutions, such as malpractice/tort reform, extending the tax-deductibility that employer-provided health insurance gets to individual policies too, and closing the borders to reduce the massive healthcare drain by indigent illegal aliens, were never given a chance. Instead, the Democrats, on straight party votes and through illegal contortions of the lawmaking process, forced through a costly and destructive nationalization of healthcare financing.

As was predicted, it was an utter disaster. Few government programs have ever been so universally hated as Obamacare.

So today – with a Republican majority in the House and Senate, along with a Republican in the White House, American has an opportunity to undo it at last… to both undo the disaster that is Obamacare, and also implement the fixes that we knew were needed all along, but never got the chance to make before.

The Big Picture

But health insurance – and the healthcare financing process in general – is only part of the economic task faced by the new administration. It’s a big part of it, but it still exists within a bigger challenge;

We are trying to climb out of a ten year long recession. Economists don’t like to admit that, because the formal definition is two successive quarters of negative growth, and we’ve only suffered that here and there.

But in fact, when you consider job losses, inflation, general contraction of manufacturing, and the continued growth of the critical employment measure – people of working age outside the workforce” – it is undeniable; the economy has been rotten for a decade. It may not have been a recession to economists, but it’s been a recession to human beings.

For a decade now, the US economy generally produced around 200,000 jobs a month, most of them lousy.

By that, we mean that – unlike past eras of manufacturing growth and general expansion – in this period, too many of the new jobs are dead-end or near dead-end jobs. A starting job on an assembly line may pay poorly at first, but it may lead to a role as team lead, supervisor, manager, foreman, plant manager. A starting job at a coffee shop or retail counter, by comparison, may be a great, convenient part time job for a student, but has far less potential for career growth.

The problem with the Obama economy is that even the tepid number of jobs it did produce included too many of the latter type, and too few of the former.

We desperately need to make up for this ten year disaster.

Since healthcare financing was part of the problem before 2010 – and it became an incredibly bigger part of the problem after passage of Obamacare (the ACA) – fixing this particular mess is clearly a critical first step in delivering the economic boom that the market and the voters are all expecting, and in fact have already baked into their forecasts. We cannot let them down!

We need the U.S. economy to produce 20 million more jobs, including a couple million startups and millions of part time and full time independent consultants, during this presidential term.

… and we need most of the many American manufacturers who have moved production lines overseas during the past 20 years to finally start moving them back.

Somehow, the Obamacare repair/undo/fix/replace project (again, whether it’s one bill or a set of several) needs to do everything it can – and it can do much! – to advance these critical goals.

Has the Congressional leadership looked at it that way? Are they just focusing on reducing the obvious, direct pain of Obamacare as fast as possible? Or are they consciously working to use the Obamacare correction to undo the damage that both the Obamacare era and the pre-Obamacare era have done to our economy?

Job Creation and the Monkey-Wrench

Let’s go back in time, and think about how health insurance costs affected decision making a decade ago, when we thought we had it so bad…

Ten years ago, let’s say you wanted to start your own startup or independent consultancy.

Leaving a job that had insurance to branch out on one’s own, one had to plan on paying $50 to $100 a month for a single policy, or – for a breadwinner – a couple hundred a month for a family policy. Such plans are necessary, to cover basic healthcare needs if something big happened, and ensure decent pricing for normal things (rather than paying “rack rates”).

Such affordable programs (somewhat high copay, somewhat high deductible, but basically fine for most people) are gone now. They’re just GONE. Obamacare has thrown a monkey-wrench into the start-up society.

Thanks to Obamacare – and its laundry lists of mandated coverage, its worthlessly micromanaged exchanges and gold/silver/bronze plans of inflated coverage, that insists on paying for Ralphie to turn into Mabel, and funding abortions for 70 year old women and birth control for nuns – health insurance today is horribly, unbearably overpriced.

We’ve spent seven years rightly talking about what this does to the individual stuck with the plan… but we haven’t talked enough about what it does to the natural urge of the entrepreneurial – the small business minded American minority – to branch out on their own.

The Obamacare era’s outlandish pricing and awful product (in most cases, we pay more than ever for insurance that can’t even be used, because of the high deductibles and lack of providers) have scared Americans out of entrepreneurship.

Obamacare literally traps employed people in their current jobs. Starting up your own business takes considerable energy and courage to begin with; this massive corruption of the healthcare aspect of American life has added a massive weight to the already stiff burden of the American start-up.

People working for big companies, the very people who used to start their own businesses, are now unable to do so, because the insurance costs don’t let them take that additional risk.

And what America needs most of all right now is an influx of new businesses, of courageous new entrepreneurs to rent offices and start inventing and selling and hiring… exactly as entrepreneurs always did in America, before the Obamacare era.

This is what has been forgotten in the recent debate… perhaps because, as usual, small businessmen aren’t heard the way that big businessmen are in our society, and perhaps because the future entrepreneur has no voice, only the past entrepreneur does.

Obamacare – as a whole, not just in the employer mandate, but AS A WHOLE – is utterly destructive to small business. Over the seven years since that hellish March 20 when it was illegally passed and signed, the number of startups has plummeted in Amerca.

We need to terminate Obamacare to get back what we had 8 years ago, to begin with.

It’s a critical first step, not just for fixing healthcare, but for starting the economic boom we so desperately need. But then… we need the corrections – the simple, logical corrections – that we knew were needed at the time, but which the Democrats refused to allow us to do.

For example:

Tort reform, to reduce the cost that malpractice insurance places on health care pricing.
Use of the Commerce Clause to allow insurance companies to sell plans across state lines.
Extend tax-deductibility of health insurance to individually-purchased plans, just as employer-provided insurance is.
Crack down on crime, particularly the drug gang crime of the inner cities and the border jumping practice of tens of millions of illegal aliens, which fill our hospitals with costly patients who can’t pay for their coverage.
This is just a start. There’s more, of course, much more. And they’ve been on the Republican reformers’ drawing boards now for eight years, disallowed from seeing the light of day.

But they are necessary. Because a simple tweak of Obamacare to reduce the most egregious errors isn’t enough. Removing the mandate, dropping a couple of the taxes, but leaving the structure in place would only help a bit on the surface, while leaving the leviathan in place to keep on holding America back from the recovery we so desperately need.

There is a huge barricade in place, retarding the natural American impulse for job creation and economic advancement. And until that barricade is removed, our economy cannot recover.

Copyright 2017 John F. Di Leo

Highlights of House GOP’s ObamaCare replacement bill

 

Here are highlights of the legislation unveiled Monday by House Republicans as they move to dismantle former President Barack Obama’s health care law and replace it with a system designed along conservative lines. Primarily affected would be some 20 million people who purchase their own private health plans directly from an insurer and the more than 70 million covered by Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people.
Here’s a look at some of the major components:
——
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE
— Provides tax credits for people purchasing their own health insurance. The subsidies would be keyed primarily to age, rising as people get older. Financial assistance would be phased out for individuals making more than $75,000 and married couples earning more than $150,000. Subsidies could be used to buy any plan approved by a state.
— Eliminates cost-sharing subsidies in Obama’s Affordable Care Act that helped people with modest incomes meet the costs of insurance deductibles and copayments. States, however, would have the option of providing similar assistance with federal financing.
— Greatly expands contributions to health savings accounts, which allow people with high-deductible insurance to cover expenses that their plans don’t pay for.
— Protects people with pre-existing health problems from being denied coverage. However, consumers must maintain continuous coverage — otherwise, they would face a flat 30 percent surcharge on top of their premiums. States could use federal money to create high-risk pools as insurers of last resort.
— Preserves ACA provision that let young adults stay on parental coverage until they turn 26.
— Allows insurers to charge their oldest customers up to 5 times what they charge young adults. The ACA limits that to 3 times.
— Prohibits use of tax credits to purchase any plan that covers elective abortions. Currently if a health plan covers abortions it must collect a separate premium to pay for such procedures.
——
MEDICAID
— Maintains the ACA’s higher federal financing for expanded Medicaid through the end of 2019. After that, states can only continue to receive enhanced federal payments for beneficiaries already covered by the expansion, which has mainly helped low-income adults with no children living at home. But for newly enrolled beneficiaries, the federal government would provide a lower level of financing.
— Overhauls the broader Medicaid program to end its open-ended federal financing. Instead, each state would receive a limited amount based on its enrollment and costs. That federal payment would be increased according to a government measure of medical inflation.
— Denies federal funding for one year to Planned Parenthood, a major provider of women’s health services, including abortion.
——
PENALTIES & TAXES
— Repeals the ACA’s tax penalties on people who remain uninsured and on larger employers who do not offer coverage. The repeal is retroactive to 2016.
— Repeals the ACA’s taxes on upper-income earners, investors, health insurance plans and medical device manufacturers. Repeals 10 percent sales tax on indoor tanning.

GOP Eyes Lightning Strike on Obamacare to Kick Off Trump Era

by Steven Dennis and Billy House

Slim Senate majority leaves little wiggle room for passage
Some Republicans also want to end Planned Parenthood funding
Congressional Republicans are considering a lightning-strike rollback of Obamacare early next year to kick off the Donald Trump era, but first they have to agree on a plan limited enough to hold their caucus together.
Republicans won’t have much room for error to successfully repeal Obamacare, a top campaign promise of Trump and congressional Republicans. Even if they delay the repeal to allow more time to come up with a replacement, there will be pressure to use the legislative maneuver to push through other top GOP priorities, such as defunding Planned Parenthood.
But Senate Republicans would have to keep unified the 52 senators they expect to have when the new Congress convenes Jan. 3.
The Republican plan would take advantage of reconciliation, a budget-related mechanism to circumvent the 60-vote threshold in the Senate and prevent Democrats from being able to block legislation on their own. By striking early, the GOP could set itself up to invoke the same procedure again later in the year on a broader range of targets, including tax cuts.
The quick-strike bill, like one vetoed earlier this year by President Barack Obama, H.R. 3762, would likely set what amounts to an expiration date for the law’s financial underpinnings, leaving Congress to act at a later date on any replacement plan. That’s because more than six years after the law’s passage, Republicans still don’t have a consensus on how to replace Obamacare.
Early Win
But passing something in Trump’s first 100 days would allow Republicans to claim a big win early on, and conservatives are demanding the GOP deliver quickly.
“In order to give a clear and unambiguous message there’s a new occupant in the White House, one of the first things that should be done after the oath of office is passage of a bill through reconciliation repealing Obamacare and defunding Planned Parenthood,” Representative Trent Franks, an Arizona Republican, said Monday in a interview.
Franks, chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, said he worries that some in Congress may seek more time to pass a bill. But he said the bill should be passed “almost the first moment after the oath of office.” Congress needs to send the message that when people vote based on promises made during a campaign, “that their votes will matter,” he said.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters Tuesday at a Washington Post breakfast that the first 100 days of Trump’s administration may include action on an Obamacare repeal, although “repealing is easier and faster” than replacing.
Having a “transition period” after a vote to repeal Obamacare would create a deadline for Congress to pass a replacement, he told reporters later Tuesday.
“If you have a date certain that something is going away” lawmakers will be motivated to pass a replacement, McCarthy said. Democrats who try to obstruct a replacement would risk being blamed for allowing Obamacare to lapse without a new plan, he said.
John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, said Monday that a Obamacare repeal is “going to be high on the list right when we come back.”
“It will be early, because we have to get that done,” Cornyn said. “January would suit me just fine.” He said Republicans may use the reconciliation procedure again later in the year to push through other matters, such as a tax overhaul.
‘Does No Harm’
Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, predicted during an interview with reporters that it would ultimately take “several years” to fully move to a new system with less federal control. He said that while Republicans can do some things with reconciliation, they’d ultimately need 60 votes.
“We need to gradually move those decisions back to states and to individuals and do it in a way that does no harm to people today,” the Tennessee Republican said.
“If we want a lasting solution eventually we’re going to have to have 60 votes in the Senate to get it.”
While a lightning-strike bill could be used for other priorities Republicans agree on, House Budget Chairman Tom Price of Georgia predicted in a recent interview it would be focused on something similar to the Obamacare repeal bill lawmakers have already passed because expanding it would require more time for committees to work.
“There is an opportunity there,” said Price, who Trump named Tuesday morning to be his secretary of Health and Human Services. “All this has to go through the process obviously.”
Democratic Ire
The idea for a lightning-strike bill has been percolating among Capitol Hill Republicans since long before the election, and it’s sure to provoke howls from Democrats.
But there’s not much they can do under the rules, beyond kick up a fuss. Senate Democrats’ leader-in-waiting, Chuck Schumer of New York, has said in several interviews that Republicans will rue the day they roll back the health law.
Representative Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the law has worked in many important ways, including insuring millions of people and banning the denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
“But it’s not about facts or data or performance. It’s about political promises, and what they said they would deliver,” he said, adding that he doubts Trump and congressional Republicans could backtrack now politically.
Budget Resolution
To pull off a lightning strike, Republicans would have to pass a budget resolution first for the current budget year, which can take a week or two even if they are in agreement on what it should say. That resolution would set budget targets for the bill to follow. Then the committees would have to push through the actual repeal bill.
Republicans will also face internal fights if they end up keeping much of the law in its current form.
“When we all run for office, we run on repeal and replace with a free-market alternative,” said Representative Dave Brat, a conservative member of the Freedom Caucus from Virginia. “We did not run and say: ‘Let’s kind of soften this failed experiment down a little bit and keep most of the elements of socialized, top-down central planning in health care, along with 20 to 50 percent premium increases, and mandates forcing you to buy products by the federal government.’”
“We don’t need to be nasty, but we need to be rational and principled. And if we do not move forward with what we promised, the American people will rightly judge us as a failure, and a moral failure, as well, for not keeping our word,” said Brat.
But already there are some Republicans who are concerned about the possible scope of a reconciliation effort now that whatever they pass could actually become law.
Representative Dennis Ross, a Florida Republican who is a senior deputy whip, said Tuesday, “In my view, the repeal is not nearly as important as replacement.”
“To just say ‘repeal everything, and the mandates, without a replacement,’ then what?” he asked. “I don’t think we can do a repeal without a replacement. People are already in the system.”
One House centrist, who didn’t want to be identified by name in order to speak more freely, confirmed several members are voicing their opposition to leaders about voting again to defund Planned Parenthood in the reconciliation package.
But Speaker Paul Ryan suggested that GOP leaders plan to push ahead. During his most recent Capitol news conference on Nov. 17, he said, “We’ve already shown what we believe with respect to Planned Parenthood. We put a bill on President Obama’s desk in reconciliation. Our position has not changed.”
Talking With Trump
Republican leaders are also talking with Trump about how exactly to move forward.
“Obamacare has hurt families across the country through higher costs and less choice, and they made their disgust with the law known by voting for a candidate who ran on repeal,” said Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong.
“Speaker Ryan is in near-daily communication with President-elect Trump and Vice President-elect Pence about the agenda for next year,” she added. “We will share more when we have it.”
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said they have nothing to announce yet on the schedule.
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“This continues to be a top priority for the Senate Finance Committee, which has kept a steady pace with its efforts to replace Obamacare with common-sense reforms that will lower costs and increase choice,” said Julia Lawless, spokeswoman for Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah. “The chairman is working with members to find the best way to move forward and is confident Congress will be prepared to act quickly next year.”
The reconciliation process can also be used on tax bills and to raise the federal debt limit, which must be done sometime in mid-2017. The last time Republicans had control of the House, Senate and the White House during George W. Bush’s administration, they pushed through an assortment of items via reconciliation packages, affecting taxes, Medicare, Medicaid, and numerous other programs.

Woman Who Ran Obamacare Defects, Reveals Obama’s Sick Next Step

The woman who ran Obamacare during her tenure as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which played a pivotal role in implementing the failed program, claimed last week that health care customers could be in for a huge sticker shock come 2017.

“I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like?” Marilyn Tavenner, who now works as a spokeswoman for insurers, said during an interview with the Morning Consult. “I don’t know, because it also varies by state, market, even within markets.”

She added, “But I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw previous years … that’s my big prediction.”
Since its launch in 2013, Obamacare has repeatedly caused premiums, co-payments and deductibles to skyrocket, despite rhetoric from President Barack Obama’s administration about how the law would reduce health care costs for Americans.

Instead, it spurred many Americans to drop out of the program altogether and opt for much more affordable but less comprehensive non-Obamacare alternatives.
In explaining why rates keep rising, Tavenner pointed to a number of factors, including Obamacare’s rules preventing insurers from denying coverage to anyone suffering from a pre-existing condition.

“The problem with the exchanges … is people are still kind of seeing this as, ‘I use insurance when I’m sick, but I may not need it when I’m no longer sick,’” she explained. “So they tend to churn. And that churn increases premiums. So you have to kind of price over that.”

Tavenner also highlighted the upcoming end of certain rules that protected insurers from experiencing financial losses. Without these rules in place, many insurers will need to dramatically raise their premiums just to break even, let alone earn a profit.
President Obama will keep claiming otherwise until his face turns blue, but Obamacare is an epic failure — and clearly, the woman who used to run it pretty much agrees.

CBO Projects 2 Million Fewer Jobs Under ObamaCare

Thee_RANT_LogoObamacare ObamaCare is expected to cost the U.S. workforce a total of 2 million jobs over the next decade, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper said Monday.

The total workforce will shrink by just under 1 percent as a result of the new coverage expansions, mandates and changes in tax rates, according to a 22-page report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“Some people would choose to work fewer hours; others would leave the labor force entirely or remain unemployed for longer than they otherwise would,” the agency said in its latest analysis of the now five-year-old law.

Republicans were quick to seize on the report, which provides new analysis of a previously mentioned figure.

“When the President’s health law hurts the labor force at the same time it increases healthcare premiums and taxes, it’s clear the law is not working for the American people,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah.).

By Sarah Ferris – 12/07/15 05:01 PM EST
ObamaCare will force a reduction in American work hours — the equivalent of 2 million jobs over the next decade, Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper said Monday.

The total workforce will shrink by just under 1 percent as a result of changes in worker participation because of the new coverage expansions, mandates and changes in tax rates, according to a 22-page report released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

“Some people would choose to work fewer hours; others would leave the labor force entirely or remain unemployed for longer than they otherwise would,” the agency said in its latest analysis of the now five-year-old law.
The CBO is not predicting that employers will fire millions of workers or reduce hours because of the law, but that the law changes incentives over the years for the workers themselves both in part-time and full-time positions.

That could mean that older Americans who wish to retire but have remained in the workforce solely for employer health benefits could opt to leave their jobs.

Republicans were quick to seize on the report, which provides an update through 2025.

Obamacare Leaves Hundreds Of Cancer Patients Without Insurance

Best-Cancer-treatment-hospitals-Memorial-Sloan-Kettering-Cancer-Center
Yay Obamacare! Isn’t it great to have full coverage?

Via NY Post:

Some 250 patients receiving treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center are facing a crisis because they signed up with the only ObamaCare insurer in New York that provides coverage at the world-renowned hospital — and the insurer is going bust.

Now the patients either have to find new insurers and doctors or pay higher out-of-pocket costs for extended care at Sloan.

State regulators are removing Health Republic Insurance of New York from the ObamaCare exchange as of Nov. 30 because the company is gushing red ink — losing more than $130 million in 18 months.

The state Department of Financial Services is advising customers to shop for new policies by Nov. 15, to ensure coverage for the rest of this year as well as next.

Under state law, patients are guaranteed 60 days of “continuity of coverage” at the facility where they are being treated.

Sloan Kettering said it is urging the state to extend that to one year.

But no other ObamaCare insurer has been able to reach a deal with Sloan Kettering, leaving the Health Republic patients in the lurch.
“Unfortunately, at this time, no exchange plan has agreed to include access to Memorial Sloan Kettering despite our concerted and consistent attempts,” said hospital spokeswoman Christine Hickey.

The cancer patients aren’t the only ones scrambling.

Health Republic has a total of 200,000 customers — 20 percent of the health exchange’s individual market.

A state spokesman said the Cuomo administration has been “working day and night . . . to address the situation and protect consumers.”

High Obamacare Deductibles Make Mandated Insurance Practically Useless

by Kristina Ribali

Remember the Affordable Care Act? The law that was supposed to lower the cost of health care by providing health insurance plans to the masses that were more affordable. That’s what we were promised, but the reality is that millions have seen their formally affordable premiums skyrocket, and now they’re also stuck with deductibles that are hard to swallow.

One man from New Jersey told the New York Times just how worthless his newly mandated plan has become.

“The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,” said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. “We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.”
Deductibles in the thousands of dollars are not uncommon. In fact, “in many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more.” Once you add in several hundred dollars per month for your plan premium, a rate that may or may not be lower than it used to be and add in a $3,000 or more deductible, the average individual could be paying over $5,000 out of pocket in a year before their “affordable” insurance kicks in. This is true for employer sponsored plans as well.

Just this past September, I wrote about the Kaiser Family Foundation study showing deductibles on employer sponsored plans rose by almost 9 percent.

How many American families who need to get insurance via Obamacare have the ability to absorb more than $3,000 or $5,000 into their yearly budget? In this economy, with fairly stagnant wages, and millions of Americans leaving the labor force, it’s doubtful that’s an easy cost to absorb for low income earners or even the middle class.

Kevin Fanning of Texas told the New York Times that “Basically I was paying for insurance I could not afford to use.” Fanning said that he and his wife “had a policy with a monthly premium of about $500 and an annual deductible of about $10,000 after taking account of financial assistance. Their income is about $32,000 a year.” That’s nearly one-third of their income just to get the insurance company to cover them if they actually need to seek care.

Unsurprisingly, Fanning dropped his plan.

But it gets even worse.

“Our deductible is so high, we practically pay for all of our medical expenses out of pocket,” said Wendy Kaplan, 50, of Evanston, Ill. “So our policy is really there for emergencies only, and basic wellness appointments.”
Her family of four pays premiums of $1,200 a month for coverage with an annual deductible of $12,700.

Twelve thousand, seven hundred dollars! Is that what this Administration considers affordable?

And let’s not forget, people are required to purchase this unaffordable insurance, or face a fine from the IRS.

Clarissa Morris, 47, has been a server at the Golden Corral here for five years, earning $2.13 an hour plus tips. On a typical day, she leaves the restaurant with about $70 in tips. Her husband makes $9 an hour at Walmart but has been offered only a part-time schedule there, without benefits. Their combined paychecks barely cover their rent and daily essentials.

“It’s either buy insurance or put food in the house,” she said.
A study in 2014 found that 56 million Americans under age 65 will have trouble paying their health care bills. A whopping 10 million Americans between the ages of 19 and 64 “will be unable to pay for basic necessities like rent, food, and heat due to their medical bills.”

Furthermore, “In 2013 over 20% of American adults were struggling to pay their medical bills, and three in five bankruptcies in 2014 will be due to medical bills.”

For millions of Americans, the insurance plans they are now required to purchase under Obamacare could potentially bankrupt them – forcing them to choose insurance or food, insurance or rent, insurance or heat during a cold winter. And if they don’t choose insurance, a hefty fine awaits as well.

It’s long past time for Congress to start rolling back these senseless government mandates on health care. Real solutions that put families back in charge of their health care costs and help the uninsured are already being pioneered in the states, but first the federal government needs to get out of the way.

Update (Ed), 11/18 12:33 pm: At Kristina’s request, I edited the post slightly to remove a reference to deductibles increasing $5,000 per person, which was an error in cross-referencing some of the data.

10th Obamacare startup to close

by Robert King

A lack of federal funding from the Obama administration has caused the 10th taxpayer-funded Obamacare insurance startup to close.

Utah’s insurance regulator announced Tuesday that it will place Arches Health Plan in receivership. The reason is due to a small amount of funding from a federal program intended to help buttress insurers that offer plans in the Obamacare marketplaces.

The decision by the Utah Insurance Department allows the regulator to supervise the runoff of its policies. The department says Arches’ customers should call their insurance agent or use healthcare.gov when open enrollment starts Nov. 1.

Utah lays the blame on a shortfall from Obamacare’s risk corridor program. The program was intended to help Obamacare insurers if they took on too many sick and older Americans.

The program was meant to help mitigate some of the risk of joining the completely new Obamacare marketplaces.

Insurers requested $2.9 billion but only received $362 million in funds, about 12 percent of what they asked for.

The reason is that not enough insurers paid in to the program. Insurers whose profits reached a certain threshold were supposed to provide funding to the program.

The co-ops, created to provide more competition in the Obamacare marketplaces, were particularly vulnerable to the shortfall since they were created back in 2014 and didn’t have enough cash reserves to mitigate the lack of funds.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the co-ops, has said that it expected some would not survive since they are startups. It has pledged to work with co-ops to ensure their stability.

The agency didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

Most of the Obamacare-funded startups that have closed have cited the low federal payments as a key reason. The administration gave more than $2 billion to set up the startups, of which only 13 remain.

The latest closure ignited another round of criticism from Republican opponents of the law. The House Ways and Means Committee health subcommittee announced it will hold a hearing Tuesday on the co-op program.

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