Archive for the ‘Obamacare’ Category


A South Carolina health insurer has become the ninth insurance cooperative formed nationwide under the Affordable Care Act to fold. Consumers’ Choice Health Insurance Co. said Thursday that it will not sell policies in 2016, a decision that will leave 67,000 individuals and business customers looking for new coverage. Ray Farmer, director of the South Carolina Department of Insurance, said Consumers’ Choice and state regulators reached a mutual decision to shut down the company’s business. He said the company was in a “financially hazardous condition.”

It seems Mr. Farmer may have stumbled upon a solid new slogan for the entire law. The New York Times analyzes the “cascading failures” of Obamacare co-ops across the country:

The grim announcements keep coming, picking up pace in recent weeks. About a third, or eight, alternative health insurers created under President Obama’s health care law to spur competition that might have made coverage less expensive for consumers are shutting down. The three largest are among that number. Only 14 of the so-called cooperatives are still standing, some precariously. The toll of failed co-op insurers, which were intended to challenge dominant companies that wield considerable power to dictate prices, has left about 500,000 customers scrambling to find health insurance for next year…At a time when the industry is experiencing a wave of consolidation, with giants like Anthem and Aetna planning to buy their smaller rivals, the vanishing co-ops will leave some consumers with fewer choices — and potentially higher prices…The shuttering of these start-ups amounts to what could be a loss of nearly $1 billion in federal loans provided to help them get started. And the cascading series of failures has also led to skepticism about the Obama administration’s commitment to this venture. Some policy analysts say they were doomed from the beginning.

Call the Medic


Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts has rewritten the law to save Obamacare—again.

ObamaCare Beyond the Handouts - Wall Street journal June 24th

We’ve already proved we can subsidize health care. But which subsidies make sense?


By one standard no government program can fail, and that’s the standard being applied to ObamaCare by its supporters: If a program exists and delivers benefits, the program is working.

Paul Krugman, Nancy Pelosi and others consistently point to the fact that people are willingly receiving ObamaCare benefits as proof of the program’s value. Mr. Obama himself says: “When you talk to people who actually are enrolled in a new marketplace plan, the vast majority of them like their coverage. The vast majority are satisfied.”

And the polls indeed show that 74% of ObamaCare’s eight million enrollees are “satisfied” with their plans, because the polls fail to count the 12 million who are eligible but decline to enroll.

Of the eight million who have signed up, some 87% are receiving taxpayer subsidies. In other words, they are getting health care partly or wholly at someone else’s expense. The latest data reveal that the average monthly benefit amounts to $276 per person (up from $268 in February), allowing the typical user to buy a plan for $69 per month out of pocket.

To put it another way, the annual subsidy amounts to $3,312 per recipient. Which is excellent if you’re one of the recipients.

Steve Rattner, a Wall Street figure and President Obama’s former auto-bailout czar, insists in a recent New York Times op-ed that ObamaCare “is working,” by which he apparently means it’s in operation, which nobody denies. Mr. Rattner, like a lot of analysts, writes as if costs are benefits—as if millions of people lining up for something from the wallets of their fellow citizens, ipso facto, is proof of a worthwhile program.

Mr. Rattner, in a throwaway line—really, a partisan pleasantry—adds without evidence or elaboration that health-care costs are lower than they otherwise would be at least partly due to the new law.

Now, if this were true, it would be the greatest validation of ObamaCare as public policy but there is no reason to believe it’s true.

The right question about any program is whether the benefits justify the expenditure of taxpayer money. ObamaCare’s cheerleaders provide not cost-benefit analysis but benefit analysis—as if money grows on trees or is donated by Martians or can be printed in limitless quantities by the Fed.

ObamaCare, with its subsidies to those with low incomes, is not the worst thing in our health-care system by far. Medicare indiscriminately subsidizes everyone in Warren Buffett’s age group; and, more insidiously, trains Americans from an early age to expect somebody else to cover their medical costs in retirement. And the giant tax handout to employer-provided insurance perversely treats the richest taxpayers as the neediest.

It pays to remember, however, why the pending Supreme Court decision in King v. Burwell is such a lethal threat to ObamaCare. King v. Burwell argues the IRS is illegally misreading the law to grant subsidies to 6.7 million users of the federal ObamaCare exchange known as

King is a threat to ObamaCare because, without subsidies, ObamaCare is nothing. It fixes no problem in our health-care system, except to subsidize more people to consume health care at taxpayer expense. Not that subsidies are always undesirable: They help some people get necessary care. But subsidies do the most good when used sparingly, because subsidies also tend to inflate prices for everyone as well as encourage inefficient consumption that doesn’t improve health and may even endanger health.

In a final irony, many Republicans, seeing the damage an adverse Supreme Court ruling would do, take the statesman-like view that a GOP Congress must stand ready to find a new way to extend subsidies to the 6.7 million people who, since the advent of ObamaCare, expect themselves to be subsidized.

Fine, but let’s also have a major rethink of who should be subsidized and who shouldn’t, across our whole range of health-care programs, including Medicare and the workplace tax benefit.

Never going to happen? It will, if the GOP summons the courage to fix ObamaCare along the lines of the original, rational, “reform” that has motivated health-care thinking for four decades. A place to start would be reducing ObamaCare’s costly coverage mandates so policies would be genuinely attractive to people spending their own money; subsidies could then be trimmed back because fewer people would need subsidies to induce them to buy coverage.

We’ve always said that ObamaCare, for all its flaws, could become the instrument by which responsible reformers renew their push for health care that delivers value for money. In the meantime, however, no worthwhile thoughts about ObamaCare, pro or con, are to be heard from people who count a program as a success just because Americans enjoy receiving benefits at the expense of other Americans.

Another ObamaCare Dream Goes Bust

A lot of people have to pay back their 2014 ObamaCare Subsidies to the IRS


A lot of people who received subsidies from ObamaCare in 2014 are finding out that the Affordable Care Act is forcing them to pay that money back to the Internal Revenue Service because the administration did a poor job of spreading important information.

When individuals enrolled in the program at the beginning of last year they had to estimate their income for 2014. The amount of the subsidy that the individual would receive was based on this estimate. Some people thought they could get away with receiving higher monthly subsidies if they intentionally estimated a low income for 2014, while many others simply had no idea what their incomes would be.

What many of these people were not aware of was that they were responsible for informing the government if they had an unexpected rise in their incomes that would invalidate their original estimate. If somebody’s income rose past their original estimate and they did not report it, then they would have received a larger subsidy than the law allowed. ObamaCare officials did not make this information well-known, and now people are paying the price for it.

For example, Janice Riddle is a woman from California and couldn’t believe it when she found out she would owe the IRS money. “I was blindsided that the subsidy has to be paid back,” she said. “I’m in shock…but I have no choice. Do I want to argue with the IRS or the Obama administration?” She has to pay back her entire subsidy, which came out to $470 per month.

Her case is not an isolated incident. For example, early data from some taxpayers shows that 53 percent of Jackson Hewitt clients who received subsidies will have to repay part or all of their subsidies–not a trifling sum, since the average monthly subsidy in 2014 was $264. The largest amounts owed in repaid subsidies so far reach as high as $12,000 .

Some of the people whose subsidies have been reduced or lost can no longer afford the full cost of their monthly premiums, so they are choosing to go without health insurance this year. Sadly for these individuals, the individual mandate penalty for being uninsured (which could be as high as $975 per person next year) suddenly looks like a bargain compared to the true cost of ObamaCare’s unaffordable insurance.

Instead of making health insurance more affordable, ObamaCare is merely transferring costs onto taxpayers. When the subsidies are taken away from people, it’s clear that premiums are way more expensive than officials in the government are leading people to believe. It’s an incredibly complicated law and has been impossible to implement without causing headaches and damage for millions of people.

86 Percent of Those Receiving Obamacare Get Subsidies, White House Says

The Obama administration said Tuesday that 11.7 million Americans now have private health insurance through federal and state marketplaces, with 86 percent of them receiving financial assistance from the federal government to help pay premiums.

About three-fourths of people with marketplace coverage — 8.8 million consumers — live in the 37 states served by, the website for the federal insurance exchange. The other 2.9 million people are in states that created and operate their own exchanges.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, underlined the importance of subsidies for people in states using the federal exchange — subsidies that could be withdrawn if the Supreme Court rules against the Obama administration in a pending case.


How Obamacare Is ‘Working’

by Michael Tanner
No matter how badly you want something to be true, simply wishing will not make it so. This is a lesson that Obamacare supporters need to learn, as they tell us yet again that the Affordable Care Act “is working.”

The latest claims stem in part from evidence that the number of uninsured Americans has been steadily declining. It is true that the most recent poll from Gallup found that the uninsured rate fell to 12.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, down from 16.3 percent before the ACA passed.

Of course, it would be a mistake to attribute all of that improvement to the ACA. A large portion may be due to falling unemployment as the economy finally emerges from the recession. Since most Americans get their health insurance through their jobs, lower unemployment should naturally reduce the number of uninsured.

Still, the ACA can rightly be credited with some of the gains. If you subsidize something, you should expect to get more of it. And Obamacare heavily subsidizes health insurance.

Increased insurance coverage does not mean increased access to medical care.”
The problem is, that statement uses the term “insurance” very loosely. In actuality, roughly 60 percent of those newly “insured” through Obamacare are actually being enrolled in Medicaid. And Medicaid is hardly the same as real insurance.

While Medicaid costs taxpayers a lot of money, it pays doctors little. As a result, many doctors limit the number of Medicaid patients they serve, or refuse to take them at all.

An analysis published in Health Affairs found that only 69 percent of physicians accept Medicaid patients. Another study, in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that Medicaid recipients were six times more likely to be denied an appointment than people with private insurance. And, according to a third study, when they do get an appointment, they wait an average of 42 days to see a doctor, twice as long as the privately insured.

Just last month HHS’s Office of Inspector General released a report showing how difficult it was for Medicaid patients to gain access to care through Medicaid managed-care programs. IG inspectors posed as Medicaid patients and called designated Medicaid managed-care providers. More than half of listed providers could not be found at the location listed. Others were found but were not participating in the plan, while still others were no longer taking new Medicaid patients. When the investigators were able to get appointments, they faced lengthy average wait times. In 28 percent of cases, they had to wait longer than a month to see a doctor. Ten percent of the time, the wait exceeded two months. A 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed that Medicaid patients faced serious accessibility problems.

And things are about to get even worse.

In an attempt to encourage more doctors to accept Medicaid, Obamacare included a temporary two-year increase in the program’s reimbursement rates. After costing taxpayers roughly $5.5 billion in 2013–14, that increase expired on January 1. Some states are planning to tap their own taxpayers in order to extend the increased reimbursement, but others are unlikely to come up with the money to pay for the extension. In states that don’t pony up their own money — covering an estimated 71 percent of Medicaid recipients — physician reimbursements could fall by as much as 47 percent.

That’s not going to encourage doctors to sign up more Medicaid patients.

Yet, at the same time, the number of people on Medicaid will have increased significantly. Counting normal Medicaid growth as well as the ACA, as many as 20 million more Medicaid enrollees could be seeking care compared with just five years ago.

It doesn’t require an economic genius to realize what happens when increased demand meets reduced supply.

One of the myths of government-run health care has always been the idea that saying people are “covered” is the same thing as giving them health care. We see that in single-payer systems around the world, where universal coverage actually means waiting lists or rationing.

If Obamacare advocates are going to insist that enrollment numbers mean that the ACA is working, they are going to have to come up with a different definition of “working.”

Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and the author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revolution.


pic_giant2_111114_SM_Jonathan-Gruber_0-300x180,Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped fashion the Affordable Care Act, recently gained notoriety for saying the law counted on the “stupidity” of voters, who could be tricked into believing it was not a tax.

His comments conveyed a contempt for the public on the part of the developers of the law that outraged Americans.

But Americans might be further outraged if they considered the analysis of an economist who isn’t interested in misleading voters.

Casey Mulligan, a University of Chicago professor of economics, recently discussed how Obamacare’s taxes would affect economic productivity during a Hillsdale College Free Market Forum in Indianapolis.

His alarming findings are worth attention, particularly as Republicans take control of the Senate next year and consider ways to revise or scrap the law.
(Hillsdale College, founded in 1844, is an independent liberal arts college that does not accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies.)

Mulligan writes how taxes cause “distortions” — changes in business behavior that would not occur were it not for the taxes.

And he describes how two Obamacare provisions represent a tax on full-time employment: the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees either provide health insurance for full-time employees or pay a penalty, and the exchanges where individuals can buy health care independent of employment.
He explains how the employer mandate discourages employment: “ … the penalty applies only in the case of full-time employees and only to employers that don’t offer health coverage, and it applies only in those months during which those full-time employees are on the payroll. If an employee cuts back to part-time work, the employer no longer has to pay the penalty.”

Obviously, the tax distortion here gives employers a financial incentive to hire part-time workers.

Similarly, the government offering subsidies to citizens seeking health insurance on the exchanges provides a perverse incentive:
“If you want to get the subsidy, you need to become a part-time worker or spend time off the job. In other words, this discount, too, is a tax on full-time employment.”
Mulligan says when you tax something, you get less of it and “if you tax labor, you get less labor. As a result of the ACA then, we are going to have fewer people working and less value created overall.”

Moreover, Obamacare’s requirements will have enduring and profound impacts on business practices.

“Businesses will change the way they do business, whether it’s by bending over backwards to stay below 50 employees or by having more part-time employees and fewer full-time employees — not because these policies create value or satisfy customers, but because they avoid penalties or enhance subsidies.”

Although most Americans could not have put their objections in Mulligan’s terms, they’ve recognized something was terribly wrong with this elaborate federal entanglement of the nation’s economy. It is a major reason, as The Wall Street Journal points out, 30 of the 60 senators who voted for the ACA are no longer in office.

The nation does need health care reform, and the newly empowered GOP needs to remember that the situation prior to the Affordable Care Act was hardly satisfactory, particularly for the working poor. Republicans need to offer reasonable alternatives or revisions.

But as Mulligan details, Obamacare in its present form represents a major obstacle to the country’s economic growth. Change is mandatory

Shocking Comments from Obamacare Architect in 2009 – ‘Obamacare Won’t be Affordable’

by Onan CocaJonathan-Gruber5-300x168
Ah. Jonathan Gruber. The gift that keeps on giving… like the feeling you get when you’re caught in traffic on the bridge and you’ve just finished eating a bran muffin and drinking a big cup of coffee.

After several videos were leaked showing the “Architect of Obamacare” shedding light on the many lies that were told to us to sell us on Obamacare, Jonathan Gruber became a household name. Then he went in front of Congress only to say that he wasn’t sure about all of this stuff that he had said. But now, there’s more…

Apparently Mr. Gruber was telling the folks in the White House and on Capitol Hill that Obamacare would never be “affordable” even as they were telling everyone that it would be! The Daily Caller has uncovered a series of memos written by Gruber way back in October of 2009 wherein he admits that Obamacare won’t be affordable… and then goes on to explain why that’s a GOOD THING!

Jonathan Gruber5“The problem is it starts to go hand in hand with the mandate; you can’t mandate insurance that’s not affordable. This is going to be a major issue,” Gruber admitted in an October 2, 2009 lecture, the transcript of which comprised the policy brief.

“So what’s different this time? Why are we closer than we’ve ever been before? Because there are no cost controls in these proposals. Because this bill’s about coverage. Which is good! Why should we hold 48 million uninsured people hostage to the fact that we don’t yet know how to control costs in a politically acceptable way? Let’s get the people covered and then let’s do cost control.”

Who cares about all of those lies we’ve been telling these people! The ends justifies the means and so forth!

This is how liberals do policy, folks. They know that none of their true policy ideas would fly with a mostly conservative to moderate citizenry like we have here in the USA, so they have to cover up and disguise their proposals to make them seem more moderate. The truth is that they are pushing for European socialism and everything they do is with that end goal in mind.

So if they have to lie to us to get us to accept socialized medicine… then so be it! They do not care. And Gruber is the proof that they do not care.

Don’t miss the importance of Jonathan Gruber, folks. He is gnarly truth to every scary story Republicans have ever told you about Democrats. He is the evidence that, to a Democrat politician, the truth only matters so far as it is relevant and helpful to their goals.

Gruber is Liberalism and Liberalism is Gruber.


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