The roll out of the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) has given us a plethora of unintended consequences. From freezing new hiring. To pushing full-time workers into part-time. To people losing the health insurance and doctor they liked and wanted to keep. To higher insurance premiums. To higher deductibles. To higher co-pays. Taking a health care system that the vast majority of people were satisfied with and making it worse. To accommodate a small percentage of the population who were uninsured. If that wasn’t bad enough it doesn’t even look like some of the people who signed up for Obamacare are paying their insurance premiums (see Next problem for Obamacare: deadbeat enrollees by Rick Newman posted 2/14/2014 on Yahoo! Finance).
The New York Times has discovered that only about 80% of people purchasing health insurance through the federal online marketplace or a similar state-run exchange paid their first month’s premium. There’s no single source of such data, but the Times canvassed insurers participating in the program, such as Aetna (AET), Wellpoint (WLP), Humana (HUM) and Blue Shield of California. All said that the first-month payment rate ranged from 75% to 80% or so, far lower than for typical plans. If enrollees don’t pay the first month’s premium, their insurance never goes into effect.
That doesn’t mean, however, that one-fifth of the people signing up for Obamacare are blatantly refusing to pay. Technical problems with some of the exchange websites may have left people enrolled in an insurance plan without knowing it. Some may never have received a bill or confirmation of their enrollment. Others may have unwittingly signed up for two different policies, while paying for only one.
To make the Affordable Care Act work required a huge health care cost transfer from the old and sick to the young and healthy. The young and healthy, incidentally, made up a sizeable portion of the uninsured. Because they were young and healthy and felt invincible. And invincible people don’t need to buy insurance. So Obamacare needed the individual mandate to force these people to buy insurance against their will so they could pay for the old and sick.
Of course when they raised the price of health insurance to cover pre-existing conditions it wasn’t the young and healthy that ran to the Obamacare exchanges. It was the old and sick. Adding too many old and sick to the insurance pool. And not enough of the young and healthy. Those who would pay without consuming any benefits. Because they are young and healthy. Causing the insurers to pay more out in benefits than they receive in premiums. Forcing them to raise their premiums. Which will, of course, kick off the death spiral as people drop out because they can’t afford those higher rates. Which will, in turn, force the insurers to raise their rates again. Hence the death spiral. And as bad as all of that was now it looks like about 20-25% of those who ‘signed up’ either didn’t or are simply choosing not to pay. Making the financial predicament of the insurers far worse.
Of course if your plan was to force single-payer (i.e., national health care) onto the people against their will then everything is going according to plan to destroy the private insurance market. Leaving only the government to step in and provide single-payer (i.e., national health care). Which should fill everyone with confidence after seeing how well they rolled out the Affordable Care Act. And no doubt will impress us even more with the rollout of single-payer (i.e., national health care).
Having Government remake our Health Care System is not the Limited Government of our Founding Fathers
According to a Gallup poll approximately 38% of people identify themselves as conservative while only 23% identify themselves as liberal (see Liberal Self-Identification Edges Up to New High in 2013 by Jeffrey M. Jones posted 1/10/2014 on Gallup). With most of the rest (34%) identifying themselves as moderate. Or, in other words, 77% of the people do NOT identify themselves as liberal. That’s over three-quarters of the population. Which means if you were in a group of four people only one of the four would be a liberal.
And yet we have Obamacare. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act passed on partisan lines when the Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress. The most liberal change to our health care system (the government will charge people a fine/tax if they don’t buy health insurance). The only time in history that government has forced people to buy something against their will. Without having any kind of say in the matter. Like we do with car insurance. If you don’t want to buy car insurance all you have to do is NOT drive a car. But with Obamacare there is no choice. Everyone has to buy health insurance. Period.
Having government remake our health care system is not the limited government of our Founding Fathers. It is actually more in keeping with a royal decree issued by the king the Founding Fathers fought for their independence from. Ye shall do this. For the ruler has spoken. And ye shall pay more taxes to fund this huge growth of government. Another thing not in keeping with our Founding Fathers. Higher taxes. So how have we come to this when 77% of the people don’t want any of this? Because liberals are some of the best liars in the world. That’s how.
Discounted Reimbursements are causing Doctors and Hospitals to leave the Obamacare Network
To make Obamacare work they needed to get people to pay more for their health insurance. So they could raise a lot of money to subsidize health insurance for those who could not afford to buy it. Which they couldn’t do if people kept the policies they liked and wanted to keep. Especially those lower-cost ones. So they made the policies people liked and wanted to keep noncompliant with the Affordable Care Act. Forcing their insurers to cancel them. And forcing people to buy more costly policies. This providing the subsidy money Obamacare needed.
So this was the plan. To cause mass cancellations. And then force those people with cancelled policies to buy more expensive policies. But this was only part of the formula. To keep more of those higher insurance premiums they also raised deductibles. So not only did people pay more for their health insurance policies. Those policies paid for less. Forcing people to spend a lot more out-of-pocket before their insurance kicked in.
We have huge budget deficits. And growing national debt. A big part of that debt is from Medicare and Medicaid (and Social Security). Getting people to pay for other people’s health insurance won’t cut these costs. But there is something that will, though. The same thing the government is doing with Medicare. Pay doctors and hospitals less. By discounting their reimbursements. It worked pretty well with Medicare. So they were sure it would work well with Obamacare. Of course, health care providers overcharged private insurers to recoup what the government didn’t pay. So this will no longer be an option under Obamacare. Which has caused a lot of doctors and hospitals to already leave the Obamacare network.
People would rather hear a Pleasant Lie than an Unpleasant Truth
There was a lot if opposition to the Affordable Care Act. For the people did not want national health care. And they felt that was where Obamacare would lead to. So President Obama told people in person. And looked into the camera. Making a promise to the American people. “If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. If you like your hospital you can keep your hospital. Period. No one was going to take these away from you. All we’re going to do is give you better health insurance while saving the average family $2,500 on their annual insurance premium.” None of which was true.
Of course, had the president told the truth he would only have confirmed everyone’s fears. Which is why he lied. A lie so big PolitiFact named it the Lie of the Year. And he told the lie so easily. He was so reassuring that the people believed him. In fact, they wanted to believe him. For they liked this president. And they trusted him. Despite his economic policies having failed to produce a strong economic recovery. For even when polls showed the people thought his policies were taking the country in the wrong direction the people still liked him. Because he tried. Always saying things the people wanted to hear. A lot of feel-good things. Affordable health care for everyone. Leveling the playing field. Making the rich pay their fair share. Free birth control. Not enforcing federal drug laws in Colorado and Washington. With talk like that no wonder the people liked him. And why it was so easy for him to lie to the people. As they were willing to believe just about anything he said.
President Obama is everything our parents aren’t. Who tell us what we need to do. What we should do. And what we shouldn’t do. Regular killjoys. Unlike the president. And the Democrats. Who don’t mind people having a little fun in their lives. Unlike the Republicans. Who are as bad as our parents. Always telling us things we don’t want to hear. Like truths. Facts. And how things are. Reality. While the president and the Democrats tell us how things could be. How life can be more fun and more carefree their way. Whereas life requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice the Republicans’ way. Because reality can suck. Which is why some people use intoxicants to escape it. Or vote Democrat. Willing to accept on faith their fictional
alternative to escape reality. For it turns out people would rather hear a pleasant lie than an unpleasant truth. And people will like you if you tell them pleasant lies. While they won’t like you very much if you tell them unpleasant truths. Which is why good liars can make anyone like them while those who don’t lie can’t. This is why people didn’t like Mitt Romney. He told the truth. And why people liked President Obama. Because he told them what they wanted to hear. Such as things like the Lie of the Year.
The problem in America these days is the mass ignorance of the people. Thanks to a public school system that does not educate but programs our children to be good Democrat voters. Higher education taken over by the leftist radicals of the Sixties that forever changed the curriculum to teach our children to distrust capitalism and love government. When controlled by Democrats, of course. And people who are for some reason respected for their economic prowess who are absolutely clueless on things economic (see The Daily Show Nails Why Healthcare Will Never Work As A Free Market by Christina Sterbenz posted 1/18/2014 on Business Insider).
Steven Brill, author of Time’s in-depth healthcare analysis “Bitter Pill,” appeared on The Daily Show this week to discuss his opinion of Obamacare.
Brill’s work exploded his career into a love-hate relationship with Obamacare, now leading to a book. Speaking with Jon Stewart, Brill certainly made his criticisms known but we also feel like he pinpointed exactly why healthcare just can’t work as a free market.
Brill told the story of a cancer patient forced to pay $13,700 out-of-pocket, up-front for transfusion of a drug. And that cost only constituted part of a greater $83,000 payment. Brill claims, however, the drug only cost the pharmaceutical company $300.
Stewart came back at Brill with the typical, conservative argument — creating a free market for healthcare where patients pick-and-choose their coverage to create competition and therefore, better options.
“Everyone says, well it’s a marketplace. That guy [the cancer patient] has no choice in buying that drug. His doctor told him, ‘This will save your life. You don’t take it, you’re gonna die,'” Brill responded.
He further argued free markets must host two aspects — a balance between buyers and sellers and secondly, knowledge — neither of which the current U.S. system offers.
“That cancer drug has a patent. That is a monopoly that the government has given the drug company. There is no other drug. That’s the drug,” Brill said.
Jon Stewart is a comedian. So one can almost forgive his ignorance. But you’d think a person writing for a publication with the word ‘business’ in its name would actually understand business. But the author hasn’t a clue. It’s not her fault. It’s because of the politicizing of our educational system. As her dual degrees in journalism and public affairs would have taught her squat about the classical, Austrian or the Chicago school of economics. Instead filling her head with Keynesian nonsense. The one economic school embraced by power-hungry governments everywhere that has a proven track record of failure. For it was Keynesian policies that gave us the Great Depression, the stagflation of the 1970s, the dot-com bubble and recession of the late 1990s/early 2000s and the Great Recession. Where massive government spending did not pull the economy out of recession but only made things worse.
Why does this pharmaceutical company have a patent? Or perhaps a better question would be why do we have this one cancer drug? Why is it that this one pharmaceutical company developed a cancer drug that works that no other pharmaceutical company or government developed? Because of that patent. The only reason they poured hundreds of millions of dollars into research and development and paid massive liability insurance premiums for taking a huge risk to put a drug onto the market that may harm or kill people. They do this on the CHANCE that they may develop at least one successful drug that will pay all of their past costs for this one drug, the costs for the countless drugs that failed AND a profit for their investors. Who took a huge risk investing, giving this pharmaceutical company the money to pay all of their employees over the years it took to come up with at least one drug that wasn’t a loser.
Does the author of this article work for free? No. Of course not. She has bills. As we all do. Even the people working at pharmaceutical companies. Who don’t work there for free. Even if the vast majority of their work produces nothing that their employer can sell their employer still pays them. Thanks to their investors who give them the money to do so until they can actually sell something. But their investors do this only because of the CHANCE that this pharmaceutical will develop that miracle drug that everyone wants. A miracle drug that would never come into being if it weren’t for investors who were willing to risk losing huge amounts of money. Something only rich investors can afford to do.
Health care worked as a free market before General Motors made it an employee benefit thanks to FDR’s ceiling on wages. Once people stopped paying for what they received all free market forces left the health care system. And costs began to rise. This whole “healthcare just can’t work as a free market” is a product of the dumbing down of our educational system. One that produces people who don’t know the difference between insurance and health care. Insurance protects our assets against a catastrophic and UNEXPECTED loss. Like when Lloyds of London started selling marine insurance at that coffee shop. Every shipper paid a small premium to protect against a POTENTIAL sinking and loss of cargo. A POTENTIAL financial loss. Not every ship sank, though. In fact, most ships did not. Which is why that little bit from everyone was able to pay the financial loss of the few that did. For the ships that didn’t sink the shippers paid every other cost they incurred to ship things across those perilous oceans.
This is how insurance works. Which isn’t how our current health insurance works. Where people don’t expect to pay for anything out-of-pocket. Not the unexpected catastrophic costs. Or the EXPECTED small costs that everyone can budget for in their personal lives. Childhood vaccinations, annual checkups, flu shots, childbirth, etc. Even the unexpected things that have a low cost. Like the stitches required when a child falls off of a bike. Things that would cost less than someone’s annual cellular costs. Or things that people can plan and save for (like a house, a car or a child). When we pay these things out-of-pocket there are market forces in play. For a doctor is not going to charge someone they’ve been seeing for years as much as a faceless insurance company. Even today some doctors will waive some fees to help some of their long-time patients during a time of financial hardship. Because there is a relationship between doctor and patient.
When we pay out-of-pocket doctors can’t charge as much. Because they need patients. If they charge too much their patients may find another good doctor that charges a little less. Perhaps a younger one trying to establish a practice. These are market forces. Just like there are everywhere else in the economy. Even a cancer patient requiring an expensive wonder drug would contribute to market forces if there was true insurance in our health care system. Cancer is an unexpected and catastrophic cost. But not everyone gets cancer. Everyone would pay a small fee to insure against a financial loss that can result from cancer. Where that little bit from everyone was able to pay the financial loss of the unfortunate few that receive a cancer diagnosis. Because only a few from a large pool would incur this financial loss insurers would compete against other insurers for this business. Just like they do to insure houses. And ships crossing perilous oceans.
Health care would work better in the free market. It doesn’t today because government changed that. Starting with FDR putting a ceiling on wages. Which forced employers to offer generous benefits to get the best workers to work for them when they couldn’t offer them more pay. This was the beginning. Now the health insurance industry is so bastardized that it doesn’t even resemble insurance anymore. It’s just a massive cost transfer from one group of people to another. Instead of a pooling of money to insure against financial risk. For the few unexpected and catastrophic costs we could not afford and budget for to pay out-of-pocket.
The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was to make health care affordable. In fact, it was going to be free. Sort of. Not health care per se. But the Affordable Care Act. For it was going to take the $1 trillion over 10 years the U.S. was spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and use it to pay for Obamacare. So as far as the American people were concerned who had grown accustomed to the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Obamacare would be free. That is, all the wonderful free stuff included in Obamacare would come without a single dime of new federal taxes or spending. Of course, President Obama and the Democrats were lying to the American people (see New ObamaCare fees coming in 2014 by S.A. Miller and Geoff Earle posted 12/25/2013 on the New York Post).
Here comes the ObamaCare tax bill…
Most insurers aren’t advertising the ObamaCare taxes that are added on to premiums, opting instead to discretely pass them on to customers while quietly lobbying lawmakers for a break.
But one insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, laid bare the taxes on its bills with a separate line item for “Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes.”
The new taxes on one customer’s bill added up to $23.14 a month, or $277.68 annually, according to Kaiser Health News. It boosted the monthly premium from $322.26 to $345.40 for that individual.
The new taxes and fees include a 2 percent levy on every health plan, which is expected to net about $8 billion for the government in 2014 and increase to $14.3 billion in 2018.
There’s also a $2 fee per policy that goes into a new medical-research trust fund called the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
Insurers pay a 3.5 percent user fee to sell medical plans on the HealthCare.gov Web site…
Americans also will pay hidden taxes, such as the 2.3 percent medical-device tax that will inflate the cost of items such as pacemakers, stents and prosthetic limbs.
Those with high out-of-pocket medical expenses also will get smaller income-tax deductions.
Americans are currently allowed to deduct expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of their annual income. The threshold jumps to 10 percent under ObamaCare, costing taxpayers about $15 billion over 10 years…
Under ObamaCare, individual tax filers earning more than $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000 will pay an added 0.9 percent Medicare surtax on top of the existing 1.45 percent Medicare payroll tax. They’ll also pay an extra 3.8 percent Medicare tax on unearned income, such as investment dividends, rental income and capital gains.
They’re adding an Obamacare tax/fee/levy to all health insurance policies we buy. And a $2 fee per policy in addition to the others taxes/fees/levies. Insurers have to pay a 3.5% user fee for the privilege of selling their policies on the health care exchanges. Which, of course, they will recover by increasing the price of their polices that the government is forcing us to buy. There’s a medical-device tax. And a Medicare surtax. As well as an extra 3.8% Medicare tax on unearned income. And if that wasn’t bad enough, on top of all of these new taxes, fees, levies, user fees, surtaxes, etc., taking more money out of our pockets they’ve also reduced the amount of out-of-pocket medical expenses we can claim as a tax deduction. Meaning we will pay more of our income as income taxes. Making the Affordable Care Act anything but affordable.
There are about 414 million people in the United States. And Obamacare is supposed to insure them all. But that’s not all. The Affordable Care Act was going to make health insurance less costly while covering more people. As well as providing more extensive coverage. Obamacare promised more for less. And if you liked your health insurance, your doctor and your medication you could keep them. It just sounded too good to be true. And, as it turned out, it was too good to be true (see Does the pre-existing condition program foretell broader problems for Obamacare? by PHILIP KLEIN posted 12/13/2013 on the Washington Examiner).
The program, known as the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, or PCIP, was a temporary measure within Obamacare meant to be a bridge to provide coverage to those with pre-existing conditions between the law’s 2010 passage and Jan. 1, 2014, when all plans will be required to offer coverage to those with pre-existing conditions…
What’s interesting about PCIP is that it ended up attracting much fewer Americans than expected while also costing more than expected. The reason was that those who did enroll ended up being those with extremely high medical costs — even by the standards of a program for those with pre-existing conditions.
By March 2013, HHS suspended enrollment in the program because it couldn’t afford to cover any new applicants.
As the New York Times reported in May, “The administration had predicted that up to 400,000 people would enroll in the program, created by the 2010 health care law. In fact, about 135,000 have enrolled, but the cost of their claims has far exceeded White House estimates, exhausting most of the $5 billion provided by Congress.”
The same story explained that HHS announced it “was cutting payments to doctors and hospitals after finding that cost overruns are threatening to use up the money available…”
But given the dismal enrollment numbers to date, it’s worth asking whether the exchanges could end up encountering similar problems to PCIP — only on a much bigger scale.
The plan that had only targeted 400,000 enrollees only got 135,000. About two-thirds short of their target. Why? Insurance that covers preexisting conditions is very expensive. Because it will pay a lot of claims. The money people pay in as premiums pays those claims. But the cost to cover these people is so great it took another $5 billion of taxpayer money. And even then the program ran out of money with only 135,000 signing up for this insurance. Showing the futility of buying insurance for a group with preexisting conditions.
Insurance by definition protects the financial assets of a policy holder from a possible loss. This is the key that makes insurance actually insurance. Not everyone that pays a premium for this protection will suffer a loss. So there is a surplus of premiums to pay for the few that do. The PCIP sells policies to a group of people who will all suffer a loss. So people aren’t paying a premium to protect themselves from a possible loss. They’re paying a premium to pay for a known loss. And everyone in the pool will be paying and submitting claims. So that the cost of insurance eventually equals the cost of health care per policy holder. Which makes the insurance redundant. And unnecessary. While only serving to increase actual costs by introducing a third party into the process.
This is why the PCIP needed the $5 billion in taxpayer subsidies. For without it people would not save any money by buying this insurance. As many haven’t. Even with the subsidies. The taxpayers paid about $37,000 per person in addition to the cost of the premium pool. Based on the number of months since the Affordable Care Act became law that’s about $842 per person per month in subsidies. Based on the horror stories of what the young and healthy have to pay for their Obamacare health insurance the premiums for the PCIP are probably greater than the subsidies. And it’s still not enough to cover their costs. Which is why they’re cutting people off and cutting payments to doctors and hospitals.
Which will happen for the rest of us. Once the enrollment numbers fall far short of their projections. As they are. And claims exceed premiums. As they will. Leaving them little choice but to cut costs. Raise premiums. Charge more for prescriptions. Increase wait times. And ration health care. Not what President Obama promised. Then again, he lied. PolitiFact called it the Lie of the Year. And because of the president’s lie people will have poorer quality health care. Who may succumb to their health problems as they wait those longer wait times. And can no longer afford the prescriptions that kept them healthy. All because President Obama lied.
How did African slavery arrive to the new world? The New World was vast continents. And there were just not enough settlers to farm on the scale required. With a huge shortage of laborers the colonial powers tried enslaving the local population. But it proved difficult to keep them enslaved. As they were well familiar with the land. And the indigenous population. If they escaped they could disappear into the land and into the indigenous population. Something an African slave could not do as well. If at all. Strangers in a strange land. Unable to communicate with the indigenous population. And unable to hide among them. Who were probably just as hostile to them as they were to the white man taking their land. Making escape from bondage much more difficult for the African slave than it was for the indigenous slave. So the African slave proved to be a good fit for the colonial powers. Allowing them to fill the shortage of labor by forcing the black man into bondage. To provide their labor against their will to meet the demand of the ruling colonial powers.
Dr. Ted Mazer is one of the few ear, nose and throat specialists in this region who treat low-income people on Medicaid, so many of his patients travel long distances to see him.
But now, as California’s Medicaid program is preparing for a major expansion under President Obama’s health care law, Dr. Mazer says he cannot accept additional patients under the government insurance program for a simple reason: it does not pay enough…
His view is shared by many doctors around the country. Medicaid for years has struggled with a shortage of doctors willing to accept its low reimbursement rates and red tape, forcing many patients to wait for care, particularly from specialists like Dr. Mazer.
Yet in just five weeks, millions of additional Americans will be covered by the program, many of them older people with an array of health problems. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that nine million people will gain coverage through Medicaid next year alone. In many of the 26 states expanding the program, the newly eligible have been flocking to sign up…
In California, with the nation’s largest Medicaid population, many doctors say they are already overwhelmed and unable to take on more low-income patients. Dr. Hector Flores, a primary care doctor in East Los Angeles whose practice has 26,000 patients, more than a third of whom are on Medicaid, said he could accommodate an additional 1,000 Medicaid patients at most.
“There could easily be 10,000 patients looking for us and we’re just not going to be able to serve them,” said Dr. Flores, who is also chairman of the family medicine department at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles…
The health care law seeks to diminish any access problem by allowing for a two-year increase in the Medicaid payment rate for primary care doctors, set to expire at the end of 2014. The average increase is 73 percent, bringing Medicaid rates to the level of Medicare rates for these doctors.
But states have been slow to put the pay increase into effect, experts say, and because of the delay and the fact that the increase is temporary, fewer doctors than hoped have joined the ranks of those accepting Medicaid patients. “There’s been a lot of confusion and a really slow rollout,” Ms. Folberg said, “which unfortunately mitigated some of the positive effects…”
Dr. Paul Urrea, an ophthalmologist in Monterey Park, said he was skeptical of “blue-sky scenarios” suggesting that all new enrollees would have access to care. “Having been in the trenches with Medi-Cal patients who have serious eye problems,” he said, “I can tell you it’s very, very hard to get them in to see those specialists.”
Dr. Urrea said that when he recently tried to refer a Medicaid patient with a cornea infection to another eye specialist, he was initially informed that the specialist could not see the patient until February. “And this is a potentially blinding condition,” he added.
Travel long distances to see a doctor? Long wait times? A shortage of health care providers? Low reimbursement rates? Overwhelmed doctors? A shortage of specialists? You’d think your were reading about the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). But this is just what the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is doing to Medicaid. Which it will soon do to the rest of the American health care system.
So not only is the Affordable Care Act making health insurance unaffordable it will create doctor shortages that will lead to longer wait times. Some waits stretching out over two months. A wait so long that a patient may go blind from a treatable eye infection. This is national health care. People succumbing to their diseases as they wait for treatment that is being rationed out. Which they have to ration as the number of patients far outnumber the number of doctors available to treat these patients.
So this is what Obamacare will do to the American health care system. Give us longer waiting times. Rationed care. And people succumbing to their illnesses because of the long wait to see a doctor. Funny as the Afford Care Act was to give affordable health insurance to all. So everyone could live in a utopia where if they were sick they could go to a doctor and have everything covered. Just pray you’re not one of those who can’t afford to pay the higher premiums and higher deductibles of Obamacare. Because these people are being dumped into the overcrowded and underfunded states’ Medicaid systems. Which will only get worse under Obamacare. Especially with doctors leaving the Medicaid system. Retiring early. Or moving into concierge medicine. Leaving ever fewer health care providers to tend to the swollen Medicaid ranks.
Not a good time to be a doctor. For you have to be wary of a government that can’t find enough doctors to voluntarily meet the health care demand. Especially one that has a Senate ‘rubber-stamp’ for its judicial appointments. Thanks to Harry Reid and the nuclear option. Changing the rules of the Senate by eliminating the filibuster for judicial appointments. Which opens the door for a lot of illegal and unconstitutional law. Such as new health care mandates issued by the executive branch that exceed its constitutional authority. Which will be challenged. But once these cases hit these Obama-packed courts you can guess the outcome. Illegal and unconstitutional mandates will become law. Which no doubt concern doctors in a health care system that has a doctor shortage and an explosion of new patients.
If a doctor wants to remain a doctor and get paid for his or her services he or she may find new requirements. Such as mandatory salary caps. Forced acceptance of Medicaid patients. With ‘opting out’ made illegal. Compelling doctors to work against their will. Now forcing people to work against their will is nothing new. When Roman taxes rose so high to pay for the bloated Roman state people quit their jobs to avoid paying taxes. Then the Roman state made that illegal. Bonding these people to their jobs. And when they died their children were forced to continue in their place. Giving Europe feudalism. Where the masses worked the land against their will. For the law prevented them from ever leaving the land they or any of their progeny were born on. Could this happen to the American health care system? If the state controls the health care industry and the courts, yes. Which is why it is not a good time to be a doctor.
Nazis and Communists acquired Power by Promising their People a Generous Welfare State
Adolf Hitler did not tell the German people that he wanted to wage world war. Install an oppressive police state. Or commit genocide. Joseph Stalin did not tell the Russian people that he wanted to install an oppressive police state. Starve millions of his people to death. Or export communist revolution around the world. Fidel Castro did not tell the Cuban people that he would make life so unbearable for them that they would rather risk dying in the ocean to reach America than staying in Cuba.
These dictators did not say these things. And if anyone ever asked them of their true intentions they lied. Especially to their people. They lied about wanting to brutally oppress their people so they could expand their power. Instead they told them they were going to take care of the people. Unlike the evil capitalists. Hitler’s National Socialism was going to give the people everything they could possibly want. A job. Mandatory vacations. And national health care. A person would be a fool not to want to give Hitler more power as he was going to make their lives so much better. Freer. And more pleasant. Like a welfare state is supposed to be.
The communist promised that there would be no bourgeoisies exploiting the working man. Instead everyone would be equal. A utopia where everyone was each other’s brother. Or comrade. There would be no private property. The people would own everything. And there would be national health care. This is the communist utopia Stalin promised his people. And what Castro promised his people. Neither meant it. As no communist dictator meant it. But by promising the people these things they were able to acquire power. And the more power they acquired the more the people suffered. This is why dictators and dictator wannabes lie. To get the people to give them things the people would never give them if they told the truth.
The Affordable Care Act is a Pathway to the Soft Tyranny of National Health Care
The American left has always wanted the Holy Grail of the socialist state. National health care. For it gives them massive power. As a person’s health is the most important thing in their life. And once dependent on the state for their health care there is no new tax they won’t approve. If it’s for their health. This is why the left wants national health care. This is why all dictators give their people national health care. It makes people dependent on government. And it makes people fear their government. For if the government doesn’t get what it wants they could withhold health care. Which could result in their death.
Now the Hitlers, Stalins and the Castros of the world don’t need to withhold health care to kill their people. Their people feared them because they know their leaders could kill them outright. The kind of thing that just doesn’t happen in Western democracies. Which is what makes national health care so attractive. For it offers a soft tyranny. For you heard the left’s dire predictions of what would happen if the Republicans shut down the government. But national health care? Imagine the fear they could put into the people the next time the Republicans talked about tax cuts.
The Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) is a pathway to this soft tyranny. National health care. While Canada and the United Kingdom struggle under the weight of their state health care systems the American left thought long and carefully of how to bring that same failed system to the American people. With the health care industry totaling one-sixth of the U.S. economy that was just too great a tax hike to impose on the American people. Even Democrats would be reluctant to impose such high taxes on people they needed to vote for them. So they couldn’t go that route. At least, not yet.
President Obama breaks the Law Again as he Tells Insurers they can still Sell Policies the People Liked
There is one thing standing in their way. The private health insurance industry. For with this there is an alternative to massive new taxes. Which makes massive new taxes politically unattractive. So they have to destroy the private health insurance industry first. By lying to them. Teasing them with government mandates that will give the health insurers a lucrative windfall of business. While actually sealing their demise.
If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it. Period. That was the big lie. Because you can’t. Secretary Sebelius quickly wrote out the grandfather clause in the Affordable Care Act. Especially for the individual market. Where a lot of young and healthy people had only catastrophic policies. Because they are young and healthy. If the government was going to mandate the insurers pay for everything under the sun from free birth control to senior care they needed these young and healthy to lose their current policies and replace them with more costly policies with higher deductibles. Basically forcing them to pay for costly health insurance but never using it because of those high deductibles. Which transferred the cost of senior care to the young and healthy. Something the young and healthy would never have been onboard with if the Democrats had told the truth. Which is why the Democrats lied to them.
With the implementation of Obamacare the lies have become real. They’re touching people’s lives. And not in a good way. Millions of individual policy holders are losing their insurance. And those with employer-provided insurance will start losing theirs next year. They’d be feeling the pain today but President Obama broke the law and ordered his administration not to enforce the employer mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Giving the employers a year reprieve until they, too, have to drop their non-compliant health insurance policies. But being caught in the lie the year before the 2014 midterm elections has caused the president and the Democrats a lot of heartburn. So much that the president is once again breaking the law. And telling health insurers that they can still offer the health insurance policies the people liked. When it is virtually impossible for them to do. For they spent 3 years preparing for Obamacare and calculating insurance premiums based on the mandates bringing in enough money in premiums to pay for everything under the sun they now must cover.
If they reinstate the old ‘substandard’ policies the young and healthy will buy these instead of buying the more costly Obamacare policies. While the old and sick will buy the far more generous Obamacare policies. Which will be a bargain for them as they will consume far more health care dollars than they pay in premiums. But without the young and healthy subsidizing these policies the insurers will go bankrupt quickly as their benefits paid will far exceed their premiums collected. Forcing them to increase their premiums to pay for the higher than expected benefits paid. Until health insurance is so costly no one is buying it. Putting them out of business. So they can’t do this and hope to remain in business. And, therefore, they will not reinstate the old ‘substandard’ policies. Which is what the president wants. For he gets to blame the insurers. While accelerating the demise of the private health insurance industry. By bankrupting them as planned. AND getting the people to hate them even more. A win-win for the Obama administration. As they lie that they care about the people they are harming to expand their power. Just like every other tyrant and tin-pot dictator has done throughout history.
Health Insurance provides Financial Protection from Risk unlike Obamacare
A lot of people are talking about Obamacare. The poor website launch. People losing the insurance policies and doctors they liked and wanted to keep. Higher insurance premiums. And higher deductibles. All of which conflicts with what President Obama had promised.
So there are problems. And people are becoming less enamored with Obamacare now that it is personally touching their lives. But there is a bigger problem. Obamacare isn’t insurance. And that’s what a lot of people don’t even understand. Even some insurance agents. Who may only see those higher premium prices and think Obamacare is a one-way ticket to easy street. But if you understand insurance, economics and history you’ll see it’s not. So what is insurance? Here’s a definition from Investopedia:
A contract (policy) in which an individual or entity receives financial protection or reimbursement against losses from an insurance company. The company pools clients’ risks to make payments more affordable for the insured.
The key word in this definition is ‘risk’. Insurance provides financial protection from risk. Obamacare doesn’t do that. It forces people to pay for things they have no risk exposure to. For example, an older couple with adult children still needs pediatric coverage on their policy. Which just increases the cost of their insurance. While providing no financial protection from this particular risk. Sick children.
Premiums and Deductibles are Soaring to herd the Young and Healthy into the Government Exchanges
So why is Obamacare raising health insurance premiums? To pay for people who don’t pay into the insurance pool. The poor. And the very sick who can’t afford health care let alone health insurance. The higher premiums people are paying go to them. This is a cost transfer. From a higher income group to a lower income group. Or in other words, a redistribution of wealth. From those according to ability to those according to need.
So the president wasn’t exactly telling the truth about keeping your insurance and doctor if you wanted to. This can’t happen under Obamacare. Because to redistribute wealth you need to take it away from someone. And guess who that someone must be to make Obamacare work? The young and healthy who are buying health insurance. Those people who pay into the insurance pool for financial protection from risk. But who are generally healthy and receive no benefits from the insurance pool. Who President Obama and the Democrats look at as cash piñatas. Which they can’t whack open if they have private insurance policies.
This is why these people must lose the policies and doctors they like. And why premiums and deductibles are soaring. To herd these cash piñatas into the government exchanges. Where the government can collect their insurance premiums. And redistribute it. While those high deductibles keep those premiums going out as benefits to the cash piñatas to a minimum.
The Young and Healthy choosing Medicaid over Obamacare
Of course, there is a flaw in this grand strategy. Arrogance. The government believing that young and healthy people will just stand there while the government whacks them open to get their cash. Which they aren’t. And it’s just not because the Obamacare website is a disaster. It’s because a lot of these people are choosing Medicaid. The health care program for the poor.
Medicaid enrollments are far outpacing Obamacare enrollments. By a huge number. Which is a big problem. Because Medicaid enrollees don’t pay insurance premiums. And they are not subject to deductibles. Because they are poor and can’t afford to pay anything out of pocket. So instead of adding to the insurance pool these cash piñatas will take from the pool. And that won’t change when they fix the broken website. Which is why it is a fatal flaw.
Compounding this problem is the President’s economic policies that have given us the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression. Since President Obama assumed office his policies have forced approximately 10 million people from the labor force. Unemployed, it is unlikely that they will be able to afford health insurance. And probably will enroll in Medicaid, too. If they haven’t already. So Obamacare isn’t going to work as-is. The question is, what will they do next? Other than blame the greedy insurance companies? Whose cooperation in this redistribution of wealth scheme will lead to their own demise. For as more and more people can’t afford those expensive insurance policies they’ll either turn to Medicaid. Or demand national health care. Which people don’t need insurance companies to have.
President Obama Habitually breaks Every Promise he makes and Suffers no Consequences
President Obama made a promise to Americans as he stumped for the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). He said if you like your insurance plan you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor. And even those people who did like and want to keep their insurance and doctor would benefit under Obamacare. Because they would get more for less. If you do a search on YouTube you can see all sorts of videos where you can hear President Obama make these very promises. Like this one.
The president was adamant. He made these promises over and over. Nothing in his plan would change anything for those happy with what they had. Period. He said that a lot. Period. These weren’t mere political promises that we expect to be broken as usual. This was a solemn oath from President Obama. And we could take that to the bank. Well, it turns out the American people couldn’t take that to the bank. For he broke every promise he made.
George Herbert Walker Bush became a one-term president because he said, “Read my lips. No new taxes.” And then he made a deal with devious Democrats to raise taxes in exchange for spending cuts. Spending cuts that never came. Bush broke one promise and it ended his political career. While President Obama habitually breaks every promise he makes and suffers no consequences. At least not yet. But that may change.
Hackers will call the Obamacare Database the Mother Lode when it comes to Hacking
This week the reality of the ObamaCare roll-out appeared in a set of news stories that serve as an ironic juxtaposition. Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been “filed” in an exchange. (Even though we are still learning the true definition of “filed.”)…
As I have tracked enrollment by states, many are reporting out both Medicaid and exchange enrollment at the same time.
Therefore the 476,000 number is misleading. My best guess is that for the 17 states that have reported out some data, the number is closer to 193,818 applications (once you pull out the Medicaid applications that have been reported on). Of course, this number is also still too high as it is compromised by the jointly reported data.
People are losing the insurance they like because to keep it requires more than they can afford. For Obamacare has made the insurance they liked and wanted to keep much more expensive (see Obamacare deductibles a dose of sticker shock by Peter Frost posted 10/13/2013 on the Chicago Tribune).
Many Illinoisans buying health coverage on their own next year will face a similar dilemma spurred by the health care overhaul: pay higher monthly insurance premiums or run the risk of having to shell out thousands more in deductibles for health care if they get sick.
To promote the Oct. 1 debut of the exchanges, the online marketplaces where consumers can shop and buy insurance, Obama administration and Illinois officials touted the lower-than-expected monthly premiums that would make insurance more affordable for millions of Americans. But a Tribune analysis shows that 21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage…
Plans with the least expensive monthly premiums — highlighted by state and federal officials as proof the new law will keep costs low for consumers — have deductibles as high as $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families, the highest levels allowed under the law.
And then there’s the website. In an era where identity theft is running rampant where hackers can steal everything in your smartphone while sipping a coffee at Starbucks we are asked to enter all our personal and identifying information into this website. And after they collect it they will store it in one massive database. Or as that hacker in Starbucks would call it, the mother lode. A hacker’s paradise. So is our personal and identifying information safe? It doesn’t matter. For the government has written in the code that by entering our data we acknowledge that we have no expectation of privacy (see Obamacare Website Source Code: ‘No Reasonable Expectation of Privacy’ by JERYL BIER posted 10/14/2013 on The Weekly Standard).
The launch of federal government’s Obamacare insurance exchange, Healthcare.gov, has been plagued with delays, errors, and poor website design, even prompting USA Today to call it an “inexcusable mess” and a “nightmare”. Now comes another example of why the website’s reputation is in tatters. Buried in the source code of Healthcare.gov is this sentence that could prove embarrassing: “You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system.” Though not visible to users and obviously not intended as part of the terms and conditions, the language is nevertheless a part of the underlying code for the “Terms & Conditions” page on the site…
The full portion of the code which does not appear on the visible page displayed for users reads as follows:
You have no reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system. At any time, and for any lawful Government purpose, the government may monitor, intercept, and search and seize any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system. Any communication or data transiting or stored on this information system may be disclosed or used for any lawful Government purpose. [The sentence beginning “To continue” also appears again, but is only visible once on the page as displayed for users.]
Talk about your Big Brother. Once upon a time the Constitution required a warrant for the government to collect this information. Now it’s the price of health care. You want to live? Then you must sign away your Fourth Amendment Right.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Apparently the Obama administration has little regard for the U.S. Constitution. Funny how these same people railed against George W. Bush and the Patriot Act. And he was only wire-tapping international telephone calls to suspected terrorists. Not throwing a dragnet to see what useful information the government could collect on potential political enemies of the state. Which could be useful in the next election. Or to silence a critic.
The Taxpayer Bill for the Obamacare Website is $1 Billion and Counting
Proponents of national health care like to say the United States is the only advanced economy without national health care. But what they don’t say is that those countries they so admire have a mix of public and private. And those who can choose the private over the public whenever they can. Australia. The United Kingdom. Even Canada. And the name of the Canadian private network? The United States. Well, before Obamacare, at least. In fact, not only do patients travel across the border for the private American health care system. So do doctors and nurses. In search of a decent wage. For in Canada they have little choice but to accept what the Canadian government pays them. However little that is.
The lynchpin of Obamacare is getting young, healthy people to buy health insurance policies. Who will only pay into the system. For being young and healthy they won’t consume any health care resources. So the young and healthy can pay for the old and sick. And with an aging population, the old and sick outnumber the young and healthy. So the young and healthy will be paying high premiums and high deductibles. Just as is happening. While families will pay even more. And just as they are paying more for their now mandatory health insurance their household incomes are falling. Employers are pushing full-time workers to part-time. Laying off workers to have less than 30 on the payroll. And they’re not hiring anyone to keep from having 30 workers on the payroll. All because of Obamacare. So the 10 million or so workers who left the labor force since President Obama assumed office won’t be going back to work any time soon.
Although the Affordable Care Act has been law for three and a half years, one third of the funds going to the top contractors working on the federal exchanges were awarded in the six months before the new insurance marketplaces opened Oct. 1, a Bloomberg Government Analysis has found. The torrent of late spending — almost $352 million of $1 billion in awards to the top 10 contractors — indicates the magnitude of the work still to be done as opening day approached, and helps explain the information technology problems that have dogged the exchange system since its launch.
$1 billion for a website. And one that doesn’t work. Imagine that. But in the grand scheme of things this will still be the least costly part of the Affordable Care Act. And we’ll look back to these days as the good old days of Obamacare. Because it is horrible now. And it will only get worse. The Republicans knew this which is why none of them voted for it. The Democrats knew it, too, but they didn’t care. Because for them Obamacare is not about health care. It’s about acquiring power. Sadly, they were able to win this political contest. Because they are better at lying than the Republicans are at telling the truth.
For Health Insurance to work More People need to Pay Into the Pool than Collect from the Pool
It’s here. Obamacare. Which promises to give more people health insurance. With health insurance policies paying for more than policies do now. More tests. More procedures. Even birth control. Obamacare will also provide coverage for people with preexisting conditions. Remove caps on benefits and forbid insurance companies from cancelling insurance coverage. Forcing insurance companies to give policy holders a lot more benefits. All while reducing insurance premiums. Which seems to defy common sense. Getting more while paying less. To better understand this let’s look at a sample insurance pool.
Insurance pools are larger than 10 policy holders but this will suffice for this example. In this example there are 5 individual policy holders with a monthly insurance premium averaging $118. There are 4 family policies with a monthly insurance premium averaging $400. And one policy holder with a chronic health condition who pays a premium that people with preexisting conditions pay. In this example paying $1,200 a month. It’s that high because this person requires medical care in excess of $30,000 each year. The average of all premiums is $339.
Now, this is how insurance works. There is a pool. People in the pool each pay a small premium compared to the medical costs they MIGHT incur. The word ‘MIGHT’ is key here. For insurance to work more people need to pay into the pool than collect from the pool. This allows the pool to pay the few who have a large unexpected medical expense. If the insurance company’s actuaries get their premiums right the total of premiums paid into the pool approximately equals the total of expenses paid by the pool. So premiums in basically equal payments out. Premiums in can exceed payments out. But payments out cannot exceed premiums in or else the insurance company will go bankrupt.
Obamacare will Increase the Price of Health Insurance for Men because Insurers can’t Charge more for Women
Obamacare’s individual mandate is an attempt to make sure premiums in exceed payments out. By forcing more young and healthy people who will not use health insurance pay into the pool. Young and healthy, see, is the key. Because that’s money they can spend on other people. So the young and healthy are the answer to the high cost of the old and sick. So Obamacare, then, is basically a cost transfer from the old and sick to the young and healthy. And it will work to lower the cost of health insurance. If the young and healthy buy health insurance and never use it.
If we add 12 young and healthy people to the pool who will not use the insurance the premiums become more affordable. When there were only 10 people in the pool the total premiums added up to $3,390. By adding these 12 young and healthy to the pool the total premiums paid in increases to $4,000. An increase of 26.3%. So if we discount all premiums by 26.9% we still get a total of $3,390 paid in. Which is how Obamacare is supposed to lower the cost of health insurance. By forcing people who won’t use it to buy it. So they can pay for the people who do use it. Thus lowering the average premium to $154.09. And bringing down the premiums for single, family and preexisting conditions to $78.03, $294.78 and $884.35, respectively. Lowering price across the board. Making everyone happy. Except, of course, those forced to buy something they won’t use. So this part can lower insurance costs. But it won’t. Because Obamacare complicates things.
Obamacare will raise premiums because it requires insurers to cover more. In addition to the things already noted there are some other costly requirements. Such as the ban on price discrimination based on sex. Meaning insurers can no longer charge women more for health insurance. Even though women are more costly to insure. Primarily due to their reproductive systems. And other biological differences. If they can’t charge more for women then they must charge women what they charge men. And to cover the higher costs of insuring women they must charge men a higher premium. So when they charge women that premium it will cover birth control, breast exams, pap smears, etc. In our example we assume singles and families will pay twice as much. While those paying preexisting conditions premiums will pay 50% more. Bringing the average premium to $288.08. While bringing the premiums for single, family and preexisting conditions to $156.06, $589.57 and $1,326.52, respectively.
The Key to Obamacare is to get more Young and Healthy People to buy Insurance that they will Not Use
But premiums will cost even more. Because insurers cannot deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions. And they can’t cancel coverage for people if they come down with a very costly chronic health problem. Basically meaning there is no cap to what an insurer may pay on an individual. Which makes the insurance equation more difficult to balance. Making sure that payments out do not exceed premiums in. Which is more difficult to do when there is no limit to what those payments out can be. So insurers will have little choice but to charge people for the worst case scenario. That a large percentage in the pool will have long-term chronic illnesses. And that some people will be buying insurance for the first time after being diagnosed with a long-term chronic illness.
Insurers will have to make assumptions. With no limit to their high-end exposure they will have to charge everyone more across the board. So they will have to take their greatest risk—the exposure to preexisting conditions and long-term chronic illnesses—and factor that into all premiums. In our example we charged singles 25% of the greatest risk. And we charged families 50% of the greatest risk (the more people on the policy the greater the risk of long-term chronic illnesses on that policy). Raising the average premium to $437. And raising the premiums for single, family and preexisting conditions to $331.63, $663.26 and $1,326.52, respectively. Or an increase of 181%, 66% and 11%, respectively from before the implementation of Obamacare.
Obamacare seems like a windfall to the insurance companies. Which is why some of them supported Obamacare. But the key to Obamacare was to get more young and healthy people to pay into the insurance pool while not using that insurance. The young and the healthy. Individuals. Who don’t have families. Those who will see a substantial rise in their insurance premiums. As much as 181%? Perhaps. But if the increase is too great for these young and healthy individuals to afford they will not buy health insurance. And they can’t get a subsidy. Because it’s the young and healthy—those who are supposed to pay into the insurance pool without using their insurance—who are to provide the money for the subsidies. So they won’t increase the amount of premiums going into the pool. While the additional requirements of Obamacare will increase the payments going out of the pool. Causing the insurance equation to go out of balance. Putting the private health insurance business out of business. The ultimate goal of Obamacare. So the left can get what they wanted all along. National health care.