The Democrats believe Millenials are such Idiots and Floozies that they could fool them into Paying for Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 16th, 2014

Week in Review

It’s no secret that the Democrats benefit by having an ignorant electorate.  People who don’t know history or understand economics will more easily fall for their lies.  Especially when they victimize their base and demonize the opposition.  Republicans.  It’s a winning formula.  And it has won President Obama reelection.  Despite all the warnings from those who know history and understand economics.  Who warned us about what Obamacare was going to do to us.  And the urgency of repealing it before it became too entrenched.  But the naysayers said nay.  Uh-uh.  And your mother is a whore.  Demonizing the opposition with abandon.  And laughing at the snarky little jabs on late-night television.  Of course it’s different now.  As the young and healthy have learned that the Affordable Care Act was predicated on their paying the health care tab for the old and sick.

So Obamacare care went from the fair and just Affordable Care Act to the unfair and unaffordable care act.  Stunned by push back from their normally useful exploitable base the Obama administration pushed back against the pushback.  Warning the Millenials that they risked not being cool if they didn’t buy health insurance (see Obama’s pathetic pitch to millennials by David Pasch posted 2/14/2014 on the New York Post).

How do you market the Affordable Care Act to Millennials? If you’ve got a good answer, tell the White House right away. It’s tried everything to get us to sign up for health insurance on the federal exchanges — and most of its attempts have been off-tune, off-putting, or just downright dumb.

The latest effort involves former NBA star Magic Johnson. Sorry: While Johnson commands respect for his athletic and personal achievements, he’s the not the best candidate to market anything to Millennials. He retired in 1991. Anyone under 23 never even saw him pick up a basketball.

There’s also the “Brosurance” debacle…

The ads depict Millennials as idiots and floozies. One ad shows college kids doing keg stands; another shows a couple about to hook up, with the tag: “Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control…”

Other campaigns have been weird, sad or both. One print ad urged us to go to healthcare.gov by telling us that “Mom loves her comfy jeans.” So did that kid in college who played World of Warcraft, but he never made me want to buy health insurance. Then there’s the “pajama boy” campaign, which convinced anyone over 30 that Millennials are insufferable. And another ad targets women with a not-so-catchy tune sung by cats and dogs…

To be fair, Millennials aren’t always laughing at the administration’s ads. Sometimes we’re laughing with them — when they feature celebrities and comedians who we’ve actually heard of, like Amy Poehler, Sarah Silverman or Will Ferrell.

But the real joke is on us. ObamaCare just isn’t a good deal for my generation.

The problems start with how much plans cost. Insurance rates have skyrocketed for Millennials since the exchanges opened in October. According to the Manhattan Institute, the average 27-year-old man is facing a 97 percent premium hike and the average 27-year old woman a 55 percent increase.

It is hard to believe that these are the same people who put a campaign together that defeated Mitt Romney during the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  And the incompetence and cover-up of Benghazi (it was a spontaneous uprising by people angered over a YouTube video who pulled pre-sighted mortars from their back pockets).  One wonders how you go from the 2012 campaign to “Let’s hope he’s as easy to get as this birth control” and “Mom loves her comfy jeans.”  I just don’t see these influencing the electorate to vote Democrat.

Why is the premium hike for men almost twice what it is for women?  Because the Affordable Care Act now forces men to buy insurance to cover a reproductive system they don’t have.  For in the name of fairness women can no longer be charged more than men for health insurance.  So they charge men more.  It doesn’t lower the cost of women’s health insurance though.  For it is still rising 55%.  So where is all that money going?  To pay for the old and sick.

The Democrats believe Millenials are idiots and floozies.  For they have worked tirelessly to dumb down our public schools and higher education.  So they can more easily lie to those they think of as idiots and floozies.  It’s as if you can hear them say, “Look, we gave you free birth control.  Isn’t that worth an extra car payment a month?”  Based on the enrollment numbers of the Millenials, apparently not.

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The Abysmal Rollout of Obamacare going According to Plan to bring us to National Health Care?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 16th, 2014

Week in Review

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).

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Target had offered Health Insurance to Part-Time Workers but Few Enrolled

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 25th, 2014

Week in Review

To pass Obamacare the left pointed to all those people who did not have health insurance.  Like these part-time workers at Target (see Target ends health care coverage for part-time workers in U.S. by The Associated Press posted 1/22/2014 on The Star).

Target Corp. says it will no longer be offering health care coverage for its part-time workers.

The discounter is citing new options now available through health care exchanges under the U.S. Affordable Care Act.

Target, based in Minneapolis, said the majority of its part-time workers who have been eligible for its health care insurance coverage don’t enrol[l]. In fact, less than 10 per cent of its total employees of 361,000 take advantage of the part-time plan. It said it will stop covering the part-time workers beginning April 1…

Target said that employees who average between 20 and 31 hours per week will continue to be eligible for other benefits, including vacation, dental, disability and life insurance. Its part-time employees also will still qualify for store discounts and its 401(k) plan.

First of all it should be noted that Target offers a lot of benefits to part-time workers.  Something you wouldn’t believe the way all corporations are excoriated in the mainstream media.  They are evil incarnated.  They hate their employees.  Forcing them to work for pauper wages with no benefits.  Well, here’s one that is offering some pretty nice benefits to part-time workers.  Not too shabby.

We needed to pass Obamacare into law because there were some 50 million people who did not have health insurance.  Well, as it turns out some people were choosing not to have health insurance.  Such as the young and healthy.  And about 90% of Target’s part-time labor force.  If that held true throughout all part-time workers who are part-time for non-economic reasons (i.e., they choose to be part-time) that’s about 16.9 million people who choose NOT to have health insurance.  If you add in the 16-19 year-olds (i.e., the young and healthy) in the labor force that total comes to about 22.5 million who probably choose NOT to have health insurance.  Or about 45% of the total who don’t have health insurance.  And there are probably more who choose NOT to have health care.  (See tables A-1 and A-8 of the December Employment Situation Summary posted on the Bureau of Labor Statistics for employment numbers).  Which means the left is overstating the number of people who don’t have health insurance but want it by about 182%.  Or more.

We may have problems that drive up the cost of health insurance but most people who want it have it.  Or had it.  Until Obamacare took the policies they liked and wanted to keep away.  Other people who don’t have any insurance may be between jobs.  And health insurance plans.  As the Obama administration said the 6 million or so cancellations were just likely people between health insurance policies.  As people are always cancelling one policy and buying a new one.  So it would appear that we have completely remade the American health care system to fix a problem that wasn’t really there.  For there would have been far cheaper ways to provide health insurance to the relative few who didn’t have it but wanted it.

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Email, Texting and Online Bill Paying is doing to Canada Post what it did to the USPS

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 19th, 2014

Week in Review

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is going broke.  Thanks to email, texting and online bill paying.  Making the USPS more and more irrelevant these days.  And it’s not just the USPS having this problem (see Ontario mother with sick child urges Canada Post to keep door-to-door delivery by The Canadian Press posted 1/13/2014 on City News Toronto).

An online petition urging Canada Post to reconsider its decision to end door-to-door delivery in urban centres has garnered more than 120,000 signatures…

Canada Post announced some dramatic changes to its operations last month, including plans to phase out the age-old tradition of home delivery in urban areas. The company said that without postal carriers travelling by foot, it would save a significant amount of money…

The petition — posted on the website change.org — draws attention to anyone in Canada who has limited mobility, such as the elderly or disabled, and the possibly dangerous effects this change could have on their lives…

Hamilton said that Canada Post is trying to maintain service to all Canadians but that they need to find innovative ways to do it in order to remain self-sufficient.

Canada Post had projected an annual loss of $1 billion dollars a year by 2020 if they were to continue with the door-to-door delivery.

Part of the reason why Canada can’t afford to keep urban delivery is because they have single-payer health care.  Which is pretty costly.  Especially with Canada having what all advanced economies have.  An aging population.  Which means more people are leaving the workforce and consuming taxpayer benefits than there are people entering the workforce paying taxes.  And with better health care people are living longer into retirement.  Which forces tax rates higher on the working (i.e., the young and healthy) to pay for those not working.

It is interesting that the same people, the young and healthy, are the ones destroying Canadian Post.  For they’re the ones emailing, texting and paying bills online.  Which means they will have to raise taxes further on the young and healthy to support the older generation.  Transferring more and more costs from the old to the young.  Which is what happens in a socialist country.  Generational theft.  Costs keep rising so people have smaller families.  Causing the population to age.  And requiring ever higher tax rates on those in the workforce to pay for the growing numbers who have left the workforce.

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FT197: “Global warming insurance would probably sell as well as Obamacare.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 22nd, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The Scam of the Ponzi Scheme is that there is no Investment

A Ponzi scheme is a pyramid scheme.  An investment scam.  Here’s how it works.  Say three scammers build an investment fund that they promise will return an 18% return on investment.  A pretty good return these days.  If they have 100 investors who invest $25,000 each that brings in $2.5 million into the investment fund.  Now here’s where the scam comes in.

They pay each investor an 18% return each year.  So their $25,000 returns $4,500.  A return they can’t get anywhere else.  An investment just too good to be true.  Some take that $4,500 check and spend it on something special for themselves.  Others leave it in the fund.  While others beg to get into the fund.  Of course they wouldn’t do these things if they understood what happened to the $2.125 million that the fund didn’t pay out to investors.  That went into the pockets of the three scammers.

That’s the scam of the Ponzi scheme.  There is no investment.  The scammers collect the money people invest.  Put aside some money to pay out as a generous return on investment.  While keeping the rest.  These scammers sit on top of the pyramid.  And the more people that join the investment fund the wider the base of the pyramid gets.  Pouring more money into the scam.  Providing more money to pay out even higher returns on investments.  Getter ever more people begging to get into the fund.  While burying the scammers under an avalanche of cash.

Our Aging Population is sending the Health Insurance Industry into a Death Spiral

All Ponzi schemes share these characteristics.  And one other one.  They all fail.  And the scammers go to jail.  Why?  Simple.  The scam works as long as the base of the pyramid continues to grow greater than the top of the pyramid.  As the base grows larger the scammers spend more money, though.  Because there is more money to spend.  And spend they do.  Putting down deposits and paying on large mortgages and loans.  Buying very costly things that have a voracious appetite for cash.  So over time more money flows out at the top of the pyramid.  Which isn’t a problem until money stops flowing into the bottom of the pyramid.  Or begins to flow out.  Because people want to use their money for something else.  Like for a down payment on a house.  And once the money flowing out of the bottom of the pyramid exceeds the ‘return’ on investment the fund pays those high returns on investments shrink and disappear.  Exposing the scam.

This is what has happened to Social Security and Medicare.  Thanks to an aging population.  Women are having fewer babies than they did during the baby boom generation.  So today we have fewer taxpayers entering the workforce who pay the taxes that pay for Social Security and Medicare.  While the baby boomers are retiring and leaving the workforce.  And living longer into retirement.  Consuming far more money than they ever paid into these entitlement programs.  So there is far more money flowing out of the top of the pyramid than is flowing into the bottom.  Inverting the pyramid.  And putting these programs onto the path to bankruptcy.

Health insurance is little different.  It just covers so much these days that insurance premiums have soared to pay for this ever expanding coverage.  And the aging population just makes a horrible situation worse.  The elderly are living longer and consuming the lion’s share of health care services.  Further raising the cost of health insurance.  Making it unaffordable to many.  So people simply choose not to buy it in their youth when they are young and healthy.  And wait to buy it later in life when they need it.  Such as when they start raising a family.  At which time they’ll try to find employment somewhere that has good health insurance.  When they start consuming health care services.  Creating adverse selection.  Where only those who consume health care services buy health insurance.  While those who don’t consume health care services (i.e., the young and healthy) don’t.  Creating a death spiral.  As there are no non-consumers of health care services subsidizing the high cost of the large consumers of health care services.  So premiums rise.  To allow fewer people pay for more.  More people drop their insurance because they can no longer afford it.  Shrinking the insurance pool.  So premiums rise.  To allow fewer people pay for more.  More people drop their insurance because they can no longer afford it.  And so on until the cost of health insurance equals the cost of the health care services.  And the insurance market goes the way of every Ponzi scheme before it.

When Reality hits People in the Pocketbook they tend to Lose their Idealism

Enter the Affordable Care Act and the mandates.  Forcing the young and healthy to buy insurance they won’t use.  So they can use their premiums to pay for the old and sick.  The greatest generational theft in history.  Something the young and healthy see.  And don’t like.  For they are not running out and buying health insurance on the health exchanges.  In fact the majority of the people to enroll thus far are the high consumers of health care services.  Which is basically the opposite of the goal of Obamacare.  The young and healthy may have supported President Obama and the Affordable Care Act but that was only in generalities.  Yes, we should help those who don’t have insurance.  And, yes, we should do something to save the environment.  We should stop discriminating against the LGBT community and let them get married.  In the abstract these are all noble goals.  But when the reality hits their pocketbook then it’s no longer an abstract thing to feel good about.  Especially when they can’t get a job with their college education because they had the misfortune to enter the workforce during the worst economic recovery since that following the Great Depression.  The Obama recovery.

This is when youthful idealism turns into skepticism.  As reality settles in hard.  This isn’t raising taxes on the rich.  Something they won’t have to deal with until much later in their career.  This is in the here and now.  When they stop hearing inspiring words from the president about what we can do if only we implement his policies.  But only hear B.S. and lies.  For if they had that youthful idealism they would be rushing to the health exchanges to buy health insurance to make the world a better place.  But they’re not.  And this has the left worried.  Not just about trying to fix the broken Obamacare website.  But will this skepticism spread to other items on their liberal agenda?  Such as the fight against manmade global warming?  They still want their carbon tax.  And they’ve worked hard to get kids graduating from high school convinced that we’re destroying the planet and need to make polluters pay.  If the young lose their faith on Obamacare they may just stop fearing global warming to the point that they may start driving big SUVs again.

In the abstract the youth will support many things.  Until it starts hitting them in the pocketbook.  And if we make the fight against global warming hit them in the pocketbook they would quickly become indifferent about manmade global warming.  Even becoming manmade global warming skeptics.  Perhaps even noting that the glaciers once stretched down from the poles to near the equator.  And moved back towards the poles.  Before there was any manmade global warming.  Something that probably bothers them today but they’re not yet ready to question the left about manmade global warming.  But if we made them buy insurance to protect themselves from the ravishes of global warming they probably would.  The prognosticators can run off a list of calamities that will befall us from unchecked global warming.  So actuaries should be able to put a cost on that.  And set insurance premiums to cover the cost when the calamities of manmade global warming hit us.  Putting these premiums into a Save the Planet from Manmade Global Warming Trust Fund.  Just like the Social Security Trust Fund that has nothing in it but government IOUs.  Let the youth start paying a monthly premium to save us from manmade global warming and see how soon they become global warming deniers.  If we did this global warming insurance would probably sell as well as Obamacare.  Because when reality hits people in the pocketbook they tend to lose their idealism.  And this is the biggest fear the left has.  Because they count on that youthful idealism to win elections.  For once people lose their idealism they tend to vote Republican.

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Cash Piñatas and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 28th, 2013

Economics 101

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.

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We have Obamacare because Democrats are Better at Lying than Republicans are at Telling the Truth

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 24th, 2013

Politics 101

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

The whole point of the Affordable Care Act was to make health care affordable for everyone.  So everyone could have health insurance plans that covered everything.   While paying less than they ever had before for health insurance.  So far, though, that hasn’t been happening.  In fact, fewer people have health insurance since Obamacare was rolled out (see More Americans In 3 States Have Had Their Insurance Canceled Under ObamaCare Than Have Filed An Exchange Account In All 50 by Josh Archambault posted 10/24/2013 on Forbes).

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.

So the Affordable Care Act is as bad as the Republicans said it would be.  And then there’s the cost of the website (see Late IT Cash Surge Foreshadowed Health-Law Woes by Peter Gosselin posted 10/24/2013 on Bloomberg Government).

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.

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Insurance Pools, Premiums and Obamacare

Posted by PITHOCRATES - October 7th, 2013

Economics 101

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.

Obamacare Impact on Insurance Premiums - Before

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.

Obamacare Impact on Insurance Premiums - Adding Young and Healthy

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 Impact on Insurance Premiums - Adding Coverage Requirements

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.

Obamacare Impact on Insurance Premiums - Pre-Existing Conditions

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.

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FT104: “Driving is more of a right than health care because it doesn’t cost others when someone drives.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 10th, 2012

Fundamental Truth

Although it doesn’t Cost Others when Someone Drives it’s Still not a Right because Driving Recklessly can Cost Others

Freedom of religion is a right.  It doesn’t cost me anything (money, time, inconvenience, etc.) for my neighbor to go to church or to practice their religion.  Freedom of speech is a right because it doesn’t cost me anything when someone writes a letter to a newspaper editor.  The right to bear arms is a right because it doesn’t cost me anything when a neighbor owns a gun.  Rights are free in the sense that others don’t have to incur any costs whenever someone exercises a right.  And because they are free no one can grant them.  Or take them away.  Hence they are God-given.  And only God can take them away.  Even an atheist will favor this definition.  For these God-given rights prevent any man from taking away his or her right to publically protest the existence of God.

Housing, food, education, etc., are not rights.  Because these things are expensive.  Someone has to pay for them.  And if you don’t pay for them they will take them away from you.  Or you can lose them if you don’t follow the rules.  A principal can expel a student for causing trouble in high school.  A landlord can evict an unruly tenant in an apartment building.  And if you don’t pay your mortgage the bank can foreclose on your house and take it back.  So these aren’t rights because someone has to pay for them.  You.  Or other people.  And there is a process to go through where someone grants us access to these.  Typically paying for these things.  And following certain rules.

Interestingly, when someone drives a car it doesn’t cost me anything.  Yet driving a car is not a right.  It’s a privilege.  And the thing that makes it a privilege and not a right is similar to housing, food and education.  There are certain rules to follow.  And if a driver doesn’t follow these rules it can then cost others when they drive.  Such as if a driver ignores traffic signals, drives under the influence of alcohol, ignores the posted speed limits, drives recklessly, etc.  Such a person can involve other people who follow the rules into accidents.  Costing them dearly.  It’s because of this that driving is a privilege and not a right.

Unlike Obamacare you can Choose not to Buy Car Insurance by Choosing not to Drive

A car or truck is very heavy.  And as it moves it creates a lot of kinetic energy.  The faster it goes the greater the kinetic energy.  And the greater amount of damage it can cause in an accident.  Causing great damage to other cars.  And their occupants.  Those who were not at fault will incur great costs from these accidents.  The at-fault person, though, may not be wealthy enough to pay these costs.  That’s why we make ALL drivers buy insurance.  So the few that have accidents can have their insurance pay these great costs.  This is a classic example of the use of insurance to spread risk.  Everyone pays a small fee to create a large pool of money to pay for the few who incur these great costs.  By making drivers buy insurance we make them responsible for the consequences of their driving.

Health care is very similar to driving a car.  Only many say health care is a right.  Unlike driving a car.  But health care isn’t a right.  Far from it.  For health care is very expensive.  And someone has to pay for it.  The patient.  Or others.  Just like housing, food and education.  Also, much of our health problems are self-inflicted.  Health problems plague obese people as they age.  Smokers tend to suffer from cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.  Heavy drinkers and drug users suffer a variety of ailments.  People get hurt doing risky things (take dangerous risks while drunk, extreme sports, etc.) and incur great medical costs.  But unlike the driver of a car we don’t make these people responsible for the consequences of their actions.  Instead, we treat them and have other people pay for the consequences of their actions.

Some like to point to the individual mandate in Obamacare as addressing this very problem.  By forcing people to buy health insurance.  So they are responsible for the consequences of their actions.  They say making people buy health insurance is no different from making people buy car insurance.  But it’s not.  Because buying car insurance is not mandatory.  You can choose not to buy it simply by choosing not to drive.  Obamacare offers no such choice.  Unless you call choosing not to live an option.

Health Care is Expensive because Unlike a Driver those who don’t follow the Rules of a Healthy Lifestyle never lose their Living Privilege

Health insurance is nothing like car insurance.  Car insurance protects a person from losing all their savings from an unexpected and unfortunate accident.  By spreading the risk over a great number of people who pay a small premium.  Whereas health care has become welfare.  It has nothing to do with spreading risk.  For people today expect a complete free ride.  For everything.  Whatever the cost.  They don’t want to pay a dime.  Not even for their prescriptions.  They want someone else to pay all of their costs.

And what really makes this welfare is that it will become a pure transfer cost under Obamacare.  The vast majority of people consuming health care are senior citizens.  While the young and healthy consume the least amount of health care.  Obamacare will transfer the costs of those who consume health care to those who don’t.  By forcing the young and healthy to buy health insurance.  That they currently do not buy because they rarely see their doctors.  Instead they use the savings from not buying health insurance to afford something they do use.  Like to pay for a house to live in to start their families.  But once Obamacare forces them to buy health insurance they’ll have to find another cost to cut.  Perhaps selling their car and using public transportation.  Saving on both a car payment.  And the car insurance payment.  Because they have that choice.  Unlike under Obamacare.

Driving a car is more like a right than health care.  It doesn’t cost anyone else as long as they follow the rules of the road.  But we still make them buy car insurance in case they have an accident.  Whereas health care is unlike a right in every way.  There is always a cost whether you follow the rules or not.  And unlike a driver those who don’t follow the ‘rules of a healthy lifestyle’ never lose their ‘living privilege’.  (At least, not yet.  And let’s hope it remains that way.)  They just pass their higher health care costs to others.  Especially the young and healthy who consume very little, if any, health care.  Making it a pure welfare transfer cost.  Of course, in this case, unlike other forms of welfare, this cost will be transferred to those least able to afford it.  The young.  Most of who are not rich.

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The Young and Healthy don’t buy Health Insurance because they make up only 3% of All Patients

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

A couple of statistics can explain all that is wrong with our health insurance (see Most Health Care Costs Incurred by Few Americans by U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Release posted 1/11/2012 on WCTV.tv).

More than 40 percent of patients were age 65 or older, while those age 18 to 29 made up just 3 percent.

Health insurance is different than, say, car insurance.  Car insurance is expensive.  But it has remained a whole lot more affordable than health care insurance.  Why?  What’s the difference between the two?  Anyone can have their car stolen.  Or have an accident.  But when it comes to patients in our health care system more than 40% are age 65 and older.  While those healthy and young (ages 18-29) are patients only 3% of the time.  Big problem.  Because a lot of people age 18-29 think rationally and say that’s a lot of money for what?  I never go to the doctor.

And herein lies the fatal flaw of health care insurance.  Insurance operates by having everyone contribute a little to pay large claims to those few who suffer an unfortunate event.  That’s how insurance works.  Not everyone suffers an unfortunate event.  So if everyone pays a little the few who do suffer an unfortunate event get help when they need it.  That’s risk management.  Spreading the risk over numerous policy holders for a small fee.  But that’s not happening in health care.  Because it’s not insurance.  It’s a cost transfer.  The industry is set up to transfer the cost of the health care consumers to those not consuming health care services.  And when those who are not consuming health care services opt out of the system that creates a serious funding problem.

This is the problem whenever you have other people pay for you.  And why Obamacare has a mandate for the young and healthy to buy insurance.  So Obamacare can transfer the cost of the health care consumers to those not consuming health care services.  The young and healthy.

This is a broken model.  It won’t work.  And it will only lead to higher costs and rationing.  Because the population is aging.  Which means those consuming health care services are growing at a rate greater than those paying for them.

You can thank FDR for this mess.  And his maximum wage limit during the Great Depression.  His attempt to stimulate the economy by keeping wages low so businesses would hire more people.  Businesses couldn’t attract better workers by offering them more wages.  So they offered them benefits instead.  And the health care crisis was born.

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