Obamacare schadenfreude shows no sign of abating. The website continues to under-perform, signups continue to stay below expectations, and even the democrats who supported the bill are starting continuing to stay restive.
Everything is working great with Obamacare, according to all the
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a blog post early Wednesday that she is asking the department’s inspector general to investigate the contracting process, management, performance and payment issues that may have contributed to the flawed launch of HealthCare.gov.
The website was supposed to have been the online portal to coverage under the new health care law, but technical problems turned it into a frustrating bottleneck for millions of consumers. It’s working better now after two months of repairs.
Shockingly, not all democrats are staying on the sinking ship: Fixes not enough on O-Care
Senate Democrats facing tough reelections say President Obama has not done enough to fix the botched rollout of his healthcare law and are vowing to repair it themselves.Mary Landreau has gone so far as to begin running advertisements on TV to bolster her Anti-Obmacare credenitals:
The Senate Democratic leadership is not on board with lawmaker plans to begin rewriting ObamaCare and have urged for more time to assess the changes made by Obama and his team, lawmakers say.
Democratic Sens. Mary Landrieu (La.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Mark Udall (Colo.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) are discussing a multi-faceted plan to rework parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Landrieu, Shaheen and Udall face reelection next year.
Of the million-two or so who have applied through the Obamacare system, only 365k have been assigned to insurance, while 800k have been added to the Medicade rolls.
The numbers in the state marketplaces have grown too, albeit not as quickly. In the 14 states running their own exchanges, sign-ups went from 79,000 in the first month up to 227,000 for the two months together. This was slower growth than the federal marketplace, and suggests a bit of an evening out between the local and national health exchanges.How many people was Obamacare supposed to insure?
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius once described 7 million new Obamacare customers in the first year as what “success looks like.” The White House is now trying to affix another label to the estimate: meaningless.It might be too late. For months, the Obama administration embraced the projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as a way to explain enrollment goals, boosting their political significance. But the broken HealthCare.gov website caused the program to lag far behind on signing up customers, and it’s a steep climb to register 7 million people by the March deadline.Let's put those goal posts on wheels; they're gonna need it. Remember how it was going to save people an average of $2,500 per year? Euphoria of Obamacare becomes nightmare of higher premiums and deductibles
But on signing day 2010, it was all cheering. As the audience applauded, Obama promised the new law would "lower costs for families and for businesses." He cited the case of Natoma Canfield, an Ohio woman whose story he often told during the health care fight. Canfield, divorced and 50 years old, had had cancer but was still able to find what she called "costly, but affordable" coverage on the individual market. Then her insurance company abruptly raised her premium. "Natoma had to give up her health coverage after her rates were jacked up by more than 40 percent," Obama said. Now, because of Obamacare, millions of Americans in the individual market, most of whom have not had a major health crisis, are facing abrupt increases of more than 40 percent in their health insurance premiums. On top of that, they are finding deductibles rising far beyond those that troubled Canfield. (In a 2009 letter to the president, Canfield complained of having a $2,500 deductible; on Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that under Obamacare "the average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange — the lowest-priced coverage — is $5,081 a year.")Why do democrats hate women with cancer? Cancer Patient: I Am “Devastated” By ObamaCare
I thought I was prepared for any outcome, but I wasn’t. I can’t begin to describe how devastated I am. Many people like me, who are in a difficult health crisis and fighting to regain good health, are finding it very difficult — if not impossible — to make sure that we can keep our doctors and receive the chemotherapy and other treatments and medicines that are keeping us alive. I feel stupid for not being better prepared. I’m scared and wondering what surprises are around the corner. Here are a few more things I’ve learned: The policy I’m considering has approximately 10 percent state and federal taxes added to the premium. My out-of-pocket maximum will increase to $6,350 from $1,500. But, my monthly premium cost will decrease, which will offset some of that difference. I can say my total annual costs are increasing significantly — by about $3,000. Another change is many American taxpayers have historically taken an income-tax deduction for their medical expenses. In the past, this deduction has been limited to the amount of medical expenses in excess of 7.5 percent of a person’s adjusted gross income. Beginning with the year 2013, that threshold will jump to 10 percent. This change will increase my income-tax liability. I’m coming to the conclusion that the government wants to treat all Americans as the same — rich, poor, old, young, black, white, sickly, healthy — one policy fits all. May sound OK, but is it? How inefficient is that? I personally feel that we are going backwards. Admittedly, our health-care system did need some adjustments to deal with issues like pre-existing conditions. But to re-invent it? I personally don’t think so. What else does the government do efficiently? Wait, I’m still thinking …It was easy to say you needed to break some eggs to make an omelet when you thought you were the chef and not one of the eggs.
Health Care's Third-Party Spending Trap
Contrary to “conventional wisdom,” health insurance—private or otherwise—does not make health care more affordable. The third party payment system is the principal force behind health care price inflation. This should come as no surprise. Nobel-winning economist Milton Friedman, in his masterpiece “Free to Choose,” wrote of four ways to spend money:
Category I—You spend your money on something for yourself. Here you are very careful, because it is your money, and the good or service you are buying is for you.
Category II—You spend your money on something for someone else. Here you have the same incentive as in Category I to economize, but since you are buying something for someone else, you are not quite as meticulous when it comes to the purchase meeting the needs or values of the recipient.
Category III—You spend someone else’s money on something for yourself. Here you are not concerned about how much you spend, because it is not your money. But because you are spending on yourself, you make sure you are getting what you want.
Category IV—You spend someone else’s money on something for yet another person or persons. (This is what we ask our legislative representatives to do every day.) Here you are the least incentivized to economize, or to buy something that meets the needs or values of the recipient.
Like the government does, third party payers operate under the dynamic outlined in Friedman’s Category IV. This becomes most obvious when it comes to the government acting as third party payer, e.g., Medicare and Medicaid. And it doesn’t just pertain to health care (think of $800 toilet seats for the defense department). When the government buys goods or services for other people with other peoples’ money, special interest pleading, political concerns, and cronyism run the game. And “leakage” of money through “waste, fraud, and abuse” is a given.Another "unanticipated" cost of Obamacare:
A Missouri school district faces a $150,000 bill for Obamacare, according to a report on KMIZ-MO: "The Affordable Care Act could cost the Jefferson City public schools more than a $150,000," said the news anchor. "This came to light at last night's board meeting when district officials told board members they would have to pay health insurance for substitute teachers," says the other anchor.Yesterday it was fire
Most their firms have far fewer than 50 employees, so individually, the businesses would be exempt from rules in the new health care law that require employers to provide adequate health insurance to their workers or pay a steep penalty. However, for the purposes of the law, regulators don’t consider them all separate businesses. Instead, because they share an owner, they are treated as a single employer — and with all those workers tallied, each of their firms must now provide health insurance. “We, like most of the operators we know, participate in multiple restaurant entities, with various partners, often with family members” Winstanley said during a recent hearing before the House Small Business Committee. “Though we consider each operation to be a small business, many of us are discovering that for the purpose of the health care rule, all of the businesses must be considered a single employer.” In its definition of a business entity, the law references a section of the Internal Revenue Code known as the Common Control Clause. Under that clause, all employees of corporations, partnerships or sole proprietorships with common owners are lumped together, and in some cases, firms that share common equity investors can be considered a single employer, too. Ultimately, if the sum exceeds 50 workers, each firm is subject to the new coverage mandate.Of course, one of the big problems with the Obamacare signups are the so called "young invincibles," needed to fund the program, and avoiding the signup in multitudes:
Well, you'll never guess who's terrified of adverse selection. "Only 29% of uninsured young people now say they plan to sign up for Obamacare," warns an email we received today from one Mark Crain:One guess...
This could become a gigantic problem, because the only way we can afford to cover all the people with pre-existing conditions is if younger, healthier people enroll as well. If only sick people sign up, our entire health insurance system falls apart.And who is this Mark Crain? He's with MoveOn.org, that chronic affliction on the American body politic since 1998. Laughably, Crain blames adverse selection on "one-sided press coverage" and--get ready for it:
Taxpayers Shell Out $14,000 per Obamacare “Enrollee” Such a deal!This isn't happening by accident--Republicans have been spending huge amounts of money running despicable ads to convince young people they'd be better off uninsured. Here's the plan to fight back: First, we're launching a major social media advertising campaign aimed at getting young people to sign up for health insurance. Second, we need to get the media to start paying attention to all the great things that are happening because of Obamacare, so people aren't afraid to sign up.His email requests a donation of $3. That and another $6,347 will cover the individual deductible on an ObamaCare bronze plan.
In her testimony before Congress today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided an updated dollar amount for the cost of HealthCare.gov: $677 million. In addition to the $677 million spent on the federal Obamacare website, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has shoveled $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to promote Obamacare on the state level. HHS also released updated “enrollment” figures for Obamacare. According to the agency 364,682 people have “selected a plan” – the equivalent of putting an item in your online shopping cart and leaving it there. That means the taxpayer cost per “enrollee” is over $14,000.But that's OK, because it'll be covered by Obamacare's new hidden taxes.
There have been many taxes put in place to help fund Obamacare that are rarely discussed in the media. Michael Studnick, a certified public accountant with Studnick & Associates in Oakridge, New Jersey explained some of the new taxes placed on earned and unearned income. The new earned income tax to help fund Obamacare is 0.9%. "Earned income is compensation from participation in a business, including wages, salary, tips, commissions and bonuses," Studnick explained. This tax will be placed on any income earned over $200K for those who are single and any income earned over $250K for those who are married and filing jointly. The new unearned income tax is more complicated. "The simple definition of unearned income is income derived from sources other than employment such as interest and dividends from investments, or income from rental property," Studnick said. Your modified adjusted income over $200K if you’re single and over $250K if you’re married and filing jointly, will be compared to your unearned income. The lesser of the two will be taxed at 3.8%.And they're using the money so well: Connecticut Health Exchange Buys Three Murals for $24,980 Each
AccessHealthCT, the quasi-public state agency that runs Connecticut’s Obamacare exchange, spent nearly $75,000 to commission three murals, plus nearly $4,000 to have one of them installed. Contracts with the three artists — Adam Niklewicz, Katro Storm, and Rafael Cornier Jr. — show they were each paid $24,980 to produce murals 8 feet tall and 32 feet long. The agency paid AdamsAhern Sign Solutions $3,945.51 to install the Niklewicz mural at the Hispanic Health Council in Hartford. Just before Thanksgiving, state officials gathered at Optimus Health Care in Bridgeport to unveil the Cornier mural, which, according to the New Haven Register, is intended to inspire New Haven residents to “embrace health and wellness.”Well, that will pay for three peoples health care.