I'm taking the Sunday dearth of Clinton.com progress to clear up some residual Obamacare Schadenfreude:
CO-OP FLOP: The Biggest Obamacare Disaster You’ve Never Heard About
. . . Pollock has filed dozens of stories about the Obamacare co-ops since 23 of the tax-funded groups were created in 2011 at a cost of $2 billion. President Obama promised the co-ops would help lower medical costs by competing with profit-driven private companies.Related: Colorado Obamacare co-op announces closure and Two more Obamacare co-ops fail: Tennessee and Kentucky both announce closures
Seven of the co-ops have closed. A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General said the rest of the co-ops are in deep financial trouble and more are expected to close.
None of these dismal developments come as a surprise to those following Pollock’s byline for the past four years. Here are a dozen of his most significant co-op stories, some of which were reported when he worked for the Washington Examiner.
- One third of Obamacare co-ops have failed.
- New York’s Obamacare co-op drew the most consumer complaints.
- Feds admit more Obamacare co-op failures are coming.
- Obamacare co-op execs hid millions in lavish pay, consulting fees.
- House panel says Obamacare co-op illegally diverted $25 million.
- ‘Luxurious’ funding lets Obamacare co-ops undercut commercial rivals.
- Obamacare co-ops mostly not ready for opening day.
- Four investigations of Obamacare co-ops.
- Obamacare’s Louisiana co-op riddled with self-dealing, conflicts of interest.
- Groups led by insider trader, child abuser got Obamacare co-op loans.
- Obama political ally got $340 million Obamacare co-op loan.
- Obamacare co-ops being formed behind closed doors.
Middle Class Americans Worse Off Thanks To Obamacare
The Street highlights a new study about how the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, is anything but affordable for those it was allegedly supposed to help. The study focuses on non-poor Americans who were previously uninsured. They are worse off financially now than before Obamacare, which for many of us doesn’t come as much of a surprise.White House projects marginal ACA enrollment growth in 2016
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“Many of the non-poor formerly uninsured are estimated to be worse off,” than without insurance, according to a September-dated working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research titled “The Price of Responsibility: The Impact Of Health Reform On Non-Poor Uninsured.Read the whole thing. Healthy people are the ones getting the worst deal from Obamacare. So many of them might not sign up, which really throws a wrench in things because they’re needed to make the whole scheme work.
How so? The subsidies are not large enough to offset the cost of the insurance premiums and the fact that many previously uninsured will now have to pay part of the cost to see a doctor, the report explains. The authors reached that conclusion after reviewing data for the uninsured prior to Obamacare, including age, gender, earnings and location. Then, they married that information with health-care expenditures for the group and used it to make estimates of out-of-pocket costs before and after the law went into effect.
The group of people whom the authors highlight are the non-poor, or those ineligible for Medicaid but who maybe eligible for various subsidies for premiums or cost-sharing, depending on their income level. It turns out that the more someone earns the worse off they’ll be.
The Obama administration is predicting a meager increase next year in the number of Americans with private insurance through the Affordable Care Act — a forecast, far below previous government estimates, that signals the obstacles to attracting people who remain uninsured.Declining Federal Funds Under Medicaid Expansion Threaten Oregon Health Services
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced Thursday that an expected 10 million Americans will be covered by late 2016 by health plans they bought on the federal and state insurance exchanges created under the law.
That figure is just half the most recent forecast by congressional budget analysts, who have long expected 2016 to usher in the biggest surge in enrollment. The number represents a marginal increase from the 9.1 million Americans the administration believes will have ACA health plans by the end of this year.
. . .
Some health-policy experts suggested that the tepid 2016 forecast may be partly strategic. “The ACA has become such a numbers game,” said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “So, yes — the optics of a low projection are bad, but not nearly as bad as not succeeding when the final enrollment numbers come in.”
When states embraced Obamacare with either the creation of their own state exchange or the expansion of Medicaid with ‘free federal money’, they bought into a deal that in the beginning many legislators thought was too good to pass up. But a few short years in, reality and the dates where federal funding declines inches ever closer. The bills are coming due for these expanded programs and ‘free money’ is in short supply.RIP, Utah Medicaid expansion
In Oregon, lawmakers are seeing the writing on the wall and are concerned about how to deal with impending funding decreases.
Oregon’s expansion program, the Oregon Health Authority, has a $500 million budget hole “caused, in part, by a planned scale back of federal funding starting in 2017.” Representative Jim Weidner who is a member of the state’s Interim Committee on Health Care asked of the Authority’s CFO Mark Fairbanks, “With the declining federal dollars, how are we going to pay for this? What’s the plan going forward? Are we just going to shut everything down?”
In Utah, Medicaid expansion won’t be coming any time soon. The proposal to expand one of the most critical parts of the president’s health care reform law doesn’t have the votes in either chamber of the state legislature. Moreover, concerns are well-placed regarding the proposed expansion, as it’s known to be a budget buster.Health insurance so good they had to make it mandatory.
. . .Additionally, let’s be honest about who Medicaid expansion truly covers. Yes, Medicaid was established to provide health care to America’s working poor, but the vast majority of the class included in Obamacare’s expansion is healthy, able-bodied, and childless adults. It’s young Americans, who have other options to find health care. . .
“Everyone loves expanding Medicaid until they have to pay for it,” Hughes said, although he said the search for a way to cover the poorest Utahns and those deemed medically frail will continue. “I do believe the State of Utah and it’s Legislature has the political will to provide health care to those who need it.”
The plan also fell well-short of the 15 votes needed to pass the bill in the Senate, even with Democratic votes counted, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said.