Saturday, December 5, 2015

Obamacare Schadenfreude Mishmash

I tried to find a theme in this one, and failed.

In the last post on Obamacare Schadenfreude, we saw how Sen. Marco Rubio had proposed and and arranged to get passed the provision that may yet end up being the stake in Obamacare's heart. Now Rubio himself addresses HotAir on the issue: Rubio warns GOP to stop the return of the ObamaCare bailout
. . . As ObamaCare has crashed and burned over the last few years, the big health insurance companies that had originally lobbied in its favor have been suffering major financial losses. Just recently, UnitedHealth—the nation’s largest insurer—has announced that it will likely withdraw from the exchanges entirely. Naturally, Washington’s solution is to send taxpayers the bill for its own mistakes.

In 2013, when few were talking about this issue, I saw that ObamaCare was on a crash course and predicted that bailouts would be the preferred big government solution once the law failed. I instantly began the fight to stop these bailouts by getting rid of ObamaCare’s blank check “risk corridor” provision. Ultimately, against the wishes of the insurance lobby and many politicians in Washington, I passed a measure that blocked the bailout and saved taxpayers $2.5 billion.

Some have called this one of the biggest legislative blows to ObamaCare yet. I’m proud of this important win for taxpayers, but it isn’t enough. The insurance companies are already fighting back. They’ve hired teams of lobbyists – including some of the Washington insiders who originally forced ObamaCare through Congress – and they’re pushing hard for a new bailout.

The former Obama Administration official who led the rollout of ObamaCare’s exchanges and now runs the health insurance lobby is working with her White House allies to secure this new bailout by providing more funding for the law’s risk corridor program. The reason they’re fighting so hard is simple: because ObamaCare is such a disaster that it’s unlikely to survive without another infusion of taxpayer funds. . .
Read the whole thing.

Why ObamaCare Deductibles Are Indefensible
Here's a joke that liberals might appreciate: Why are Republicans so adamantly opposed to the individual mandate? Answer: Because Republicans would never force anybody to buy the kind of coverage that they want to provide.
And that's the way it ought to be in a "free" society.
 Sometimes high deductibles make sense. As Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle notes, health insurance that people rely on to pay most routine medical bills — as well as to cover emergencies like a trip to the hospital — is more of a prepayment plan than insurance against the unexpected.

"If ObamaCare forces people away from 'first dollar' coverage with low or no deductible, and toward plans that cover people only for unanticipated emergencies, that would be a win for economic logic," McArdle writes.
But (there's always a but):
To really understand what is wrong with ObamaCare's high deductibles, one has to look closely at the options that the law provides to modest-income individuals and families.

Consider single 27-year-olds who live in St. Louis and earn $24,000 a year, just over 200% of the poverty level. The cheapest silver plan would cost them about $1,400, nearly 6% of income, and come with a $2,100 deductible that is daunting, even if it is fairly modest by ObamaCare standards. But how is a $24,000-earner supposed to come up with $1,400 to spend on health care — even before the deductible?
The ObamaCare-Immigration Collision
When President Obama announced his executive action, he acknowledged in his televised speech the concern that such immigrants “would take our jobs” and “stick it to the middle class.” He assured us that this is “not what these steps would do.” But he didn’t consider how this new edict would interact with his other legal inventions, namely ObamaCare.

The government’s petition says that the executive action intended to provide “work authorizations” so that undocumented immigrants could find jobs in the U.S. without working illegally for less than market wages, which might harm American workers. But wait: Employers aren’t required to offer ObamaCare coverage or subsidies to these immigrants. The statutory language in the Affordable Care Act says that only “lawful residents” are eligible, and the government’s petition specifically notes that the immigration action does not “confer any form of legal status in this country.”

In short, companies will be encouraged to hire these immigrants over U.S. citizens. ObamaCare requires employers to offer all full-time employees health insurance that meets the law’s standards. For businesses that offer health-insurance coverage, the government enforces this rule by imposing a penalty of up to $3,000 a year for each full-time employee who receives a federal subsidy, a proxy for each full-time employee who doesn’t receive compliant coverage. The penalty is triggered if a single full-time employee purchases coverage on the marketplace and receives a subsidy.

But none of this matters if your employees are immigrants freed up by Mr. Obama’s executive order. Companies could save $3,000 in penalties or the cost of insurance—about $3,300—for every one of these immigrants they employ over a U.S. citizen or lawful resident.
Often the failure of liberalism is just not thinking things through.
 The administration may yet find some justification for granting ObamaCare benefits to immigrants covered by the president’s executive action. The law’s 2,407 pages of text, backed up by more than 20,000 pages of regulations, are full of ambiguities and inconsistencies, leaving ample room for invention. Fixing this discrepancy may be the administration’s next tweak to ObamaCare.

But that would conflict with the president’s statement that he was not offering these individuals “the same benefits that citizens receive,” not to mention ObamaCare’s text. And it is hard to argue that Congress intended to grant ObamaCare benefits to a group of people who weren’t legally in the U.S. when Congress passed the law.
Beacon Hill Institute chief: Obamacare study spiked by Suffolk U.
Beacon Hill Institute projects vetoed by Suffolk University included an Obamacare study involving a prominent University of Chicago economist, BHI director David Tuerck told Boston Herald Radio today -- adding that he had been chided for his comments to the Herald in the past.

Tuerck said his institute has long been the target of “attempts at censorship” by Suffolk. However, University President Margaret McKenna -- a liberal now under fire for marginalizing a conservative voice -- insisted in an earlier interview that the campus features a “variety” of political viewpoints.
No doubt, far left to radical left.
Tuerck and McKenna made their remarks to Boston Herald Radio's Newsfeed hosts Zuri Berry and Joe Dwinell in separate, back-to-back phone interviews this afternoon.

Tuerck said the Obamacare project nixed by the university was aimed at studying the effects of the controversial health care law on employment across the United States. It was to be co-authored by University of Chicago economics professor Casey Mulligan.

“That got turned down,” said Tuerck. “I don’t know why, but that is the environment in which we’ve been operating.”
Don't turn on the lights, 'cause they don't want to see.

And when you've lost the Daily Beast:  The Stealth Issue That Could Win 2016
Don’t look now, but the president’s signature domestic policy, his namesake health care law, is doing very poorly. It just received its worst news yet, when the nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealth, broached the possibility that it could exit the health insurance exchange due to its inability to find profits.

Its losses from participating in the exchange were simply impossible to maintain. If other insurers follow suit, those left behind will likely raise their rates even more.

To make matters worse, insurers are worried that they won’t get an expected taxpayer bailout for their massive losses thanks to a 2014 change to the existing law inserted by Sen. Marco Rubio into the so-called “Cromnibus” spending bill late last year.

The Obama administration is now scrambling to find another way to bail out the insurers, itself an admission that the exchange cannot function without massive amounts of corporate welfare.

At root, the problem stems from the fact that it has turned out to be far more difficult to get young, healthy people to sign up for plans in the exchanges, and the population is therefore older and sicker than insurers had expected and the Obama administration had predicted.
If only someone could have predicted this. . .

Republicans fast-track Obamacare repeal to president’s desk
Senate Republicans brushed aside five years of frustration Thursday and fast-tracked an Obamacare repeal bill to President Obama’s desk, fulfilling their pledge to hold Democrats and the White House accountable for a 2010 law they still view as fiscally ruinous and politically misguided.

Though destined for a swift veto, the GOP said the experience offers a road map for 2017, when it hopes to scrap Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement and start over with a Republican president and a slim majority in the Senate.

“What we are doing is listening to our constituents, who’ve told us that they’ve had one bad experience after another with Obamacare,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, Texas Republican, said.
. . .
Republicans used a budget process known as “reconciliation” that allowed them to pass a revenue-related bill by a majority vote, without having to overcome Democratic-led filibusters that have doomed every previous Obamacare repeal.
You might recall that reconciliation was the means by which the Democrats passed Obamacare with zero Republican support. Unfortunately, Obama actually signed that.

1 comment:

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