Saturday, March 4, 2017

Obamacare Schadenfreude Still Chugging Along

When will our long national nightmare end? As if there really was any doubt, the usually sensible Megan McArdle (by way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 02.17.17") finally comes to the conclusion that Obamacare is failing: A Sign That Obamacare Exchanges Are Failing
Yet more bad news for Obamacare this week: Molina Healthcare lost $110 million on the exchanges last year, and the CEO told investors, “There are simply too many unknowns with the marketplace program to commit to our participation beyond 2017.”

At first glance, it’s hard to see why this piece of news is worth worrying about. UnitedHealth recently projected several times those losses, and it's a bigger player on the exchanges. Why spend so much time looking at one modest-size insurer?

Because Molina is one of the companies that has been repeatedly pointed to, by virtually every health-care-policy wonk in the business, as one of the “bright spots” on the exchanges. Molina is a company that specializes in covering poor people. Before Obamacare, they were a sizable player in the “Medicaid managed care” model, and it seemed like the expertise they’d thusly acquired was allowing them to design the sort of plans that actually made money on the exchanges. Which is to say bare bones plans, not fancy but adequate. Apparently, that’s no longer a money-maker, at least for Molina.
She's been pretty much been the only sane holdout for any hope for Obamacare, and she seems to have given up the ghost. I would say the fat lady sang (although, that's not fair to Megan).

Americans for Tax Reform provides this helpful List of Obamacare Tax Hikes

Obamascare: 60% of online Obamacare defenders 'paid to post' hits on critics
A majority of online and social media defenders of Obamacare are professionals who are "paid to post," according to a digital expert. "Sixty percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time," said Michael Brown. "They were paid to post."

His shocking analysis was revealed on this weekend's Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, broadcast on Sinclair stations and streamed live Sunday at 9:30 a.m. Her upcoming show focuses on information wars and Brown was describing what happened when he had a problem with Obamacare and complained online.
And more in Fake News, ObamaCare's Popularity Is A Myth — Satisfaction Craters To 22% As Law Continues To Collapse. What the public really want is Obamacare minus the individual mandate. In broad strokes, probably yes. The public want the sweet without the sour, which is why the country is so far in debt. No, Obamacare Has Not Saved American Lives. But it has cost a lot of money.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act, Democrats say, will “make America sick again.” Bernie Sanders warns “36,000 people will die yearly as a result.” But as with most ACA defenses, these claims describe an imaginary health-care reform that works, not the legislation passed by Congress in 2010. In reality, the best statistical estimate of the number of lives saved each year by the ACA is zero.

Some studies do suggest that health insurance can saves lives. But these focus either on individuals with private coverage or on the Massachusetts health-care reform law of 2006, which primarily expanded private coverage within the Bay State. The ACA, by contrast, is primarily an expansion of Medicaid; in recent years, the share of Americans with private insurance has declined.
And studies have shown that Medicaid doesn't save lives. But it does cost money. As noted by Instapundit:
Left unsaid? About 75% of those who applied for coverage under ObamaCare’s expanded Medicaid program had been eligible for Medicaid under the old, unexpanded program. Essentially then, ObamaCare was a wrecking ball aimed at private insurance, and a multi-billion-dollar advertising buy for public assistance.
But when all is said and done, the Republicans will have to do something, and it's quite a difficult rope to walk: Why Republicans should be nervous about repeal. Boehner: Republicans won't repeal and replace Obamacare:
"In the 25 years that I served in the United States Congress, Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like. Not once,” Boehner said. “And all this happy talk that went on in November and December and January about repeal, repeal, repeal—yeah, we'll do replace, replace—I started laughing, because if you pass repeal without replace, first, anything that happens is your fault. You broke it.”
Repeal of Health Law Faces Obstacles in House, Not Just in Senate,  House Republican can't say when Obamacare will be repealedKey Republican in Health Law’s Fate Hails From a State That Embraced It Oregon? Common sense doesn't grow on trees.
"Yeah, it's gonna happen," Rep. Mike Burgess, R-Texas, said at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday afternoon.

But Burgess didn't have an answer when pressed on when Congress will vote to repeal and replace the healthcare law — although he did say it will happen before the next CPAC.
But Conservatives Want Obamacare Repeal, and They Want It Now. Yep. That's why they voted you in. Fail in this, and a third party becomes ever more likely. Language Alert: “Conservative Opposition To #Obamacare Repeal”Tea Party moving from defense to offense Unless your rallies have violence, the media won't cover them.

Leaked draft offers glimpse of GOP Obamacare replacement
Politico reports today that a leaked draft of the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan shows the House is not fiddling around the edges but moving toward full repeal and replacement of the law.
The legislation would take down the foundation of Obamacare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes. It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high-risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020.
The replacement plan would have no individual mandate. Instead, there would be a penalty of 30% for those who fail to maintain coverage. So people who wait until they get sick to sign up, as has been happening under Obamacare, will pay more. In place of the subsidies, the new plan would offer people tax credits of $2,000, with people over 60 getting double that amount. As for Medicaid expansion, states would have the option to continue it but federal support would end by 2020.
30% of what? New GOP ObamaCare repeal strategy: Bring something to the floor, hope everyone votes for it
I’ve got a bad feeling about this. Silver lining, though: If the GOP chokes, we’re mere weeks away from the first major third-party effort in decades.
Obamacare gut check: Do Republicans love freedom as much as Democrats love big government?. Alas, probably not.
Republicans actually have a one-time opportunity to do what they've long promised — which is to fully repeal Obamacare, with all its taxes, and spending, and regulatory overreach — and to replace it with a market-based system that provides more choices, lowers costs, and puts patients in charge of their own healthcare. If they get this done, even if they lose their majorities, it will have been worth it. They can say that when they had power, they used it to advance something they believed in and made a real difference. If they flub this, then we know what will happen. Democrats will eventually take power again, and they'll have much of the foundation of Obamacare left to build on. They will add subsidies and regulations, and perhaps an additional government-run plan, and the nation will be further on its way to single-payer.
Donald Trump Nearly Resolved the Major GOP Health Care Split, or not. Pence: No one will “fall through the cracks” in ObamaCare repeal. But what if you want to fall through the cracks? Sen. Rand Paul: Been told to ‘take it or leave it’ on Obamacare strategy. Leave the house to the house and worry about the Senate, Rand. Ryan: Rand Paul Did 'Publicity Stunt' on GOP ObamaCare Replacement. Senators are going to act senatorial.

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