Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Light Flurry of Obamacare Schadenfreude

It's snowing lightly here, even though the temperature is 32.4 F, so it's not accumulating except on bushes and roofs.  However, the temperature is still trending down, so I suppose it's possible we'll pick up a inch or so if it continues. There appears to be another light flurry of Obamacare Schadedenfreude  activity too.

That's Sexist! ObamaCare's Sex Problem: Too many women is another sign of adverse selection.
...Which brings us to a little-noted ObamaCare statistic that is also a sign of adverse selection: the sex ratio. One of the selling points of ObamaCare was that it was a feminist triumph.

"Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition," read the lead sentence of a March 2010 news story in the New York Times, whose author, Denise Grady, then explained: "That's the new mantra, repeated triumphantly by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara A. Mikulski and other advocates for women's health. But what does it mean?"
. . .
What it also means, however, is that women, like persons with pre-existing conditions, are more expensive to insure. The ban on what is called "gender rating" drives men's premiums up as well as women's down. (That doesn't mean, by the way, that women pay less under ObamaCare than before. It may be that premiums rise for both sexes but the increase is steeper for men.)
. . .
At any rate, our main reason for bringing this up is not to complain that ObamaCare is in part a scheme for redistributing wealth from men to women, although it is that. (Incidentally, that is true to a far greater extent of Medicare. The sex ratio of the over-65 population is just 77 men per 100 women, and since men tend to earn more money than women, they pay a majority of Medicare taxes.) Rather, our point is that this is another way in which the incentive structure created by ObamaCare's price controls runs counter to the proclaimed goal of achieving universal or near-universal coverage. As to the argument that "gender rating" is unjust, we'd have an easier time accepting it if Pelosi, Mikulski & Co. also applied it to automotive insurance.
The 12 Biggest Lies of Obamacare:  Each of these is explained the Reason article
1. "If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it."
Reality: According to a November 4, 2013, report in Politico, more than 3.5 million Americans have been hit with health plan cancellations. Millions more are expected to follow.

2. "What we said was you can keep it if it hasn't changed since the law passed."
Reality: President Obama promised repeatedly, with no caveats or qualifications, that people who liked their plans could keep them, and that no one would ever take them away, period. Versions of the promise were captured on video at least 36 times.

3. "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period."
Reality: People who can't keep their plans often can't keep their doctors, because doctors are affiliated with particular networks and insurers. ...

4. "We'll start by reducing premiums by as much as $2,500 per family."
Reality: The average annual premium for an employer-provided health plan rose from $13,375 to $16,351 between 2009 and 2013, according to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. ...

5. "It will create 4 million jobs-400,000 jobs almost immediately."
Reality: The gush of jobs never materialized. The unemployment rate slowly receded in the months after Obamacare passed, but largely because more people had quit searching for work. ...

6. Obamacare "pushed back on the undue influence of special interests."
Reality: Obama cut deals with major incumbents in the health care industry to obtain their nearly unanimous support. America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry group, backed the law because of the individual mandate to buy health insurance. ...

7. "We are on schedule, and will be ready for the marketplaces to open on October 1."
Reality: The launch was a disaster, with serious problems in many state exchanges and with the federal website freezing up just minutes after going live. It was a catastrophe that some in the administration knew was on the way. ...

8. "Regardless of how the Marketplace is managed, consumers will be able to access the Marketplace with ease."
Reality: As Obama and Cohen were making their promises, they had no idea whether the site would even be functional. ...

9. "We expect to resolve these issues in the coming hours."
Reality: The problems went much deeper than the administration initially claimed. Six weeks after launch, online enrollment in the federal exchanges was still stymied by serious technical failures. ...

10. "Take away the volume, and it works."
Reality: Volume dropped, but malfunctions continued. Outside experts contacted by multiple news organizations found many shortcuts, messy construction, and unnecessary functions in the visible portions of the code. ...

11. "No, we don't have that data."
Reality: Leaked notes from the administration's daily Obamacare war room meetings later revealed that on launch day there were a total of six enrollments through five different insurance issuers.

12. "[We] follow high standards regarding the privacy and security of personal information."
Reality: By launch day, the deadline-driven operational demands outweighed security concerns. The exchange went live under a last-minute temporary security authorization signed by Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It said "aspects of the system that were not tested due to the ongoing development exposed a level of uncertainty that can be deemed as a high risk."
I know, that's a lot of lies, and we've heard them all before. But I think having them all in a nice little list has value.

When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout: "It's all the Koch's fault"!
The free market group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) opened the 2014 campaign early, running ads targeting vulnerable senators who voted for ObamaCare, as I have previously reported:
Dec. 3: VIDEO: ‘ObamaCare … Just Doesn’t Work’
Jan. 2: New Ads Target Senators: ‘It’s Time to Be Honest: ObamaCare Doesn’t Work’AFP is one of the largest grassroots organizations in America, with thousands of supporters and contributors, but notice how the New York Times emphasizes a certain name in this article:
Democrats are increasingly anxious about an onslaught of television ads hitting vulnerable Senate and House candidates for their support of the new health law, since many lack the resources to fight back in the early stages of the midterm campaign.
Since September, Americans for Prosperity, a group financed in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, has spent an estimated $20 million on television advertising that calls out House and Senate Democrats by name for their support of the Affordable Care Act. . . .
Some Democrats are open about calling for help from allies and supporters of the health care law who may be biding their time.
“Democrats need money at this early stage in order to fight back against the limitless spending from the Kochs,” said Guy Cecil, the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “As we get closer to the election, we will have the resources to introduce their Tea Party candidates before they have an opportunity to define themselves for voters, but right now the limitless spending from the Kochs means we need Democratic donors to step up in a bigger way immediately.”
Why do the Koch brothers deserve mention in the second paragraph of this article, whereas the word “ObamaCare” does not appear until the 19th paragraph? The article doesn’t even name President Obama, who is thereby a sort of ghost haunting this article which is, after all, about the failures of his signature legislation.
It's important that the scapegoats be pointed at early and often.

More later; I have somewhere to go, but there's still plenty of Obamaschaden.

Back now; the snow is long gone, and it's sunny a clear out, but I still have flurry of Obamacare Schadenfreude.

From yesterday's "Live at  5", the game of Calvinball being played by the Administration continues: White House pushes back ObamaCare enrollment deadline for pre-existing conditions
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that it was delaying the deadline for people with pre-existing conditions to enroll in ObamaCare. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Tuesday that it was moving the deadline to March 15 from January 31, the originally scheduled end of the enrollment period.

"As part of our continuing effort to help smooth consumers' transition into Marketplace coverage, we are allowing those covered by (the Pre-Existing Conditions Insurance Plan) additional time to shop for new coverage while they receive the ongoing care and treatment they need," HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement.

The announcement marked the second time the pre-existing condition enrollment deadline had been pushed back. The deadline to enroll was originally the end of December, but problems with the federal health-care exchange site forced the White House to move the end date back by one month.
That's because it was so well thought out the first time they passed it so they could see what was in it!

Commentary magazine identifies the problem of how subsidies work when workers incomes fluctuate as the next crisis to come down the pike, assuming all the people who have touched the website actually send in money.
The credit can be claimed when filing the year’s taxes but it will more likely be used in advance as a way for consumers to lower their monthly premiums. But therein is the problem: The tax credits are tied to the enrollee’s monthly income. Thus, if a person’s income fluctuates, which happens more frequently than many realize, the subsidy amount will change from month to month.

Thus, when it comes time to file taxes in April, the amount of subsidy received over the past year must be reconciled with the final calculation of the total subsidy for which the individual was eligible—based on actual income for the entire tax year. So if you qualify for more subsidy help than you receive during the year, you’ll get a tax refund. But if you were given more subsidy than your income qualifies you for, you will be required to repay the excess subsidy.

However, repayment of the excess subsidy is capped for all those earning less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). For those who earn less than 200 percent of the FPL, an individual’s repayment is capped at $300 and family’s capped at $600. For those between 200 percent and 300 percent of the federal poverty level, an individual is capped at $750 and a family repayment is capped at $1,500. And for those who earn at least 300 percent of FPL but less than 400 percent, repayments are capped at $1,250 for an individual and $2,500 for a family.

Only Americans making more than 400 percent of the federal poverty level would be forced to repay all of an incorrectly calculated Obamacare subsidy.
My guess is that the subsidies will be such a strong force for encouraging low income people to report less income than they actually make that this will not be that big a problem.  It will pay people enough to keep their reported income down.

On the legal front, a Federal judge decided that it was legal for people who sign up through the Federal program to receive subsidies, in clear disagreement with the actual law:
Allah's summary is very good. Here's the theory the lawsuit is predicated upon:
Section 1311 of the law authorizes the states to develop their own ObamaCare exchanges. Section 1321 says that, if a state declines, the feds can step in and develop their own exchange for consumers in that state instead. That’s how we ended up with the technological marvel that is The rub comes in Section 1401, which authorizes tax credits, i.e. premium subsidies, for anyone who’s in “an Exchange established by the State under 1311″. Wait a sec — does that mean that only people enrolled in state-run exchanges get subsidies? If people enrolled in the federal exchange get them too, why doesn’t Section 1401 say “an Exchange established by the State under 1311 or the federal government under section 1321“?
There’s a simple explanation, say critics like Jonathan Adler: Congress intentionally limited subsidies to state-run exchanges to give the states an incentive to set up their own exchange. The feds didn’t want to build; they’d prefer that each state deal with this themselves. But since they can’t force states to do the federal government’s bidding, the best they can do is tack on monetary inducements to get them to play ball. That’s where the subsidies come in..... Read Adler’s post about this from December 2012 citing a colloquy that Max Baucus, the so-called architect of ObamaCare, had on this subject with John Ensign while the law was still being drafted. That’s the proof that Congress intended to distinguish between state-run exchanges and the federal exchange on subsidies. It’s not a drafting error or the result of Congress, to paraphrase Nancy Pelosi, passing the bill only to find out later what’s in it. The subsidies restriction for states was always supposed to be in there.
That's a pretty strong case. The language of the law itself limits the subsidies to state exchanges. If there is any doubt that this was intended, one can look to the legislative history: And on this point, the architect of Obamacare did indeed suggest his intent to so limit the subsidies to the state exchanges.
. . .
Nevertheless, a district court decided that "duly-enacted law" is a pretty flexible thing and that it's all close enough for government work.
It's as if words didn't matter, as long a liberals get what they want.  Hopefully, the Supreme Court will review this and overturn it, but nothing is for sure.

You know it's bad when the late night comics start ripping on it:

And these are more important "news" sources for the "young irresponsibles invincibles" than the newspaper, which, incidentally is like an IPad for old people.

No comments:

Post a Comment