Sunday, March 30, 2014

Penultimate Obamacare Schadenfreude?

Sorry I didn't do much blogging yesterday.  No excuses; there are several things I'd like to rant about a bit, but I just couldn't find the hook.  However, I did spend some time looking over the fishing tackle yesterday, deciding what could be salvaged, and sorting it back into the appropriate bins. The boat is wet, and someday when the the weather permits, I may actually go fishing!

Today is the second to the last day to sign up for enrolling in Obamacare, in theory, or at least checking the blue box to claim that you were too busy sorting your socks to do it on time. Of course, there's a fair amount of stir still going on, at least for a Sunday.

6 Big Unanswered Questions About Obamacare
  1. How many people have actually enrolled? . . .
  2. What percentage of those who are enrolled are between the ages of 18 and 34? . . .
  3. Are the young people who are enrolling actually healthy? . . .
  4. What are the sign-up totals, demographic breakdowns, and overall health of the individual state markets? . . .
  5. How many of the people enrolled under the law were previously uninsured? And how many of them were previously among the long-term uninsured? . . .
  6. What will premiums look like next year? . . .
 Hey, they cheated, #5 was two related questions.

Obamacare premiums could cost the young 14 percent of income
The Affordable Care Act may not be so affordable for younger workers.

Premiums alone will claim 14 percent of the average 30-year-old’s income in Illinois, American Enterprise Institute analyst Scott Gottlieb writes at Forbes. Actually using any health care services will eat up even more cash, including a deductible that’s $5,000 for most plans and a $6,350 out-of-pocket maximum.

Gottlieb looked at four states: California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Pennsylvania had the lowest rates for Obamacare health coverage, with an average annual premium payment of $1,620 for someone who makes $20,000 per year, with a $600 deductible. But making just $5,000 more per year skyrockets the cost up to $2,328 in yearly premiums and a $4,000 deductible.
. . .
In Arizona, someone making $30,000 will spend over 9 percent of their annual income on premiums. That climbs to over 10 percent in Pennsylvania, almost 11 percent in Texas and a whopping 13.64 percent in Illinois.

All for a service they don’t intend to use.
Do it for the old, rich folk!

Deadline Near, Health Signups Show Disparity
The White House said on Thursday that more than six million people have signed up for private plans, a significant political milestone for the Obama administration. Independent analysts estimate that an additional 3.5 million Americans are newly insured under Medicaid — figures the law’s backers hail as a success.
. . .
But those numbers may not reveal much. Federal officials do not know how many of those who selected plans were previously uninsured, or how many actually paid their premiums. Independent experts warn that the intense focus on national numbers is misguided, and that it will take years to fully assess the law’s impact, much less deem it a success or a failure.

“The whole narrative about Obamacare — ‘Will they get to six million? What is the percentage of young adults going to be?’ — has almost nothing to do with whether the law is working or not, whether the premiums are affordable or not, whether people think they are getting a good deal or not,” said Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, whose analysts are closely tracking the measure.

“It’s almost like trying to predict the local weather from national averages,” Mr. Altman said. “This is really now a state and local game, not a national one.”
So it was all just naked democratic voter outreach afterall?  Local couple upset after receiving pre-marked voter registration card from Covered California
LA MESA, Calif. - A local couple called 10News concerned after they received an envelope from the state's Obamacare website, Covered California. Inside was a letter discussing voter registration and a registration card pre-marked with an "x" in the box next to Democratic Party.

The couple – who did not want their identity revealed – received the letter and voter registration card from their health insurance provider Covered California, the state-run agency that implements President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

They have lived in La Mesa for years and they have always been registered to vote Republican. Now, they are perplexed as to how the voter registration card pre-marked Democrat ended up in their mailbox.

“I'm an old guy and I never would have noticed it, except I have an accountant that notices every dot and dash on a piece of paper as a wife,” said the man who received the mailer.
But I thought for-profit corporations weren't supposed to have political or moral opinions?

Via the DaleyGator: Congressman Mo Brooks Reads a Letter from Dr. Marlin Gill Excoriating Obamacare

About those codes. . . Another nightmare for doctors, courtesy of the federal government
Ever considered suicide by jellyfish? Have you ended up in the hospital after being injured during the forced landing of your spacecraft? Or been hurt when you were sucked into the engine of an airplane or when your horse-drawn carriage collided with a trolley?

Chances are slim.

But should any of these unfortunate injuries befall you after October 1, 2014, your doctor, courtesy of the federal government, will have a code to record it. On that date, the United States is scheduled to implement a new system for recording injuries, medical diagnoses, and inpatient procedures called ICD-10​—​the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases propagated by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. So these exotic injuries, codeless for so many years, will henceforth be known, respectively, as T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter), V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter), V9733XA (Sucked into jet engine, initial encounter), and V80731A (Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter).

The coming changes are vast. The number of codes will explode​—​from 17,000 under the current system to 155,000 under the new one, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
That's because the Federal Government is so reasonable in considering how much work other people should do for its convenience.

While Nancy Pelosi still thinks the law is a plus for Democrats, Harry Reid is taking comfort in the fact that people are losing interest:

Reid: Obamacare Has ‘Dropped Way Down In Significance’
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid admitted during a press conference Wednesday that he doesn't know how many Americans will sign up for Obamacare after the White House granted an open enrollment extension.

“I don’t know how many are going to sign up for Obamacare, but we think it’s going to be a high number,” Reid said. “I don’t know how high it will be, but it will be high.”
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that people will get extra time if they have applied for health insurance through exchanges but can’t finish the process before the March 31 open enrollment deadline.

Reid stated that Obamacare is not very popular among Americans right now.

“Obamacare, if you do a poll of anyone, that’s dropped way down in significance,” Reid said, adding that the health care exchange rollout was “really bad.”
Sadly, betting on apathy and attention deficit disorder in the American public is a pretty solid bet.

Will Obamacare Schadenfreude take a break after the "deadline" passes?  That depends on the quantity and quality of the schadenfreude, but I'm hoping for a bit of a respite while the dust settles.

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