Friday, April 25, 2014

And Yet More Obamacare Schadenfreude

Ah, another morning and yet more Obamacare Schadenfreude. It's shaping up to be a nice day here again, although the weather forecasters are calling for a line of thunderstorms about time for the evening commute.  Glad I won't have to put up with that.

Now, about that Obamacare Schadenfreude:

Great news: Another wave of health-plan cancellations on the way?
A new report on ObamaCare would tend to distract from the White House victory lap earlier in the month, and might even – gasp! — “re-open” the debate that Barack Obama insisted was closed. Don’t look for this information on the right-wing blogs, though. Vox’s Sarah Kliff, formerly at the Washington Post, warns that another class of policies will get canceled due to coverage mandates, and that will put some lower-income Americans in a fiscal bind:
The Obama administration is quietly trying to stamp out some of the skimpiest health plans, a decision that industry officials say could trigger yet another wave of cancellation notices.
The administration is targeting a type of coverage called fixed benefit or indemnity insurance, which give patients a fixed sum of money whenever they visit the doctor or land in a hospital.
These plans are less expensive than regular medical insurance because they are less robust. And new federal regulations would make it illegal for insurers to sell these plans as stand-alone insurance coverage. Instead, the Obama administration only wants to allow people to buy fixed-benefit plans as supplemental insurance to a more comprehensive medical plan.
So why cancel these plans? Well, for one thing, they don’t meet the coverage mandates of the ACA. For another, as Kliff reports, “consumer advocates” who know better than the consumers themselves want this provision enforced on fixed-benefit plans. That’s going to create yet another wave of consumers who will find out the hard way that the Lie of the Year for 2013 just keeps on chugging along. . .
And the employer mandates have been delayed until after the 2014 elections and some until after 2016.  Does anyone expect health insurance for those covered by their employers to get cheaper or easier after they take effect?

‘Access shock’ prompts WA bureaucrats to ban narrow insurance networks
Get ready: The Affordable Care Act is about to become even more unaffordable:
The practice of offering relatively inexpensive health plans with bare-bones provider networks has created tension between making health care affordable and keeping it accessible. It’s set to come to a head this week in Olympia.
The growth of “narrow networks” in Washington comes as the Affordable Care Act limits the ability of insurance companies to control their costs. That’s made it harder to offer plans at a range of prices — something the companies want to do as they compete for comparison shoppers on the health exchanges.
What this means is that “access shock” is starting to pinch people, and the politicians are getting worried. Commit this next paragraph to memory — it sums up the history of liberalism.
Many companies figured out they could sell cheaper plans that offer consumers fewer choices of where to get care. That caught some consumers, and Washington’s insurance commissioner, by surprise.
The fact that this has “surprised” anyone is grounds for them to be removed from office for incompetence. If insurers can’t set dollar caps or offer plans that don’t cover absolutely everything (such as plans without maternity coverage for older folks), they have to raise prices. In an industry that’s lucky to enjoy at 4 percent profit margin, it’s as simple as that.  . . .
Democrats continue to face election problems because of Obamacare.  The new meme from the Hairy (Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire) Reid and the DNC is to call your constituents stupid if they complain of price increases, higher deductibles or poor coverage in Obamacare.

'A Lot of Misinformation' Defending ObamaCare, Sen. Shaheen gets defensive.
Jeanne Shaheen, the senior senator from New Hampshire, won her seat by defeating a Republican incumbent in 2008. She was thought to have a safe seat this year, and most polls and observers still give her an edge, if a tenuous one, over likely GOP challenger Scott Brown.

But she has a problem. Like every other Democrat who was in the Senate in 2009, she cast the deciding vote that caused the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to become law. The Granite State is nobody's idea of an ObamaCare success story. It is one of only two states (with West Virginia) in which only one insurance company sells medical policies on the ObamaCare exchange.
Blogger Jason Pye seems to have been the first to pick up on a Shaheen appearance last Friday "Good Morning With Dan Mitchell," a radio talk show that airs on WKBR in Keene. His post includes audio of Shaheen's exchange with an unidentified caller, which Pye says he obtained from America Rising, a conservative opposition-research group:
The caller told Shaheen that "President Obama's health care is not affordable."
"It's cost me more, my deductible has more than tripled and my monthly premium has doubled, so it's not affordable," he said. "And so, I'd rather have my old healthcare, my old system back."
Shaheen dismissed his concerns out of hand, telling him to leave his name with the host so her office could call him back "because that doesn't sound right to me." She chalked the caller's complaints up to "misinformation."
"It sounds, and there's a lot of misinformation about what's happening with the health care law," Shaheen told the caller, "so we'll get back in touch with you, we'll find out what's going on with your plan, and we'll help you sort that out because you shouldn't be paying that much more."
Now perhaps this was a Republican prank call, or maybe the guy actually is misinformed. Offering to help sort the matter out is obviously the wise political response, noncommittal in substance while demonstrating (or at least asserting) a commitment to constituent service.

But it was awfully impolitic for the senator to preface her promise with the prejudicial statement "there's a lot of misinformation." The customer may not always be right, but a smart salesman doesn't begin a transaction by saying he's probably wrong. . .
Reading on, you'll see that she often calls her constituents ignorant when they disagree with her on Obamacare. It part of the liberal talking points. How much do you want to bet that she never really had her staff check and get back to the caller?

Instapundit quips: "If we lie to the government, it’s a felony. If the government lies to us, it’s politics as usual."

2.7 Million ObamaCare Enrollees Still Unaccounted For
Affordable Care Act: President Obama has for a while been bragging that 8 million people have signed up for ObamaCare. But the administration still hasn't released the state-by-state numbers to back up that number.
You'd think that with such good news, the administration would want to put out as many details as possible, as soon as possible. But judging by previous months, the latest Health and Human Services enrollment report is now nearly two weeks behind schedule.

As a result, we still don't know where 2.7 million ObamaCare enrollees came from.

Here's what we do know. . .
A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you're talking about real people.

And, bummer, dude, Oregon is probably going to give up its state exchange and go with the federal one:
The Obama administration is poised to take over Oregon’s broken health insurance exchange, according to officials familiar with the decision who say that it reflects federal officials’ conclusion that several state-run marketplaces may be too dysfunctional to fix.

In public, the board overseeing Cover Oregon is scheduled to vote Friday whether to join the federal insurance marketplace that sells health plans in most of the country under the Affordable Care Act. Behind the scenes, the officials say, federal and Oregon officials already have agreed that closing down the state marketplace is the best path to rescue what has been the country’s only one to fail so spectacularly that no resident has been able to sign up for coverage online since it opened early last fall.

As Tom Lehrer said regarding the Folk Song Army.

Remember the war against Franco
That's the kind where each of us belongs
Though he may have won all the battles
We had all the good songs!

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