Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ongoing Obamacare Schadenfreude

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration's first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

Those who don’t confirm their income levels could lose their tax credit and face higher premiums and higher deductibles.

Nearly 90 percent of the 8 million people who signed up for ObamaCare have received government subsidies. The average consumer pays $82 per month for a $346 plan, receiving an average subsidy of $264.

The administration had already warned that it would end coverage for the 966,000 individuals whose immigration status could not be confirmed by the government. About 115,000 people will lose coverage this month if they do not submit their paperwork, Andy Slavitt, principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told reporters Monday.
What the new uninsured numbers don’t tell us about Obamacare
. . . the Census on Tuesday also released results from the American Community Survey — a separate measure of the uninsured rate — which found a .2 percentage point decline in the rate of people who did not have health insurance between 2012 and 2013.

The Census numbers came out on the same day a separate government survey measured the drop in the uninsured rate in the first quarter of 2014, when Obamacare took effect. The percentage of uninsured adults fell from 20.4 percent to 18.4 percent — or about 41 million adults — in the first three months of 2014, according to the National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The largest decrease in the uninsured rate was recorded among young adults age 19-25, from 19.8 percent in 2013 to 14.9 percent in first quarter of 2014, according to the CDC survey. States that opted for the ACA’s voluntary Medicaid expansion saw their adult uninsured rate drop 18.4 percent in 2013 to 15.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014, while those that hadn’t expanded as of last October saw “no corresponding significant decrease,” the CDC survey found. . .
Woo hoo! We destroyed the American insurance system for 0.2%.

Hat tip to Wamobat-socho's "Live at Five: 09.17.14": Watchdog report: still has security issues
Despite efforts to protect patient information on the website, a new government watchdog report scheduled to be released Thursday says security issues are still a concern.

According to the Government Accountability Office report, “weaknesses remained in the security and privacy protections applied to and its supporting systems.”
The agency will present its findings to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday.

In the report, the GAO makes six recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services to implement security and privacy controls to protect sensitive material. The report also makes 22 recommendations to resolve technical weaknesses in security controls.

Problems with the site ranged from the agency not setting up an alternate processing site for systems to allow them to be recovered if the site was hacked or went down to the strength of passwords.
5 years, and they still haven't gotten it right. Maybe they can't.

Obamacare paying for abortions:
More than four years later, the GAO confirms what opponents knew would happen when the federal government took over the health-insurance industry:
The Government Accountability Office said in a report released late Monday that only 1 of 18 insurers it reviewed was separately itemizing a charge for coverage of elective abortions on enrollees’ bills.
That detail is important because the original compromise that President Barack Obama sealed with anti-abortion Democrats stipulated that no federal funds would be used to pay for elective abortions. Instead, private health plans covering the procedure would collect a separate premium, which would be segregated from federal subsidies for other medical services.
Although abortion is a legal medical procedure, longstanding federal laws prohibit taxpayer funds from being used to pay for it, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother.
The new GAO review did not address the fundamental question of whether federal subsidies under the health law are being used for elective abortions, but abortion opponents said the findings underscore their view that the compromise is an accounting gimmick.
In a written response, the Health and Human Services Department said it “acknowledges that additional clarification may be needed” when it comes to the health law’s provisions on abortions.
If they aren’t segregating the coverage, then any subsidies provided go explicitly for abortion coverage. That’s pretty simple, as the subsidies are calculated in part on the price of the premiums. It’s worth noting, as it was at the time of the ObamaCare debate in Congress, that subsidies would still indirectly facilitate abortion coverage even if insurers were following the law, but since they’re not, that point is moot anyway.
That's OK; I encourage liberals to get abortions, on the off chance that there is a genetic component to liberalism as they often claim. We might as well pay for it. Maybe even make it mandatory.

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