Sunday, December 28, 2014

Last Call for Obamacare Schadenfreude 2014

Likely the last Obamacare Schadenfreude for 2014; I don't see much coming down the road for the next few days.

Really more of a New Years hangover: Obamacare’s Christmas surprise
If you like your health care plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a Christmas surprise for you! When will this new present arrive? December 25th.

In an ongoing effort to keep Obamacare numbers elevated, CMS has embarked on the next step of its government takeover of healthcare.

It seems CMS is taking a page from Jonathan Gruber’s book; rather than allowing the “stupid” masses to make a decision on their own health plan, CMS has proposed a new rule that includes an overly reaching provision allowing CMS to re-enroll anyone who has not made the annual trek back to in a cheaper plan of CMS’ choosing.

That’s right, the government will choose your plan, perhaps limit access to your doctor, and ultimately make the decision on what is “best” for you.

Not to worry, just like Lady Justice, who wears a blindfold when determining guilt or innocence, CMS will use a blindfold to pick your plan. The agency will select your plan without knowing your medical history. They will do so without knowing if you are currently undergoing treatment or working with a specific doctor. They will do so without knowing your financial status. Despite the fact that the millions of people who already enrolled chose the plan that they believed was best for them.
This, of course, is contrary to the practice in employee based insurance, where you would stay enrolled in your current plan by default. But then, the government presume to know what's best for you, and is willing to bet your life on it.

 A Year Later, the Exchanges Still Stink
One day soon I will presumably receive a notice from the D.C. health exchange informing me how much my family’s health insurance will cost for 2015. That I’ve not yet been made privy to this salient bit of information mere weeks before I have to decide whether to change providers is a function both of the low level of competency that can be expected of any government dabbling in commerce as well as the politicization of the exchanges.

In its first year of existence, the D.C. government’s health exchange has worked much as I anticipated—not very well. It took months to navigate the website to actually purchase insurance, and the communiques from the exchange have ranged from irrelevant to unhelpful to factually incorrect. . .
Why single payer died in Vermont
Vermont’s public failure is especially frustrating to single-payer advocates because, they note, the Shumlin framework, which had gotten approval of the state legislature minus that key financing element, wasn’t really a true single-payer plan. Notably, large businesses that operate in multiple states would have been exempt. And it was unclear whether or how enrollees in federal plans like Medicare and TRICARE could be integrated into the state’s plan.

Those exemptions cut into the funding base while adding administrative complexity, eliminating one of the potential cost-saving elements of single-payer: simplicity.
The usual liberal excuse for the failures of socialism and communism; you didn't give use full rein. The truth is, there just wasn't enough other peoples money available.

CoOportunity Health falters, taken over by state
CoOportunity Health, a fledgling Iowa health insurance company set up under the Affordable Care Act, has been taken over by state regulators and could soon go under, officials said Wednesday.

CoOportunity Health is an insurance cooperative, which was set up to give consumers and small businesses an alternative in a market with few choices. The company has received about $146 million in federal money under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said that CoOportunity Health has about 120,000 members in Iowa and Nebraska, and saw its available money drop from $47 million to $17 million from Oct. 31 to Dec. 12.

The company hasn't reached insolvency, he said, but it doesn't have enough money on hand. In layperson's terms, he said, it's as if a small business suddenly had its credit cut off by a bank, which in this case is the federal government.

"They ran into a liquidity crisis, and their lender shut the window on them," Gerhart said.
Supreme Court to hear ObamaCare subsidy challenge in March
The highly anticipated case challenging ObamaCare's subsidies will officially reach the Supreme Court on March 4.

Justices will hear arguments in King v. Burwell in just under three months, according to the court’s schedule posted Monday afternoon.

The case, led by conservative groups, questions whether the federal government can legally hand out healthcare subsidies in 34 states that have opted out of creating their own exchanges.

The plaintiffs of the case also released their opening brief on Monday, a 129-page document that lays out their case against the subsidies.
Another roll of the dice on Chief Justice Roberts?  It's too bad they don't have witnesses at Supreme Court hearings. I'd like to see Dr. Jon Gruber do his grovelling act there.

Time to Start Prepping ObamaCare Reforms
The issue in the case is that the Affordable Care Act makes subsidies available for individuals to buy health insurance through exchanges “established by the states.” But 36 states have not established exchanges of their own and rely instead on the federal portal. The plaintiffs assert that the IRS has no authority under the law as written to provide subsidies to residents of states with no state exchange.

If the court agrees, about four million individuals who are currently receiving these subsidies would lose them. For these people, the highly regulated and expensive coverage mandated by the law’s insurance rules might not be affordable. Governors and legislators in those 36 states that declined to set up exchanges may confront intense pressure to quickly restore access to subsidies.

In essence, if the court rules today’s subsidies illegal, those state officials could face a choice between creating a state exchange (and so reinforcing ObamaCare) or seeing some residents lose coverage they now have. ObamaCare’s opponents in Congress should give them a third option: a viable alternative to the Affordable Care Act.
Yep, it's time for Republicans to start planning a post-Obamacare future. 

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