Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Some Obamacare Schadenfreude. . .

Keeps cropping up.

By way of Wombat-socho's "In The Mailbox: 10.20.15" from Jammie Wearing Fools: ObamaCare Is Entering Its Dreaded “Death Spiral”
ObamaCare is heading toward a death spiral.

The Obama administration is having trouble selling insurance plans to healthy people. That’s a big problem: When the young and healthy don’t enroll, premiums have to be hiked to cover the costs of older, sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up.

Last Thursday, the administration predicted enrollment for 2016 will be less than half what the Congressional Budget Office predicted in March.

Despite subsidies to help with premiums and out-of-pocket costs, most of the uninsured who are eligible for ObamaCare are saying “no thanks.” Only one in seven is expected to sign up. That’s despite a hefty increase in the financial penalty next year for not having insurance.

The president sees the writing on the wall. You won’t be seeing the customary nationwide TV campaign to encourage sign-ups, as there were in previous years. Remember the young guy in plaid pajamas — “Pajama Boy,” to conservatives — well, he won’t be back this winter.

Bad enough that healthy people aren’t buying. Worse is that the administration is spending billions of your tax dollars covering up the problem, paying insurers to keep offering the plans, even though they’re losing their shirts. But facts are facts — and there’s no hiding these.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell predicts ObamaCare enrollment will inch up by 1 million or so, to 10 million people — half what the CBO forecasted. Open enrollment for the coming year, which begins Nov. 1, “is going to be a challenge,” she said.

David Wichmann, UnitedHealth Group’s president, announced higher premiums last week because enrollees will “require more medical services than original expectations.”

Many states (though not New York) are looking at premium hikes of 30 percent or more, according to a new Robert Wood Johnson/Urban Institute analysis. The Heritage Foundation estimates that insurers lost 12 percent selling ACA plans in 2014, with more losses this year
And even that 9 million number is highly suspect:  Ninety-seven percent of Obamacare’s “newly insured” are from Medicaid expansion
The Obama administration has been bragging that nine million more Americans now have health insurance, thanks to Obamacare. But just like with most numbers cited to support the government takeover of health care in America, that “9 million” figure is deceptive.

We were told that 48 million Americans lacked affordable health insurance and something had to be done, but even five years after the passage of Obamacare, 33 million Americans are still uninsured.

If you dig deeper into the actual numbers and realize what really happened with those 9 million “newly insured”, there’s little reason to cheer.

The number of Americans with health insurance increased by 9.25 million in 2014, the first year that two key provisions of Obamacare took place: the subsidies for coverage purchased through the exchanges and Medicaid expansion. And according to recent research by The Heritage Foundation, out of that 9.25 million, “the vast majority of the increase was the result of 8.99 million individuals being added to the Medicaid rolls.”

In other words, over 97 percent of last year’s newly insured Americans were from Medicaid expansion.
. . .
While Medicaid was originally designed to help needy mothers, children, and the disabled, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion opened up the program to able-bodied, working age adults, the majority of whom have no dependent children and also don’t work. Adding several million people into Medicaid while failing to address the program’s systemic problems with financial solvency and access to doctors is bad enough. But every dollar spent incentivizing a healthy young adult not to work is a dollar taken away from someone who is truly needy and has no other options.
A lot of people who were self employed and already had policies were forced to buy more expensive, Obamacare compliant policies that cover things they didn't want or need, accounting for no net increase. Others found it convenient to switch to Obamacare for the subsidy, which saved them money at taxpayer expenses; but again no net change in enrollment. Only a few, about 1 million actually signed up for new insurance policies (as opposed to Medicaid) under Obamacare. And that is being repeated.

In Case You Were Wondering, Obamacare is Going Great
. . . Let me make a further not-very-bold prediction about these bleak enrollment numbers – the Obamacare penalties are scheduled to take a drastic uptick this year and Democrats are going to be pleading with the Administration beginning pretty much immediately to waive millions of penalties, which they have already done for spurious reasons that were pretty obviously political.

As a result, people are going to get the (correct) impression that as long as the penalties endanger Democrats, they won’t be enforced strictly (or, worse, will be enforced haphazardly), which will as a natural consequence cause enrollment numbers in the future to be even weaker. In other words, Democrats are trading the long-term fiscal solvency of the program for short term avoidance of ballot box annihiliation.

Sooner or later the bill is going to come paid on this ponzi scheme and Democrats – who passed this without a single Republican vote and who have been clear that they stand by the program and all it does – will own it completely. Republicans should continue to make clear their opposition to the bill in its entirety and begin working on a solution to the fiscal problems it has created for insurers that will take effect the day Obama leaves office.
And a further turn of the death spiral.

MOST! TRANSPARENT! EVAH! White House concealing list of a dozen dying Obamacare insurers
Federal officials have a secret list of 11 Obamacare health insurance co-ops they fear are on the verge of failure, but they refuse to disclose them to the public or to Congress, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has learned.

Just in the last three weeks, five of the original 24 Obamacare co-ops announced plans to close, bringing the total of failures to eight barely two years after their launch with $2 billion in start-up capital from the taxpayers under the Affordable Care Act.

All 24 received 15-year loans in varying amounts to offer health insurance to poor and low income customers and provide publicly funded competition to private, for-profit insurers. The eight co-ops to announce closings served populations in ten states: Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.

Nearly half a million failing co-op customers will have to find new coverage in 2016. More than $900 million of the original $2 billion in loans has been lost.

The 11 unidentified co-ops appear to be still operating but are now on “enhanced oversight” by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which manages the Obamacare program. The 11 received letters from CMS demanding that they take urgent actions to avoid closing.
. . .
In creating the co-ops under Obamacare, Congressional Democrats exempted the co-ops from public disclosure rules that apply to publicly traded insurance companies and other publicly traded corporations on such exchanges as the New York Stock Exchange. Those rules require immediate disclosure of materially important financial details.
. . .
The double standard rankles critics of the co-op experiment undertaken by the Obama administration. “The nonprofit co-ops advertise themselves as having a ‘market approach,’” said Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute. “But if it’s a market approach, they are responsible to their shareholders and to the taxpayers to reveal the status of their business.”
I'm shocked, shocked that real insurance companies were better equipped to handle health insurance than "health co-ops" founded by ex-government flunkies and starry eyed idealists.

Are We Really Stuck with ObamaCare?
. . . I’m reminded of the scene in David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago (1965) when Zhivago and his family learn of the execution of Tsar Nicholas. Ralph Richardson wails: “They’ve shot the tsar, and all his family. Oh, that’s a savage deed. What’s it for?” The good doctor answers: “It’s to show there’s no going back.”

As with the Russian Revolution, so, too, with ObamaCare -- you see, “there's no going back” because “there isn’t anything to go back to.”

Or so progressives would have us believe. But there’s no reason to think Mrs. Sebelius knows any more about this than she knew about during its disastrous rollout. As a programmer/analyst on old IBM mainframes, I have some experience with system conversions, and one thing you never do is assume that things will proceed without a hitch. Rather, you operate under Murphy’s Law, which holds that “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” And the thing is: no one knows what all can go wrong. So, what are ObamaCare’s O-rings?

Murphy’s Law (and plain old common sense) dictates that you always leave a path to go back to the old system that you’re migrating from. In some conversions, you may even, for a time, operate off the new system and the old one simultaneously. So if ObamaCare made it impossible to go back to the old system, I’d say that’s a major failing, especially since ObamaCare has been up and running for such a short time, not to mention its problem-plagued implementation. . . .
No, nothing is forever, but unless a miracle occurs, and Barack Obama admits what a fiasco he has created, it won't end until he's out of office.

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