Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rainy Day Obamacare Schadenfreude

A lot of stuff has piled up in the digital 'fridge, and I aim to clean it all out.

Relatively fresh via Wombat-socho's  "In The Mailbox, 02.08.16", the eminently sensible Megan McArdle explains why Obamacare's Cadillac Tax Will Not Survive. Her conclusion seems to be that it was largely for show, to make it look more "revenue neutral" and that it was never intended to survive:
The backtracking on the Cadillac tax illustrates a few things. First of all, as many of us said at the time, the bill was crammed with unrealistic "pay-fors," which created the illusion of reducing the budget deficit, but which could never be politically sustained. This is exactly what has come to pass, and I think that in the future, we are going to see more such pressure -- for example on the subsidy caps which are supposed to hold them around 0.5 percent of GDP.
As many have expected Obamacare is off to a rocky start in 2016 with only 12.7 million signups, barely above 2015's 10 million, and much lower than earlier hopes of 30 million. and skewed away from the young enrollees required to make the damn thing work, hence Obamacare’s Cost per Beneficiary Explodes with Shrinking Enrollment. If only someone had warned them. . .

Besides United Healthcare, Aetna Insurance said it was having trouble making Obamacare work:
Aetna Chief Executive Mark T. Bertolini said during a call with analysts that the company has "serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges," and wants to see more regulatory moves to improve the ACA marketplaces for insurers. The company said tweaks made so far by the Obama administration have been promising, but not enough to affect Aetna's financial projections.
And Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, meanwhile, expects to lose $400 million on its first two years of ObamaCare. It was able to get rate increases in the state that averaged 32.5%.

And we all know about the failures of the many various Obamacare co-ops, including New York's but we don't know much because Secrecy Shrouds Obamacare Co-Op Investigation
D. Monica Marsh, DFS’s principal attorney, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that Health Republic’s financial records aren’t being made public because doing so would have a “chilling effect” on the state’s official investigation.
And the Tab for John Kasich’s Obamacare expansion tops $6 billion
Medicaid benefits for Ohio’s 650,000 Obamacare expansion enrollees cost $406 million in December. For context, that was more than the state’s higher education and criminal justice spending combined.

If you’re a fan of Obamacare, this represents a rip-roaring success. If you’re not,  I should clarify that we are, in fact, talking about the John Kasich who is running for president as a Republican.

Since January 2014, Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid to working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities has added 5% of Ohio’s population to the welfare rolls and has cost federal taxpayers $6.4 billion.
Needless to say, he's not on my short list for president.

Time for another show trial!  Republican Lawmakers Issue Obamacare Subpoena To Treasury Sec. Jack Lew
House Republican lawmakers issued subpoenas Wednesday to Department of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and three IRS officials following their failure to provide documents after several requests pertaining to the Obama administration’s alleged unlawful payments to insurance companies for nearly a year.
. . .
Brady and Upton wrote a letter with similar demands to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell last week demanding answers on why the Obama administration had funded its Basic Health Program from six months without congressional approval. Burwell has since agreed to a phone call to brief Upton in the issue.
Why would you need a Congress when you have a pen and a phone?

 And also by way of Wombat-socho's  "In The Mailbox, 02.08.16" - Joe Wilson Proved Right. Obama did "Lie" on Illegal Alien Health Coverage
Illegal immigrants and individuals with unclear legal status wrongly benefited from up to $750 million in ObamaCare subsidies and the government is struggling to recoup the money, according to a new Senate report obtained by Fox News.

The report, produced by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, examined Affordable Care Act tax credits meant to defray the cost of insurance premiums. It found that as of June 2015, “the Administration awarded approximately $750 million in tax credits on behalf of individuals who were later determined to be ineligible because they failed to verify their citizenship, status as a national, or legal presence.”

The review found the credits went to more than 500,000 people – who are illegal immigrants or whose legal status was unclear due to insufficient records. -
You expect some fraud, but 500,000 isn't a little cheating around the edges; it's clear the administration has no actual intention of keeping illegal aliens from getting Obamacare, just as it has no intentions of actually enforcing the law on immigration.

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