Monday, May 30, 2016

Some Memorial Day Obamacare Schadenfreude

Time for a cleanup. It's been a while.

Prices for health care under the so called "Affordable Care Act" continue to climb. New York Health Insurers Request Huge Rate Hikes For 2017
Health insurers in New York have submitted rate increase requests for 2017 to the state, and some of the hikes are massive. The Empire Center blog has the chart showing what each company is requesting, ranging from 6% to 89%. The average is 12%, which is still bad considering that premiums are already high. The state probably won’t allow the full increases but it will probably still be painful for those who aren’t subsidized. And you’ll never guess why we keep seeing these big rate hikes. . . 
It's too late to paddle faster now... now you can prepare to be like Ned Beatty in "Deliverance" and squeal like a pig.
Happy American Taxpayers, you should have paddled faster when you heard the banjo's, but it's too late now!

The WSJ is reporting that filings by insurance companies for 2017 reflect double-digit premium increases for ObamaCare.
While service continues to diminish: "Sorry, We Don’t Take Obamacare" and As health care insurance companies leave ACA markets, some counties left with only one insurer.

The White House insists it's working, though. I suppose that depend on the meanings of the words "it" "is" and "working". Great news from the White House: ObamaCare has made things so much better
Are the insurance markets better? A new study of those markets by McKinsey & Company show that despite rapidly rising premiums, insurers’ losses accelerated as a percentage of their business in 2015. The Hill reports that it’s just a fact that loss-margins more than doubled:
The study from McKinsey & Company finds that in 2014, insurers had a margin of minus-4.8 percent, translating to an overall loss of $2.7 billion on the individual health insurance market, which includes ObamaCare’s marketplaces.
The study finds those losses roughly doubled in 2015 to between minus-9 and -11 percent margins, based on preliminary data.
Many insurers have been complaining about their losses on the ObamaCare marketplaces and are pushing for policy changes. Premium increases are expected to be higher for next year than in previous years, which is likely to become an election issue.
Even the good news from the McKinsey study shows little hint of healthy markets. The authors see little risk of a “death spiral,” but that doesn’t reflect the health of the market itself. It’s just a fact that the risk is entirely dependent on federal subsidies, and that “traditional factors” such as a sustainable economic model are not relevant. In order to survive, McKinsey makes it clear that the federal government will have to ramp up spending to “stabilize” the markets.
‘Hahahahahahahahaha’! Sorry, Josh Earnest, but nobody’s seriously buying this Obamacare spin

Speaking of "spending to stabilize the markets", Highmark Health sues government for risk corridor payments
For 2014 alone, government officials have acknowledged that this program should have reimbursed Highmark for more than $220 million based on a mathematical formula everyone agreed on when the ACA was created. The government now says it will pay only about $28 million of that amount. In effect, that leaves our organization to pick up the remaining tab. That’s not acceptable.
IRS had concerns about legality of Obamacare payments that are subject of GOP lawsuit

One of the more interesting things that has happened to Obamacare during the hiatus was the unanimous decision by the Supreme Court kick the decision back to the court, and the fighting contestants to work out:
The Supreme Court has issued a unanimous per curiam opinion in the Little Sisters of the Poor case. Rather than deciding the legal issues before it, the Court vacated the judgment of the Court of Appeals, which was adverse to the Little Sisters, and sent the case back to that court so the parties can be given “sufficient time to resolve any outstanding issues between them.”
From Hot Air: 
Following oral argument, the Court requested supplemental briefing from the parties addressing “whether contraceptive coverage could be provided to petitioners’ employees, through petitioners’ insurance companies, without any such notice from petitioners.” Post, p. ___. Both petitioners and the Government now confirm that such an option is feasible. Petitioners have clarified that their religious exercise is not infringed where they “need to do nothing more than contract for a plan that does not include coverage for some or all forms of contraception,” even if their employees receive cost-free contraceptive coverage from the same insurance company. . .
In other words, don’t come back any time soon, y’all. The plaintiffs in all of these cases have said all along that their objection came from the demand by HHS that they had to sign a certification to allow coverage of contraception, as that represented active participation in actions their religious beliefs consider sinful. Every iteration of HHS’ supposed compromises involved some sort of involvement from the employers in those transactions, which is why they refused to back down — and why these cases have dragged on for years.

HHS and the Obama administration didn’t offer this kind of compromise until the Supreme Court’s oral arguments seemed to suggest that the court took a dim view of their argument. It shows that the federal government’s desire all along was to wear down their critics through expensive and lengthy litigation. When that strategy ran out, the Obama administration suddenly got flexible.

So this isn’t a ruling in favor of the plaintiffs as much as it is a signal that the road has run out for pushing nuns, priests, and ministers to pay for contraception, or to certify contraception coverage for those they employ. Given the non-issue that access to contraception is in the US, a rational decision on the lack of compelling interest by the Supreme Court would have been the best outcome. Considering the status of the court today, this may have been the best realistic outcome.
Media Want To Make Sure You Never Hear About ‘The Little Sisters Of The Poor’
Mona Charen noticed something curious about media coverage of the Little Sisters. Over at National Review she wrote:
What’s in a name? The top story in the print version of today’s Washington Post carries this headline: “Justices Return Contraceptive Case to Lower Courts.” In the six and a half paragraphs explaining the decision on the front page, the plaintiff’s name goes unmentioned. When you flip to the jump, you’ve got to read down another five paragraphs to learn this is the case brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor. We shouldn’t fetishize language, but the name of this order of nuns (however it was arrived at — I have no idea how long it has been around or how it chose its name) is perfectly pitched to make liberals/progressives squirm. Just as the Left used every possible locution to avoid using the term “partial-birth abortion” — the editors of the Post and others go to some considerable trouble to bury the name “Little Sisters of the Poor.”
Isn’t that interesting? That our media that seek out and histrionically elevate every sympathetic plaintiff when it comes to cases advancing sexualityism suddenly have trouble even naming the Little Sisters of the Poor?
And Oregon's catastrophic history with Obamacare is back in the news:  GOP report: Oregon wasted millions of Obamacare funds and Kitzhaber administration tried to cover up Cover Oregon failures

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