Sunday, July 10, 2016

Ongoing Obamacare Schadenfreude

It's slow to develop these days, but it keeps on keepin' on:

Obama admin: Dropoff in Obamacare enrollment since January
The number of people enrolled in coverage through President Barack Obama’s health care law this year decreased to 11.1 million by the end of March, down from 12.7 million by the January deadline.

The Obama administration released new enrollment numbers Thursday that showed the number of people who signed up by January 31 exceeded those who were covered in the spring. A dropoff in enrollment has happened before, and is partially caused by people who sign up for coverage by the deadline but then lose it because they do not pay their premiums.

People have also lost coverage because of issues due to citizenship or immigration paperwork.
What, you mean illegal aliens have been using the program? You lie! BREAKING NEW REPORT: Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Highlight Obama Admin’s Unprecedented Obstruction to Withhold Facts On Billions In Illegal Obamacare Payments and  Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day
While it isn't true that every bad idea originates in California, it does seem to be the place where any bad idea can go to receive the love and attention it needs to blossom into a fully-grown public policy.

To wit
A group of nine House Republicans from California is calling on the Obama administration to reject a request from the state to allow people in the country illegally to purchase health insurance through ObamaCare. . .
This is what leftists do: Make a small crack in the dyke, then wait for the inevitable flood of free water.
Attrition among the Obamacare Co-ops continues. Connecticut Obamacare co-op placed under state supervision, will shut down next year and Oregon fail: Another ObamaCare co-op collapses
At least their co-op lasted longer than those in most other states. In a classic Friday night news dump, the state intervened to shut down its last remaining ObamaCare co-op after the government realized that it had badly misrepresented how much federal funding it would receive. . .
It's almost like leftists don't know how to run a successful business that needs to just break even. Obamacare Insurers Are Looking for a Taxpayer Bailout
Earlier this month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina joined a growing list of insurers suing the Department of Health and Human Services for more subsidies from the risk-corridor program. Congress set up the program to indemnify insurers who took losses in the first three years of Obamacare with funds generated from taxes on “excess profits” from some insurers. The point of the program was to allow insurers to use the first few years to grasp the utilization cycle and to scale premiums accordingly.

As with most of the ACA’s plans, this soon went awry. Utilization rates went off the charts, in large part because younger and healthier consumers balked at buying comprehensive coverage with deductibles so high as to guarantee that they would see no benefit from them. The predicted large windfall from “excess profit” taxes never materialized, but the losses requiring indemnification went far beyond expectations.
If only someone had predicted this. . . GOP Report: Obamacare cost-sharing payments violated the Constitution
There are two major payments set out under Obamacare. First, premium tax credits, often referred to as subsidies, offset the monthly cost of insurance. Second, cost-sharing reductions are payments made to insurance companies to offset high deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. The Obamacare law included a permanent appropriation of money to pay for the premium subsidies but not for the cost-sharing payments.
The report issued Thursday demonstrates that the Obama administration initially recognized it did not have any authority to make these cost-sharing payments to insurers. The NY Timesreports:

The Republican report says the administration’s treatment of the tax credits as it began setting up a new payment system validates the Republican criticism of the cost-sharing subsidies. The report notes that while the authority for the tax credit was undisputed, the administration itself could identify no funds available for the cost-sharing element.
A previously undisclosed 2012 Treasury Department memorandum included in the report stated “there is currently no appropriation to Treasury or to anyone else, for purposes of the cost-sharing payments to be made.” It adds that the eventual basis for making them “can be determined only in connection with whatever statute ultimately appropriates funds for the cost-sharing program.”
Republican investigators say the view that even the administration believed it needed to find new money was further bolstered by the administration’s decision in April 2013 to seek a nearly $4 billion annual appropriation for the cost-sharing program in its budget.
So Treasury could not identify a funding source and the administration went to Congress to ask for $4 billion in funding which clearly indicates it believed an appropriation from Congress was needed. But then the administration reversed course and withdrew that appropriation request during a phone call, not in writing as would normally be the case. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) then prepared a memo authorizing the payments without an appropriation.

The report says efforts by Congress to explore the administration’s decision were met with an “unprecedented” level of obstruction. . .
An "unprecendented" level of obstruction is a pretty jigh bar in an administration noted for it's many levels of obstruction. Court Strikes Down Obama Health Care Rule on Insurance Standards
A federal appeals court has ruled that consumers must be allowed to buy certain types of health insurance that do not meet the stringent standards of the Affordable Care Act, deciding that the administration had gone beyond the terms of federal law.

The court struck down a rule issued by the Obama administration that barred the sale of such insurance as a separate stand-alone product.

“Disagreeing with Congress’s expressly codified policy choices isn’t a luxury administrative agencies enjoy,” the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said on Friday in a decision that criticized “administrative overreach” by the Department of Health and Human Services.

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