Saturday, October 14, 2017

Post Obamacare Schadenfreude Bliss

I didn't really want to do another one so soon, but right after I pushed publish on the last one, Wombat-socho posted this "In The Mailbox: 10.13.17" with this link to an excellent essay by the usually sensible but always interesting Megan McArdle on Trump's decision to revoke the subsidy funding for Obamacare insurers: 

Obamacare Was Built With the Flaws Trump Now Exploits
. . . After threatening it for months, the president has finally ended the cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers, which subsidize the provision of special policies with lower out-of-pocket expenses for people who make less than 250 percent of the federal poverty line. At the very least, this will probably mean a further increase in premiums, and growing instability in at least the parts of the individual market that aren’t eligible for subsidies to offset the increase. At worst, especially if it gets bogged down in lawsuits, it may cause insurers to say “enough is enough,” leaving broad areas of the country without any firm willing to sell individual policies through the Obamacare exchanges.

While the Congressional Budget Office has issued a delightfully counterintuitive forecast that ending the subsidies could actually increase insurance coverage, there’s little question in my mind that these policies are bad for the exchanges.  At the very least, I think we can all agree that they put the exchanges at greater risk. There is also little question that this is at least part of the reason that the administration is pursuing them. And yet, believe it or not, there are still arguments for both.

It has become evident that millions of uninsured Americans are uninterested in buying insurance on the exchanges, because it’s too expensive, or the “narrow networks” don’t cover enough doctors and hospitals. The new options the administration aims to create could be a genuine boon to those people. If you have spent years bemoaning the dire fate of the uninsured, you have to take that benefit seriously.

As for ending the subsidies … what am I, some sort of monster? Do I just hate the poor so much that I can’t stand to see them getting help paying for health care? Well, no. I have no particular objection to the payments as policy. Except for one small thing, which is that they seem to be sort of illegal. . .
Read the whole thing,; it won't hurt that much. Also from  "In The Mailbox: 10.13.17" , Legal Insurrections Trump Throws Another Blow at Obamacare, Reportedly Scrapping Obamacare Insurer Subsidy Payments and Don Surber reports Fake News on Obamacare:
Bleating Democratic talking points.
CBS: "Trump Cutting Obamacare Insurance Subsidies."
CNN: "Trump begins Obamacare dismantling with executive order."
NBC: "White House Says It Will End Key Obamacare Subsidies to Insurers."
President Trump had no choice.
The money was never appropriated.
 And to round out the news, Rand Paul Squashes The Idea That Trump’s New Healthcare Order Will Hurt The Poor
According to Paul, the ability for many low-income workers to come together to form a group represented by one person would give the power to the consumer, allowing many who can’t afford good insurance plans on their own to become a pile of accumulated money that can.

Paul said that this kind of group plan “requires no discrimination,” and “protects against pre-existing conditions,” since the coverage would be the same kind you get at big corporations. Corporations do not refuse you employment because you have a pre-existing condition, or fire you because you get sick.

Paul explained that his plan that was enacted on Thursday allows individuals to have the same purchasing power as corporations, essentially putting purchasing power into the hands of the people.
That makes almost too much sense to be true.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is signaling Democrats will try to get ObamaCare's insurer subsidy payments included in a December funding deal, adding another legislative item to an already packed end-of-the-year schedule.

"I think we're going to have a very good opportunity in the omnibus to get this done in a bipartisan way, if we can't get it done sooner," Schumer told reporters during a conference call on Friday.

"Democrats are going to work very hard to get these cost-sharing payments restored, but remember there are a whole lot of Republicans who want to get them restored, too."

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