Thursday, March 05, 2015

Obamacare: The Unaffordable Care Act


Obamacare has changed the entire dynamic of employer provided health insurance. Part time employment, dropped plans, huge, unaffordable deductibles, smaller physician networks, greater out of pocket expenditure to continue seeing physicians treating specific chronic ailments who are no longer in network (the greatly touted cure to the previous condition exclusion), etc.

Unlike private employers who need to generate a profit to remain viable, the government has no such concern. They just keep taking or exempting or otherwise siphoning off the money they need from the working members of society under the threat of incarceration.

In fact, kind of sounds similar to the circumstances of a local mob crew trying to muscle in on an existing profitable business.

Here is what has happened with the implementation of Obamacare:

1. Much higher premium increases than many can afford.

2. Loss of preferred insurance plans altogether.

3. Job hour downsizing to part-time status lowering weekly pay, eliminating medical coverage and forcing individuals to purchase their own insurance with the lower pay they will now be receiving.

4. Huge, and in many cases, unaffordable deductible levels, in five figures in many cases.

5. Constrained doctor and hospital networks where people with pre-existing conditions that were being treated are finding that their preferred physicians are no longer in a covered network, forcing them to deal with new out-of-pocket expenses. So much for the "if you like your physician you can keep them" Obama lie.

6. Private medical records and other sensitive identifying information now open to massive security breaches lowering the bar for identity theft and massive fraud.

Need one go on?

Certainly, some Americans will think Obamacare is a godsend. These are the same Americans who feel that they are entitled to a "fair share" of what someone else worked for and earned, just because.

Some Americans think that it's not only ok to take whatever they can, but that it's the government's job to give them whatever they want, because life is hard and they shouldn't have to go without, just because.

But, thinking it's a godsend and recognizing it as a godsend are two entirely different things. The former is just an opinion. The latter is an observation of objective reality.

Already, the objective reality is that Obamacare is a giant honking mess. Already, the objective reality is that many of the things Obamacare was promised to be it isn't. Already, the objective reality is that it's such a stink pile that anyone who can is eschewing it.

If it was a godsend in fact, rather than in the deluded minds of ivory tower liberals, the politicians, the unions and the corporatists would not have used their power and influence to exempt themselves from promised to be it isn't.

Sadly, the latter part of the statement is probably more objectively accurate. It'll be very hard to unravel, politically, unless replaced with an even more statist and redistributionist program. Like "single payer" aka socialized medicine.

The hardest beast to kill on planet Earth is an ongoing federal program. One that hands out oodles of money to millions of self-entitled and rapacious voters?

There are myriad ways to reduce the costs of hospital procedures, medical treatments, etc. They all involve unleashing market forces on health care (those forces are nonexistent right now). What's truly great about this approach is that it doesn't require a bunch of bureaucrats to do some magic voodoo - it just requires politicians to get the government out of the way.

There's nothing "magical" about health care that would make it operate differently from other services and goods in the marketplace. The notion that there is just a snow job by statists, control-freaks, rent-seekers and the ignorant to scare everyone else into ceding them the authority to do as they wish.

I am very concerned about the immediate, raw effects of Obamacare, which are forcing people out of perfectly usable plans onto more expensive ones or, worse, Medicaid.

The law effectively got rid of low-cost plans by requiring the coverage of many more conditions. How could Obama possibly have promised the complete opposite of what has occurred?

Here is an example of what is happening because of Obamacare.’s what’s happening. A young man (40) married with three children was paying BC/BS $ 530 per month with a family deductible of $ 1,250 per year. He was happy with his plan until he received notice that his plan will be canceled on December 31, 2013.

In order to comply with Obmacare regulations he would have to accept the new BC/BS plan which is $ 1,280 per month with a $ 6,000 deductible in order to keep the same coverage.

This young man has never depended on the government for anything, not even student loans. Now, he is being forced via government extortion to pay an unaffordable amount or go without medical protection for his family or go on the government’s basic Medicaid plan which is a bare bones plan to make sure his family has some form of care if needed. He has lost his freedom of choice and the government is behind this, not the insurance companies.

The only affordable choice is Medicaid or no care.

Note the some politicians have exempted themselves from this train wreck by keeping their platinum, taxpayer provided health care coverage. They stand by and watch this train wreck unfold as we get hammered head on.

If you thought $16 trillion in debt was bad, just wait until Obama gets a majority of Americans on Medicaid. This whole thing is a scam.

Furthermore, the law is forcing expensive new obligations onto small to medium size employers, motivating many of them to dump their group plans and compel their employees to seek their own coverage on the exchanges. It’s cheaper to pay the penalty in many cases, so obviously that’s what employers opt to do.

Obamacare is also challenging individuals with a stark choice — buy a plan or pay a penalty. Healthy people in no immediate need of health care obviously will opt to pay the small penalty. People out of work won’t pay anything — penalty or plan — they’ll either be forced onto Medicaid or they’ll just go to emergency rooms if they get injured or sick. Probably most will go to Medicaid.

But doctors are rejecting Medicaid and Medicare patients because of the low reimbursements. It’s simply not worth their time to treat them; better to take on patients with decent plans or self-payers.

I suspect we’ll have an awful lot of people at the bottom, perhaps 25% or 30% of the population, who have no physician and will not get any preventative care but will resort to emergency rooms for acute situations, just as before, only higher numbers than before.

Fact is that on Jan 1, millions more people will be uninsured as a result of Obamacare than were uninsured before through no fault of their own. Some of those people will get sick during the gap in coverage and lose a lot of their wealth.

If the law is repealed thereafter, many of those people will then have preexisting conditions that will make it more expensive for them to purchase coverage. These are responsible people who purchased their own coverage with their own money and who are losing it now because of gross mismanagement.

Obamacare was supposed to extend coverage to the “poor,” not take it away from others. To somebody who is serious about wanting to extend health insurance, this is a total debacle and disaster.

And there’s nothing hypocritical about conservatives being outraged about this. Conservatives believe people should be free to purchase insurance they want, and insurance companies should be free to offer it.

Obamacare is making it impossible for people to buy insurance at all, let alone insurance they want, a direct affront to conservative principles.

Obama’s strategy is obvious: Record food stamps enrollees, record disability enrollees, A record 72,600,000 were enrolled in Medicaid in fiscal 2012.

In June 2011, the number of children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reached 5.5 million in 2013, a bad labor market is forcing the Baby Boomers to retire early on Social Security, lowest labor participation rate since the number was tracked and all of Obama’s policies are aimed at increasing dependency and discouraging work.

Just look at New York City’s experience during the late 60s and early 70s — the growing welfare rolls forced the near-bankruptcy of the city in 1975. It was only loans from the state and federal government that saved the city.

Who is going to bail the country out?

Obamacare is an unholy mess. What we had before was not ideal, but it was by far better than this crazy law. Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced.

Obviously, that’s not going to happen while Obama’s in office, but bandaging it now only makes it more difficult to dislodge it later on.

First, lets acknowledge that no GOP sponsored plan will get past the President’s desk, let alone be signed by him, not this year. We continue to delude ourselves that there’s any chance this administration will work in a bipartisan manner on Obamacare or any other major legislative initiative.

If I were a GOP strategist, I’d start by having a series of bills drawn up that dismantle and rebuild the mess that’s our current health insurance system. I’d put those out to the world with specific points that explain how the bills will address the problems that Obamacare purportedly solves. None of them will ever make it to a vote in the Senate, of course.

The goal here is to have a cogent solution out there after the mid-terms. Then, with the GOP now in control of the Senate, pass those bills and dare Obama to veto them.

There will be much noise, much gnashing of teeth, much fear-mongering, but the only path out of this mess is to offer the people who may now be willing to listen something to listen to. Bandaging this mess affords them the opportunity to delay facing up to their mistake in voting Obama into office.

I don’t trust the feds to choose the best plans for me. I trust myself and independent analysts to do that kind of thing.

I am for free markets and competition that would allow good quality plans to rise to the top. Why must consumers be assumed to be illiterate and stupid and dependent on Big Brother to read the fine print?

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