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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Obamacare’s Legacy of Failure

Nearly 6 Years Of Broken Promises Burden Middle-Class Americans

PRES. OBAMA: “[W]hen I sign this bill, all of the overheated rhetoric over reform will finally confront the reality of reform.” (President Obama, Remarks at Signing of the Health Insurance Reform Bill, 3/23/2010)
The Reality For Middle Class Families, Small Businesses:
‘Sticker Shock,’ ‘Higher Premiums, Fewer Doctors and Skimpier Coverage’

“[I]n an interview with CNBC's ‘On The Money,’ a top hospital executive warned that while the Affordable Care Act survived a repeal attempt, it's locked in a tough game of numbers — and few of them are favorable. ‘Premiums are going up, deductibles are higher and that's a problem,’ Dr. Kenneth Davis, Mount Sinai Health System president and CEO said.” (“Obamacare At Age 6: Its Prognosis Is Unclear, Hospital Chief Says,” CNBC, 1/11/2016)

“‘Many middle income people continue to suggest that exchange plans just aren't affordable for them,’ [Caroline Pearson, senior vice president with health care consulting firm Avalere] told CNBC. ‘Even with the subsidies, they simply can't make the monthly premiums work in addition to all of the out of pocket costs.’” (“Obamacare's Troubled 6th Birthday: Affordability Still A Worry,” CNBC, 1/09/2016)

“Many people signing up for 2016 health policies under the Affordable Care Act face higher premiums, fewer doctors and skimpier coverage, which threatens the appeal of the program for the healthy customers it needs. Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings.” (“Rising Rates Pose Challenge to Health Law,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/19/15)

“Premiums for individual plans offered by the dominant local insurers are rising almost everywhere for 2016, typically by double-digit percentage increases, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of plan data in 34 states where the HealthCare.gov site sells insurance. More than half of the midrange ‘silver’ plans are boosting the out-of-pocket costs enrollees must pay, while more than 80% of the less-expensive ‘bronze’ plans are doing so. The Obama administration has acknowledged that premiums are going up, releasing an official analysis that, by one metric, showed the price of second-lowest-cost silver plans was rising 7.5% on average for 2016.” (“Rising Rates Pose Challenge to Health Law,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/19/15)

“[F]or many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage. . . . In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more, a New York Times review has found.” (“Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All But Useless,” The New York Times, 11/14/15)

“Many See I.R.S. Penalties as More Affordable Than Insurance . . . . Clint Murphy let the deadline for getting health insurance by the new year pass without a second thought. Mr. Murphy, an engineer in Sulphur Springs, Tex., estimates that under the Affordable Care Act, he will face a penalty of $1,800 for going uninsured in 2016. But in his view, paying that penalty is worth it if he can avoid buying an insurance policy that costs $2,900 or more.” (“Many See I.R.S. Penalties as More Affordable Than Insurance,” The New York Times, 1/03/2016)
“The vast majority of small businesses are paying more for health insurance for their employees under the health-care law, and many expect their costs to keep going up next year, according to a survey by the advocacy group National Small Business Association.” (“90% Of Small Businesses Say Obamacare Drove Up Health-Care Costs,” The Columbus Dispatch, 11/17/15)

The Reality For The Exchanges: ‘We Cannot Sustain These Losses’

“UnitedHealth Group Inc said it may exit the individual insurance exchanges created under U.S. President Barack Obama's healthcare law, raising new questions about the long-term sustainability of a key Obamacare program. The largest U.S. health insurer said weak enrollment and high medical costs for exchange members were taking too big a toll on its performance.” (UnitedHealth May Exit Obamacare Individual Exchanges, Reuters, 11/20/2015)
Expensive State Exchanges Collapsed While Others Continue To Struggle

(“Fate Of Obamacare Co-Ops Uncertain After Half Collapse,” Fox News, 11/28/2015)

“Nearly half of the 17 insurance marketplaces set up by the states and the District under President Obama’s health law are struggling financially, presenting state officials with an unexpected and serious challenge five years after the passage of the landmark Affordable Care Act. Many of the online exchanges are wrestling with surging costs, especially for balky technology and expensive customer-call centers — and tepid enrollment numbers.” (“Nearly Half Of Obamacare Exchanges Are Struggling Over Their Future,” Washington Post, 5/1/15)
  • “…Oregon has already opted to give up on its website and use HealthCare.gov. The colossal failure of Cover Oregon – which so far has cost $248 million in federal money – has prompted a probe by the General Accountability Office.” (“$474M for 4 failed ACA exchanges,” Politico, 5/11/2014)
  • “Maryland is a state that aspired to be another national model but ended up spending $118 million in federal funds on a fatally crippled exchange. It is in the process of trying to transition to the technology used by Connecticut’s system. It’s still unclear whether the move will meet federal approval. If not, Maryland would default to HealthCare.gov.” (“$474M for 4 failed ACA exchanges,” Politico, 5/11/2014)
  • “Hawaii is taking its troubled ObamaCare insurance exchange off life support/b>, the governor’s office announced Friday, the latest addition to a growing number of state exchanges forced to close after operations became unsustainable.” (“Hawaii Abandons Troubled State Obamacare Exchange,” Fox News, 6/05/2015)
The Reality For Federal Health Spending: ‘The Largest Increase Since 2007’

“U.S. health care spending last year grew at the fastest pace since President Barack Obama took office, driven by expanded coverage under his namesake law and by zooming prescription drug costs, the government said Wednesday.” (2014 US Health Spending Grew At Fastest Rate Of Obama Years, The Associated Press, 12/02/2015)

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