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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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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)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pair of Train Wrecks: Obamacare And Veterans Administration Healthcare

Today in Washington, D.C., May 23, 2014
The Senate reconvened at 10 AM today for a pro forma session. Another pro forma session will be held Tuesday at noon.

Yesterday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked unanimous consent to pass the bipartisan House bill (H.R. 4301) allowing more VA accountability, but Senate Democrats objected.  Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid would not allow consideration or a vote on the bill.  The Senate adjourned for Memorial Day weekend.  What Irony!  While vets suffer and die in a failing VA Senate, Democrat Senators would not allow a vote on the VA Accountability bill.

Also yesterday, the Senate voted 53-45 to confirm David Barron to be a United States Circuit Judge for the First Circuit and 91-7 to agree to the conference report on H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform and Development Act.

The House will meet for a proforma meeting at 3:00 PM and then recess. The House is scheduled to reconvene Tuesday at Noon

The country has rightly been focused on the unfolding VA scandal and the Obama administration’s so far inadequate response this week. However, news reports about the various problems and dysfunctions of Obamacare have continued, and they’re worth noting.

Democrats’ unpopular health law continues to break the promises they used to sell it. In 2010, President Obama said, “All this is going to lower premiums. It's going to make healthcare more affordable.” The Hill wrote yesterday, “States are nailing down dates to release 2015 premium costs under ObamaCare, and their decisions will guarantee a drumbeat of news about rate hikes all the way to the November midterm elections. . . . Premiums are expected to go up in a majority of states . . . . A survey by The Hill of state insurance commissioners found that news about ObamaCare premiums will hit nearly every week this summer . . . . Generally speaking, states with fewer carriers on the exchanges — those with older and sicker populations, and others that did not meet their enrollment targets — are more likely to see higher premium increases. These states could include Hawaii, West Virginia, Ohio and Iowa. West Virginia will release its rates via public records request in September, while Ohio is expected to publish prices by the end of this month. Hawaii and Iowa did not disclose their dates to The Hill. Other states have already announced modest increases, including Kentucky, Indiana, Washington state, Virginia and Arizona. . . . The Obama administration has acknowledged that rates will go up. Outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has told Congress that rates will increase in 2015, but more slowly than in the past. Republicans note that President Obama promised on the campaign trail to enact a healthcare law that would ‘cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.’”

Another claim made by Democrats as they jammed Obamacare through Congress was that the law would reduce emergency room visits and therefore would bring health care costs down. Of course, The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week, “Early evidence suggests that emergency rooms have become busier since the Affordable Care Act expanded insurance coverage this year, despite the law's goal of reducing unnecessary care in ERs. Almost half of ER doctors say they are seeing more patients since key provisions of the health law took effect Jan. 1, while more than a quarter say their patient volume has remained the same, according to a survey to be released Wednesday by the American College of Emergency Physicians. Eighty-six percent of emergency doctors expect visits to rise over the next three years, though the email survey didn't ask the doctors why. Democrats who designed the 2010 health law hoped it would do the opposite. They wanted to give the uninsured better access to primary-care doctors who could treat routine ailments and prevent chronic disease, with the intent of keeping patients out of the ER and lowering the cost of care. . . . Instead, the ER doctor group's research and several other recent studies suggest that people who gain private and government insurance are more likely to seek emergency care. . . . In Oregon, which expanded Medicaid coverage in 2008, ER visits rose 40% over 18 months among low-income residents who gained coverage compared with those who didn't, according to a January report in the journal Science. . . . In four states that expanded Medicaid Jan. 1, Tenet Healthcare Corp. saw 25% more Medicaid ER visits in the first quarter compared with a year earlier. . . . In Phoenix, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center typically reduces its ER staff up to 7% as wintertime residents leave the area. Not this year. A rise in ER volume means patients face a delay in getting a room, a slight increase in wait times and no plans to curb summer staffing, said Moneesh Bhow, medical director of the emergency department.”

Meanwhile, the saga of the Obamacare exchanges and their broken websites continues. According to The Washington Post, “The government may be paying incorrect subsidies to more than 1 million Americans for their health plans in the new federal insurance marketplace and has been unable so far to fix the errors, according to internal documents and three people familiar with the situation. The problem means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people are receiving bigger subsidies than they deserve. . . . The government has identified these discrepancies but is stuck at the moment. Under federal rules, consumers are notified if there is a problem with their application and asked to upload or mail in pay stubs or other proof of their income. Only a fraction have done so, according to the documents. And, even when they have, the federal computer system at the heart of the insurance marketplace cannot match this proof with the application because that capability has yet to be built, according to the three individuals. . . . Under current rules, people receiving unwarranted subsidies will be required to return the excess next year. The inability to make certain the government is paying correct subsidies is a legacy of computer troubles that crippled last fall’s launch of HealthCare.gov and the initial months of the first sign-up period for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Federal officials and contractors raced to correct most of the technical problems hindering consumers’ ability to choose a health plan. But behind the scenes, important aspects of the Web site remain defective — or simply unfinished.”

And Politico reported on Tuesday that another state is scrapping its troubled exchange. “Nevada has become the latest state to scrap its crippled Obamacare exchange and join the federal HealthCare.gov for at least a year. . . . [T]he Nevada exchange board decided Tuesday that its effort couldn’t be salvaged in time for the 2015 enrollment season that starts in November. Nevada becomes the fourth state to admit its enrollment system, which cost tens of millions of dollars, is beyond repair and move to replace it with a substantially new one. . . . Nevada initially set out to enroll 118,000 people by March 31, but severe tech problems forced state officials in January to slash the projection to 50,000. The exchange spewed out inaccurate information to people signing up, including incorrect subsidy amounts for low-income people. As of May 10, just 35,000 had officially enrolled.”

The negative consequences of Democrats’ unpopular health care law continue to pile up, as do the failures and bureaucratic red tape of both Obamacare and VA-Care. Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with step-by-step solutions that actually address health care costs.

Ditto Veterans Health Care! Fire some people and motivate them to do their required jobs! Move to privatizing / choice for veterans.

Tags: VA, Healthcare scandal, Obamacare scandal, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 11:31 AM - Post Link

2 Comments:

Anonymous Larry Hicks said...

The VA scandal is one payer government controlled. Exactly what he hopes to achieve with obamacare.....The secret waiting lists, they are death panels.Get used to it America, you voted twice for this guy..

5/24/2014  
Anonymous William LaSalle said...

William LaSalle 10:57am May 26
Calling our VA or Obamacare a Train Wreck is an insult to Train Wrecks.

Shut down the Bureau of Land Management and the IRS and quit using the Federal Agencies to harass, intimidate, and investigate citizens, patriots, conservatives, and Christians.

Why can't the liars and parasites of our current Senate and House and Obama's Administration keep their Oath of Office' ?

No Incumbents.

The lies about Benghazi were not Talking Points, they were Obstruction of Justice and Treason.

Arrest Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice for Treason.

5/26/2014  

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