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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)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Obamacare Train Wreck: GAO Report | Over 60,000 Louisanans Face ‘Double-Digit Rate Increases’ | Oregon Medicaid Patients ‘Suffer From "Widespread Physician Shortage’

Toon by William Warren
Today in Washington, D.C. - July 24, 2014
The House reconvened at 10 AM today. The will be considering the following bills today:
H.R. 4984 — "To amend the loan counseling requirements under the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5111 — "To improve the response to victims of child sex trafficking."
H.R. 3393 — "To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to consolidate certain tax benefits for educational expenses, and for other purposes."

Yesterday the House passed the following bills:
H.R. 2283 (Voice Vote) — "To prioritize the fight against human trafficking within the Department of State according to congressional intent in the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 without increasing the size of the Federal Government, and for other purposes."
H.R. 3136 (414-0) — "To establish a demonstration program for competency-based education."
H.R. 4449 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to expand the training for Federal Government personnel related to trafficking in persons, and for other purposes."
H.R. 4980 (Voice Vote) — "To prevent and address sex trafficking of children in foster care, to extend and improve adoption incentives, and to improve international child support recovery."
H.R. 4983 (Voice Vote) — "To simplify and streamline the information regarding institutions of higher education made publicly available by the Secretary of Education, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5076 (Voice Vote) — "To amend the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to increase knowledge concerning, and improve services for, runaway and homeless youth who are victims of trafficking."
H.R. 5116 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to train Department of Homeland Security personnel how to effectively deter, detect, disrupt, and prevent human trafficking during the course of their primary roles and responsibilities, and for other purposes."
H.R. 5134 (Voice Vote) — "To extend the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity and the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance for one year."
H.R. 5135 (Voice Vote) — "To direct the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking to identify strategies to prevent children from becoming victims of trafficking and review trafficking prevention efforts, to protect and assist in the recovery of victims of trafficking, and for other purposes."

The Senate reconvened at 9:30 AM today and resumed post-cloture consideration of the motion to proceed to S. 2569, a bill that would change the tax code concerning tax breaks for moving expenses for certain corporations.

At 1:45 PM, the Senate agreed to the motion to proceed to S. 2569 by voice vote and then began voting on cloture on the nomination of Pamela Harris, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fourth Circuit.  Following that vote, voice votes are scheduled for nominees for Assistant Secretary of the Air Force, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, and Deputy Secretary of Commerce.

Another Bad Week For Obamacare Train Wreck with the news about Americans struggling with the narrow networks Obamacare imposes and the GAO investigation finding it easy to create fraudulent accounts to get subsidized insurance. Today features more problematic news for Democrats’ unpopular health care law.

The AP reports on more premium increases being sought in Louisiana. “Thousands of people who bought health insurance through the marketplace created by the federal health care overhaul face price hikes next year that could top 10 percent. More than 60,000 people who get health insurance through the individual marketplace — which was expanded by the federal Affordable Care Act — are in line for double-digit rate increases on Jan. 1 if they keep their current policies. The companies filed paperwork with Louisiana's insurance department outlining those planned rate increases for 2015. Lower rate hikes falling below 10 percent next year will hit individual market policies covering another 27,000 people. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said the average health insurance rate increase planned in the state's individual market next year is 12 percent to 13 percent. ‘We are seeing a negative trend in that we are seeing increases instead of decreases as a result of this new system of health insurance,’ Donelon, a Republican who opposed the federal law, said this week. . . . [I]nsurance officials say the increases are larger than the price hikes enacted annually before the federal law was put in place. ‘Prior to the implementation of the law, increases mirrored health care trend, which was in single digit increases,’ said John Maginnis, spokesman for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, the largest provider of insurance offerings on the federal marketplace for Louisiana. . . . The highest rate hikes proposed for the individual marketplace are from Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in Louisiana. The company's double-digit planned increases top 18 percent and involve policies covering 52,000 people. . . . The Louisiana Health Cooperative is raising rates by more than 10 percent for policies that cover about 2,000 people. Humana, which offers coverage through the marketplace only in Jefferson Parish, is planning to increase prices by more than 15 percent for individual market policies that cover more than 4,900 people.”

Of course, Americans remember President Obama pledged that “[t]his law will lower premiums,” one of a string of broken promises about his health care law.

Meanwhile, in Oregon, the troubles brought on by Obamacare continue. According to another AP report, “Low-income Oregon residents were supposed to be big winners after the state expanded Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul and created a new system to improve the care they received. But an Associated Press review shows that an unexpected rush of enrollees has strained the capacity of the revamped network that was endorsed as a potential national model, locking out some patients, forcing others to wait months for medical appointments and prompting a spike in emergency room visits, which state officials had been actively seeking to avoid. The problems come amid nationwide growing pains associated with the unprecedented restructuring of the U.S. health care system, and they show the effects of a widespread physician shortage on a state that has embraced Medicaid expansion. . . . [E]arly indications show clear challenges associated with expanding Medicaid and establishing coordinated care networks, the centerpiece of Gov. John Kitzhaber's plan to reduce costs and improve care by focusing on primary care and keeping patients out of emergency rooms. ‘As soon as people got insured, they all showed up at once, wanting to deal with the problems they couldn't deal with for years,’ said John Guerreiro, a primary care doctor in northwestern Oregon.”

The AP details just some of the problems Oregon patients and doctors are experiencing. “Timothy McDaniel, a self-employed computer programmer from Springfield, gained Medicaid coverage in January and said it took him six months to find a doctor. He even went to an urgent care clinic seeking a wellness exam but was turned away, because the facility didn't provide such evaluations. ‘It was rather frustrating because I'm getting older, I'm in my late 50s,’ McDaniel said. ‘I thought I had this health insurance. I wanted to use it. I wanted to get checked out, and I couldn't.’ The flood of new enrollees like McDaniel has hit hardest in rural parts of the state, where the physician shortage is most severe. But problems have been reported from every corner, the AP has learned after contacting each of 15 regional coordinated care organizations, regional networks of doctors and nurses intended to see patients more often for treatment of small and chronic problems. The coordinated care model has been championed by the state's Democratic governor, an early supporter of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and is unique to Oregon. . . . Two regions have stopped accepting new patients, locking out more than 16,000 new enrollees in western and southern Oregon, state data shows. The new patients are still insured, but without a coordinated care network, they're on their own to find a doctor. Eight regions saw some practices, clinics and individual doctors close to new Medicaid enrollees. . . . Seven regions report that new patients are facing long waits for primary care visits, delays that can last months. . . . Seven regions report an increase in ER visits, up to 30 percent, in a statistic that has been particularly troubling for supporters of Oregon's efforts.”

Obamacare is a mess. It’s exacerbating many health care problems, costing a great deal of money, hurting patients, straining medical practices and facilities, raising premiums, narrowing provider networks, and failing to live up to the promises Democrats made when they passed the law. It needs to be repealed and replaced with real commonsense health care solutions, not a one-size-fits-all government centered approach.

Tags: Obamacare, Trainwreck GAO, Rate increases, no doctors taking plan, Washington, D.C., House, Senate, bills, nominations, 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 1:36 PM - Post Link


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