American Elephants

Daniel Hannan Warned Us in 2009. We Didn’t Pay Attention. by The Elephant's Child

I posted this warning from Britain’s Daniel Hannan, Member of the European Parliament way back in 2009, about imitating their National Health Service. He urged us then not to copy their system. But we didn’t have a choice. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. They drew it up in Congressional back rooms, behind locked doors, and passed it without a single Republican vote and without any Republican input. It’s just kind of interesting to see how far we have come since 2009.

If you remember, many on the right posted this diagram of the enormous bureaucracy that was necessary to administer ObamaCare added on top of the networks of insurance companies and the medical profession. Each of these offices and agencies and bureaus is filled with bureaucrats who have to be paid high Beltway salaries and whose healthcare and pensions have to be paid for with taxpayer dollars. They expected to pay for this by taking $500 billion out of Medicare, paying doctors and hospitals less, limiting networks of providers, and eliminating your ability to get care if you travel. ……….(click to enlarge)

ObamaCare flow chart

Another “Glitch!” More to Come. by The Elephant's Child

Those who purchase health care coverage outside the exchanges cannot claim subsidies, even if they qualify for them, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — the agency overseeing implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Automatic enrollment directly through an insurer would avoid the exchanges — and any subsidies, entirely.

This means that the 14 million people who currently have individual insurance policies don’t get any subsidies if they stay in a grandfathered plan, or if they are enrolled by their insurer into a new ACA compliant plan. You expected any of this to make sense? There are over 20,000 pages of regulations.

Common Sense, Briskly Expressed! by The Elephant's Child

A short piece by Bob Krumm caught my eye this morning. titled “IT’S NOT BUSINESS; IT’S STRICTLY PERSONAL”

Republicans want a delay in Obamacare.  Because of the many significant problems with the rollout of Obamacare, and because he has delayed parts of the law himself some 19 times, President Obama should want a delay in Obamacare too.  One year gives Democrats an opportunity to fix systemic errors in the software, the regulations, and the law.  One year gives nothing at all to the Republicans–nothing–except the opportunity to crow a little bit.

That the President can’t compromise in a way that gives him everything he wants, plus the extra time he needs, is not about business.  It’s strictly personal.

I love it when someone sums up all the arguments of the past few weeks, wraps it up in a brief package and sums it up in a quotable manner. Nice going.


Obama Promised Your Premiums Would Go Down $2,500. Uh huh. by The Elephant's Child

Back in 2008, three eminent Harvard economists who were advising the Obama campaign on matters economic — David Cutler, David Blumenthal, and Jeffrey Liebman — wrote a memo claiming that Senator Obama’s health-care plan could reduce national health spending by $200 billion a year.

Candidate Obama had already claimed that health care costs were spiraling out of control, were going to destroy the economy, wreck the budget, so reducing the out-of-control cost of health care was a very big deal indeed. The advisers took that figure and divided [it] by the country’s population, multiplied by four—for a family of four, and using economist math, rounded it down a little to a nice round number: $2,500. Mr. Obama, delighted, then took that number out on the campaign trail:

And he said he’d lower premiums by $2,500 in his first term as President of the United States. Avik Roy writes the Apothecary blog at Forbes magazine about health care, so with new numbers from the experts working for Medicare’s actuary, he used the same economist math. He took the latest year-by-year projections, divided by the projected U.S. population to determine the added amount per person and multiplied by four—for a family of four. With the best economist math Obamacare will increase health spending by $7,450 for a typical family of four. He even included a dandy graph:CostperFamily

Health care costs have been going down since 2006. New diagnostic tools are in place and paid for. Important new drugs like Statins are saving lives and a lot of heart surgery. It was the president’s claim of $2,500 savings that was completely wrong, but that was the basis on which ObamaCare was sold.

I can make a firm pledge under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

This is a touchy point among progressives. But you might remember that George W. Bush’s Medicare Drug plan is the only government program known to have come in under estimates and under budget. That is because it had a built-in incentive to encourage seniors to select generics when they had the opportunity to, in order to avoid the “donut hole” where they wouldn’t get a subsidy unless they really needed it. Democrats, of course, thought that was mean, (they don’t do incentives) and eliminated the “donut  hole.”

On the other hand, Andy and Amy Mangione of Louisville, Kentucky and their two boys are just the family of four that should be helped by ObamaCare. They recently got a surprise in the mail.

The insurance charges for the Mangione’s policy was going to almost triple — from $333 a month to $965 a month.

The notice from their insurance company carried this paragraph:

If your policy premium increased, you should know this isn’t unique to Humana — premium increases generally will occur industry-wide.

“Increases aren’t based on your individual claims or changes in health status,” it continued. “Many other factors go in to your premium including: ACA compliance, including the addition of new essential health benefits.”

People who currently choose to purchase a high deductible, low premium policy that’s more affordable for them, are now being required to add all these new benefits to their policy. (Even if they don’t want them).

This tells you how government bureaucrats do economic estimates, and why everything always doubles and triples in cost.  (or more) And why you should never believe their numbers.

We Are Slowly Finding Out “What Is In It,” and It’s Not Good. by The Elephant's Child

Further reports on the coming train wreck: Health Insurance rated in Georgia are rising by up to 198 percent under ObamaCare the Georgia Insurance Commissioner said in a letter to HHS on Monday.

Commissioner Ralph Hudgens asked for more time to investigate and approve the new higher rates. Georgia consumers cannot afford these massive rate increases, he wrote to Secretary Sebelius.

For a 25 year-old male, premiums will rise 65 to 198 percent within the exchanges, and for a 45 year-old  male premiums will rise 40 to 100 percent. It seems to involve “age rating” which requires that insurance companies charge no more than three times what they charge younger people. This means that the restriction will lower prices for the elderly and raise them for younger people.

Indiana has announced that insurance rates are rising 72 percent for an individual plan and 8 percent or a group plan.

The Treasury Department Union is up in arms because they are being forced into the exchanges — and these are the people who are supposed to manage it.

Nancy Pelosi Still Doesn’t Know “What Is In It” by The Elephant's Child

Nancy Pelosi, former Speaker of the House, once famously said that “We would have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” They passed it, but she apparently still hasn’t read it. It is long and confusing, but she clearly still doesn’t know what is in it. She can’t get past her extreme partisanship and speak about it honestly. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

She doesn’t remember, but here she is in 2012, asserting that she did too say everyone’s premiums would be lower. You Tube is so darned inconvenient. Politicians just haven’t caught up with the fact that their words are preserved for eternity.

Premiums are scheduled to double for most people. Premiums for a family are expected to be around $20,000 a year. With a vast shortage of doctors, wait times will increase to match the horrors of Canada and Britain.  How to fix it? Well, just turn it into single payer, which is what the Democrats intended all the time. We were talking about trust and truth telling, weren’t we?

ADDENDUM: The Ohio Department of Insurance announced that based on the rates submitted by insurers, the average individual market health insurance premium in 2014 will come in around  $420, representing an increase of 88% relative to 2013. Lt. Governor Mary Taylor said in a statement: “We have warned of these increases. Consumers will have fewer choices and pay much higher premiums for their health insurance starting in 2014.”

A total of 14 companies proposed rates for 214 plans to the Department. Projected costs from the companies for providing coverage for the required (by ObamaCare) essential health benefits ranged from $282.51 to $577.40 for individual health plans. They have not yet been approved by the Department of Insurance. The biggest drivers are 1) risk pool composition charges — forcing the young to subsidize the old, and the healthy to subsidize the sick. And 2) ObamaCare’s required expansion of insurance benefits. Some have the impression that rates are rising because of the law’s requirement or covering pre-existing conditions, but that represents only a very small part of the rise.

Promises, Promises: Obama Doesn’t Understand His Own Bill by The Elephant's Child

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law what he billed as a triumphant reform of America’s health care system. Two days later in a speech at the University of Iowa, the president declared:

From this day forward, all of the cynics, all the naysayers — they’re going to have to confront the reality of what this reform is and what it isn’t. … They’ll see that if Americans like their doctor, they’ll be keeping their doctor. You like your plan? You’ll be keeping your plan. No one is taking that away from you. … It wasn’t Armageddon.”

“If you already have insurance, this reform will make it more secure and more affordable. … Costs will come down for families, and businesses, and the federal government, reducing our deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next two decades. That’s what reform is going to do.”

Last week. President Obama responding to Max Baucus’ comment that ObamaCare was a looming “train wreck,” He claimed it’s all much ado about nothing. “A huge chunk of it’s already been implemented.”

Well, no. All that’s been implemented so far are a mandate to cover children up to the age of 26, and a more generous Medicare drug benefit. Democrats have put off the bulk of the law — the massive market regulations, the government-run exchanges, the mandates to buy coverage and all sorts of taxes and fees — until 2014, both to hide the true cost and to keep the public ignorant before the 2014 election.  Polls have shown that well over 40% of the public don’t know anything about ObamaCare. They probably think it’s free health care.

For the 85% to 90% of Americans who already have health insurance…they don’t have to worry about anything else

The Congressional Budget Office expects 7 million workers to lose their employer coverage because of ObamaCare, and perhaps as many as 20 million. Small businesses now offering coverage face huge rate hikes because of ObamaCare’s regulations and benefit mandates.

“The other stuff’s been implemented and it’s working fine. We’re going to be able to drive down costs…and that will save the country money as a whole over the long term.”

The high risk pools have been a disaster, attracting only a third as many people as predicted while costing far more than was budgeted. HHS had to issue more than 1,200 waivers to companies who said the laws initial insurance market rules would have forced them to cancel coverage for millions of workers. The small business tax credit has also been a bust. Obama’s own number crunchers say ObamaCare will force national health care spending up by at least 7.4% in 2014, and add billions more cost in the next decade.

It was built on lies in the first place, but the reality is turning out to be far worse than even its detractors believed. Seven to twenty million workers will lose their jobs or their jobs will become part-time — less than 30 hours a week. And the cost of their health care will go up dramatically, while they have less money to pay for it.  Forced onto Medicaid? There aren’t enough doctors to go around.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,495 other followers

%d bloggers like this: