Tag Archives: Obamacare

“Death Spiral”: Obamacare Premiums May Soar As Much As 91% Next Year, by Tyler Durden

President Trump and the Republicans desperately want to hold on to the House and Senate come November. Why the hell should they if they couldn’t even repeal Obamacare? (If you think the numbers in this story are incorrect or exaggerated: I decided to go uninsured when insurance for my family reached $1600 a month/$19,200 a year with—if I remember correctly—a $14,000 deductible. I’d be out $33,200 before the insurance would pay for anything—that’s probably an appendectomy and a gall bladder removal—and that was for a bare bones plan. Before Obamacare we were paying $350 a month with a $5,000 deductible for a better plan. Fuck you, Barack. Fuck you Republicans.) From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Residents of Maryland and Virginia face double-digit percentage increases in premiums for individual Obamacare plans in 2019, according to rate requests made by insurers.

The largest hikes are being sought by CareFirst, which is seeking a 64% increase in Virginia, and a whopping 91% increase in Maryland for its PPO. Other insurers are following suit in the two states, with Kaiser requesting hikes of 32% and 37% respectively, followed by CareFirst’s HMO offering.

In Maryland, CareFirst wants to raise rates by 91 percent on a plan covering 15,000 people, Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer Jr. said. If approved, premiums for a 40-year-old could reach $1,334 a month. –Bloomberg

That’s over $16,000 per year for an individual plan in a state with an average personal income of $59,524.

“We have folks in Maryland that are struggling, that are trying to do the right thing, and they’re paying more for their health insurance than they are for their mortgage,” Redmer said on a call with reporters.

Maryland is seeking permission from the federal government to create a reinsurance program that would use $975 million in state and federal funds over five years to lower rates. That would help only temporarily, Redmer said. –Bloomberg

I believe we’ve been in a death spiral for a year or two,” he said, adding that a permanent solution requires Congress to fix the Affordable Care Act.

Virginia and Maryland are the first two states in which 2019 rate requests – which are subject to regulatory approval and may change – have been made public, however increases are anticipated across the country as insurers adjust to the post-ACA battle. Final premium increases will need to be approved ahead of the November 1 open-enrollment period.

To continue reading: “Death Spiral”: Obamacare Premiums May Soar As Much As 91% Next Year

 

 

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Obamacare Doing Wonders for the Middle Class, from The Burning Platform

Are You Infuriated Yet? by Chris Martenson

There are rants and then there are rants. This is a first-class rant from Chris Martenson, focused on pensions and medical care. from Martenson at peakprosperity.com:

More and more, I’m encountering people who are simply infuriated with how our “leaders” are running (or to put it more accurately, ruining) things right now. And I share that fury.

It’s perfectly normal human response to be infuriated when an outside agent hurts you, especially if the pain seems unnecessary, illogical or random.

Imagine if your neighbor enjoyed setting off loud explosives at all hours of the day and night. Or if he had a habit of tailgating and brake-checking you every time he saw your car on the road. You’d been well within your rights to be infuriated.

Or to use a much more common example from the real world : When your politicians repeatedly pass laws that hurt you in favor of large corporations — that, too, is infuriating. Especially if those actions run directly counter to their campaign promises.

There’s a lot of be infuriated about in the world today, so go ahead and embrace your rage. By doing so, you’ll be in a better mindset to understand things like Brexit, Catalonia, and Trump, each of which is a reflection of the fury of your fellow citizens, who are finally waking up to the fact that they’ve been victims for too long.

An easy prediction to make is that this simmering anger of the populace is going to start boiling over more violently in the coming years. Welcome to the Age of Fury.

‘Over The Top’ Dumb

Do you ever get the sense that, as a society, we’re being dangerously reckless? Perhaps so dumb that we might not recover from the repercussions of our stupidity for many generations, if ever?

There are economic and financial idiocies in motion that are, by themselves, unsolvable predicaments without a peaceful solution. But when combined with resource depletion and declining net energy, they’re positively intractable.

Take for example the hundreds of trillions of dollars-worth of underfunded entitlement and pension promises. Those promises cannot be kept and they cannot be paid. Everybody with a basic comprehension of math can conclude as such.

Yet we continue to operate as if the opposite were true. We comfort ourselves that, somehow, all the promised future payouts will be made in full — even though the funds are insolvent, their returns are much lower than the actuarial projections require, and payout demand mercilessly rises each year.

Spoiler alert: This isn’t some future disaster lying in wait. It’s unfolding right now.

To continue reading: Are You Infuriated Yet?

Trump and Obamacare, by Andrew P. Napolitano

When the Republican Congress refused to make an appropriation for Obamacare in 2013, President Obama had no constitutional authority to spend the money he deemed necessary for the program. Now President Trump has reversed that unconstitutional executive order. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Late last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the secretaries of the treasury and health and human services to cease making payments to health care insurance companies in behalf of the more than 6 million Americans who qualify for these payments under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Obamacare is the signature legislation of former President Barack Obama, enacted in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. Its stated goal was to use the engine of the federal government to make health insurance available and affordable to everyone in America.

It seeks to achieve that goal by regulating the delivery of health care, giving federal bureaucrats access to everyone’s medical records, compelling everyone in America to acquire health insurance and providing financial subsidies for those people whose household incomes are below certain levels and who do not otherwise qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. Under President Obama, the subsidies were regularly paid, and they had been paid under President Trump, as well, until he decided to cease paying them last week.

Here is the back story.

How is it up to the president to decide whether to spend federal dollars when the law requires him to do so? The answer to that question depends on whether Congress has authorized the specific expenditure of the tax dollars.

Under the Constitution, when Congress passes legislation that directs the president to spend federal tax dollars — or, as is likelier the case today, dollars borrowed by the federal government — Congress must appropriate funds for the expenditure. So for every federal program that spends money, Congress must first create the program — for example, building a bridge or paving an interstate highway — and then it must pass a second bill that appropriates money from the federal treasury and makes it available to the president for the purpose stated in the first law.

To continue reading: Trump and Obamacare

 

How Obamacare Fuels The Obesity Epidemic, by Duane Norman

Reward the obese with lower insurance rates that are subsidized by the healthy, and surprise, surprise you get more obesity and less good health. From Duane Norman at fmshooter.com:

Recently, the CDC announced that America has made a new high; not in the stock market, but in obesity rates:

A troubling new report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that almost 40 percent of American adults and nearly 20 percent of adolescents are obese — the highest rates ever recorded for the U.S.

Many contributing factors have been blamed for causing and/or fueling the obesity epidemic, including, but not limited to: overeating, poor diet, physical inactivity, prescription medications, all the crap that is on grocery store shelves, toxic chemicals, diseases, and just plain old genetics.  But while Obamacare certainly can’t be blamed for America’s ever-increasing obesity, the law has added fuel to the fire, and in a manner that has gone unnoticed by most Americans.

First, it is important to understand exactly what part of Obamacare has changed the health insurance equation; the requirement that individuals cannot be screened for pre-existing conditions or denied coverage on that basis.  While it sounds like a “fair” and equitable idea to force insurers to cover the riskiest patients who need coverage the most, its method of implementation has certainly left “healthy” individuals with far higher premiums relative to their unhealthy counterparts.

I signed up for an individual health insurance plan in 2011, after Obamacare was enacted, but prior to its implementation.  The plan complied with all ACA requirements, but insurers could still “screen” me using their existing process.  I was asked a slew of questions; my age, gender, health history, and questions about my personal habits, including, but not limited to; gender, smoking status, alcohol consumption, exercise habits, risky hobbies (i.e. skydiving), and basically any other question you could imagine an insurer would use to quantify what my premiums should be.

After the ACA, the only questions an insurer can ask about a prospective patient are: age and smoking status.  I was previously under the impression that under the ACA, insurers could charge higher premiums to women, as they use health services far more frequently than men, but “gender rating” is actually illegal under the ACA. 

To continue reading: How Obamacare Fuels The Obesity Epidemic

The Scandalous Truth about Obamacare Is Laid Bare, by Jeffrey Tucker

Governments, particularly Obamacare, are coercive. Markets rely on choice. Allowing even an iota of choice into the medical insurance market will upend Obamacare. From Jeffrey Tucker at theburningplatform.com:

It’s not just that Obamacare is financially unsustainable. More seriously, it is intellectually unsustainable, even though this truth has been slow to emerge. This has come to an end with President Trump’s executive order.

What does it do? It cuts subsidies to failing providers, yes. It also redefines the meaning of “short term” policies from one year to 90 days. But more importantly–and this is what has the pundit class in total meltdown–it liberalizes the rules for providers to serve health-coverage consumers.

In the words of USA Today: the executive order permits a greater range of choice “by allowing more consumers to buy health insurance through association health plans across state lines.”

Allowing choice defeats the core feature of Obamacare

The key word here is “allowing” – not forcing, not compelling, not coercing. Allowing.

Why would this be a problem? Because allowing choice defeats the core feature of Obamacare, which is about forcing risk pools to exist that the market would otherwise never have chosen. If you were to summarize the change in a phrase it is this: it allows more freedom.

The tenor of the critics’ comments on this move is that it is some sort of despotic act. But let’s be clear: no one is coerced by this executive order. It is exactly the reverse: it removes one source of coercion. It liberalizes, just slightly, the market for insurance carriers.

Here’s a good principle: a government program that is ruined by permitting more choice is not sustainable.

To continue reading: The Scandalous Truth about Obamacare Is Laid Bare

When Life Gives You Paul Ryan, Make Lemonade, by Ann Coulter

How the Republicans could make the best of their botched efforts at repealing and replacing Obamacare. From Ann Coulter at anncoulter.com:

It is now clear that Republicans are incapable of giving us a free market in health insurance, so it continues to be illegal in America to buy health plans that don’t cover shrinks, domestic violence counseling and HIV screening, and perhaps always shall be.

But there are still other good things Republicans can do!

First, for fun, Republicans ought to request a Congressional Budget Office score of Obamacare. The GOP’s various replacement bills have been pilloried over their CBO scorings, showing, for example, that if given a choice, up to 20 million Americans would voluntarily choose not to buy health insurance in the year 2026. The horror.

Hey, does anybody remember how the Democrats “scored” Obamacare?

I do! Democrats gamed the numbers given to the CBO by asking it to score the first 10 years of a bill that collected taxes for 10 years, but only started paying out benefits in the last six years.

On the basis of that accounting trick, the Democrats spent months hectoring Republicans who refused to vote for the bill, saying they were against SAVING THE TAXPAYERS MONEY. Yes — we’d be SAVING MONEY by providing health care for all, especially transgenders and illegals.

Now that both parts of Obamacare are in place — the money coming in and the money going out — how about asking the CBO to score the real Obamacare?

Second, where are the hearings? The usual complaint with Republicans is that they’re all talk, no action. But when it comes to Obamacare, it’s the reverse: The GOP is all action, no talk.

I pay attention to politics. Have there been hearings I’ve missed? Republicans seem to think the Tea Party did all their work for them, so why bother losing friends by holding hearings to demonstrate what a catastrophe Obamacare is?

No, that’s not how it works. The public needs to be educated on the destruction Obamacare has wrought. Apparently, so do members of Congress, having exempted themselves from experiencing Obamacare the way the rest of us do.

To continue reading: When Life Gives You Paul Ryan, Make Lemonade