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Canary in the Obamacare Coal Mine


Valin

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Despite What the White House Says, Obamacare Is Deeply Troubled

 

Open enrollment on Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges is in full swing. Consumers in most states, including the 33 that use the federally operated HealthCare.gov, have until Jan. 15 to sign up for coverage for 2022.

 

The Biden administration says things have never been better, and that premiums are declining, more insurers are participating in the markets, and enrollment is at an all-time high.

 

Dig a little deeper, and Obamacare’s troubles become evident. Premiums are ticking down only after rising for years. Much of the coverage on offer confines enrollees to narrow networks of covered doctors and hospitals. And enrollment is up largely because the government is picking up a major share of most beneficiaries’ premiums.

 

Rather than fix these problems, the Biden administration wants to obfuscate them—by lavishing even more taxpayer money on the exchanges.

 

Premiums have retreated slightly over the past three years. Yet the average monthly individual exchange premium nationwide doubled between 2013 and 2019—and tripled in five states.

 

Many enrollees haven’t noticed because taxpayers are covering a significant share of their premiums. Nearly 90% of the exchanges’ 10.7 million enrollees received federal subsidies in 2020.:snip:

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  • 3 months later...

Anybody watching what Obamacare's costs have been doing lately?

This wouldn't exactly be news to anyone who has to buy Obamacare health care insurance...

But for perspective, here's the latest on the 2010 government health care takeover that had been so vaunted in the press as Your-Government-Here-To-Help:

 

The average family health insurance premium in the US has more than tripled since the "affordable" care act was signed into law back in 2010.

 

The biggest beneficiaries: health insurers.

 

United Health Group (the largest US insurer) is up 1,750% vs. a 389% gain for the S&P 500.

 

Tripled? We've got 7.9% inflation at last count, so this 'tripling,' even over the course of 12 years, with compounding increments, tops that. 

So much for President Obama's claim that his signature health care bill would cut insurance costs and everyone would be so grateful and happy.:snip:

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Three million to lose Obamacare in 2023 if Democrats don't extend subsidies

Over 3 million people will lose health coverage if Congress allows enhanced subsidies for insurance on the Obamacare exchanges to expire later this year, a key item of unfinished business for Democrats at risk of losing their majorities in November.

Democrats have sought, but so far failed, to extend temporary tax credits that were implemented in President Joe Biden's pandemic relief plan for premiums on health plans purchased on the Obamacare exchanges. If the additional subsidies expire, 3.1 million Americans will no longer have insurance, according to a new report from the Urban Institute.:snip:

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Joe Biden, Who Dodged Obamacare Taxes, Now Proposes Expanding Obamacare

 

Joe Biden’s willingness to expend billions of dollars on unilateral changes to Obamacare contrasts with his personal behavior regarding the law.

 

For all his claims of fiscal responsibility, President Biden has a funny way of showing it. His administration just proposed legally questionable regulations that would increase deficit spending by tens of billions of dollars.

Why did he drive up the deficit, as well as inflation, on this particular occasion? To prop up a law, Obamacare, that Biden went out of his way to avoid funding out of his own pocket.:snip:

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Worries about coming ObamaCare premium spikes intensify

Democrats are growing increasingly concerned that a spike in ObamaCare premiums could hit this fall right before the midterm elections.  

The party is already facing major headwinds from inflation and President Biden’s lagging approval ratings, and a health care premium spike would add a major blow. 

The American Rescue Plan signed by President Biden last year temporarily increased financial assistance under ObamaCare, but that increase is set to expire at the end of this year, causing an increase in premiums for enrollees in the health law unless Congress acts.  

Notices about the premium increases would be sent out shortly before the midterm elections, adding political pain for Democrats in addition to the higher premiums for consumers.  

“Right before the election, people would get notices of big premium increases, and that will certainly not reflect well on Democrats,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. :snip:

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‘It’s Hurting People’: Sen. Mike Lee Calls for End of Obamacare

A leading conservative senator, blaming Obamacare for skyrocketing health care prices in his state, laid out policy solutions Tuesday to create a health care system that puts Americans and their doctors back in charge. 

“If you allow the worker to get pretax dollars, get non-tax dollars, and allow the worker to purchase his or her own health insurance on the open market rather than having the tax benefit following the employer, that’s a big step in that direction in and of itself,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said during a panel discussion at the America First Policy Institute summit in Washington. 

President [Donald] Trump started that and naturally, given that it is a really good idea, President [Joe] Biden discontinued it,” Lee added during the session on public policy focused on helping patients and their doctors regain control of health care choices.  

Lee argued for a free market system, saying the U.S. must “stop extending, stop expanding Obamacare,” officially known as the Affordable Care Act. 

 

“In order to do that, I think we’ve got to make the case to the American people that Obamacare is bad—not because we disagree with it ideologically, but because it’s hurting people,” the Utah Republican said. :snip:

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Small Businesses Might Drop Obamacare As Premiums Skyrocket

Health insurance premiums offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), colloquially known as Obamacare, will rise next year, hitting small businesses particularly hard and potentially pressuring them to drop out of the program.

While recent provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act have provided additional subsidies for individual consumers that will likely offset the increased cost of premiums, no such support was granted to small business owners, according to the Wall Street Journal. Insurers are proposing median premium increases of 10%, but some are proposing increases as high as 20%.:snip:

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Obamacare Open Enrollment Brings Election Day "Gift" To Voters

We're about a week away from two notable dates on America's civic calendar. On November 1, open enrollment begins on Obamacare's health insurance exchanges. One week later, voters head to the polls for the midterm elections.

Democrats have been aware of this reality for months. It was one of the reasons they made a mad dash to pass the dubiously named Inflation Reduction Act, which President Biden signed into law back in August. That law provides generous subsidies to people shopping for health insurance on the exchanges. Without it, consumers would've seen big premium spikes days before casting their ballots—not something Democrats running for Congress wanted.

Those subsidies will end up costing taxpayers billions of dollars—and do nothing to make the underlying cost of health coverage more affordable.

 

In Obamacare's first six years, average individual premiums more than doubled. A Kaiser Family Foundation study forecasts a median increase of an additional 10% in 2023.:snip:

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A new Obamacare fight

The Affordable Care Act, former President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, has survived a series of legal and political landmines. The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld the health law, and five years later, then-President Donald Trump couldn’t muster enough votes in the GOP-controlled Congress to kill it.

But the ACA, also known as Obamacare, faces new challenges. On March 30, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas struck down an ACA provision that had required employers to cover specified preventive health services.

 

The ruling, effective nationwide immediately, had originated in an employer-based challenge, including several religiously based objections to preventive care requirements, Braidwood Management v. Becerra. The case focused primarily on the issues of separation of powers. Specifically, the judge found unconstitutional regulations issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a volunteer panel of primary care clinicians (including those from internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, nursing, and psychology). The PSTF, established in 1984, evaluates scientific evidence to determine whether medical screenings, counseling, and preventive medications work for adults and children who have no symptoms.

The Braidwood case was brought forth by six people and two Christian-owned businesses who argued that the requirements in the ACA for recommended covered preventive services were unconstitutional. They argued further that mandated coverage of HIV PrEP violated their religious rights under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.:snip:

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H/T =X

PoIiMath

@politicalmath

When the final history on the decline in institutional trust is written, there should be a chapter on Obamacare

We were subject to 2 years of fact-checks, expert opinions, and projections and they were all bullshit

Obamacare changed nothing, made nothing better

 

Healthcare continued to get more expensive, none of the things it was supposed to fix got fixed

Quote

Charlie Bilello

@charliebilello

·

Average US family health insurance premium...

2000: $6k

2002: $8k

2004: $10k

2006: $11k

2008: $13k

2010: $14k

2012: $16k

2014: $17k

2016: $18k

2018: $20k

2020: $21k

2022: $22k

That's a 249% increase since 2000 (5.8% per year).

(Note: US CPI inflation has increased 2.5%/year)

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Elizabeth Warren's 'epiphany' on ObamaCare's unintended consequences is overdue: WSJ

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., "is at long last acknowledging that ObamaCare has increased healthcare prices" and created other unintentional consequences, the Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote Friday.

Warren, who has long supported the Affordable Care Act, the official name for ObamaCare, has recently come to an "epiphany" about "industry consolidation and price increases caused by the healthcare law," per The Journal.:snip:

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Trump claims he is ‘seriously’ looking at ObamaCare alternatives

Former President Trump over the weekend revived his calls to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act if he wins the 2024 presidential election. 

In a Truth Social post, the leading GOP presidential candidate claimed he’s “seriously looking at alternatives” to replace ObamaCare, and that the failure to repeal the health law in 2017 while he was in office was “a low point for the Republican Party.” 

Republicans were one vote away from repealing the law in 2017 after the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted with Democrats to keep ObamaCare in place. Ever since, Trump has knocked and mocked McCain, even years after the senator’s death from brain cancer.

Democrats retook control of the House in 2018 after making the GOP repeal efforts the center of their campaigns, promising to protect Americans from losing coverage for preexisting conditions. 

Trump reinjecting life into the health care debate could backfire for Republicans, who have largely given up campaigning against ObamaCare, an acknowledgment that health care is a losing issue for them. :snip:

 

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Elizabeth Warren talks turkey about Obamacare's perverse incentives

 

Two days before Thanksgiving, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)  sent a letter  with her colleague Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the impact of Obamacare's medical loss ratio rules on insurer consolidation. 

It's a striking, if tacit, admission of the law's flaws by one of the nation's leading progressives.

:snip:

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Here’s the latest positioning of the GOP candidates on healthcare

Major issues in healthcare policy loom large over the remaining candidates in the GOP primary race for 2024.

The Republicans are facing an effort by President Joe Biden to make healthcare a strength for his reelection effort. As part of his broader “Bidenomics” agenda, his campaign in recent weeks has touted his administration’s record on lowering healthcare costs and expanding coverage options.

 

In 2023, Biden’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began the rollout of the Drug Price Negotiation program, which effectively sets prices for the most expensive prescription medications for seniors. The Department of Health and Human Services has also lauded that record numbers of people are enrolling in Obamacare insurance plans either through Healthcare.gov or a state exchange program.

The rising costs of healthcare and federal spending on national health policy will continue to influence the race heading into upcoming primaries.

Obamacare

 

Former President Donald Trump in recent weeks has rekindled his 2016 pledge to repeal Obamacare. He said at a campaign stop in Iowa that he is “going to fight for much better healthcare.”

After Trump’s victory, congressional Republicans were unable to pass an Obamacare replacement proposal. The effort proved unpopular and contributed to their electoral loss in the 2018 midterm elections.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in December touted a plan to “supersede Obamacare,” emphasizing the need to utilize concepts in free market economics to lower costs. DeSantis has said that he will release a comprehensive healthcare plan this spring.

As governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley was a staunch critic of Obamacare, but she has not referenced how she would address it as president.

:snip:

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  • 4 weeks later...

Another Failure of the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010 had several goals, including to increase health insurance coverage and bend the cost curve, that is, reduce the rate of increase in health care spending by all payers. These goals were to be achieved while being fully financed, i.e. without increasing the federal budget deficit. As I have written before, the full funding of the ACA has been gradually eroded by the administrative and legislative cancellations of several revenue provisions. It is now clear that, according to a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, one of the important cost reduction efforts in the ACA—the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI)—has also failed.

CMMI conducts pilot programs (called “models”) that test new ways to deliver and pay for health care in Medicare and Medicaid, to reduce spending or improve the quality of care. When CBO first estimated the costs and savings of the ACA in 2010, it expected that the CMMI would reduce federal spending, net of its own budget to run and evaluate the models, in its first decade by $2.8 billion, and in its second decade by $77.5 billion, as more programs were to be ramped up successfully and initial programs continued. CBO now estimates that CMMI actually increased federal spending by $5.4 billion in its first decade and projects that it will increase spending by $1.3 billion in its second decade.:snip:

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Obama Failure Hits Americans with More Bad News

Forget the $35 trillion national debt, many Americans have a new source of anxiety: medical debt.

Personal medical debt in the United States has reached a shocking milestone: it is now larger than all other sources of personal debt – COMBINED.

The $220 Billion Problem

At least 41 percent of Americans have medical or healthcare debt, estimated at over $220 billion at the end of 2021. Worse, 18 percent of Americans are behind on their payments enough that they are sent to collections.

Unsurprisingly, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has done nothing to help the problem. The debt load has continued to surge despite over 90 percent of the U.S. population having health insurance. High deductibles and limited coverage render many plans utterly useless when Americans need them most.:snip:

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Biden expands ObamaCare to Dreamers

The Biden administration on Friday morning announced a rule that will allow certain Dreamers to access the ObamaCare marketplace.

Under the rule, active recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be eligible to enroll in a qualified health plan or a basic health plan under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and some forms of financial assistance.:snip:

 

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