Friday, May 22, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: Having Health Insurance vs. Paying for Health-Care

‘“Simply having health insurance is no guarantee that consumers can afford to pay for health care,” the report noted. When people decided to forgo medical care, fees that would have to be paid out of pocket were a major contributing factor, the report, which surveyed adults with lower- and middle-income levels, found. The report did not include people who had health insurance through Medicaid or those who had health insurance through their employers.

Overall, the Affordable Care Act made health insurance and health care itself more affordable, in part by subsidizing the cost through tax credits to those who qualify. But for some Americans, it was not affordable enough, the report showed. Of adults who were insured for a full year, 25.2 percent did not get necessary medical care, including tests, treatments and medications. Of lower- to middle-income adults, 32.3 percent reported not getting care they needed.

Those with higher deductibles were more likely to skip getting care, and the report recommended that the government redesign one particular level of coverage -- the silver plan -- offered on its exchanges, to lower out-of-pocket costs.

One reason consumers face such high out-of-pocket costs is because being forced to spend more of one’s own money is supposed to stop people from seeking unnecessary care. This policy gained momentum under the Affordable Care Act, the New York Times reported in February. As a result, even though Obamacare vastly expanded the number of people who could access and pay for health insurance plans, it didn’t necessarily ensure that those same people could afford the medical care itself.’ - Is Obamacare Working? Quarter Of Americans Who Bought Health Insurance On Exchanges Couldn't Afford Medical Care, International Business Times, 05/22/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.ibtimes.com/obamacare-working-quarter-americans-who-bought-health-insurance-exchanges-couldnt-1923212



 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: Massachusetts Health Connector Investigated


“The catastrophic ObamaCare rollout merely two years ago has disappeared into the distant political past, forgotten, with zero accountability for the taxpayer waste and disruption to individuals and business. Massachusetts may prove to be an exception.

Late last week the administration of Republican Governor Charlie Baker confirmed that the FBI and U.S. Attorney for Boston have subpoenaed records related to the commonwealth’s “connector” dating to 2010. This insurance clearinghouse was Mitt Romney’s 2006 beta version for ObamaCare’s exchanges, but updating the connector to comply with the far more complex federal law became a fiasco rivaling any of the other federal and state ObamaCare failures.

The target of the investigation hasn’t been disclosed. But the best autopsy of the connector mess is being published Monday by Boston’s Pioneer Institute think tank, where Josh Archambault reviews internal audits and whistleblower testimony he obtained. The evidence is damaging to both Massachusetts’s exchange contractor, CGI Corp., and the administration of former Democratic Governor Deval Patrick.

Mr. Archambault reveals years of third-rate technological work, disregarded deadlines, pervasive mismanagement, little outcome measurement and general bureaucratic incompetence. An outside auditor noted as early as 2012 that the “quantity and/or skills/experience level of project resources may be impacting the ability to complete project tasks within planned timeframes” and questioned if staff were “sufficiently knowledgable.”

A test before going public showed a 90% failure rate, and the new connector detonated on the launch pad. Some 320,000 residents attempting to gain coverage had to be dumped into a temporary “free” Medicaid program without any income eligibility determination. Pioneer pegs the total cost of the mess at around $1 billion.” - ObamaCare’s Big Dig, The Massachusetts exchange is under federal investigation, wsj.com, 05/10/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamacares-big-dig-1431299268?KEYWORDS=Obamacare%27s+Big+Dig



 

 
 

 

 


 


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Hawaii’s Obamacare Exchange, Hawaii Health Connector, Is No More


“Despite over $205 million in federal taxpayer funding, Hawaii’s Obamacare exchange website will soon shut down. Since its implementation, the exchange has somehow failed to become financially viable because of lower than expected Obamacare enrollment figures. With the state legislature rejecting a $28 million bailout, the website will now be unable to operate past this year.

According to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser the Hawaii Health Connector will stop taking new enrollees on Friday and plans to begin migrating to the federally run Healthcare.gov. Outreach services will end by May 31, all technology will be transferred to the state by September 30, and its workforce will be eliminated by February 28.” - Hawaii’s $205 Million Obamacare Exchange Implodes, Americans for Tax Reform, 05/12/2015

Link to the entire story appears below:

http://www.atr.org/hawaii-s-205-million-obamacare-exchange-implodes

Saturday, April 25, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: Average Tax/Penalty for Noncompliance $1,130

“As millions of Americans scramble to file their tax returns, many are shocked by the full cost of ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

“Those who failed to obtain minimum essential health insurance coverage last year will have had to send the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) a check for $1,130, on average,” Doug Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office, testified today before a congressional hearing.

An estimated 6.3 million people will be required to pay a penalty this year because they didn’t buy qualifying health insurance in 2014, Holtz-Eakin testified. Another 30 million people didn’t buy the mandated coverage either but won’t have to pay the penalty because of the myriad exemptions the Obama administration is allowing, with or without legal justification.

Holtz-Eakin, now president of the American Action Forum, based his calculations on the number of people who will pay the penalty and the average value of the penalty, using demographic information from the American Community Survey and enrollment statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“In reality, the individual mandate has been less of a mandate and more of a suggestion,” he told the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-TX.” - Average Fine For Noncompliance With ObamaCare Is $1130, Expert Testifies, Forbes, 04/14/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/gracemarieturner/2015/04/14/average-fine-for-noncompliance-with-obamacare-is-1130-expert-testifies/?mc_cid=653e60c898&mc_eid=2b1a7a9dca

Friday, April 17, 2015

ACA/Obamacare: When Politically Supplanting One Entitlement with Another Entitlement Doesn’t Balance the Books

‘Earlier this month, the Obama administration reversed course on spending cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program. Instead of a nearly 1% cut in payments, private health insurers that offer Advantage plans to seniors would get a 1.25% boost.

The turnabout hardly made news, which isn't surprising since it was the third year in a row that the administration said it was planning to cut payments only to reverse course.

It is, however, emblematic of the fiscal trouble ObamaCare has planted in the federal budget.


When ObamaCare was being debated, opponents said it relied on unsustainable spending cuts in Medicare, tax hikes that wouldn't work as expected, and other political land mines designed only so President Obama could claim when he signed the law in 2010 that: "It is paid for. It is fiscally responsible."

Recent events are proving opponents right.

Nearly half of ObamaCare's costs, for example, are supposed to be "paid for" by spending cuts to Medicare, including $136 billion from Medicare Advantage in the first 10 years.

But since the law took effect, the administration has tried to minimize the cuts to the increasingly popular Advantage program, which lets seniors choose from a wide range of subsidized private plans, and now accounts for a third of Medicare enrollees.

Medicare's Third Rail

The administration effectively canceled the first two years' Medicare Advantage cuts with $8 billion in bonuses paid out as part of a "demonstration project" widely derided as phony. It also delayed rules changes that would have led to further cuts.’

‘The other big chunk of Medicare savings — nearly $200 billion — is supposed to come from payment cuts to doctors and hospitals. But when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' chief actuarylooked at this provision, he said such cuts were "unsustainable" because 15% of Medicare Part A providers would operate in the red by 2018.

By 2040, "half of hospitals, two-thirds of skilled nursing facilities, and 90% of home health agencies" would be losing money. Congress just permanently repealed a payment cut plan for Medicare doctors, which Congress had repeatedly delayed since it was enacted in 1997.

Even the little-known "Medicare Improvement Fund" has proved troublesome. ObamaCare eliminated this fund for a one-time $20.7 billion savings. But in 2014, Obama signed a law that recreated the fund and put more than $200 million back into it.’ - ObamaCare's Financial Crisis Is Fast Approaching, IBD, 04/15/2015

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://news.investors.com/politics-obamacare/041515-747986-obamacare-taxes-and-spending-cuts-arent-working.htm