Saturday, June 28, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: Unsubsidized Premiums Increased an Average of 49% Across the Nation Under ACA. An Interactive Map To Pin Point Your Local Change in Premium

“There are hundreds of aspects of Obamacare that people argue over. But there’s one question that matters above all others: does the Affordable Care Act live up to its name? Does it make health insurance less expensive? Last November, our team at the Manhattan Institute published a study indicating that Obamacare had increased the underlying cost of individually-purchased health insurance in the average state by 41 percent in 2014, relative to 2013. We’ve now redone the study on a county-by-county basis, complete with a brand-new interactive map. Depending on where you live, the results may surprise you.”

“Women face rate hikes in 82% of U.S. counties; men 91%

Across the country, for men overall, individual-market premiums went up in 91 percent of all counties: 2,844 out of 3,137. For 27-year-old men, the average county faced 91 percent increases; for 40-year-old men, 60 percent; for 64-year-old men, 32 percent.

Women fared slightly better; their premiums “only” went up in 82 percent of all counties: 2,562 out of 3,137. That’s because Obamacare bars insurers from charging different rates to men and women; prior to Obamacare, only 11 states did so. Because women tend to consume more health care than men, the end result of the Obamacare regulation is that men fare somewhat worse.

Relative to men, the average rate increase for women was less extreme: 44 percent for 27-year-olds; 23 percent for 40-year-olds; 42 percent for 64-year-olds.”

“Remember that these figures represent the underlying, unsubsidized health insurance prices. If you’re eligible for a subsidy—if your income is below 400 percent of the Federal Poverty Level—taxpayers will help defray a portion of these costs. Those subsidies will disproportionately help those in their late fifties and early sixties, because of the way the Obamacare exchanges interact with the subsidy formula.

A new report from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (ASPE HHS) indicates that among those who signed up for Obamacare exchange plans this year, subsidies covered on average 76 percent of the underlying premium. That is to say, the exchanges attracted the low-hanging fruit of those who had the most to gain from taxpayer-funded subsidies." - 3,137-County Analysis: Obamacare Increased 2014 Individual-Market Premiums By Average Of 49%, Forbes, 06/18/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:




Friday, June 27, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: College Tuition to Further Increase Due to ACA

“Despite hopes to freeze tuition at the University of South Carolina, it appears students will be forced to pay higher tuition, meal, and housing costs this year to compensate for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other state mandates.

A press release from the university states:

USC will start FY2015 applying nearly $18 million toward the additional costs of state-mandated employee pay raises, health and retirement benefits and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA will require the university to extend coverage to all employees who work 30+ hours a week. This provision alone will cost $4.5 million and the university simply cannot afford to shoulder that expense.

Instead, students and their families will bear the burden by paying the 3.2 percent increment for the upcoming school year. This equates to a $342/year increase for in-state students and $912/year increase for out-of-state students. The extra revenue will help cover both the ACA implementation and the rising cost of state-mandated employee pay raises.” - UofSC Students: Say Thanks To Obamacare For Your Tuition Hike,, 06/26/2014

Link to the entire story appears below:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: Employees of the Failed Oregon Exchange Receive the Boot, A Layoff or a Bonus? Try Bonus!

"Now that Oregon’s Obamacare exchange has entirely given up on fixing or running its own Obamacare website, the state exchange is handing out hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer funding as bonuses to employees that stick around until the federal government takes over.

“Many of the employees who voluntarily left Cover Oregon had key skills that are not easily replaced both in IT and in health care laws and regulations,” interim director Clyde Hamstreet wrote to the exchange’s board, Oregon Live reports. “We cannot afford to keep losing valuable employees if we are to complete the workload for the remainder of 2014 and the IT transition project.

Thirty-eight employees will be awarded bonuses worth one to three months pay to convince them to stay on with the exchange through the next nine months. All remaining 163 employees will be eligible for a bonus worth two weeks of government pay if they remain at the exchange through March 15." - Obamacare Employees Behind Failed Oregon Exchange Now Getting Cushy Bonuses, The Daily Caller, 06/24/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: For Whom the Price Rises, It Rises for Thee (The Few, The Proud, The Taxpayer)

“The Health and Human Services report, released this week, claims that of the 5.4 million people who enrolled in ObamaCare through the federal site, 4.7 million got tax subsidies to offset the cost of their premiums.

It goes on to say that once you factor in the subsidy, the average premium was $82 a month. "Consumers have more choices, and they're paying less for their premiums," boasted new HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell.

That claim itself is dubious. Even with the subsidies, ObamaCare is hardly cheap.”

“After looking over the HHS report, Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, concluded that while ObamaCare might be a bargain for low-income families who can get private insurance for very little money, it's "not attractive to working-class and middle-class families and individuals."

The other fact conveniently left out of the HHS report is that the cost of ObamaCare to taxpayers is far higher than expected.

Early last year, the Congressional Budget Office projected that ObamaCare's tax credits would cost $15 billion in its first year. One year later, it had cut that number down to $13 billion, and then lowered it again in April to $10 billion.

But using the administration's enrollment and subsidy numbers, it turns out that the subsidy costs just for those who signed up through the federal exchange will top $11 billion.

The Los Angeles Times reports that if these subsidy numbers hold true for the 14 state-run exchanges, ObamaCare's first-year subsidy costs will climb to $16.5 billion.

Some of the increase is due to the higher-than-expected sign-ups. But a big cause was the fact that a larger share of enrollees got subsidies than the CBO expected. And the average tax credit was bigger. The CBO had assumed the average credit would be about $222 a month. The actual number was $264 — about 19% higher.” - Surprise: ObamaCare Costs More Than Predicted, Investors Business Daily, 06/18/2014

Link to the entire article appear below:


Monday, June 16, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: Majority of Americans Consistently and Persistently Oppose Obamacare, Poll after Poll after Poll

“This latest polling nugget from Fox News isn't unusual. In fact, it's the stability of the question's trajectory that's so remarkable. Public disenchantment with Obamacare has calcified, and no amount of self-serving spin, racial demagoguery, ginned-up "winning streaks," or hollow triumphalism from the Left has moved the needle, dating back more than a year:



"Glad it passed" has been hovering in the mid-to-high 30's, with "turn back the clock" edging into the mid-50's in every survey. A Reason/Rupe poll asked a nearly identical question back in December, and produced nearly identical results. The law has been underwater by double digits in virtually all polling since its failed roll-out, with undecided (but likely) 2014 voters overwhelmingly opposed.” - Poll: Majority of Americans (Still) Wish Obamacare Had Never Passed,, 06/10/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:


Thursday, June 12, 2014

And About Those Emergency Room Visits Supposedly Declining Under ACA. Maybe Not So Much. How About An Increase in ER Visits! Yes, Very Much.

“It wasn't supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month.

That 12 percent spike in the number of patients — many of whom aren't actually facing true emergencies — is spurring the hospital to convert a waiting room into more exam rooms.

"We're seeing patients who probably should be seen at our (immediate-care centers)," said Lewis Perkins, the hospital's vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer. "And we're seeing this across the system."

That's just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.

Instead, many hospitals in Kentucky and across the nation are seeing a surge of those newly insured Medicaid patients walking into emergency rooms.

Nationally, nearly half of ER doctors responding to a recent poll by the American College of Emergency Physicians said they've seen more visits since Jan. 1, and nearly nine in 10 expect those visits to rise in the next three years. Mike Rust, president of the Kentucky Hospital Association, said members statewide describe the same trend.”

"Experts cite many reasons: A longstanding shortage of primary-care doctors leaves too few to handle all the newly insured patients. Some doctors won't accept Medicaid. And poor people often can't take time from work when most primary care offices are open, while ERs operate round-the-clock and by law must at least stabilize patients.

Plus, some patients who have been uninsured for years don't have regular doctors and are accustomed to using ERs, even though it is much more expensive. Others have let illnesses and injuries fester so long they have become emergencies.

"It's a perfect storm here," said Dr. Ryan Stanton of Lexington, president of the Kentucky chapter of the ER physician group."We've given people an ATM card in a town with no ATMs." '

"For many who research health care, the ER crunch is no surprise.

Studies have shown that Medicaid patients were among the most frequent ER users before health reform, and becoming newly insured only increases ER use by giving an avenue to get treatment to patients who had been forgoing care because they couldn't afford it.

A 2007 issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation said Medicaid patients made up 9 percent of the general population at the time but accounted for 15 percent of emergency visits. Researchers concluded that the most frequent users weren't substituting ERs for primary care, but rather suffered from chronic conditions and required more health care in general." - More patients flocking to ERs under Obamacare,, 06/09/2014

Upon further review, the “experts” are claiming the ER is being used due to the lack of primary care physicians accepting Medicaid. Yet Medicaid recipients, according to Kaiser Family Foundation,
in 2007, found Medicaid patients made up an inordinate amount of total ER visits. The Kaiser 2007 finding would be prior to ACA/Obamacare.

If the trend/pattern of group M is to inordinately rely on facility E, and one purposely increase the size of group M, then one would assume, given the established trend and pattern, the increased size of group M would increase the inordinate reliance on facility E. One might state: As M rises E rises, given trend/pattern.

Which then begs the question of: What ACA “experts” predicted a decline in ER usage due to the advent of ACA/Obamacare and its major subcomponent which is the expansion of Medicaid? Apparently it is another episode for Math Quest!

Link to the courier-journal article appears below:

Friday, June 6, 2014

CBO: It Is No Longer Possible to Determine the Fiscal Impact of ACA/Obamacare. No Way! Way!

“For Democratic lawmakers who were hesitant to sign onto the sweeping 2010 health care law, one of the most powerful selling points was that the Affordable Care Act would actually reduce the federal budget deficit, despite the additional costs of extending health insurance coverage to the uninsured.

Four years after enactment of what is widely viewed as President Barack Obama’s key legislative achievement, however, it’s unclear whether the health care law is still on track to reduce the deficit or whether it may actually end up adding to the federal debt. In fact, the answer to that question has become something of a mystery.

In its latest report on the law, the Congressional Budget Office said it is no longer possible to assess the overall fiscal impact of the law. That conclusion came as a surprise to some fiscal experts in Washington and is drawing concern. And without a clear picture of the law’s overall financing, it could make it politically easier to continue delaying pieces of it, including revenue raisers, because any resulting cost increases might be hidden.

Charles Blahous, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s free market-oriented Mercatus Center, calls the CBO’s inability to estimate the net effect of the law “a real problem.”

“The ACA’s financing provisions were assumed to be effective so as to get a favorable score out of CBO upon enactment, but no one is keeping track of whether they’re being enforced,” says Blahous, a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare. “We receive occasional updates on the gross costs of the law, but none on whether the previously projected savings provisions are producing what was originally projected.”

As a result, Blahous says, “there’s no barrier to continually rolling back the financing mechanisms without the effect on the ACA’s finances ever being fully disclosed.”

When Congress passed the health care law in 2010, the CBO estimated it would reduce the deficit by more than $120 billion over a decade, compared to the agency’s current-law baseline projection of spending, revenue and the deficit. That meant the health care law would, in effect, pay for itself and deliver an additional fiscal bonus.

The CBO based its estimate on the assumption that the law, which included hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of Medicare cuts and tax increases to pay for health care subsidies, would be implemented as written. Now, after a chaotic start and a series of delays or adjustments in various provisions of the act, including an employer mandate that was expected to bring in new tax revenue, it’s unclear to what extent those promised savings are being realized.” - Fiscal Diagnosis Only Gets Tougher for Health Care Law,, 06/04/2014

Link to the entire article appears below:

Update: CBO throws in the towel on scoring ObamaCare,, 06/04/2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: The Debate is Over? Apparently Not........

Hospitals Face Cross Subsidy Gap Due to ACA/Obamacare Cuts

“Hospitals are in a state of uncertainty as to how to cover the funding gap from uninsured patients as Medicaid and Medicare are expected to decrease payments for those bills.

A new report from the Urban Institute in the most recent Health Affairs journal notes Medicare payments to help compensate for the cost of treating the uninsured in hospitals are set to drop this year as more get coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Similar payments for Medicaid will begin to fall starting in 2016, which means the healthcare providers might have to take a larger financial hit.

“Providers incur significant costs in caring for the uninsured,” the report said. “However, the bulk of their costs are compensated through a web of complex funding streams that are financed largely with public dollars.”

If those funding streams begin to dry up, it could pose major financial challenges to providers, especially in states that have not adopted Medicaid expansion or where implementation of healthcare reform has been slow, according to the report.

In 2013, providers spent almost $85 billion to pay for the uninsured, but 65 percent of that was offset by the government. Under the ACA, Medicaid compensations for such costs are expected to be cut by 50 percent, and Medicare is expected to be cut by 28 percent.” - Hospitals face O-Care uninsured funding gap,, 05/27/2014

Link to the entire article appears below: