Happy Birthday, ObamaCare. Six months old today and raising the cost of medical care, restricting patient options and causing employers to drop workers three years before even being fully implemented.
Take Minnesotan Gail C., who hoped to offset a monthly premium increase by raising her deductible. Instead, her insurer advised that such a change would not comply with ObamaCare provisions. She could make the adjustment but would no longer have guaranteed rates and could face penalties for exercising what used to be her freedom of choice.
When Conservatives for Patients’ Rights launched in February 2009, we called for patient-centered, free-market health care reform based on Four Pillars — choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility. Instead, ObamaCare removes choice from patients and doctors, strangles market competition, provides no accountability from government and relegates personal responsibility — and control — to the ash heap of history.
Worse, it includes purchase mandates forcing individuals to buy health care — and employers to provide it — or face stiff fines.
Citing constitutional and statutory grounds, 43 states have now either joined Florida’s lawsuit to oppose ObamaCare, instituted their own legal challenges, filed legislation against coverage mandates or have citizen initiatives in play.
As far back as June 2009, national polls showed that Americans opposed key provisions by more than 55%. A poll taken by CNN hours before the March 2010 vote found that the majority of Americans did not support the bill. Sixty-two percent felt it would increase health care costs, and 70% thought it would swell the deficit. They were right.
The will of the people remains clear. An August poll by the liberal-leaning Kaiser Family Foundation found that 48% of independent voters held unfavorable views, and a recent Rasmussen poll shows that 61% of likely voters and 74% of “mainstream” voters openly favor repeal. With $500 billion in Medicare cuts heading to states and $600 billion in taxes and penalties aimed at consumers and businesses, Americans know that ObamaCare is a train wreck.
Government actuaries are predicting that health care costs could soon rise 20%, faster than if government had done nothing. A Congressional Budget Office analysis released just before the March vote indicated that premiums could double in six years.
Americans don’t need a 14-digit calculator to predict what happens when insurers must immediately take all comers to coverage — even those who got sick yesterday — without higher premiums. Restrictions make private coverage unsustainable. Which, of course, was always the endgame of ObamaCare.
As midterm elections approach, voters’ aversion to ObamaCare is apparent. Many House and Senate Members who voted for the plan are preparing for pink slips. In Arkansas, 64% opposed the “yea” vote of incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln, and 61% approved the “nea” of GOP Rep. John Boozman, who is challenging her. Boozman leads Lincoln by 17 points.
While many incumbents lost to primary challengers, the 34 House Democrats who voted against ObamaCare survived. And it’s impossible to find pro-ObamaCare references in any campaign advertising.
More significant than actual election results, these prevailing political trends demonstrate the resurgent will of the American people. All is not lost; that which has been done can be undone.
In early 2009, CPR met with the editorial board of a major national newspaper. After hearing our Four Pillars and mission to oppose government control of health care and the public option in particular, board members said we were wasting time and money as the debate would be over and government health care passed within 90 days.
Fifteen months later, ObamaCare barely passed, and only when conservative Democrats caved to leadership pressure and the offer of tantalizing political goodies. And it passed without the public option, previously considered a given. Such miscalculations show political elites to be fundamentally at odds with values like choice, competition, accountability and personal responsibility.
The people were right last March and are still right today. Because groups like Conservatives for Patients’ Rights embraced real, constructive reform, ObamaCare was passed over the objections of a public educated on its details and the consequences for American health care. Speaker Nancy Pelosi may have needed to pass it to know what was in it, but America didn’t.
The people didn’t want it then, don’t want it now and have always had the power to go back. They want patient-centered reforms that lower cost and expand choice without government control. And they want Obama-Care repealed. Americans will not cease efforts to that end, and no elected official is safe until it’s done. In this republic, the will of the people ultimately prevails. (IBD)
There is ample evidence to show that ObamaCare will cost jobs, raise health care costs and saddle future generations with crippling debt.
But don’t you dare blame the increases in premiums and costs on Obamacare!
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth, or in this case a Jackass (Donkey).
HHS Secretary Sebelius has already threatened them, but now Sen. Max “I never read the bill” Baucus (and Senate Health Care Bill author) is threatening them.
NEW YORK, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Two Democratic U.S. senators are demanding more transparency about premium increases from health insurers and warning them against blaming higher rates on a newly passed reform law. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and Commerce Committee Chairman John Rockefeller of West Virginia said they sent a letter to the five largest health insurers by enrollment registering their concerns over increases for next year.
“I want health insurance companies to be transparent and honest when increasing premiums (You First. :))— and health care reform is simply not to blame,” Rockefeller said in a statement.
“Health plans will continue to do everything they can to implement the new law in a way that minimizes disruption and keeps coverage as affordable as possible for individuals, families and employers,” Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans organization, said in a statement. “Political attacks won’t do anything to make coverage more affordable for working families and small businesses that are struggling in a slow economy,” Zirkelbach said.
But Politicial attacks is all the Democrats now how to do. Especially 40 days from an election it’s all they know how to do.
“Health insurers should be transparent about the assumptions they use to arrive at their premium increases,” the senators wrote. “If an insurer thinks it can blame the enactment of the Affordable Care Act for its rising premiums, it is surely mistaken.”
Don’t blame the actual cause, because that’s not politically advantageous to us. So we want you to lie, just like we do and sugar coat it, suck it up, and give them the Orwellian Bovine Fecal Matter that we have been shoveling in their direction for 2 years.
Or at the very least shut up and do as you are told.
Health Czarina and Grand Vizier, the Great and Powerful OZ Says so or else we will bring about our terrible wrath upon you! 🙂
You wouldn’t want to be on their Enemies List now would you? 🙂
ObamaCare gives Ms. Sebelius’s regulators the power to define “unreasonable” premium hikes, which will mean whatever they decide it will mean later this fall. She promised to keep a list of insurers “with a record of unjustified rate increases” and then to bar them from ObamaCare’s subsidized “exchanges” when they come on line in 2014. In other words, insurers must accept price controls now or face the retribution of a de facto ban on selling their products to consumers four years from now.
This is nasty stuff and an obvious attempt to shift political blame for rising insurance costs before the election. It’s also an early sign of life under ObamaCare, when all health-care decisions are political and the bureaucrats decide who can charge how much for a service or product.
Democrats built this system and they now own it politically. The least they could do is take credit for its consequences. (WSJ)
Senator Max Baucus recently admitted that he never read the Obamacare legislation. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to re-write it after the fact, asserting that Congress intended to give people even less choice of private health plans than described in the bill!
This overreach should encourage states that are trying to block Obamacare: It’s going to be even worse than we initially thought.
Obamacare reduces choice of health plans by giving government the power to control the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) – the amount of dollars an insurer spends on medical care divided by the total premiums. Under Obamacare, policies that cover large businesses will have to achieve an MLR of 85 percent, while those for small businesses and individuals will have to achieve an MLR of 80 percent. This sounds simple but leaves many issues unresolved.
An important one is the treatment of taxes: Taxes are not medical care, but nor are they under health plans’ control. So, Obamacare excludes taxes from total costs used to calculate the MLR. Senator Baucus leads a group of senators who now assert that what they meant to pass was a bill that exempted some taxes from health plans’ MLR calculations, but not corporate income taxes.
If it prevails, Baucus’ flawed notion will lead to an immediate reduction of choice of health plans. Suppose two insurers of the same size compete in a region’s large-group market. They earn premiums of $1 million each. They each spend $850,000 on medical claims, thereby achieving an MLR of 85 percent. One insurer is for-profit, earning a profit of 4 percent ($40,000), and pays combined federal and state corporate income tax of 45 percent ($18,000). Its MLR automatically shrinks to 83.5 percent and Obamacare shuts it down.
Even without Baucus’ newly invented interpretation, the MLR is deadly for increasingly popular consumer-directed plans. Suppose a traditional policy costs $4,000 and spends $3,400 on patient care, for an MLR of 85.00. With the consumer-directed policy, the patient controls $800 more of the medical spending than with the traditional policy, through a higher deductible, and his premium goes down by $800. In this case the MLR goes down to 81.25 ($2,600/$3,200). There is no real difference, but the accounting looks worse, and Obamacare shuts it down. (In fact, consumer-driven plans have lower total costs than in this simple example, because cutting out the middleman and giving more health dollars to patients to control themselves motivates them to get better value for money.)
MLRs are also irrelevant because the insured and their employers tend to choose health plans based on other criteria—likely invisible to politicians and bureaucrats. Plans with relatively low MLRs have increased market share in the last few years.
There is no doubt: Obamacare will severely reduce Americans’ choice of health plans. Fortunately, states are using a number of tools to resist Obamacare, until it is repealed. To impose its anti-choice regulations, the federal law relies on state-based “exchanges” that would choose health insurance for their citizens.
Tim Pawlenty, governor of Minnesota, has signed an executive order forbidding state bureaucrats from even applying for federal grants to set up an “exchange” to limit people’s choice of health plan. As Obamacare deploys its regulatory regime, other governors are likely to follow his lead.
So Happy Birthday to the worst political stink bomb in American History.