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Affordable Health Care
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tsiya



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Location: Cabbage Hammock

PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

With the clock ticking, Covered California mails flawed letters to 114,000 households

This shouldn’t be a problem.  I mean, the cut-off for selecting a plan in order to be covered in January is five whole days from now (even as some insurers are complying with the administration’s menacing “suggestion” to extend payment deadlines):

Adding to consumer confusion ahead of a major enrollment deadline, California’s health insurance exchange sent flawed eligibility notices to nearly 114,000 households due to a computer error. The Covered California exchange said the letters sent from Nov. 22 to Dec. 7 had blank spaces or missing information on people’s eligibility for insurance or federal premium subsidies. “The letters would say you are eligible for Covered California, but you are ineligible for blank,” said exchange spokeswoman Anne Gonzales. “It seemed to contradict whether the enrollee was eligible. It was confusing to people.”  Ben Amante of Costa Mesa received one of the letters last weekend and said he couldn’t understand what it meant for his insurance application for himself and his daughter. ”One short paragraph said you’re qualified and the next one says you’re not qualified,” Amante said. “Insurance companies are looking a lot better now after dealing with Covered California.” … The inaccurate letters triggered increased calls to the state’s three service centers, which are already straining to handle high volume. The average wait time topped 36 minutes at last count.

And who doesn’t have more than half an hour to sit on hold during this famously non-busy time of year?  More than one million Californians have been stripped of their existing coverage thanks to Obamacare; the state says it has enrolled 159,000 people in Obamacare through its exchange, as of “early December.”  You do the math.  Over on the East Coast, another insurer has announced that it will not renew coverage for roughly 100,000 New Jerseyans whose individual market plans do not comply with the new law’s mandates:

Another 100,000 people in New Jersey with health plans that do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act will be shopping for coverage next year. AmeriHealth of New Jersey, which covers more than 100,000 people in individual and small-group health plans, announced Tuesday that it will not renew 2013 health plans that do not comply with the new health care law next year. That brings the total of New Jersey residents with individual and small-group plans that can’t be renewed next year to more than 680,000.
Thoughts, Mr. President?


This claim has now been ranked as the “lie of the year” by both Politifact and the Washington Post.  If only the media had been sufficiently skeptical back in 2010, this entire mess may have been avoided.  They weren’t, for reasons they’re willing to cop to now that Their Precious has been safely re-elected. Friendly reminder: It’s going to get worse.


http://hotair.com/greenroom/archi...wed-letters-to-114000-households/
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tsiya



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 20, 2013 12:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

300 Local Gov't Employers Cut Hours, Blame ObamaCare

More than 300 public sector employers have systematically cut work hours for part-time employees to avoid liability under ObamaCare's employer insurance mandate.

IBD's list of both public and private-sector employers cutting work hours or staffing levels as a result of the employer mandate now totals 388.

Among the new additions to the list is Miami-Dade County Public Schools, which will limit part-time workers to 25 hours per week. Penn State University joins a large group of colleges cutting work hours for undergraduate and graduate students to avoid responsibility for paying for their health care.

Penn State said ObamaCare penalties could total $23 million if no action were taken to mitigate the cost.

The education sector dominates IBD's list, which now includes more than 120 school districts and nearly 100 colleges and universities.

The relatively small number of private employers on the list doesn't signify much except that businesses tend to be much less transparent about their workforce policies than government bodies.

IBD has included on the list only those private employers which have openly acknowledged systematically cutting work hours, with the exception of a few cases where employees provided documents verifying the shift.

Yet, the evidence suggests ObamaCare is having an impact on the workweek in low-wage industries, where the ranks of the uninsured are high.

Among industry groups where pay averages about $14.50 an hour or less, and which employ 29 million non-supervisors, the workweek sank to a record low of 27.4 hours in July, matching the level seen in July 2009. Meanwhile, the workweek in the rest of the private sector had fully recovered back to its pre-recession level — about an hour longer than in mid-2009.

Although the Obama administration put the employer mandate penalties on hold for a year in July, work hours for low-wage earners have yet to stage any recovery. That's not a surprise, given that penalties owed in 2015 will be based on employment levels and hours worked starting in mid-2014 at the latest.

The latest available industry data through October show that average work hours have fallen in several of the same industries where companies have admitted cutting hours.

While the White House has dismissed such anecdotal reports,their correlation with the industry hours data suggests they shouldn't be.

Hours have even been falling in some big industries where the workweek is already well below the 30-hour-per-week threshold at which ObamaCare's penalties apply.

Compared to December 2012, the workweek is modestly lower at limited-service restaurants (1.2%); food and beverage stores (1.4%); and hotels and motels (1.4%). Other industry groups have seen a sharper decline: home centers (2.6%); call centers (3.2%); services for the elderly and disabled (3.2%); clothing stores (3.4%); sporting goods and book stores (3.8%); general merchandise stores (4.5%); and retail bakeries (7.5%).

In effect, the workweek decline across low-wage industries this year explains 250,000 of the 565,000 jobs they've added this year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn't track the public-sector workweek, so it's unclear how that has changed.

Some anecdotal evidence suggests that employers temporarily put off or reversed decisions to reduce work hours once the mandate was delayed. That suggests low-wage workers could be in for another wave of cuts to work hours this coming spring and summer.

Among the additions to IBD's list are 15 school districts in Indiana, which joined state Attorney General Greg Zoeller's suit challenging the employer mandate as an unconstitutional tax on the states.

That brings to 82 the number of Indiana employers cutting work hours — more than 20% of the total counted by IBD. It's not yet clear the extent to which the state is an anomaly — it could also be that its news media and state government are doing a more thorough job uncovering the anecdotes.

The nondeductible penalty is equal to $2,000 per full-time-equivalent worker for employers who don't offer coverage to 95% of full-timers.

This isn't only a threat for industries like fast food, with a high percentage of uninsured. Schools that offer generous coverage to most — but not all — workers could get hurt too. Cutting hours could get them over that 95% threshold.

http://news.investors.com/politic...-hours-blame-obamacare.htm?p=full
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tsiya



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PostPosted: Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

New State Data On Obamacare Enrollment Trends Show How Scheme Is Failing

The White House obfuscates when it comes to Obamacare enrollment results.

But some of the individual states that have established their own on-line exchanges (and sidestepped healthcare.gov) have been forthcoming.

Enrollment in these states is outpacing healthcare.gov. So it’s a good bet that their experience is a proxy of what’s happening market wide.

And these individual state numbers look awful.

The entire scheme was predicated on enticing enough young, healthy consumers to sign up for insurance to subsidize the cost of the older Americans, and those with pre-existing health conditions.

The state exchanges are badly missing these demographic marks.

The newest data comes from six states that have provided the most transparency around their enrollment figures.

Totaled together, it shows that, on average, 54% of those purchasing plans were between the ages of 45 and 64. These states are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and Washington State.

Consumers are also paying up for “silver” plans by a wide margin (55% of enrollees, on average, have bought “silver” coverage). This makes them eligible for increased cost-sharing subsidies that will reduce out of pocket costs (assuming they are below 250% of the federal poverty level — about $60,000 in annual income for a family of four, or $30,000 for an individual. It’s at this income level where the special subsidies kick in).

Selecting a costlier silver plan (rather than the cheapest, bronze plans) is a smart choice if a consumer plans to actually tap their health coverage.

This heavy migration to “silver” plans is another indication that people signing up for Obamacare are a sicker group, on average. Younger, healthier beneficiaries were expected to be far more likely to choose bronze plans.

These numbers were analyzed in an excellent report published yesterday by the managed care equity analysts at investment bank Morgan Stanley.

Among the states, Colorado and Washington State had the lowest percentage of enrollments in the key 18-34 demographic, at just 18% of the 23,000 people who have enrolled in an Obamacare plan in Colorado (through Dec 14th) and 20,000 who have signed up in Washington State (through Nov 30th).

In California, those between 18-34 accounted for 21% of enrollees (through December 7th). In Rhode Island, that figure was 20% and in Minnesota, 23%.

Very few people are signing up for the cheapest, catastrophic plans that are being marketed to the so-called “young invincibles.”

These plans were created with the sole purpose of luring health, young consumers into Obamacare. (These are the plans that the Whit House just offered to extend to people who were kicked off of their individual insurance policies as a result of the Obamacare mandates).

In California, just 1% of enrollees chose these plans, in Connecticut 2%, and Rhode Island 1%. For other states, there were too few enrollees to get to 1%.

Most consumers who have signed up – about 85% on average — are eligible for subsidies because they fall below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (about $90,000 in annual income for a family of four). And most of these folks are choosing silver plans.

Even more revealing are the choices being made by consumers who don’t qualify for subsidies. Almost 40% of these folks are selecting gold and platinum plans. Without the benefit of government subsidies, these plans are very pricey.

So who would be willing to pay up for this coverage?

Some are undoubtedly upper middle class and wealthy consumers who were thrown off their prior coverage once insurers cancelled their existing health plans in the individual market. They want the costlier coverage because, while the networks and formularies don’t improve over cheaper plans, the co-insurance often does.

But a healthy fraction of this cohort who are buying up to Gold are undoubtedly middle class folks who are paying more for better coverage because they have medical conditions, and know that they will need to access the healthcare services.

If you plan to consume a lot of healthcare, it makes sense to buy a platinum plan. That way, through the co-insurance that some of these plans offer, you can offload a bigger chunk of your medical costs as possible onto the government.

The bulk of those signing up for Obamacare will get some form of federal subsidies.

But among those who don’t qualify for subsidies, only 30% have selected the cheap bronze plans. These are likely the younger, healthier consumers that Obamacare needs in order to make its math work. And the scheme isn’t attracting these folks.

Finally, looking at the top line numbers, things don’t get much better.

In California, just 47% of those who have signed up have received a private health plan. The rest were put on Medicaid. (And remember, these figures only include those who have signed up, but not necessarily paid their first premium).

The figures for the rest of the states aren’t any better. In Colorado, just 17% got private coverage, with the other 83% put on Medicaid. In Connecticut, 61% got private coverage, in Minnesota, 71%, Rhode Island 33%, and Washington State 11%.

The weighted average across all the states shows that only 36% of those who have signed up (but not necessarily paid for) Obamacare, were put on private plans.

The rest have been added to the rolls of Medicaid.

When it comes to the data on Obamacare enrollment, the White House has been cooking their numbers. They are anxious to find the nuggets that can paint a pretty portrait. But the totality of the data doesn’t’ lie.

The top line trends are terrible. But it’s the demographic trends, buried in the Obamacare numbers, which should cause the administration the most concern.

These trends will inevitably impact Obamacare in 2014.

But the effects will spill into 2015, as health plans set their rates based on their initial experience.

The bad start makes it more likely this entire scheme remains a niche market to service a mostly older, sicker, and less wealthy demographic.

It makes it likely that premiums will rise. And that more insurers will drop out of this market, and fewer will enter.

In the end, the health plans that Obamacare fashioned aren’t attractive to the segments that the scheme is targeting.

The insurers are calling the underlying health plans “Medicaid Plus.” The Wall Street Journal called it “Obamacaid.”

One of these maxims may soon stick.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scott...ent-numbers-from-states-show-why/
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tsiya



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hiding the Hacking at HealthCare.gov


If your personal info is filched from the site, the government doesn’t have to tell you.

Christmas shoppers were stunned to learn last Thursday that computer hackers had made off with the names and other personal info of some 40 million Target customers. Some of the pilfered information is reportedly being sold on the black market, prompting JP Morgan Chase to limit purchases and cash withdrawals on debit cards owned by recent Target shoppers.

But at least Target informed its customers of the security breach, as it is required by federal law to do. HealthCare.gov faces no such requirement; it need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised. The Department of Health and Human Services was specifically asked to include a notification requirement in the rules it designed for the health-care exchanges, but HHS declined.

The Federal Register tells the tale about what happened on March 27, 2012, at a meeting on the issue.
At that meeting, two commenters asked HHS to ensure the exchanges would promptly notify affected enrollees in the event of a data breach or unauthorized access to the exchange’s databases. One commenter suggested that a full investigation be launched each time such a breach occurred, with the goal of holding hackers legally and financially accountable for breaking into the website.

According to a report by the group Watchdog.org, HHS responded: “We do not plan to include the specific notification procedures in the final rule. Consistent with this approach, we do not include specific policies for investigation of data breaches in this final rule.” In other words, the government doesn’t have to tell you about a security breach unless it decides it wants to — despite the fact that private companies are required to publicly disclose any incidents. State laws also require many of the 14 state-run insurance exchanges to disclose such information, but no such law exists for the federally run exchange, which 36 states rely upon.

The Watchdog report notes that it’s through state laws that we’ve learned the most about security problems in the exchanges. In September, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that “an official at MNsure, the state’s new online health insurance exchange, acknowledged it had mishandled private data.” A Minnesota insurance broker received an e-mail containing a trove of confidential information on more than 2,400 people, including their Social Security numbers and business addresses. A staffer at MNsure had accidentally sent the e-mail to him. “The more I thought about it, the more troubled I was,” Jim Koester, the recipient of the data, told the Star Tribune. “What if this had fallen into the wrong hands? It’s scary.”

Last July, Dave Jones, California’s insurance commissioner and a Democrat, expressed his concerns about inadequate security processes on his state’s exchange, one of the better-run ones. If unscrupulous people get hold of Social Security numbers, health records, or other private information of consumers “we can have a real disaster on our hands,” Jones told the AP. He has declined further comment since then.

In Florida, GOP governor Rick Scott is troubled that privacy guidelines will be ignored in the rush to try to enroll his state’s 3.5 million uninsured residents. He wrote to Congress this fall expressing worry that the thousands of “navigators” hired by private groups posed a possible security threat, given that they undergo no federal background checks: “As the push for ‘navigators’ to sign up Floridians on the federal health insurance exchange becomes more frenzied, the need to safeguard the personal information Floridians submit to the ‘navigators,’ and its use in a ‘federal data hub,’ is taking on paramount importance.” The workers the federal government hired to conduct the 2010 census were fingerprinted and underwent background checks. Not so the Obamacare “navigators.”

It’s not as if the Obama administration wasn’t notified of security concerns about its website. MITRE Corporation, an HHS contractor, alerted the agency that 19 unaddressed security vulnerabilities plagued the website before its launch on October 1. Last week, Teresa Fryer, the chief information-security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), told the House Oversight Committee that she recommended that HealthCare.gov not launch on October 1 because of serious security concerns. “My evaluation of this was a high risk,” she told the committee in a private interview. Tony Trenkle, the project manager for the website, declined along with Fryer to sign the Authority to Operate (ATO) license needed to launch the site, which is why it had to be signed by Marilyn Tavenner, the political appointee in charge of CMS. Trenkle retired on November 13 and has declined to talk with reporters. But Fryer said her own concerns about security remain unaddressed because there have been “two high findings of risk” — the most serious warning level — in tests conducted in just the past few weeks. A CMS spokesman says both problems have been resolved.

Few cyber-security experts I spoke with for this article have much confidence that the government will quickly or competently reveal any security breaches on HealthCare.gov. On October 30, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testified under oath before Congress that “no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay” the launch of the website. But Fryer told the House committee that she had personally briefed Sebelius’s top aides on her findings on September 20, ten days before the site launched. While it may be true that Fryer and Trinkle don’t report directly to Sebelius, they both declined to sign off on the ATO needed to launch the site. At best, Sebelius has demonstrated a complete inability to follow or manage the security crisis, though it’s her responsibility to do so.

According to Bruce Webster, a consultant who has advised companies for 40 years on IT issues, the administration’s policy appears to be “security through obscurity,” a largely discredited approach. He told me:

They do not want to talk about their security measures; they do not want to talk about their security breaches; they do not want to inform affected citizens of compromised personal information. Their attitude reminds me of Lily Tomlin’s character Ernestine as an AT&T operator back when AT&T had a monopoly: “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.”

Congresswoman Diane Black, a Tennessee Republican, is fed up with the obfuscation and evasion surrounding HealthCare.gov. She has introduced the “Federal Data Breach Notification Act,” which would require that the Federal Trade Commission notify anyone whose personal information has been jeopardized. “The federal government imposes these same rules on the private sector, yet they have gone out of their way to avoid imposing this basic diligence on their own Obamacare exchange,” she told me.

If the House and Senate have any basic concern for the privacy rights of Americans, they will catapult her bill onto President Obama’s desk ASAP. It is horrible news that Target’s security vulnerabilities allowed hackers to filch the names and personal information of customers. But it will be even worse if the federal government can continue to keep people in the dark about its own security breaches, leaving many Americans with big, fat targets on their backs for identity thieves.

http://www.nationalreview.com/art...g-hacking-healthcaregov-john-fund
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tsiya



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PostPosted: Wed Dec 25, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Obamacare individual mandate death watch

LOS ANGELES, December 25, 2013 – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Health and Human Services and the Obama administration!

Last Thursday, HHS Secy Kathleen Sebelius decreed that if you were one of the 4-5 million Americans who lost their individual insurance policy due to Obamacare’s tighter restrictions, and have not found a suitable replacement for your insurance, then the December 23 deadline no longer applies.


Then HHS shifted the deadline an additional day, the end of Christmas Eve, for everyone else. As Tiny Tim said, “God Bless us all, everyone!”

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reported, “The designation of a canceled plan as a qualifying hardship means those who have not yet found a suitable replacement have a new option:  enroll in a cheap, bare bones catastrophic plan that is typically restricted to people under 30 years-old or others with an exemption.”

More White House damage control efforts because of the flood of cancelled insurance policies that started well before the Oct. 1 Healthcare.gov launch. But will this one work any better than the other fixes, concessions, and supposed delays? Doubtful.

Like most politically-motivated ploys, it fails to factor in the American people and actual reality.


This sudden massaging of the individual mandate came about because a bunch of vulnerable Democrat Senators led by Mark Warner of Virginia, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana wrote the Obama administration asking for clarification on whether those who had their plans canceled could qualify for the exemption.

This “Gang of Six” is running scared, as some of them are up for re-election in the 2014, and all of them voted for Obamacare. Not a winning combination and a possible assurance that their constituents will not cast their vote for them this time around.

Sebelius responded to Sen. Warner, “The President and I want to do everything we can to ensure that individuals with canceled plans have as many options as possible.” But according to President Obama’s speech on December 3, “The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future.” If this is what a working, successful law looks like, I’d hate to see what they consider failure.

Insurance providers are beyond concerned, as additional exemption will put the new insurance market in even more flux. If you cannot set policy, you cannot set prices, and premiums are more than likely to continue to skyrocket.

Americans are not sure whether to be relieved, confused, or just plain angry about yet another hasty decision that alters the healthcare law and still doesn’t provide the insurance stability they had under the old system.

Leftist writer Dylan Scott at Talking Points Memo forecast that this latest change will simply play into the hands of Obamacare opponents:

“The White House had been under fire for months over the widespread reports of canceled policies, but rather than assuage those concerns with the new exemption, it runs the risk of opening one of the law’s most important (and most unpopular) features to more political meddling.”

On this matter, there is no wrong side. In terms of the insurance industry, you cannot change direction on a battleship with just a turn of the wheel without roiling the waters and possibly wrecking the entire ship. Americans are simply tuning out, or turning on this administration for its blatant and veiled lies about the law and its implementation. These constant changes make it difficult for Americans to plan or make decisions when the playing field keeps shifting.

As for the Obama administration, it has done enough meddling to this law on their own time, and are proving the case for conservative opposition the more they do so.

This ploy has little to do with caring about the Americans who are left in a lurch thanks to the lies and poor execution of Obamacare. What it does accomplish is three-fold: 1) It buys more time for the parts of Healthcare.gov that are still not functioning. Namely, the payment structure that still has not been built.

So even if people found a suitable policy through Healthcare.gov, they still have to contract with an offline insurance broker to purchase it!; 2) It gives Democrat senators cover with their constituents (or so they hope). These senators are desperate for anything that will make them look like shining knights, rather than the architects of destruction to the American healthcare system.

s the New York Post so aptly put it, ”[T]his isn’t about fixing ObamaCare. It’s about relieving the political pain for Democrats.”; and, 3) It gives the administration more time to continue its mojo marketing to the Young Invincibles. As of this writing, the young and healthy are still not signing up in droves for this boondoggle despite new pushes by Adam Levine, Lady Gaga, and a “Buy It ‘Cause It’s Hot” video featuring Barack O’Breezy.

Jonathan Karl of ABC News all but mocked the administration and Jay Carney about the Covered California video promotion. He retorted, “I mean is anybody going to buy health care because Barack O’Breezy tells him to buy it because it’s hot?”

The Carney did his usual stumble-bumble over words in his answer, trying once again to convince us that this is all to make sure everybody gets covered. Right.

Any way you slice it, this is more smoke and mirrors from an administration that knows a lot about the hard sell, but little about delivery. Secy Sebelius and President Obama are simply postponing the inevitable: the death of the individual mandate and a slow and painful erosion of the entire Obamacare law.

Once Americans regain even a modicum of choice on what they can purchase, they will be hard pressed to allow government, or anyone else for that matter, to get their hand in the cookie jar a second time.

http://communities.washingtontime...e-individual-mandate-death-watch/

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tsiya



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PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Virtual Insurance: How ObamaCare Saves 30 Million From Being Uninsured While Leaving 30 Million Without Coverage



Obama supporters cite the 30 million who stand eventually to gain health insurance coverage as the most compelling reason for not abandoning ObamaCare in its time of troubles. Despite a string of disappointments and broken promises, ObamaCare critics do not push back against this  claim. After all, the 30 million who will gain insurance is a calculation of the “non-partisan” CBO.

In actuality, the 30 million figure is the CBO’s projected difference between the numbers of uninsured without and with ObamaCare in various years in the future. Given the current state of flux of our health insurance system, anyone who claims to know these figures is either a liar or a fool.

We do have at least two projections of the number of uninsured under the implementation of ObamaCare. They basically agree. The more widely publicized is the CBO’s projection of 26 million uninsured in Obama’s last year in office. A more recent independent study estimates 30 million uninsured at the end of Obama’s second term, and finds, remarkably, that the uninsured  will have the same features (poor, Hispanic, young) as  before ObamaCare.  And I thought the primary goal of ObamaCare was to insure everyone, not to leave close to 30 million uninsured behind!

These two projections raise the question: How can ObamaCare raise the number of insured by 30 million as it leaves some 30 million uninsured?

Reconciling such inconsistencies is not a new challenge for the Obama team. If they could find millions of jobs “saved” by the stimulus as actual jobs were shrinking, they can find millions “saved” from not being insured in the absence of ObamaCare. It is as easy to save people from virtual uninsurance as to save virtual jobs.

To calculate virtual insurance, the CBO (Table 2) estimates the number of uninsured with and without ObamaCare through 2022. They conclude that the same number (56 million) would be uninsured in 2016 as before ObamaCare. (I wonder why  the CBO does not use Obama’s 41 million uninsured figure — which includes “unauthorized aliens” — as its starting point?)

Per CBO we’d have 56 million uninsured without ObamaCare in the year the President leaves office.

To complete its virtual insurance calculation, the CBO estimates that, by 2016, an additional 31 million more will gain insurance (20 million from the new exchanges and 17 million from Medicaid expansion) than will lose coverage (4 million from employers and 2 million from individual markets). This is the source of the 30 million people that ObamaCare will save from being uninsured.

The CBO’s calculation of virtual insurance is like measuring weight loss by subtracting your actual weight at the end of a diet from what it would have been without the diet. For example, a 200 pound man weighs 195 pounds after a month of dieting. He concludes he  lost 25 pounds because he figures he would have weighed 225 pounds without the diet.

Note the CBO “saves” us from being uninsured by assuming that 20 million Americans will be rushing to the exchanges in 2016 despite high premiums and even higher deductibles and that only 2.5 percent of employers stop offering employee coverage and only 7 percent lose their insurance in individual markets.

Although the exchange sign-up numbers have yet to be disclosed, our initial first-hand experience with the exchanges seems to be that they reduce the number of insured. The number of individual policies cancelled may turn out to be greater than the number turning to exchanges and Medicaid. The employer mandate has been delayed a year. How companies will respond is only a matter of speculation, but if only a quarter decides not to offer insurance,  ObamaCare will actually raise the number uninsured, according to the CBO formula.

The lesson: Never accept any projection of what will happen in the future without first reading the fine print.  I can apply equally plausible assumptions to the CBO calculations to conclude that ObamaCare will raise the number uninsured.

Politicians have learned to pick a number that makes their case, repeat it over and over until the public accepts it as true. The “repeated lie” tactic  works as long as it does not contradict what ordinary people see with their own eyes. Obama’s “millions of jobs saved” became a national joke as jobs continued to disappear. ObamaCare’s virtual insurance will suffer the same ignominy if people see the actual insurance rolls falling, while the administration claims otherwise due to virtual insurance gains. The public  could care less what the insurance rolls would have been if there were no ObamaCare.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulr...ving-30-million-without-coverage/
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After Months of Promoting Obamacare, Obama Admin Quietly Announces a Net Loss of 3 Million Insurance Plans

When the Obama Administration has bad news to tell the American people, they often wait until Friday afternoon to reveal information that is likely to foster criticism. After months of pushing Obamacare and encouraging signups, the Obama Administration quietly revealed on Sunday morning the abysmal year-end enrollment rates.

Whereas once this administration hailed Obamacare as a significant achievement, they are now quietly revealing its failures on a Sunday when they hope nobody will notice.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, released a brief statement saying,

“More than 1.1 million people enrolled in a qualified health plan via the Federally-facilitated Marketplace from October 1 to December 24, with more than 975,000 of those enrolling this month alone.”

Roughly another million have signed up through state exchanges, bringing the total of enrolled citizens to around 2 million- well short of the Obama Administration’s low-ball expectation of 3 million by the end of the year.

However, while Democrats are likely to try and sugarcoat the enrollment rate, Democrats should brace themselves for bad news as the revealed enrollment number hardly paints a full picture of Obamacare’s failures.

The Obama Administration has remained incredibly cagey on outlining the details as to what “enrolled” means. Hesitant to even reveal early enrollment numbers, the Obama Administration has often included people who have selected a plan in their enrollment figures; however, there is no information being released that reveals how many of these “enrolled” people have actually finalized the insurance-buying process by actually paying for the selected plans. With the enrollment numbers being continually manipulated, it’s impossible to tell how many of these 2 million people have actually purchased plans and how many have merely window-shopped.

Further, the Obama Administration has touted the success of Medicaid expansion and included these numbers in their bragging. While many more Americans are now on Medicaid thanks to Obamacare, that is not, necessarily, a good thing as these newly-insured Americans are receiving health insurance that is heavily subsidized by the federal government. With critics already wondering about the economic unsustainability of a healthcare plan that hinges on dramatic rate increases for young people to offset the costs of healthcare for the elderly or unhealthy, providing millions with insurance who pay little or nothing cannot be considered a sign of success.

Most of all, the quiet revelation of the puny enrollment numbers conspicuously neglects to address the elephant in the room; even if we were to accept that 2 million have enrolled in Obamacare, the number of people who have lost their insurance thanks to the disastrous healthcare overhaul is conservatively-estimated to be no less than 5 million.

With 5 million having lost their insurance thanks to Obamacare and only 2 million having enrolled, at best, the Obama Administration could only claim a net enrollment rate of -3 million. Roughly 3 million Americans are worse off now than before Obamacare.
With 2014 around the corner, the DNC is still pretending as if Obamacare will be a win for Democrats. At this rate, it is looking highly unlikely.



If they admit to 3 million the actual numbers are probably much worse!


http://www.tpnn.com/2013/12/30/af...oss-of-3-million-insurance-plans/
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Owning Up to the Obamacare Lies


Liberals are finally admitting, quietly, that conservative critiques were right all along.
By Charles C. W. Cooke


Those who have elected to keep close tabs on the reactions to Obamacare’s blotchy rollout will presumably have noticed that it has been marked by admissions of guilt. The latest such confession comes from The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber, who bluntly conceded yesterday that “Obamacare actually paves the way toward single payer.” Pushing back against Michael Moore’s unsettling criticisms of the law, Schreiber tweeted:

Dear liberals bummed about Obamacare: Don’t sweat it. It’s going to get us to a single-payer system before long. http://t.co/2tGykCyrSc

This, Scheiber made sure to explain, was not an accident, and nor was it merely a dose of post hoc optimism. Obamacare, he claimed, is in fact “a deceptively sneaky way to get the health care system both of us really want” — that is, single payer. And “Republicans are in some sense playing into the trap Obamacare laid for them.”
I honestly do not know whether Scheiber’s prediction is correct. When government wishes to expand itself, it is tough for people to resist, and the instances are legion of people who wanted a little change but were subjected instead to a lot. Still, I suspect that this will not be the case with Obamacare. For a start, the rollicking disaster that has been the law’s launch will now be projected into every home each and every time an expansion of government is suggested. And, disappointingly for the movement that spawned the change, Americans appear to be reacting to it by concluding that government should henceforth have less — not more — to do with health care. Either way, whatever happens in the future, I do know this: When Republicans have written their own version of Scheiber’s column, complaining that Obamacare is but a “deceptively sneaky way to get” to single payer, they have been immediately denounced for hysteria and mendacity and invited to remove the tin foil.

Accusing its opponents of lying has been the Left’s modus operandi since the first shots of the health-care debate were fired. Insofar as there was any at all, the ostensible theory was that, unable to muster any serious criticisms, almost certainly motivated by money and by racism, and tainted forever for having supposedly endorsed the scheme in the 1990s, conservatives were reduced to fabrications and to hyperbole — in other words, into scaring the public by telling them things that weren’t true. In the meantime, the law’s architects tripped over themselves to bend the truth —  but that was fine because they were spreading “noble lies,” as the perpetually melting-down Brian Beutler now terms these tales.

Among the alleged falsehoods on which conservative opposition relied were that the scheme was effectively a “takeover” that would leave the president with capricious control over the nation’s health-care system; that insurance premiums would inevitably increase for some; that the president’s oft-repeated promise that all Americans could keep their health care if they liked it was obviously untrue; and that government was almost certainly unsuited to run a project of this magnitude and importance. Also claimed to be mendacious was the Right’s characterization of the measure as a severe departure from the status quo. Thus were we treated to a standard by which Joe Biden was able to call passage a “big f***ing deal” and the president was allowed to boast about his newest place in history with nary a squeak, but Republicans doing the same thing were accused of blowing a “moderate” and “modest” proposal out of all proportion.

Post-launch, however, these conservative “lies” are looking more and more like wisdom, historical literacy, and political foresight. The sheer number of canceled plans may have shocked “some on the Left,” but it certainly didn’t shock the law’s opponents — many of whom had been predicting it for years. Likewise, while the sheer audacity of the president’s unilateral changes have surprised nearly everyone, the fact that the law has dangerously conferred upon the executive branch an almost unlimited power to shape the regulations and the insurance market as it sees fit has not. This, as was observed ad nauseam during the debate, is not so much a law as it is an enabling act.

It has not simply been that time has vindicated many of the conservative complaints. On the contrary: The Left has started to admit that much of what Obamacare’s critics said was true all along — even going so far as to unashamedly incorporate the grievances into their apologies. Earlier in the year, Jonathan Chait, Jonathan Cohn, and Ezra Klein — the administration’s golden trio — all of a sudden switched tactics and came clean. As reports of increased premiums started to flood in from across the country, the group tutted impatiently, rolled its eyes, and, with a how-stupid-are-you tone, explained that obviously one couldn’t cover a whole host of new people without some premiums’ being raised. In other words, once Obamacare’s launch was imminent, the Left admitted that conservatives’ key critique — which the president and Nancy Pelosi had promised over and over and over again was but a lie — had been correct all along.
So habitually has the administration insisted that the troubles with Obamacare are the fault of wreckers and traitors that it has occasionally lost touch with reality. As Mediaite’s Noah Rothman noted, on the last day of last year a White House health-care adviser named Phil Schiliro took to MSNBC to claim that that the CBO enrollment projections that the White House and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius had been touting as a target all year had nothing to do with the administration. George Orwell’s name is rather overused in modern political journalism, but this really was a deception worthy of IngSoc, and its shifting, mutating truths the sign of deep dysfunction. Over and over, Sebelius had made it abundantly clear that the government wanted 3 million sign-ups by January, and 7 million by the end of March. But when the government only got 2 by the New Year, it simply pretended that the target had never existed. Have we always been at war with Eastasia?

Nonsense on both sides has been rife from the outset. That’s politics. And around the edges, some conservatives did indeed scream bloody murder — weakening their case with frivolous allegations and careless language. But where it really mattered, the Right’s barbs hit their target. Whether Obamacare was a stalking horse for something much worse, and whether it will succeed in metastasizing into a nightmare for liberty, remains to be seen. Still, at this early stage, one thing seems certain: By the time we find out what happens in Chapter 2, an awful lot more of the “lies” that were told about the law will — as quietly as possible, without an apology in sight, and only when it is safe for them to do so — have somehow, magically come true.


http://nationalreview.com/article...-obamacare-lies-charles-c-w-cooke
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if Americans rebel against the Obamacare mandate?

BY BYRON YORK
JANUARY 12, 2014

The Obama administration is trying to persuade millions of uninterested, or perhaps reluctant, Americans to purchase health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges. But the heart of Obamacare is coercion. If Americans fail do what the law's Democratic authors believe is best, the federal government will punish them, through the progressively higher penalties of the individual mandate, until it hurts more not to buy coverage than it does to give up and purchase it.

But what if many of those Americans rebel? Even if they know having health insurance is better than not having it, what if they refuse to be forced to buy the kind of coverage dictated by the government -- which may not really meet their needs -- at prices they don't want to pay? What then?

"I don't think Obamacare can survive without people wanting to buy it," Robert Laszewski, the respected health care analyst whose writings on Obamacare have become essential in recent months, told me in an email exchange recently. "How the hell are you going to enforce a mandate to buy something that people don't think is valuable enough to buy? If the uninsured don't start to see value in Obamacare and buy it, is the Democratic solution to fine the heck out of them until it hurts so much they have to buy it? Great political strategy!"

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Of course, that's exactly what the strategy is. Democrats designed the penalty for not having "minimum essential coverage" to start low and increase rapidly. For this year, according to a chart prepared by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the penalty is $95 per adult and $47.50 per child. But the penalty cannot rise above $285, or one percent of family income, whichever is higher. (Obamacare uses a measurement called Modified Adjusted Gross Income to determine penalties -- a measure that is usually higher than the Adjusted Gross Income many taxpayers are familiar with.)

In the second year, the penalty will rise dramatically, to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child, or two percent of family income, whichever is higher. The year after, the penalty will take another big jump, to $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, or 2.5 percent of family income. The only limit on the penalty is that it cannot be higher than the national average premium for a Bronze Plan purchased on the Obamacare exchanges. According to the Congressional Budget Office, that could be as much as $5,000 in 2016. And after that initial increase in the penalty, future penalties will rise according to the cost of living.

But Democrats in Congress feared public reaction to actually forcing Americans to write a check to the government to cover the penalty. So instead, the Internal Revenue Service, which is charged with enforcing Obamacare, will subtract the penalty from the tax refunds of those Americans who incur the penalty, provided they are due a refund. Otherwise, the IRS will not have a way to collect the money.

"In the first year, the mandate is useless," said Laszewski. "One percent isn't strong enough. The IRS can't really collect it anyway from anyone who wants to flaunt it. Then we get to the second and third year. Two percent in 2015 and 2.5 percent in 2016. Now we have real money. The IRS still can't collect it, but lots of people will still be troubled by it because they won't like getting nasty letters from the IRS."

As Laszewski sees it, the mandate could become extremely unpopular -- it's already by far the least popular part of Obamacare -- if policies are not what the public wants to buy. Who would want to be forced to buy something he or she doesn't want? That something is not insurance itself -- it is insurance that is ill-fitting and overpriced. "The problem is that the government will be hard pressed to collect a fine on something lots of people don't believe has value," Laszewski said. "This is when it will become a huge political albatross. At the core Obamacare is not sustainable, and the mandate/fine is not politically sustainable, if there are lots of middle class people who see Obamacare as a poor value."

I got in touch with Laszewski after reading an interview he did with the Washington Post's Ezra Klein in which Laszewski explained that if Obamacare had been designed by businesspeople, it might have had more features to appeal to customers. But it was designed by lawmakers and lobbyists and is something quite different. "The problem with Obamacare is it’s product driven and not market driven," Laszewski told Klein. "They didn’t ask the customer what they wanted. And I think that’s the fundamental problem with Obamacare. It meets the needs of very poor people because you’re giving them health insurance for free. But it doesn’t really meet the needs of healthy people and middle-class people."

Of course, the individual mandate forces people to buy coverage whether it meets their needs or not. And Laszewski sees a real possibility that it won't work. If enough dissatisfied Americans simply don't buy the product, he said, that would create political momentum "to get rid of the mandate/fine -- which is effectively the same thing as getting rid of Obamacare." And if that happens, the American health system will be in entirely uncharted territory.


http://washingtonexaminer.com/article/2542038
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WTAE-PA: Pennsylvania Small Business Hit With Skyrocketing Health Costs From ObamaCare
http://youtu.be/UuA2_P-m4Sk



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