Obamacare is working!

It’s just not working for you:

California Health Insurance Rates Up 88%

Health-care insurance premiums for individuals in California rose between 22 percent and 88 percent in 2014 from last year, even after the federal health-care overhaul, the state’s insurance commissioner said.

The rate increases, with variation for geography and age, were masked by federal subsidies that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides to 88 percent of the 1.4 million Californians who purchased health care through the state’s exchange, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said.

This is exactly what the federal subsidies were designed to do.  They weren’t put in the bill to make health insurance cheaper, they were put in the bill so that people wouldn’t know exactly how much their new insurance plan was costing them.

That is just the beginning of the rate increases, according to California Democrat Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones:

Jones, a Democrat, is pushing a statewide ballot measure for November known as Proposition 45 that would give him regulatory say on proposed premium increases. The measure is opposed by insurance companies, which have said that it would actually cause rates to rise while harming the quality of care. (emphasis added)

Why, those nice insurance companies really are looking out for you!  Even though their lobbyists wrote the bill, and the Democrats in Congress and the Senate passed it without reading it.

Dave Jones also had this to say:

“Unless Proposition 45 is passed or some other law is enacted to provide health-insurance rate regulation and the requirement that health insurers and HMOs justify their rates, we are going to continue to see dramatic year-over-year increases,” Jones said in a telephone briefing with reporters.

Sooo, this law that was supposed to reduce health care costs is actually going to result in higher health care costs every year.  As we said in the 1980s, “Awesome!  Totally awesome!”  Oh, well, all we need to do to correct that is to enact price controls.  Yeah, Dave, that always works.

But wait, there’s more!  Captain Obvious The chairman and CEO of Aetna Insurance stated in an interview this week that many Americans can’t afford Obamacare:

The Affordable Care Act—also known as Obamacare—is “not an affordable product” for many people and it does not fix the underlying problems causing high health-care costs, Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini told CNBC on Wednesday.

“If we’re going to fix health care, we’ve got to get at the delivery of care and the cost of care,” Bertolini said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “The ACA does none of that. The only person who’s really going to drive that is the consumer and the decisions they make.”

The PPACA can’t fix health care, because rising health care costs in the United States are due in large part to government over-regulation and the existence of cartels and monopolies in the industry.  I am currently doing some temporary work at a large regional hospital, and the amount of regulations and laws that have to be followed are truly astounding.  Here are just some of the pieces of legislation that have led to this crapstorm (all citations are from Wikipedia):

HIPPA: Title I protects health insurance coverage for workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Title II of HIPAA, known as the Administrative Simplification (AS) provisions, requires the establishment of national standards for electronic health care transactions and national identifiers for providers, health insurance plans, and employers.  More paperwork, which means more people on the payroll to shuffle papers instead of doing something productive.

EMTALArequires hospitals that accept payments from Medicare to provide emergency health care treatment to anyone needing it regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. Participating hospitals may not transfer or discharge patients needing emergency treatment except with the informed consent or stabilization of the patient or when their condition requires transfer to a hospital better equipped to administer the treatment.EMTALA applies to “participating hospitals.” The statute defines “participating hospitals” as those that accept payment from the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Medicare program.[2] “Because there are very few hospitals that do not accept Medicare, the law applies to nearly all hospitals.  The cost of emergency care required by EMTALA is not directly covered by the federal government

Basically, the Feds said that you have to give medical treatment to these people, but no one’s going to pay for it.  Brilliant!!!

Medicare: guarantees access to health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system, and younger people with disabilities as well as people with end stage renal disease and persons with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  On average, Medicare covers about half (48 percent) of the health care charges approved by Medicare. Medicare enrollees must then cover the remaining approved charges either with supplemental insurance or with another form of out-of-pocket coverage.

Medicaid: is a social health care program for families and individuals with low income and resources. The Health Insurance Association of America describes Medicaid as a “government insurance program for persons of all ages whose income and resources are insufficient to pay for health care.” Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health-related services for people with low income in the United States. It is a means-tested program that is jointly funded by the state and federal governments and managed by the states,[1] with each state currently having broad leeway to determine who is eligible for its implementation of the program. States are not required to participate in the program, although all currently do. Medicaid recipients must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents, and may include low-income adults, their children, and people with certain disabilities. Poverty alone does not necessarily qualify someone for Medicaid.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act significantly expanded both eligibility for and federal funding of Medicaid. Under the law as written, all U.S. citizens and legal residents with income up to 133% of the poverty line, including adults without dependent children, would qualify for coverage in any state that participated in the Medicaid program. 

The federal poverty line is currently $23,550 for a family of four.  Multiplying by 1.33, I get an income of $31,321.50 as the eligibility income for Obamacare.  Depending on your location and your spending habits, you may or may not qualify.

If a couple isn’t married but has children, it may be possible for the woman to receive Medicaid for herself and the children even if the man’s income is greater than $31,321.50.  As more and more Americans cohabit and avoid becoming legally married, more Medicaid benefits would be paid out.

(I don’t know if my reasoning on this is correct, I will have to do more research and update this section later.)

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act (that’s right, health care is now a civil right): prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. 

As all states currently participate in Medicare, they cannot deny medical services to illegal aliens without losing their Medicare money.

Obesity has been classified as a disability.  So that fat person buying junk food with their SNAP card in front of you at the supermarket (while paying cash for their cigarettes and beer) is likely also receiving disability payments from the federal government, and you are paying for their medical bills too.  As approximately one-third of all Americans are now obese, you can see that this is yet another reason why health care costs have been rising.

Here’s what Obamacare was really all about:

Obamacare Dividends Pile Up

Even as Obamacare continues to be attacked by foes and challenged in court, hospital chains and insurers are making more money, more patients using ERs are paying for their care, and the country as a whole is enjoying slower growth in its health-care spending.

***

Medicare spending rose by just $1 per beneficiary in 2013, the fourth year in a row that saw a slowdown, the government reported yesterday.

(This is a nice example of how to lie with statistics.  What we aren’t told is that more people are now signed up for and using Medicare, so the overall spending on Medicare has gone up even more than they are telling us here.  If spending rises by $1 per beneficiary and we have 10 million more people on Medicare, the additional increase in spending is actually $10 million.  That doesn’t include the previous Medicare users whose spending has also risen by $1 each.  Oh, to be a government liar statistician!)

“Obamacare’s turned out to be quite good for health-care companies,” said Les Funtleyder, a portfolio manager at Esquared asset management, in a telephone interview.

***

“We’re now halfway through the first year of expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act and, so far, our experience has been very positive,” William Carpenter, LifePoint’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a July 25 conference call. The company operates 100 hospitals, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The law contributed as much as $13 million to LifePoint’s earnings in the second quarter, about 40 percent more than the company had expected, he said.

This law is the most horrible, economically destructive piece of legislation to ever be passed by the U.S. Congress.  And even supporters of the law can see why, even if they don’t understand it:

9FEDA96DD13A4057BBFAF136E2670AD7Oh, Donna.  Donna, Donna, Donna.  The answer is right in front of your face.  Just ask yourself, “Cui bono?” and follow the money.

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Categories: Government Shenanigans, Healthcare, Liars, Obamacare, Price Controls

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