Tag Archives: Health-care

Gallup poll: Americans think health care is less affordable after Obamacare

Obamacare premium increases by state
Obamacare premium increases by state

Investors Business Daily talks about the latest Gallup poll.


The official name of ObamaCare is the “Affordable Care Act.” So, as it enters its third year, how is it living up to its moniker? Not every well, according to a new Gallup poll. Cost and access to care remain the top concern of 42% of Americans, which is actually up from 2013, the year before ObamaCare went into effect, when 39% cited these as top concerns. And it’s far above 1997, when just 22% listed cost and access as top health concerns.


It’s not hard to understand why. Even those getting generous subsidies through ObamaCare exchanges often find that they can’t afford treatments because of the health plans’ high deductibles.

The New York Times found that more than half the plans offered through the federal Healthcare.gov exchange had deductibles of $3,000 or more. In some states, the median deductible was $5,000 or more.

Sky-high deductibles like that high used to come with extremely low premiums. But thanks to ObamaCare’s many rules and regulations and fees, such plans are a thing of the past.

The Times notes that an Albuquerque, N.M., woman pays $4,800 a year for a plan with a $6,000 deductible. Before ObamaCare, a plan with a $2,500 deductible was available in that state for just $1,625 a year, according to aGovernment Accountability Office review of pre-ObamaCare premiums.

IBD’s Jed Graham found that deductibles for the cheapest ObamaCare plans in 37 major markets climbed an average 7.4% to more than $5,600.

Then, of course, there are the premium spikes many will find when they go to sign up or renew their ObamaCare polices. Not to mention the increasingly narrow doctor networks and other hidden costs imposed by insurers to keep premiums from going up even more.

Yes, health care premiums are way, way up. Obama told us during his election campaigns that health care premiums would go down an average of $2,500. How did he intend to achieve that? By reducing choice and competition, and require insurance companies to cover more stuff, like drug addiction therapy, onto every health care plan.

Here he is promising things to young voters:

The young people believed his honeyed words, and did not ask for evidence to prove the claims that made them feel good. After all, if the words made them feel good, then the words must be true, right?

Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?
Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?

So what happened? Health care premiums went up, because the more stuff that your health care plan has to cover (e.g. – drug addiction treatment) the more you have to pay for that health care plan. And so, as I blogged about before, health care premiums have actually gone up $4,865 on average, per year. Yes, this is another case of keep your doctor / keep your health plan claims. Either Obama knows that what he says is false, and says it anyway (evil Obama) or he does not know what he is talking about, but says things that will make people like him anyway (imbecile Obama).

It’s been a fun game for conservatives over the last 7 years to try to decide whether we elected an evil man or a stupid man. My view has always been that Obama is a stupid man, and that’s because unlike every other politician, he’s never released his transcripts. I can pretty much guarantee you that it is all Fs straight down the line. We elected a moron, who just says whatever makes him look good. He has no more idea what he is talking about than a parrot trying to explain the stock market. But he made Democrat voters feel good – and that’s what mattered to them.

Obama voters face choice between an expensive fine and an expensive Bronze plan

Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?
Should we pick a candidate based on our emotional response to his confidence?

Obama told us during his election campaigns that health care premiums would go down an average of $2,500. How did he intend to achieve that? By reducing choice and competition, and require insurance companies to cover more stuff, like drug addiction therapy, onto every health care plan.

Here he is promising things to young voters:

So what happened? Health care premiums went up, because the more stuff that your health care plan has to cover (e.g. – drug addiction treatment) the more you have to pay for that health care plan. And so, as I blogged about before, health care premiums have actually gone up $4,865 on average, per year. Yes, this is another case of keep your doctor / keep your health plan lies.

Well, that’s all fine and good, because this is America, and no one will be forced to buy these expensive plans that cover things that you don’t want or need, right? Well, not so much. See, there is this Obamacare thing called the “individual mandate”, and it says that everyone has to buy health care, or they have to pay a fine. Even single young men in their 30s who don’t even need health care have to buy health care.

Investors Business Daily explains:

Millions of people who will start shopping for ObamaCare plans as early as Sunday will have one question in mind: How much is the cheapest plan for avoiding a $695 individual mandate penalty?

For the vast majority, that means the cheapest bronze plan. The next question they’ll consider, taking into account the deductible that will rise as high as $6,850 in 2016, is whether they would be better off paying a penalty.

A lot of factors will play into the decision, but for most relatively young and healthy adults, the biggest will be just how much more it will cost to get insurance than to go without coverage.

An IBD review of 2016 rates in one major metro area in each of the 37 states using HealthCare.gov reveals where higher bronze-plan costs — even after subsidies — will make the mandate penalty look relatively attractive.

So you either have to pay a $695 or you have to buy a bronze plan with a $6,850 deductible. Most people never use that much health care, so they will be paying out of pocket for all their health care anyway. So, either you are paying a fine that covers nothing, or you are paying for a plan that covers nothing.

Here is the chart of bronze health care plans:

Obamacare Bronze plans: and don't forget the $6850 deductibles
Obamacare Bronze plans (click for larger image)


The accompanying chart lists the after-subsidy cost of the cheapest bronze plan for a 30-year-old earning 257% of the poverty level, or about $30,000. At the top of the chart, young adults earning $30,000 in Miami, Atlanta and Jackson, Miss., would have to pay more than $2,200 for the cheapest exchange plan — or more than triple the mandate penalty.

What’s nice about this is the justice of it. It’s the young, hip, middle-class young people who are going to end up with the bill for their Democrat-voting in 2008 and 2012.

The question is whether average moderate-earning 30-year-olds, assuming they have that much money available for insurance, will think it is better to pay an extra $1,130 or so for a plan with a huge deductible or whether it makes sense to hope for the best and hold on to that cash to pay any medical bills that arise.

A logical goal of the individual mandate is to get young and healthy adults with moderate incomes to sign up for coverage, since low-income young adults get pretty big subsidies and may not need as much of a push to enroll. Yet ObamaCare’s individual mandate does not seem well designed to achieve its goal, which helps explain why young-adult enrollment is somewhere around 2 million below target at this point.

Health care reform is a valid goal, and we do need health care to get cheaper. But the way to do that is not to elect someone who has not done it, but who just makes a lot of promises. The way to fix health care is by electing someone who has experience at fixing health care.

Hillary Clinton downplays VA scandal: 307,000 veterans died on VA waiting lists

VA health care wait times
VA health care wait times

Before we find out what Hillary Clinton thinks of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care scandal, let’s find out what the problem is, using this article from Breitbart News.


The Department of Veterans Affairs office Inspector General has released a report revealing that about 307,000 sick veterans have died while waiting for care on the VA’s eligibility waiting list. In fact, the report finds that many have been dead for more than four years.
The report confirms the worst-case scenarios about the long VA wait times that have made news reports and sparked questions in Congress since last year.

On Wednesday, the OIG revealed that of the 800,000-some records stalled in the VA’s health care enrollment system, 307,000 veterans have already died anywhere from months ago to more than four years ago.

“As of September 2014, more than 307,000 pending [enrollment system] records, or about 35 percent of all pending records, were for individuals reported as deceased by the Social Security Administration,” the report discovered.

But even that number was disputable because the VA’s databases are in such disarray.

“[D]ue to data limitations, we could not determine specifically how many pending [enrollment system] records represent veterans who applied for health care benefits,” the report continued. “These conditions occurred because the enrollment program did not effectively define, collect, and manage enrollment data.”

The study resulted after whistleblowers warned of the utter mismanagement at the Veteran Affairs offices that included incorrectly making unprocessed applications and the deletion of thousands of records over at least the last five years.

The OIG found one veteran who had been on a waiting list for 14 years and another veteran who died in 1988 but still had unprocessed applications in the VA system.

Scott Davis, a program specialist at the VA Health Eligibility Center, told CNN that millions of veterans are still at risk because of these failures.

“People who fought, and who earned the right to VA health care were never given VA health care,” Davis said. “They literally died while waiting for VA to process their health care application.”

Now let’s see what Hillary Clinton said about the VA scandal.

Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help
Hillary Clinton look bored about the deaths of 4 Americans who asked for her help

Here she is, in her own words, before a friendly audience:

She says this about the VA problems: “It’s not been as widespread as it has been made out to be”.

Single-payer health care

This is health care policy expert Sally Pipes, writing in Investors Business Daily, about the VA single-payer health care system.

She writes:

A new report from the Government Accountability Office has confirmed that the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t take care of those it’s supposed to serve.

The GAO has placed the VA’s health system on the “high risk” list of federal programs that are vulnerable to “fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement.” The agency is still struggling to recover from an 8-month-old internal audit that revealed that returning soldiers had to wait more than 90 days for care. Some patients died while waiting.

The GAO’s findings apply far beyond the VA. The agency’s problems — which include long wait-times and out-of-control costs — demonstrate what happens in any government-run, single-payer health care system.

[…]Defenders of government-run health care claim that it will control costs by cutting out middlemen such as insurance companies. The evidence shows otherwise. According to the GAO, the VA budget more than doubled between 2002 and 2013 even as enrollment increased by less than a third.Single-payer’s “guarantee” of access to high-quality care is a myth, too.

“Despite these substantial budget increases,” the GAO report says, “for more than a decade there have been numerous reports … of VA facilities failing to provide timely health care.”

[..]Last summer, lawmakers allocated $10 billion to a program intended to reduce wait times by permitting veterans to see private doctors outside the VA system. So far, the agency has only authorized 31,000 vets to seek private care — out of a possible 8.5 million.That has to change — 88% of veterans say that they want the ability to choose where they receive their care.

The VA health care system is the purest single-payer health care system in the United States. Every claim billed and processed by the government. Customers have ZERO CHOICES if they want to go to a competitor for better service, or less cost. They pay their money to the government in mandatory taxes, and then take their places in line to wait for bureaucrats to act. Bureaucrats face no pressure from competitors to perform for their customers. They have already been paid, and their customers cannot go anywhere else.

In single-payer system, health care is doled out to those customers whose votes are desired by the government. And if you get to the point where you need more health care than you are paying for in your mandatory in taxes… well, that’s what euthanasia is for. It’s very popular in countries that have single-payer, as a way of cutting costs. Canada has a single-payer system, and they just legalized euthanasia.

By any measure, Obamacare has been a disastrous failure

Well, the law was supposed to take until now to come into full effect. Now that we are getting the full Obamacare, what are we seeing?

The Wall Street Journal says not enough of the young Democrats who voted for Obamacare are signing up for it:

This month the Health and Human Services Department dramatically discounted its internal estimate of how many people will join the state insurance exchanges in 2016. There are about 9.1 million enrollees today, and the consensus estimate—by the Congressional Budget Office, the Medicare actuary and independent analysts like Rand Corp.—was that participation would surge to some 20 million. But HHS now expects enrollment to grow to between merely 9.4 million and 11.4 million.

Recruitment for 2015 is roughly 70% of the original projection, but ObamaCare will be running at less than half its goal in 2016. HHS believes some 19 million Americans earn too much for Medicaid but qualify for ObamaCare subsidies and haven’t signed up. Some 8.5 million of that 19 million purchase off-exchange private coverage with their own money, while the other 10.5 million are still uninsured. In other words, for every person who’s allowed to join and has, two people haven’t.

Among this population of the uninsured, HHS reports that half are between the ages of 18 and 34 and nearly two-thirds are in excellent or very good health. The exchanges won’t survive actuarially unless they attract this prime demographic: ObamaCare’s individual mandate penalty and social-justice redistribution are supposed to force these low-cost consumers to buy overpriced policies to cross-subsidize everybody else. No wonder HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said meeting even the downgraded target is “probably pretty challenging.”

The program doesn’t work unless young, poor, healthy people are forced to pay for the health care of rich, older, sickly people.

The radically leftist New York Times reports that out of the 22 health insurance co-ops Obamacare created, nine of them have already closed – leaving customers without coverage.


The grim announcements keep coming, picking up pace in recent weeks.

About a third, or eight, alternative health insurers created under President Obama’shealth care law to spur competition that might have made coverage less expensive for consumers are shutting down. The three largest are among that number. Only 14 of the so-called cooperatives are still standing, some precariously.

The toll of failed co-op insurers, which were intended to challenge dominant companies that wield considerable power to dictate prices, has left about 500,000 customers scrambling to find health insurance for next year. A ninth co-op, which served Iowa and Nebraska, closed in February.

At a time when the industry is experiencing a wave of consolidation, with giants like Anthem and Aetna planning to buy their smaller rivals, the vanishing co-ops will leave some consumers with fewer choices — and potentially higher prices.

The failures include co-ops in New York, Colorado, Kentucky and South Carolina.

The shuttering of these start-ups amounts to what could be a loss of nearly $1 billion in federal loans provided to help them get started. And the cascading series of failures has also led to skepticism about the Obama administration’s commitment to this venture.

UPDATE: A day after this was posted, another IRS co-op has just closed, this time in Utah. Now we are up to 10 out of 22.

Cato Institute health care expert Michael Tanner talks about the increases in health care premiums caused by Obamacare at CNS News:

For example, insurance companies have begun submitting their requests for rate increases for 2016, and those requests suggest that premiums could skyrocket next year. Already we’ve seen requests for increases for individual plans as high as 64.8 percent in Texas, 61 percent in Pennsylvania, 51.6 percent in New Mexico, 36.3 percent in Tennessee, 30.4 percent in Maryland, 25 percent in Oregon, and 19.9 percent in Washington. Those increases would come on top of premium increases last year that were 24.4 percent above what they would have been without Obamacare, according to a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research. At the same time, deductibles for the cheapest Obamacare plans now average about $5,180 for individuals and $10,500 for families.

Recall that on this blog, pretty much all of 2009 and 2010 was spent carefully explaining the moral hazards and other problems created by Obamacare. This was stuff that Republicans knew would happen. But on the other side of the aisle, there was too much naive, youthful exuberance from the secular left. Evidence was ignored, and feelings won the day. Obamacare was passed on the memes and tweets, while the studies reported by people like me went entirely unread.

Investors Business Daily just posted a list of 12 problems with Obamcare for the middle class:

Remember how many times I blogged about this one:

6. Shorter Workweeks

Because ObamaCare’s employer mandate fines don’t apply for workers who average fewer than 30 hours per week, the law gives companies an incentive to put a cap on workhours — particularly for low-wage workers who are less likely to be offered coverage.

The impact isn’t big enough to show up in economywide data, but there’s little doubt that the employer mandate has hurt a lot of people. IBD found 450 employers that capped workhours, and Current Population Survey data show a dive in the share of workers clocking just above 30 hours per week.

And what about the penalty for not buying what the government tells you to:

7. Impact On Wages

In 2016, a company with 50 full-time-equivalent workers could face a penalty of $2,160 per employee (with 30 workers exempted). When the after-tax fine is converted to tax-deductible wages, it equates to $1.71 an hour for a full-time worker.

Who will pay the penalty? For the most part, it won’t be employers — at least not directly. The CBO expects that “the penalty will be borne primarily by workers in the form of reduced wages or other compensation.”

Again, I want to emphasize that it is the evidence-hating secular left that is surprised by these “unexpected” problems with their childish policy. Those of us on the religious right predicted them, because we read the studies that were done before the 2012 election.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the economy’s not doing so well, either:

Changes in quarterly earnings and revenue for S&P 500 companies
Changes in quarterly earnings and revenue for S&P 500 companies

In 2006, we handed both the House and Senate to Democrats. The national debt was $8.5 trillion. In 2008, we handed the Presidency to the Democrats. The national debt was $10 trillion. After 10 years of Democrats, we now have a national debt of $18.5 trillion. It has been a long, low-interest, no-growth Keynesian binge. The kind of economics you expect from a socialist community organizer.

House Republicans vote to repeal parts of Obamacare, defund Planned Plarenthood

Republican Congresswoman Mia Love
Republican Congresswoman Mia Love

Great news from the Daily Signal.


The House approved a budget reconciliation bill Friday that would repeal portions of Obamacare and cut federal funds to Planned Parenthood for one year.

The legislation, called the Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act, was passed in a 240-189 vote.

[…]Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., chairman of the House Budget Committee, said in a statement the bill “repeals the most coercive components of Obamacare—eliminating onerous taxes, the individual and employer mandates, an Obamacare slush fund, and lifting unnecessary burdens on employers and employees.”

Price noted the legislation would increase funding for community health centers while eliminating government support for Planned Parenthood, which is under investigation after a series of undercover videos related to its role with aborted baby body parts.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group, praised the House’s efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Naturally, Democrats voted for Obamacare and for Planned Parenthood. Because they love when people lose their doctors and health care, unless their doctor is an abortionist, and the health care is an abortion.

Cato Institute graphs education spending against test scores
Cato Institute graphs education spending against student achievement

Meanwhile, House Republicans also voted to extend a school voucher program for low-income, minority students in Washington, D.C..

The Daily Signal reports on that, too:

Speaker John Boehner cinched victory Wednesday as House Republicans smoothly extended his linchpin private school voucher program for low-income students through 2021.

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program provides students in Washington’s struggling school districts with federally backed vouchers to attend a private school of choice. The House confirmed its reauthorization Wednesday evening in a near party-line vote of 240 to 191.

[…]Boehner, the product of Catholic school, helped begin the program in 2003 while he served as chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. The program has operated as an alternative for parents who can’t afford to transfer their kids out of a failing school district to a more effective private school.

Over the past 10 years, more than 6,100 inner-city students have used the vouchers to “escape underperforming schools,” Boehner noted.

Proponents boast data finding that among those enrolled, 90 percent graduated from high school, and 88 percent of the class of 2015 moved on to pursue higher education. The average annual household income of the students enrolled falls around $20,575.

Lindsey Burke, a fellow in education policy at The Heritage Foundation, previously told The Daily Signal the program marks a “beacon of education success” that has allowed other states to pursue similar school choice options.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find many other education programs that can deliver those types of outcomes,” Burke said.

The $45-million program has faced Democratic pushback since its inception and will likely surface in the ongoing school choice battle between Republicans and President Barack Obama this fall.

In anticipation of the program’s reauthorization, the White House issued a statement Tuesday reaffirming the administration’s “strong” opposition, but held back a veto threat.

The president has attempted to defund the program every year, aligning with Democrats who argue that the scholarship funnels money out of D.C.’s public schools system.

It still has to make it through the Senate, and then Obama might veto it. But so what if he does, that just means we get a Republican president in 2016, when it comes out where Democrats really stand on providing quality education for poor, minority children. Republicans are all for it. Democrats oppose vouchers because they want to make sure that they have an ample supply of uneducated, dependent voters.