Tag Archives: Mandate

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.

Insurance companies are raising their premiums in response to Obamacare

This story is from Investors Business Daily.


We pointed out that several states had already tried these “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” reforms, and they’d been a disaster. Higher premiums encouraged the young and healthy to forgo insurance, knowing that they could sign up after they got sick, which drove premiums still higher.

ObamaCare was supposed to avoid this fate by heavily subsidizing insurance premiums and imposing a tax penalty for going uninsured, to get the young and healthy to sign up and keep premiums down.

But when IBD’s Jed Graham looked at the limited number of filings two weeks ago, he noted that insurers were asking for hikes that averaged 18.6%. And as more rate filings became public, that picture hasn’t changed.

In Virginia, for example, just one plan came in with a proposed rate increase below 10%. Three are above 25%. In Texas, Scott & White wants a 32% boost and Humana 30%. Alliance Health Plans in Georgia says that it needs a 37.85% increase.

The reasons given for these huge increases? The insurance pool is older and sicker than expected.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, which enrolled more than 329,000 people in the state, wants a 29% hike, saying, “Actual claims experience of the members … is significantly higher than expected.”

CareFirst in Maryland said that its per-enrollee claims shot up 49% in the first year of ObamaCare. WPS Health Plan also cited “the impact of numerous additional taxes and fees imposed upon our plan” as part of the reason why it wants a 19% boost.

It sounds so nice to feelings-oriented voters to cover all kinds of things that some people like, like birth control and sex changes. It sounds so nice to feelings-oriented voters to not turn people away with pre-existing conditions. It sounds to nice to feelings-oriented voters for every plan to cover maternity care – even for people who don’t use it, e.g. – men. But the simple fact of the matter is that when you force insurers to include more coverages and extend coverage to more people, then there will be more claims, and the next rounds of premiums must rise to cover the increased number of claims. That’s how insurance works. Although I doubt the average feelings-oriented Democrat understands that.


What’s more, these big increases are coming before ObamaCare’s temporary industry bailout programs go away. They were specifically designed to protect insurers from big losses, allowing them to keep premiums lower than they might have otherwise.

The cost of claims is going higher. The subsidies to cover the higher claims disappear. The private insurance companies cannot pay the higher claims. The private insurance companies close. The government takes over the health care industry. Taxes go up, to pay for a bloated and wasteful government-run health care system. Patients are forced to wait longer for care, even after paying into the single payer system their whole lives. Conscience protections disappear. More and more unethical behaviors that require health care get covered by the single payer system, encouraging patients to be less responsible since health care is “free”. Tax rates go higher to cover skyrocketing costs of “free” health care. Government decides to cut costs by implementing coerced abortion and euthanasia.

All we have to do is look to Europe and Canada to see how it works. This is how the socialist game plan plays out.

Video: Obamacare architect admits deceiving the public was needed to get it passed

CNS News reports.


A key architect of Obamacare has been caught openly boasting about taking advantage of, what he calls, “the stupidity of the American voter.”

MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber spoke at a panel on October 17 on the political hurdles Obamacare faced in 2009-10. The video was unearthed and posted on Youtube by American Commitment.

Gruber was instrumental in crafting the legislation that was signed into law in March 2010.

In the midst of his explanation, Gruber bragged about the multiple deceptions the Obama White House perpetrated on the American people:

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. So it was written to do that. In terms of risk related subsidies, if you had a law which made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical to get the thing to pass.”

This is a jaw dropping disclosure of the political lengths those in the Obama Administration were willing to go to avoid the hard truths about their signature legislative achievement.

This story is in the news, but this isn’t the first time I’ve blogged about Gruber.

Last November, I wrote about an interview with Jonathan Gruber.

Gruber said this:

“We currently have a highly discriminatory system where if you’re sick, if you’ve been sick, if you are going to get sick, you cannot get health insurance,” Gruber told host Chuck Todd. “The only way to end that discriminatory system is to bring everyone into the system and pay one fair price. That means that the genetic winners, the lottery winners, who’ve been paying their artificially low price because of this discrimination, now will have to pay more in return. And that, by my estimate is about 4 million people. In return, we’ll have a fixed system where over 30 million people will now, for the first time, be able to access fairly priced and guaranteed health insurance.”

So if I’m a man who chooses not to use drugs, I am a genetic winner, and I need to pay more to cover the substance abuse treatment coverage for those genetic losers who do choose to use drugs. If I’m a man, who doesn’t want to be a woman, I have to pay more in insurance to cover the sex-change surgery of men who do want to be women. If I’m a man who marries and has kids, I have to pay for the IVF of the career feminists who never marry and wait until they are 40 and want suddenly want IVF. And so on.

So according to Gruber, this law was about redistributing wealth from the beginning.

Imagine Obamacare applied to auto insurance. It would be like paying more for your auto insurance on a low-risk SUV to cover people who drive expensive motorcycles, which are more risky. You aren’t subject to high risk, but your must pay for those who are. That was the whole point of the law. And eventually, more mandatory coverages will be added for politically correct treatments like IVF, breast enlargements and sex changes, as is done in other socialized health care systems in the UK (breast enlargements, IVF) and some provinces in Canada (sex changes).

Think about that when the insurance premiums for Obamacare exchange plans finally get published and the premium are much higher. They. Knew.

UPDATE: The Daily Caller reports that University of Pennsylvania has now pulled the video but the one I linked to above is still live.

250,000 Virginians to lose their health care coverage due to Obamacare

From the Weekly Standard.


“Nearly a quarter million Virginians will have their current insurance plans cut this fall,” said the local anchor. “That is because many of them did not–are not following new Affordable Care Act rules, so a chunk of the companies that offer those individuals their policies will make the individuals choose new policies.”

Says the reporter, “This goes back to that now heavily-criticized line we heared before Obamacare was put in place: ‘If you like your plan, you can keep it.’ Ultimately, that turned out not to be true for thousands of Virginians and companies in the commonwealth. … Wednesday Virginia lawmakers on the health insurance reform commission met for the first time this year. Turns out, a staggering number of Virginians will need new plans this fall.”

A Virginia health official says, “Cancellation is a word that’s used all the time…but really what’s happened is the law has changed. We’re not allowed to offer those plans anymore. So what we’re saying to them is, you need to move to one that’s compliant with the law because that’s what we can offer.”

Not everyone is going to see the full effects of Obamacare before the midterm elections, but these Virginians are seeing it. The Obama administation delayed the employer mandate until after the midterm elections, along with Obama’s execute order amnesty. I hope that Americans are paying attention this time.

Six bad arguments against religious liberty from the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby hearing

From the Federalist. (H/T Jay Richards)

Here are the 6 arguments:

  1. A Government Surtax On Religious Exercise Is Totally Acceptable
  2. The Mandate Isn’t Really A Mandate
  3. This Is Just A Sneaky Way To Undo The Civil Rights Act
  4. Corporations Can Have A Racial Identity, Just Not A Religious One
  5. Don’t Start A Business If You Want The Government To Respect Your Religious Rights
  6. Abortifacients Aren’t Really Abortifacients

I want to highlight two of these.

First, number 1 makes clear that the Obama administration thinks that you should have to pay a tax in order to follow your conscience. Obama explained that very well in his campaign speeches. If you have a business, you didn’t build that. The government made that happen, and so they have a right to tell you how to run your business.

Here’s #1:

During her questioning of Hobby Lobby’s lead attorney, Justice Sonia Sotomayor appeared to endorse the concept of a religion surtax. Sotomayor’s rationale was that rather than providing health coverage that included abortifacient coverage, companies could refuse outright to provide any health insurance at all, thereby getting around the mandate.

But isn’t there another choice nobody talks about, which is paying the tax, which is a lot less than a penalty and a lot less than — than the cost of health insurance at all? These employers could choose not to give health insurance and pay not that high a penalty ­­– not that high a tax.

Given that the American Revolution started in large part due to a tax on stamps, it seems odd that the Founders would have agreed that citizens should be forced to pay a tax for the privilege of not doing things that might lead to the eternal damnation of their souls. At any rate, Chief Justice John Roberts interjected, and noted that Hobby Lobby’s owners believed they had a religious duty to provide health coverage to their employees. As a result, they would be forced to violate their beliefs no matter what: providing abortifacient coverage would be a violation, as would a failure to provide any health insurance coverage at all.

Number 4 is also interesting. The Democrats basically argued that although companies can be regarded by the law as Black-owned or Hispanic-owned, they cannot be regarded as Christian-owned. A Black-owned company can complain about racial discrimination, but a Christian-owned company can’t complain about religious discrimination. So corporations can have a race, but not a religion.

Here’s #4:

Corporations are people, my friend, just as long as they’re not religious people. That’s the essence of one argument offered by Verrilli. A major issue in the case is whether a for-profit company or corporation even has standing to sue under RFRA, or whether that right is granted only to individuals or non-profits. The Obama administration has argued that for-profit companies do not have standing. That argument led Roberts to ask the following:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Well, that’s a question of State corporate law. It’s not a question of who can bring an action under RFRA.

Could I just raise — eight courts of appeals, every court of appeal to have looked at the situation have held that Corporations can bring racial discrimination claims as corporations.

Now, does the government have a position on whether corporations have a race?

GENERAL VERRILLI: Yes. We think those are correct and that this situation is different.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So that — so that a corporation does have a race for purposes of discrimination laws.

“So the person — the corporation can bring as a person a claim of racial discrimination[?]” Roberts asked.

“That’s correct, but not exercise of religion,” Verrilli replied.

My opinion of this Hobby Lobby case is that the government’s real aim is to force Christian churches, groups and businesses to offer abortion as another service in a health insurance plan. They have no respect for religious liberty or conscience. They just want to make sure that no Christian can judge because we would all be complicit in the mass murder of millions of unborn children. There would be no one on the outside who could claim to stand in judgment over the pro-abortion people. That’s why it’s so important to make evil taxpayer-funded. That normalizes it and removes the stigma from the people who take advantage of it. “The whole society paid for this, so I don’t need to feel guilty about it – it’s normal”.

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