Tag Archives: Cost

Obamacare success: health insurance premiums to rise 20-40 percent in 2016

Obama doesn't have time for national security
Obama on the golf course having fun

This is from the radically leftist New York Times, of all places.

They write:

Health insurance companies around the country are seeking rate increases of 20 percent to 40 percent or more, saying their new customers under the Affordable Care Act turned out to be sicker than expected. Federal officials say they are determined to see that the requests are scaled back.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans — market leaders in many states — are seeking rate increases that average 23 percent in Illinois, 25 percent in North Carolina, 31 percent in Oklahoma, 36 percent in Tennessee and 54 percent in Minnesota, according to documents posted online by the federal government and state insurance commissioners and interviews with insurance executives.

The Oregon insurance commissioner, Laura N. Cali, has just approved 2016 rate increases for companies that cover more than 220,000 people. Moda Health Plan, which has the largest enrollment in the state, received a 25 percent increase, and the second-largest plan, LifeWise, received a 33 percent increase.
Jesse Ellis O’Brien, a health advocate at the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, said: “Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

[…]The rate requests are the first to reflect a full year of experience with the new insurance exchanges and federal standards that require insurers to accept all applicants, without charging higher prices because of a person’s illness or disability.

Bye-bye private health insurance, hello government-run VA style health care:

In financial statements filed with the government in the last two months, some insurers said that their claims payments totaled not just 80 percent, but more than 100 percent of premiums. And that, they said, is unsustainable.

Here’s Minnesota and Tennessee:

At Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, for example, the ratio of claims paid to premium revenues was more than 115 percent, and the company said it lost more than $135 million on its individual insurance business in 2014. “Based on first-quarter results,” it said, “the year-end deficit for 2015 individual business is expected to be significantly higher.”

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, the largest insurer in the state’s individual market, said its proposed increase of 36 percent could affect more than 209,000 consumers.

Missouri, North Carolina, Kansas:

Coventry Health Care, now owned by Aetna, is seeking rate increases that average 22 percent for 70,000 consumers in Missouri. “The claims experience for these plans has been worse than anticipated,” Coventry reported.

In its proposal to increase rates by an average of 25 percent for more than 397,000 consumers, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina cited “inpatient costs, particularly in treatment of cancer and heart conditions, emergency room utilization, and cost for specialty drug medications” to treat hepatitis C, breast cancer and cystic fibrosis.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas sought increases averaging 37 percent for 2016 and said the increase could affect 28,600 consumers.

“Kansans who purchased these individual plans since 2014 were older, in general, than expected and required more medical services than anticipated,” the company told federal health officials.

Wow, so when Obama promised all kinds of new free things, that actually costs money? I can’t believe it. Why didn’t Obama tell us that it would cost more to do all these things he promised, and that we would be stuck with the bill – not him? I thought he was such a generous guy and was going to pay for all this himself. But it turns out that he was just telling you what he was going to buy with your money.

Obamacare fines for non-enrollment TRIPLE for coming year

CBS News reports.

Excerpt:

Americans will see their bank accounts shrink if they don’t sign up for Obamacare in its second enrollment season.

Uninsured Americans who decide not to enroll will face a penalty of $325 per person, more than tripling the $95 penalty those who did not enroll had to pay the first time around.

Children under the age of 18 will be fined $162.50. The maximum amount an uninsured family will be penalized is $975 under the flat-rate method.

[…]CBS News reports that many Obamacare plans will be charging more as a 27-year-old earning 250 percent of the poverty rate will now have to pay an average of 7 percent more for the lowest-cost bronze plan. The analysis from Investor’s Business Daily found that the lowest-cost silver plan will rise 9 percent and the lowest-priced catastrophic policy will go up by 18 percent.

[…]The Health and Human Services Department said earlier this week that between 9 to 9.9 million Americans will receive health care plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces for next year’s coverage. That’s lower than the 13 million estimated by the Congressional Budget Office.

[…]The “young invincible” crowd of 18-to-36 year olds is crucial to the law’s success because insurance companies need their business to offset the costs of covering older, sicker and more expensive enrollees.

Recall that conservatives had been warning not enough of these young people have been signing up to pay for these more expensive enrollees. The people who need to be FORCED to sign up are the young people who don’t use health care. These young people – especially young men – have to be forced to pay into the system while not taking anything out. Young men almost never use health care, so they are the perfect serfs for this government controlled health care plan. If lots of young men have to sign up, then the people who need their substance abuse treatments, etc. can get it much cheaper.

Makes you wonder why young people still vote Democrat, doesn’t it? Especially young men! It makes no sense to me.

New study: children of divorce are more likely to be violent, take drugs and have underage sex

Dina tweeted this post from the UK Daily Mail. Let’s take a look at the findings, and then I’ll comment on it below.

Excerpt:

Children who encounter family break-up are far more likely to be violent, unhappy and feel unfulfilled throughout their lives, according to an NHS study.

Researchers found that the turmoil endured by youngsters has a crucial influence on nearly every facet of their later life.

A cross-section of 1,500 people were asked if they had faced a range of 11 circumstances, known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), covering abuse, family break-up, being raised with domestic violence and drink or drug addiction.

Coupled with details of their current lives, the research revealed the legacy of broken homes appears to weigh more heavily than any other factor, as among the worst affected group – those with four or more ACEs – two thirds had seen their parents go their separate ways, compared with an average of 24 per cent.

The chances of suffering a difficult childhood leapt for those born after 1971, when the law changed to make divorce easier. This generation was found to be significantly more likely to smoke, drink heavily, take drugs, fight, be mentally ill and have sex underage.

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust, a campaign group which researches the causes and consequences of family breakdown, said: ‘Casting aside traditional patterns of family life carries a high price tag in terms of the health, education and employment prospects of the next generation.

‘The relaxation of divorce laws  – along with the increasing proportion of births outside marriage – has resulted in a growing number of children lacking the benefit of being raised by both their natural parents in a stable unit.’

The report – a joint venture between Liverpool John Moores University and the NHS – found that 47 per cent of those questioned had been on the end of at least one bad childhood experience, and that adult life became tougher with each one added.

It revealed that those with four or more ACEs were – compared to someone with none – twice as likely to have had sex underage, eat next to no fruit and vegetables, have no qualifications, break a bone or have an extended stay in hospital.

So the first thing to note about this article is that it is good because it identifies a factor that causes divorce to be more frequent. That factor is no-fault divorce laws. These laws are supported by egalitarian feminists and by trial lawyer associations – both liberal constituencies. So, the article is indirectly identifying a solution to the problem. Roll back no-fault divorce laws, and you’ll have fewer divorces. People will think more carefully about who they marry. People will think more carefully about preparing for marriage.

So who opposes the repeal of no-fault divorce laws? Well… the same people who passed no-fault divorce laws in the first place – feminists and trial lawyers. So it’s very important that we understand that the solution to the epidemic of divorce is not to turn to men and blame men. The solution is to repeal no-fault divorce laws that make it easy and profitable for one party in a marriage (the woman, in 70% of cases) to initiate unilateral divorce.  If the problem is divorce, then the solution is making divorce unprofitable from the spouses. We should also stop giving assistance to single women who have children, because that is another incentive to women to dispense with their husbands as providers and leaders in the home. Let’s face it. Single mother welfare is an incentive for women to kick men out of the home. They are paid if they do it, and not paid if they don’t. So again, the solution to divorce is not “man up”, it’s stop paying women who divorce their husbands. Leave it to private charities and churches to help those women.

New study: private religious schools outperform public schools and public charter schools

Reported by The Public Discourse.

Excerpt:

I recently conducted a meta-analysis of more than ninety studies on education, and the results suggest that perhaps it is time for America’s leadership and the general public to take a second look at religious private schools. At the risk of immodesty, let me be frank. The study is hugely important because it is the first published meta-analysis to compare the three primary types of American schools: religious private schools, traditional public schools, and charter schools.

A meta-analysis statistically combines all the relevant existing studies on a given subject in order to determine the aggregated results of the research. This meta-analysis yielded results that surprised many by indicating that students from public charter schools did no better than their peers in traditional public schools. In contrast, youth from religious private schools performed better academically than their counterparts in both public charter schools and traditional public schools, even when the results were adjusted to account for socioeconomic status, selectivity, race, and various other factors.

[…]Examining results from all ninety studies, I found that the average academic outcome for religious school students was .28 of a standard deviation unit higher than for traditional public school (TPS) students, while the average for charter school students was only .01 of a standard deviation unit higher. If one converts these numbers to percentiles, the average academic outcome was 11 percentage points higher than that of TPS pupils, while charter school attendees scored about the same as their TPS counterparts.

Translated into more tangible numbers, students who attend private religious schools attain educational levels that average about twelve months ahead of those attending regular public schools. Even when the meta-analysis employed sophisticated controls, which included measures for socioeconomic status, selectivity, gender, and race, youth who attended faith-based schools achieved at levels seven months ahead of both TPS and public charter school students.

One of the most intriguing results of the study is that the racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps are roughly 25 percent narrower in religious private schools than in public schools. This finding is particularly interesting when one considers that over the years the government has spent hundreds of billions of dollars to bridge the gaps, with only limited success. Higher expectations for students, and school leaders’ insistence that pupils take demanding courses, could help to explain these circumstances in faith-based schools.

The meta-analysis focused primarily on scholastic performance, but it also examined student behavior. The results indicated that youth from faith-based schools maintained even a larger edge in behavior than they did in school academics. That is, pupils from religious private schools exhibited fewer behavioral problems, even when socioeconomic status, selectivity, race, and gender were also controlled for. This translates into fewer gangs, lower levels of drug abuse, and greater racial harmony than one typically finds in public schools.

Many people, even this researcher, expected public charter school students to perform somewhere in between the levels achieved by students attending faith-based schools and those attending traditional public schools, given that they were trying to mimic certain aspects of private religious schools.

To the extent that neither traditional public schools nor charter schools are succeeding on a broad scale, it appears that the best hope for American education is religious private schools. Not only are they considerably more economically efficient, but their students also achieve better academic and behavioral results.

I think that it is noteworthy that Democrats opposes allowing parents – especially poor parents – to have a choice of what school their children will attend. The Obama administration even de-funded a voucher program that served poor-minority students. Teacher unions are one of the strongest pro-Democrat special interests. If the Democrat Party has to choose between poor, minority students and their powerful allies in the teach unions, the choice is not a hard one. They choose the teacher unions.

Census Bureau confirms DC schools spending $29,409 per pupil

Andrew J. Coulson of the Cato Institute explains how he got the Census Bureau to revise their numbers.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Four years ago, I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post revealing that DC spent nearly $25,000 per pupil during the 2007-08 school year. I calculated this figure from the public budget documents of the District of Columbia, which I subsequently summarized and linked on this blog.

No education reporter followed up on my findings, and much lower per pupil figures continue to be reported to this day. My $25,000 figure was even greeted with skepticism by analysts at free market think tanks. One state education policy analyst wrote to say that my figure was “out of line with credible information,” and that I gave my critics “too much ammunition with this clearly questionable set of statistics.”

Indeed, the Census Bureau figures for DC’s total K-12 expenditures were substantially lower than mine. I made a note to track down the discrepancy, but other projects intervened. When I updated my calculation to use DC budget estimates for the 2008-09 school year, I found that District spending had risen to over $28,000 / pupil. The comparable number for that year reported by the Bureau of the Census was just $18,181 (which you get by dividing the total expenditure figure in Table 1 by the enrollment figure in Table 15).

So you can see why most folks were skeptical. Skeptical, but wrong.

Back in March of this year I asked my then research intern to contact the Census Bureau and ask where they got their total spending data. It turns out, they got them from a DCPS official. We presented evidence to the Bureau that that DCPS official had missed a few line items when completing the Census Bureau’s forms—to the tune of about $400 million. The Census Bureau agreed and is in the process of obtaining corrected data for the 2008-09 year. In the meantime, they made sure to ask DC officials to include all relevant items when filling out their forms for the 2009-10 school year. The result: Census Bureau data now show DC spent a total of $29,409 per pupil (obtained by dividing total expenditures in Table 1 by enrollment in Table 15). This is just a bit higher than my calculation for the preceding year.

Kudos to the Census Bureau for taking the initiative and getting DC to accurately report its public school expenditures. Now that education reporters can simply open a Census Bureau .pdf file and divide one number by another, I wonder if any will report what DC really spends per pupil? I suspect that they still will not, continuing to mislead the general public, but I would be delighted to be proven wrong.

Oh, and, BTW, this spending figure is about triple what the DC voucher program spends per pupil—and the voucher students have a much higher graduation rate and perform as well or better academically.

He’s talking about the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship voucher program which Obama dismantled and defunded in order to appease the teacher unions.

According to U.S. News, D.C. students are underperforming:

South Dakota, Nebraska, and Washington, D.C. performed the worst, with some of the worst student test scores and college readiness indexes in the nation.

Keep in mind that D.C. votes 92.5% to 6.5% for Obama in the 2008 election. This is where leftism in education comes from.

We ought to care about this, because the students in Washington D.C. are some of the poorest students in the nation – and they are often minority students. What sort of opportunity to succeed are we giving these children when we allow leftists like Obama to destroy voucher programs that are their only hope?