Tag Archives: Exchange

Is Obamacare working? State exchanges losing enrollees in 29 states

He's better at golf than foreign policy
He’s better at golf than health care policy

This article is from the Daily Caller, and was pointed out to me by one of my secular leftist co-workers.

It says:

Obamacare exchanges had a net loss total of 238,119 enrollees in 29 states and the District of Columbia within the three-month period between the end of March and end of June.

According to analysis the Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), numbers released from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that enrollment in all 50 states and DC as of June 31 is at 9.9 million. This number is down from 10.2 million on March 31.

Florida lost 101,091 enrollees, Georgia 34,925, North Carolina 32,300, Pennsylvania 29,487, Texas 23,194, New Jersey 14,273, Indiana 13,268, and Arizona 10,905.

“The poor performance of the program is bad news for the long-term sustainability of the federal and state Obamacare exchanges given their reliance on paying enrollees to meet costs,” ATR explained.

“Exchanges typically fund their operations through a fee on premiums: the federal exchange that provides 37 states with coverage charges a 3.5 percent premium, while state exchanges are free to choose their own rate. Fewer enrollees could signal the beginning of a death spiral for the Obamacare exchanges,” according to ATR.

Many state exchanges, however, are also reportedly in disarray. Reason Magazine reports that while the federal government “spent billions on creating Obamacare’s exchanges” it did not track the money appropriately, and many of the state-run exchanges are not working.

According to a Government Accountability Office report, only Vermont completed work on technology to send data to the IRS, while only 10 other states were partially complete. Additionally, Hawaii and Minnesota performed no testing at all on their exchange systems.

Government shouldn’t be running health care, that is something best left to health care specialists in the free market, who have skin in the game and have to compete with other providers in order to produce products and services that people actually want. It’s not working, and it’s costing us too much to move forward with a failed plan.

Obamacare website won’t reveal plan costs until after midterm elections

Last year, they revealed all the plans on October 1st. What could cause them to delay the prices this year for over a month?

The Washington Times explains.

Excerpt:

Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased — after the Nov. 4 election.

Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that’s no coincidence. Last year’s inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.

“This is more than just a glitch,” said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. “The administration’s decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans.”

[…]The Iowa insurance commissioner approved last week premium increases for three insurance carriers: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOpportunity Health and Coventry Health. Two of those insurers will implement double-digit hikes ranging from 11.9 to 19 percent, the Des Moines Register reports.

[…]The issue is also resonating in the Louisiana Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Documents filed with the Louisiana Department of Insurance show some insurers are anticipating double-digit rate hikes, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Mr. Cassidy, who’s a doctor, issued a statement Thursday calling the higher premiums “another hurdle for families and businesses already struggling under the demands of Obamacare.”

“Premiums have gone up by 53 percent for the average Louisiana policyholder and many of these policies will again see double-digit increases,” Mr. Cassidy said. “It’s unfair to Louisianans who have to balance their budgets and their businesses.”

I can understand why the Democrats would want to keep the exchange rates private before the election. They are counting on hoodwinking the American public again – vote first, find out what’s in the bill later.

 

Obamacare health insurance exchanges impose massive penalties on married couples

Hans Bader explains on the Competitive Enterprise Institute blog.

Excerpt: (links removed)

On the Obamacare health insurance exchanges, being married can cost you a lot. Get divorced (or avoid getting married, if you live together), and you save $7,230 per year if you are a fairly typical 40-year-old couple with kids (example: the husband working full-time, and the wife working part time, with the husband making $70,000, and the wife making $23,000). If you are a 60-year-old couple with equal incomes and no kids, and you make $62,041 a year, you save $11,028 a year by getting divorced or remaining unmarried. These are the amounts of money you will lose if you get married, since you will lose this amount of taxpayer subsidies due to Obamacare’s discriminatory treatment of married versus unmarried couples. That’s the reality confirmed by an Obamacare “calculator” provided by the pro-Obamacare Kaiser Family Foundation showing how Obamacare’s “tax credits” work.

It’s not the first time that the Democrats have introduced additional marriage penalties:

The tax increases Obama demanded in the fiscal cliff deal also contain a “marriage penalty,” although only for upper-income households (since the maximum rate kicks in at $450,000 for married couples — that is, $225,000 for each spouse — versus $400,000 for singles). Obamacare’s new tax on investment income, which applies to married couples making above $250,000 per year, also contains marriage penalties (for example, if an unmarried couple makes $390,000 — $195,000 for each partner — they owe no investment tax, even if all of their income is investment income, and even if a married couple with the same income would pay the Obamacare investment tax on a significant portion of their income).

Historically, the effect of marriage penalties has been most profound for working-class people, who are punished severely for getting married by the welfare state. As Rep. Thomas Petri (R-Wisc.) has noted, “The decline in marriage and the rise in the number of children born to unmarried mothers are concentrated among lower-income families. One reason is that lower-income couples will often lose money if they get married. Many federal benefits such as food stamps and the earned income tax credit phase out as income rises. Under federal law, if two individuals earning the minimum wage choose to marry, combining their incomes results in the loss of some $7,000 in federal benefits. The result: Fewer marriages, more births outside marriage and reduced prospects for rising into the middle class.”

The article goes on to explain why Obamacare penalizes does who work, but I want to stick with the Democrat antipathy to marriage.

Radical feminism opposes marriage

Why do Democrats want traditional marriage to go away? Well, because Democrats are radical feminists, and radical feminists want marriage to go away.

Here’s a research paper written in 2003 from the Heritage Foundation.

Excerpt: (footnote numbering and links removed)

In her 1996 book In the Name of the Family: Rethinking Family Values in the Postmodern Age, Judith Stacey, Professor of Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Southern California, consigned traditional marriage to the dustbin of history. Stacey contended that “Inequity and coercion…always lay at the vortex of that supposedly voluntary `compassionate marriage’ of the traditional nuclear family.” She welcomed the fact that traditional married-couple families (which she terms “The Family”) are being replaced by single-mother families (which she terms the postmodern “family of woman”):

Perhaps the postmodern “family of woman” will take the lead in burying The Family at long last. The [married nuclear] Family is a concept derived from faulty theoretical premises and an imperialistic logic, which even at its height never served the best interests of women, their children, or even many men…. The [nuclear married] family is dead. Long live our families!

Stacey urged policymakers to abandon their concern with restoring marital commitment between mothers and fathers and instead “move forward toward the postmodern family regime,” characterized by single parenthood and transitory relationships.

In 1996, Claudia Card, professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, continued the attack:

The legal rights of access that married partners have to each other’s persons, property, and lives makes it all but impossible for a spouse to defend herself (or himself), or to be protected against torture, rape, battery, stalking, mayhem, or murder by the other spouse…. Legal marriage thus enlists state support for conditions conducive to murder and mayhem.

Other radical feminists suggested that a culture of self-sufficiency and high turnover in intimate relationships is the key to independence and protection from hostile home life. Activist Fran Peavey, in a 1997 Harvard article ironically titled “A Celebration of Love and Commitment,” suggested that “Instead of getting married for life, men and women (in whatever combination suits their sexual orientation) should sign up for a seven-year hitch. If they want to reenlist for another seven, they may, but after that, the marriage is over.” Also in 1997, radical feminist author Ashton Applewhite, in her book Cutting Loose–Why Women Who End Their Marriages Do So Well proclaimed: “Women who end their marriages are far better off afterward.”

Another feminist widely read during the 1990s was Barbara Ehrenreich, a former columnist with Time magazine who now writes for The Nation. Throughout her work, Ehrenreich extols single parenthood and disparages marriage. Divorce, she argues, produces “no lasting psychological damage” for children. What America needs is not fewer divorces but more “good divorces.” Rather than seeking to strengthen marriage, policymakers “should concentrate on improving the quality of divorce.” In general, Ehrenreich concludes that single parenthood presents no problems that cannot be solved by much larger government subsidies to single parents.

Ehrenreich writes enthusiastically about efforts to move beyond the narrow limits of the nuclear married family toward more rational forms of human relationship:

There is a long and honorable tradition of “anti-family” thought. The French philosopher Charles Fourier taught that the family was a barrier to human progress; early feminists saw a degrading parallel between marriage and prostitution. More recently, the renowned British anthropologist Edmund Leach stated, “far from being the basis of the good society, the family with its narrow privacy and tawdry secrets, is the source of all discontents.”

While Ehrenreich recognizes that men and women are inevitably drawn to one another, she believes male-female relationships should be ad hoc, provisional, and transitory. She particularly disparages the idea of long-term marital commitment between fathers and mothers. In the future, children will be raised increasingly by communal groups of adults. These children apparently will fare far better than those raised within the tight constraints of the nuclear married family “with its deep impacted tensions.”

The paper goes on to explain how these messages have entered into college textbooks. College textbooks used in classes where young women are expected to agree with the textbooks in order to get their good grades. This is what your children will learn. It’s not what you think feminism is that matters – it’s what they think feminism is. And what they think is what the textbooks tell them to think – or else they get drummed out of the university. This is where the 42% out-of-wedlock birth rate came from. And why our children are growing up without fathers, and as a consequence of that, growing further and further away from God. Marriage is bad, feminists tell us, because husbands and their traditional roles are bad. So what are men for? To donate sperm and to pay taxes for welfare programs that make men and marriage superfluous. In the past, men married because they wanted the responsibility of the traditional male roles of protector, provider and moral/spiritual leader. If you want to know why men aren’t marrying now, look to the policies that have removed the respect and responsibility that men enjoyed within their family and from society for taking on these traditional roles. We have been replaced by government, and radical feminism is to blame.

You can read more about what radical feminists think about marriage here, and realize that this is animating Democrat policy-making. If you want marriage, make sure you don’t vote for a party that is trying to destroy it by every means possible – from redefinition, to divorce, to welfare, to exaggerations about domestic violence, to punitive taxation policies – and beyond. If you are a child of divorce, thank a Democrat. That was their intention – to deprive you of the stability you needed when you were growing up. One last point: it doesn’t really address the policy issue when pro-marriage conservatives think that the solution to the decline of marriage is to tell men to “man up”. That’s an easy solution for empty-headed church leaders, but it doesn’t reflect the real incentives that exist, thanks to policies pushed by the left.

New study finds that many young people won’t purchase Obamacare plans

Dr. David Hogberg of the National Center for Public Policy Research explains how Obamacare affects young people.

Here’s the executive summary:

If the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges are to function properly, it is crucial that a substantial number of people ages 18-34 join them. This age group that is young and relatively healthy must purchase health insurance on the exchanges in order to “cross-subsidize” people who are older and sicker. Without the young and healthy, the exchanges will enter a “death spiral” where only the older and sicker participate and price of insurance premiums will increase precipitously.

This study finds that in 2014 many single people aged 18-34 who do not have children will have a substantial financial incentive to forego insurance on the exchanges and instead pay the individual mandate penalty of $95 or one percent of income. About 3.7 million of those ages 18-34 will be at least $500 better off if they forgo insurance and pay the penalty. More than 3 million will be $1,000 better off if they go the same route. This raises the likelihood that an insufficient number of young and healthy people will participate in the exchanges, thereby leading to a death spiral. 

The design of the plan is to tax younger, healthier people – especially men – in order to obtain the money to pay for heavy users of health care.

To compel the young and healthy to purchase insurance, the architects of ObamaCare included an individual mandate that requires individuals to either buy insurance or pay a penalty. The penalty, which increases over time, is whichever is greater: $95 or one percent of income in 2014, $325 or two percent of income in 2015, and $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016 and thereafter.

[…]The gender breakdown of these individuals presents another problem. Women have higher rates of health utilization than men, including more visits to primary-care physicians and greater use of diagnostic tests and emergency care. However, as Table 3 shows, roughly two-thirds of the individuals for whom insurance will cost at least $1,000 more than the fine are men.

Hard to see why any young man would have voted Democrat, and yet many did. Did they know that they were voting for a tax on themselves at a time when many of them are poorly educated by government-run schools, and can’t even find jobs? How can you pay a fine for not having health care when you don’t have a proper education or a proper job?

The net effect of the “community rating” and “guaranteed issue” provisions of Obamacare will be to raise health insurance premiums and force private companies to stop offering plans:

If the exchanges do not attract a sufficient number of people in the 18-34 age demographic, they will eventually enter an insurance “death spiral.” This occurs when the young and healthy drop out of the “insurance pool.” This leads to “adverse selection” in which insurance is only attractive to those who are generally older and sicker. If the insurance pool is comprised largely of people who are older and sicker, then insurance prices will rise to cover their costs. That rate increase causes even more young and healthy people drop their insurance, leaving the pools even older and sicker than before, and so on. Eventually, all but a few insurers will be forced to discontinue their business on the exchanges because they can no longer make a profit. Fewer insurers means less competition, resulting in even higher insurance premiums.

Community rating and guaranteed issue are catalysts for a death spiral. In its strictest form, community rating means that insurers must charge everyone the same premium, regardless of factors such as health status and age. Guaranteed issue means that an insurer must sell a policy to a consumer anytime.

Under ObamaCare, the exchanges use a modified version of both of these regulations. Its form of community rating doesn’t allow insurers to vary rates based on health status. It does allow, however, for modification of premiums if one smokes and to compensate for age (although in a more restricted manner than the market currently does). Regarding guaranteed issue, insurers must sell policies to all comers but (with a few exceptions) only during the annual open enrollment period from October to December.

Both of these rules give young and healthy people big incentives to forgo insurance coverage altogether. Community rating means young people have a reduced incentive to buy insurance since they will pay a premium that is above the market rate. Many who are currently purchasing insurance in the individual market, for example, will see a substantial premium increase if they switch to the exchange.

In a market without guaranteed issue, consumers run the risk of insurers not selling them policies when they get seriously ill. But that risk is largely gone under the exchanges. For instance, a young person who gets a serious illness in June only has to wait until October to sign up for insurance and then wait until January 1 of the next year to receive coverage. Combined, community rating and guaranteed issue give the young and healthy big incentives to forgo insurance until they are sick.

“Community rating” and “guaranteed issue” have actually already been tried at the state level. What happened then?

This:

The late Conrad Meier, then a senior fellow in health care policy for the Heartland Institute, examined what happened when these two regulations were instituted on the state level in his 2005 monograph “Destroying Insurance Markets.” In the early 1990s eight states — Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington — imposed community rating and guaranteed issue on their individual insurance markets. The result, according to Meier, was the above-described death spiral.

For example, in 1992 the New Jersey legislature adopted community rating and guaranteed issue rules for its individual insurance market with the passage of the “Individual Health Coverage Program.” The monthly premium for family coverage from Aetna rose from $769 in 1994 to $6,005 in 2005, a whopping increase of 683 percent! Other insurers saw similar increases.

Before the reforms began, there were about 28 insurers covering the New Jersey individual market. By 2007 there were only seven. According to the Census Bureau, the number of people in New Jersey’s individual market fell from about 998,000 in 1994 to 630,000 in 2005, a decline of 37 percent.

It’s pretty clear that Obamacare was designed to replicate this same effect that’s been observed in states at a national level, paving the way for single payer health care. What will Americans think when their healthcare is controlled by the kind of people who run USPS, Amtrak, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the IRS? 

California: Obamacare exchanges will raise health insurance premiums up to 25%

The radically leftist Los Angeles Times reports on it. (H/T The Cato Institute)

Excerpt:

California’s health insurance exchange said more than 30 plans are expected to vie with one another for spots in the state-run marketplace opening next fall.

State officials, and those in other states, are eager to flex their purchasing power under the federal healthcare law by selecting only certain individual and small-business health plans for 19 different regions across California.

The exchange, branded Tuesday as Covered California, will negotiate with insurers for the best rates and will assist consumers and small businesses in choosing a plan by separating them into five categories based on cost and level of benefits.

[…]The ability of the exchange to lower healthcare costs remains unclear. Experts said average premiums could rise in the exchange because the Affordable Care Act requires improved benefits, but consumers’ out-of-pocket medical costs could decrease under those same changes.

California insurance officials have expressed concern about substantial rate hikes for some existing policyholders going into the exchange.

Under a new rating map approved by state lawmakers, the Department of lnsurance estimated that premiums for similar coverage could increase as much as 25% in West Los Angeles, 22% in the Sacramento area and nearly 13% in Orange County.

Do you want to pay higher medical insurance premiums? Can you afford it? We’ve already seen massive drops in average household incomes under this President.

According to Forbes magazine:

New income data from the Census Bureau reveal what a great job Barack Obama has done for the middle class as President. During his entire tenure in the oval office, median household income has declined by 7.3%.

In January, 2009, the month he entered office, median household income was $54,983. By June, 2012, it had spiraled down to $50,964. That’s a loss of $4,019 per family, the equivalent of losing a little less than one month’s income a year, every year. And on our current course that is only going to get worse not better…

[…]Three years into the Obama recovery, median family income had declined nearly 5% by June, 2012 as compared to June, 2009. That is nearly twice the decline of 2.6% that occurred during the recession from December, 2007 until June, 2009. As the Wall Street Journal summarized in its August 25-26 weekend edition, “For household income, in other words, the Obama recovery has been worse than the Bush recession.”

[…]Obama has failed the poor as well as the middle class. Last year, the Census Bureau reported more Americans in poverty than ever before in the more than 50 years that Census has been tracking poverty. Now The Huffington Post reports that the poverty rate is on track to rise to the highest level since 1965, before the War on Poverty began. A July 22 story by Hope Yen reports that when the new poverty rates are released in September, “even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.”

Additionally, medical insurance premiums, which Obama promised to lower, are actually up.

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

During his first run for president, Barack Obama made one very specific promise to voters: He would cut health insurance premiums for families by $2,500, and do so in his first term.

But it turns out that family premiums have increased by more than $3,000 since Obama’s vow, according to the latest annual Kaiser Family Foundation employee health benefits survey.

Premiums for employer-provided family coverage rose $3,065 — 24% — from 2008 to 2012, the Kaiser survey found. Even if you start counting in 2009, premiums have climbed $2,370.

Why should we go forward with Obamacare, which requires the construction of these exchanges? Obama already broke his promise to cut health insurance premiums, and the full implementation of these exchanges would raise the premiums even higher. This is nothing but a ploy to justify the imposition of price controls on private health insurers so that they go out of business, and we are left with a fully government-controlled system. Then there will be no choice, no competition, waiting lists, a shortage of doctors and rationing of health care by un-elected bureaucrats. Do not give this man a second term.

Here are a few articles that I have been using lately to inform people about the problems with Obamacare:

It’s important to understand that people who oppose this law don’t oppose because we are just being contrary.  We have reasons.