Tag Archives: Health Plan

How well is Obamacare working, and will Ted Cruz or Donald Trump fix health care?

Obamacare Bronze plans: and don't forget the $6850 deductibles
Obamacare Bronze plans

Two stories, then we’ll see whether Trump or Cruz is more likely to repeal Obamacare.

The Daily Signal lists 4 problems with Obamacare:

  1. Rising Costs
  2. Higher Taxes
  3. Unstable Enrollment
  4. Hostility to Personal Liberty

Let’s look at the first two:

Rising Costs

Contrary to repeated administration promises, Obamacare has not only failed to lower costs, but has also imposed additional expenses on millions of already over-stretched individuals and families.

Premiums in the government created exchanges were an initially jolting experience for Americans who did not qualify for taxpayer subsidies, and it appears that in 2016 premium increases in the government’s health insurance exchanges will again hit enrollees in the double digit range.

When it comes to average job-based premiums, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that they, too, are climbing, and will rise almost 60 percent between now and 2025. Deductibles in the Affordable Care Act exchanges have also jumped higher than officials anticipated, discouraging the purchase of the Obamacare coverage among the poor and the young.

[…]Today, based on CBO data, the net cost of Obamacare’s coverage provisions—subtracting the taxes and penalties—will amount to over $1.4 trillion over the next ten years.

Higher Taxes

Obama promised he would not raise taxes on the middle-class. But Congressional Budget Office data indicates that Obamacare’s numerous taxes, fees, and penalties will cost about $832 billion over the years 2016 – 2025. And middle-class Americans are going to be hit—directly and indirectly.

Even lower-income workers will get hit by Obamacare taxes, including the so-called Cadillac tax on expensive health plans offered by large firms, as well as the individual mandate tax penalty.

For 2016, that mandate tax penalty for a single adult is $695 and up to $2,085 for a family.

We also need to remember how many companies took their employees off of the full-time work week to keep them below the 30 hours, so that they wouldn’t have to buy them this expensive health care with all the new minimum coverages (drug addiction therapy coverage is mandatory now?) that raised the price of health care insurance premiums.

But there’s more than just more government spending, higher premiums, higher deductibles and higher tax penalties for those who opt out of the individual mandate. There’s also the regulation side of things. Doctors are now being regulated by the government to the point where they are dropping out of the field. And there are fewer people who want to become doctors, because of the regulations.

Primary care doctor shortage
Primary care doctor shortage

So, how do we fix it? Well, one person who will not fix it is Donald Trump. Trump isn’t aware of any of the problems with Obamacare – he wants to expand government control of health care. Make it cover more people, for more mandated coverages (toupees, wigs, Viagra, hair replacement surgery?)

When government pays for all the health care provisioning, we call that a single-payer system. And Trump is for it – that clip is from September 27, 2015. In the Fox News debate in August, he said that single payer health care “works in Canada“.

Do you think more government-control of health care will make things better? Look at how things are going in the single-payer system for our armed forces veterans in the VA single-payer system – they are dying while bureaucrats collect fat bonuses for concealing the waiting lists. Just as in Canada and the UK, the patients are dying on waiting lists while waiting for care. They pay into the Trump health care system their whole lives, then when they are old and of no use to the government, they are denied care and left to die.

Single-payer health care wait times in Canada
Single-payer health care wait times in Canada

How much do Canadians pay in taxes, in order to wait on waiting lists for the government to decide to give them health care?

This Toronto Sun article explains:

Canadians retain just 21% of their income after paying the taxman and covering the cost of necessities, according to a Fraser Institute study.

Taxes gobble up a whopping 42% of the average Canadian family’s income. About 37% of income goes to cover housing, food and clothing.

“We’ve found … that over the last five decades or so, the tax bill for the average Canadian family has grown dramatically,” said study coauthor Charles Lammam.

Well, what about Ted Cruz? Has he got any sort of plan for Obamacare and consumer-centered health care reform?

Ted Cruz

Yes, he’s going to repeal Obamacare on day one, and then work to replace it with this:

Main points:

Ted Cruz's health care plan: choice and competition
Ted Cruz’s health care plan: choice and competition

Cruz explains it himself here:

At the eighth Republican presidential primary debate on February 6, 2016, Ted Cruz discussed repealing Obamacare: “Socialized medicine is a disaster. It does not work. If you look at the countries that have imposed socialized medicine, that have put the government in charge of providing medicine, what inevitably happens is rationing. … If I’m elected president, we will repeal every word of Obamacare. And once we do that, we will adopt common sense reforms, number one, we’ll allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines that will drive down prices and expand the availability of low cost catastrophic insurance. We’ll expand health savings accounts; and we will de-link health insurance from employment so that you don’t lose your health insurance when you lose your job, and that way health insurance can be personal, portable and affordable and we keep government from getting in between us and our doctors.”

Those of you who like to read consumer-centered health care policy scholars like me (Sally C. Pipes, Regina Herzlinger, Michael D. Tanner, Michael F. Cannon, John C. Goodman, Ilya Shapiro, Avik Roy, etc.) will recognize a lot of what he is proposing – he stole it all from the conservative and libertarian policy experts.

To me, that sounds better than Trump’s plan of expanding government-run health care into universal government-run health care. If I wanted that, I’d go to Canada or the UK, and just die on a waiting list after paying 42% of my salary into the system for my whole working life.

Donald Trump would expand Obamacare into single-payer health care system

Let’s take a look at how well a policy he supports – single payer health care – is working in Canada, where it’s been the law of the land for decades.

First, let’s see Trump explain his view on single payer health care in his own words:

When government pays for all the health care provisioning, we call that a single-payer system. And Trump is for it – that clip is from September 27, 2015. In the Fox News debate in August, he said that single payer health care “works in Canada“.

So, let’s go and see what the Canadians are saying about their single payer system, by looking a wide variety of stories from last month from a wide variety of Canadian news sources, covering a wide variety of Canadian provinces.

First, let’s start on the west coast, and then work our way east.

The Vancouver Sun reports on British Columbia wait times:

Median waiting times from referral by family doctor to treatment are 22.4 weeks, or almost six months in B.C., longer than all provinces except those in Atlantic Canada, according to the 25th annual survey of 2,382 medical specialists.

And waits between the first appointment with a specialist and getting treatment are 14 weeks in B.C., the highest since the survey began. The doctors who take the survey are asked to give their best estimates of waits for care.

The government-run CBC, reporting on Manitoba health care:

Manitoba has been given a failing and a near-failing grade for prostate and breast cancer treatment wait times by Canada’s Wait Times Alliance.

The group released their annual wait time report card on Tuesday, giving Manitoba an F for wait times for radiation and curative care treatment for prostate cancer and a D for the same treatments for breast cancer.

Manitoba has received an F for prostate cancer treatment wait times for more than five years, and a D in breast cancer treatment wait times for the past four years.

The Globe and Mail reports on the city of Winnipeg:

New data shows Winnipeg hospitals still have the longest emergency room wait times in Canada.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says Winnipeg’s six emergency rooms all came in below average on the time it takes 90 per cent of patients to see a doctor after they check into an emergency room.

The average for the Winnipeg Health Region as a whole is 5.7 hours compared to the Canadian average of 3.1 hours.

And the Montreal Gazette reports on the province of Quebec:

Quebec reported the steepest increase this year of any province in wait times for medical imaging scans in Canada — a finding that suggests the public system is being stretched to the limit, a national survey reveals.

The 25th annual survey by the Fraser Institute found that the median wait time in hospital for a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan in Quebec jumped to 12 weeks this year from eight in 2014. By comparison, the median wait time for an MRI is five weeks in Ontario, unchanged from last year.

Wait times increased slightly for other medical imaging in Quebec, going up from four to five weeks for both ultrasounds and CT (computerized tomography) scans.

Investors Business Daily also wrote about this and had a helpful chart breaking down how long people are waiting for treatment:

Single-payer health care wait times in Canada
Single-payer health care wait times in Canada

Canada also has a well-known doctor shortage. Their way of controlling costs is to limit the number of people who can practice medicine, so less care can be billed to the government. Get in line, and if you die waiting for treatment, that’s great for them – less money to pay. After all, they get to keep all the taxes they took from you during your life, and now they don’t have to give you anything back since YOU’RE DEAD.

Trump says that single-payer “works in Canada”. Does this look like it is working to you? Would you be willing to have 45% of your income go to federal, provincial, municipal income and sales taxes so that you could get in line in a system like this? This is Trump’s ideal, is it your ideal?

If you want to see what Canadian health care is really like on the ground, check out this video of Steven Crowder trying to get health care in the province of Quebec:

That’s what Donald Trump thinks is working. His past statements about being “very pro-choice”, and about same-sex marriage being “the law of the land” and about single payer and amnesty make him out to be a Democrat. He has never put effort into any conservative initiative on any conservative issue since the day he was born. He has been a Democrat, has donated to Democrats, including many, many donations to the Clintons. Only a complete idiot could support a Democrat in the Republican primary, especially when there were so many conservatives who fought and suffered for conservative issues in the past, e.g. – Perry, Jindal, Walker and Cruz.

As for his experience with making money, he inherited all his money, and he is worth $10 billion less today than he would have been if he had just invested his silver spoon inheritance in index funds. He knows less about politics than you do. He has gone bankrupt more times than you have. He is less good at making money than you are. He was born wealthy. He has no idea what conservatives believe. He is not conservative now, never has been conservative, and never will be conservative. You cannot choose a candidate by listening to mere words, you have to look at evidence, you have to look at accomplishments.

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.

Obama said Obamacare would not add to the deficit, CBO says it adds $1.35 trillion

In the video above, Obama promised the American people that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit. And the low-information voters who voted for him believed him. Just like they believed that they could keep their doctor, that they could keep their health care plan, that Obamacare would lower the costs of health care, that Benghazi was caused by a YouTube video, and so on.

So how much did Obamacare add to the deficit?

The UK Daily Mail has the latest numbers from the Congressional Budget Office.

Truth:

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.

The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

That revenue includes quickly escalating penalties – or ‘taxes,’ as the U.S. Supreme Court described them – on people who resist Washington’s command to buy medical insurance.

It also includes income from a controversial medical device tax, which some Republicans predict will be eliminated in the next two years.

If they’re right, Obamacare’s per-person cost would be even higher.

Did Obama know that he was lying when he said that his health care plan would not add one dime to the deficit?

Well, his buddy Gruber, the architect of Obamacare, certainly did:

But we should not be surprised, either by the low intelligence levels of Democrat voters or by the lies of Democrat politicians. After all, they want single payer health care – look what Harry Reid says:

“What we’ve done with Obamacare is have a step in the right direction, but we’re far from having something that’s going to work forever,” Reid said.

When then asked by panelist Steve Sebelius whether he meant ultimately the country would have to have a health care system that abandoned insurance as the means of accessing it, Reid said: “Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.”

And they know – from looking up North to Canada – that single-payer health care will necessarily involve massive increases in taxes.

CTV News describes a recent study on the costs of single-payer health care in Canada:

A typical Canadian family with two parents and two kids will pay up to $11,786 for public health care insurance this year, according to a new study from the conservative think tank Fraser Institute.

Using data from Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Fraser Institute study estimated the amount of taxes Canadian families will pay for public health insurance this year.

What do you get for $11,786?

You get to be on a waiting list for a primary care physician, and you get to wait months for treatment. You can pay taxes your whole life, and then wait behind people who want sex changes – people who have never paid a dime into the system. And sometimes, you die while waiting for treatment. That’s “fairness” and “equality”. And that’s where the Democrats want to take us.

Remember when Obama said that we could keep our health care plans and our doctors?:

Democrats voters looked at this man, and they just knew – without any studies or any evidence – that he was telling the truth.

But the Congressional Budget Office says that TEN MILLION people will lose their employer health plans under Obama by 2021.

Look:

The Congressional Budget Office now says ObamaCare will push 10 million off employer-based coverage, a tenfold increase from its initial projection. The “keep your plan” lie just gets bigger and bigger.

The latest CBO report is supposed to be a big win for the Obama administration because the projected costs are 20% below what the CBO first projected in 2010.

But the CBO report also shows that ObamaCare will be far more disruptive to the employer-based insurance market, while being far less effective at cutting the ranks of the uninsured, than promised.

Thanks to ObamaCare, the CBO now expects that 10 million workers will lose their employer-based coverage by 2021.

This is in addition to the FOUR MILLION who already lost their health care plans in 2013.

Americans shocked by high deductibles of Obamacare health plans

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

As enrollment picks up on the HealthCare.gov website, many people with modest incomes are encountering a troubling element of the federal health law: deductibles so steep they may not be able to afford the portion of medical expenses that insurance doesn’t cover.

The average individual deductible for what is called a bronze plan on the exchange—the lowest-priced coverage—is $5,081 a year, according to a new report on insurance offerings in 34 of the 36 states that rely on the federally run online marketplace.

That is 42% higher than the average deductible of $3,589 for an individually purchased plan in 2013 before much of the federal law took effect, according to HealthPocket Inc., a company that compares health-insurance plans for consumers. A deductible is the annual amount people must spend on health care before their insurer starts making payments.

[…]That means some sick or injured people may avoid treatment so they don’t rack up high bills their insurance won’t cover, according to consumer activists, insurance brokers and public-policy analysts—subverting one of the health law’s goals, which is to ensure more people receive needed health care. Hospitals, meantime, are bracing for a rise in unpaid bills from bronze-plan policyholders, said industry officials and public-policy analysts.

How high are the deductibles? The article says that “Total out-of-pocket expenses under bronze plans are capped at an annual $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families of four”.

Is the government really helping people with a plan that has that high of a deductible?

More:

“They’re seeing sticker shock” in transitioning to the more-comprehensive coverage, and “once they start to use the policy, they will see a second sticker shock” of high deductibles, said Jamie Court, president of public-interest group Consumer Watchdog in California.

For example, the patient’s typical share of the cost of having a baby through normal delivery—$6,150, according to one insurer’s estimate—would be almost entirely an out-of-pocket expense for a person holding a bronze policy with the average $5,081 deductible.

“The anger is going to grow, because people are really stretched to buy these policies, then they’re going to have to reach into their pocket for another five grand before it does anything for them,” Mr. Court said.

[…]The average insured American spent $1,241 on out-of-pocket health-care expenses in 2012, according to Truven Health Analytics Inc., which analyzed medical claims from employers.

This article from the radically leftist New York Times explains that the Obamcare web site did not even DISPLAY the deductibles to the people who were shopping for plans.

Excerpt:

For months, the Obama administration has heralded the low premiums of medical insurance policies on sale in the insurance exchanges created by the new health law. But as consumers dig into the details, they are finding that the deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs are often much higher than what is typical in employer-sponsored health plans.

Until now, it was almost impossible for people using the federal health care website to see the deductible amounts, which consumers pay before coverage kicks in. But federal officials finally relented last week and added a “window shopping” feature that displays data on deductibles.

[…]In El Paso, Tex., for example, for a husband and wife both age 35, one of the cheapest plans on the federal exchange, offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, has a premium less than $300 a month, but the annual deductible is more than $12,000. For a 45-year-old couple seeking insurance on the federal exchange in Saginaw, Mich., a policy with a premium of $515 a month has a deductible of $10,000.

In Santa Cruz, Calif., where the exchange is run by the state, Robert Aaron, a self-employed 56-year-old engineer, said he was looking for a low-cost plan. The best one he could find had a premium of $488 a month. But the annual deductible was $5,000, and that, he said, “sounds really high.”

My guess is that most of the people who have been buying plans would have been comparison shopping based on  the premium. They have no idea about this high deductible. So what they’ve really signed up for is to pay $300 a month or so for what amounts to no health care coverage whatsoever – they will probably not reach the limit of the deductible. Is it any wonder that the Democrats voted to exempt themselves (and their political allies) from their own health care policy?