Got cancer? Got #Obamacare? Good luck…

March 19, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Among the many “benefits” brought to us by the Affordable Care Act has been the narrowing of provider networks. To deal with increased costs brought on by Obamacare’s increased coverage mandates, insurance companies are offering fewer doctors and hospitals on their approved lists. For many people, this has meant losing access to the physicians they liked, contra President Obama’s oft-repeated promise lie.

If you’re a cancer patient, you have a particular problem. We’ve met Edie Sundby, a stage-4 cancer sufferer who’s losing her provider network, thanks to Obamacare, but what if you were able to keep your doctors, but needed specialized or experimental treatment?

Under Obamacare, good luck:

Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program.

Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges.

Not too long ago insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research firm Avalere Health. Now the focus is on costs.

This is a marked deterioration of access to the premier cancer centers for people who are signing up for these plans,” Mendelson said.

Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications.

Emphasis added.

The article mentions another problem, one that’s been noted since the Obamacare web sites went online: it’s hard to tell if the physician and hospital you want are included in the plan you’re looking at. Thus someone in Los Angeles  may sign up thinking they have access to a top-notch cancer facility, such as Cedars-Sinai, only to discover the truth after they develop cancer. Their only options then are to go elsewhere (if there is an “elsewhere”) or pay out of pocket, which may be financially devastating or downright impossible.

Later on, the writer quotes officials who feel these are not serious problems, that they can be worked out, but what about the people who need treatment now and used to be able to get it under the old system? Though the large insurance companies were nothing better than rent-seeking collaborators in Obamacare, I’m not blaming them for this; they’re just acting rationally in the face of increased costs, a problem created by government.

At the end, the writers report that the Obama administration has promised “closer scrutiny” of insurance companies, especially for cancer care, presumably to include the design of provider networks. Great. So the solution to a problem created by regulation will inevitably be more regulation, which will make the problem worse and a genuine solution more difficult, not easier. Here’s the process:

  1. Government creates a problem through bad regulation.
  2. Businesses respond logically to the problem, irking consumers.
  3. Consumers complain about the response.
  4. Government proposes more bad regulation to deal with the response, ignoring the core problem government itself created and creating new ones.

Rinse and repeat.

Meanwhile, the poor cancer sufferer keeps on suffering.

Thanks, Obamacare!

via Dana Loesch

RELATED: In the Elections Have Consequences category, Colorado Mountain College is cutting back on hours for part-time faculty to avoid the expensive new employer mandates under Obamacare. I wonder how many voted for Obama? Whoever you are, congratulations. You got what you voted for. (h/t Conservative Intelligence Briefing)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bit by bit, Obama repeals #Obamacare, so Republicans don’t have to. Updated: Sebelius denies delay?

March 12, 2014
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

It’s long been known that the individual mandate is the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Without the requirement for healthy young people to buy more insurance than they need or pay a penalty tax protection money, there would never be enough revenue coming into the system to pay for the elderly and those with preexisting conditions. And amidst all the waivers (1) and delays for unions and businesses claiming hardship under the new law, the one thing they’ve refused to rescind was the individual mandate, itself.

Until last week, when it was done in secret:

ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty.

This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.

That seven-page technical bulletin includes a paragraph and footnote that casually mention that a rule in a separate December 2013 bulletin would be extended for two more years, until 2016. Lo and behold, it turns out this second rule, which was supposed to last for only a year, allows Americans whose coverage was cancelled to opt out of the mandate altogether.

The WSJ article then goes through the various classes of exempted individuals and what they have to do to claim that exemption, but the short version is that if you feel you’ve been burdened or harmed by Obamacare –including not being able to afford the new, more expensive even though subsidized policies mandated by Obamacare– you can have a two-year hardship exception based solely on your word.

Yes, you read that right: our new, wonderful, Heaven-on-Earth healthcare-for-all law is now recognized as such a problem that people have to be exempted from obeying it.

Why are they doing this, you ask, since it’s sure to throw the ACA’s finances even more out of whack? Why are they gutting the core of the bill that has been a progressive dream since at least Truman? Trust me, it’s not from empathy for the very people the law is harming.

Have a look at this article from the Conservative Intelligence Briefing and this other from National Journal. (And, for a laugh, this desperate spin from DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. (2) ) Both deal with the possible fallout from the Republican win in the special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, one the Democrats thought they had a good chance to win against a flawed Republican candidate.

Instead, they lost, and a good part of the reason was popular anger over Obamacare (3). And now they’re looking at possibly losing seats in the House, in addition to an increasingly-likely loss of their Senate majority.

None of this is guaranteed, of course, but it’s a scary-enough prospect to have them reaching for the whisky bottle while quietly throwing Obamacare’s key provision under the bus, a move that stinks of desperation.

This is significant not just for its electoral consequence, either. Once exceptions like these are granted, it will be danged hard for Obama or a future Democrat president to take them back  and start enforcing the rules (4). And with The One establishing the precedent that the president can ignore laws that are inconvenient to him, what’s to stop a future Republican president from ignoring the ACA altogether?

The Republican-dominated House has voted roughly 50 times to repeal Obamacare since taking control in 2011. I think they can take a breather.

Bit by bit, Obama is repealing it for them.

via Salena Zito and Ben Domenech

PS: I agree with Josh Blackman. Republicans should send opt-out forms to all their constituents — and the Democrats’, too.

PPS: For those who are having trouble affording insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the president suggests cutting back on cable TV and cell phone use. No, really.

Footnote:
(1) And that was just through 1Q 2011…
(2) That is, the race-baiting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz
(3) As Jim Geraghty points out, Republicans have, thank God, improved their ground-game, too.
(4) Do you really think he’s going to reimpose them in 2016, just as the presidential race heats up? No way…

UPDATE: Sebelius denying there’s been a delay to the individual mandate? Hmmm…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Cry me a river: union head finds he doesn’t like #Obamacare after all

March 9, 2014
"Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth."

“Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth.”

Sorry, Don Taylor, head of Unite Here, but Obamacare is working as intended, and your members are getting getting it, good and hard:

A national union that represents 300,000 low-wage hospitality workers charges in a new report that Obamacare will slam wages, cut hours, limit access to health insurance and worsen the very “income equality” President Obama says he is campaigning to fix.

Unite Here warned that due to Obamacare’s much higher costs for health insurance than what union workers currently pay, the result will be a pay cut of up to $5 an hour. “If employers follow the incentives in the law, they will push families onto the exchanges to buy coverage. This will force low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage,” said the union in a new report.

“Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,” said the report from Unite Here. “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage,” said the report, titled, “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse.”

Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama in his quest for the White House and the union was a staunch supporter of the ACA’s passage. Nice reward for all that loyalty, eh?

Once again, it seems the well of my sympathy has run dry. Darn.

Of course, everything Taylor complains about is a feature of Obamacare, not a bug. The Left intended this anti-constitutional monstrosity to be a massive wealth redistribution vehicle, and the middle class, including Unite Here’s members, is the fatted calf at the feast.

Dear Don: You’re welcome.

Don’t forget that unions were among the first to receive the now-infamous Obamacare waivers, in this case for the tax on their “Cadillac” health plans that provide extensive and expensive benefits at little cost to the member. Now it’s finally dawning on these schmucks what has been clear to Obamacare critics for years: that the law creates perverse incentives for employers to cut hours or even dump employees onto the exchanges in order to reduce Obamacare-caused costs.

We tried to tell them, but all we received in return were insults and threats.

Hence my lack of sympathy for Taylor and other union Pied Pipers who lead their members down the garden path and off the cliff.

But I do have a fair bit of sympathy for rank and file members (1), and for them I have a suggestion: You were either lied to deliberately by leaders seeking to increase their own power, or lead by fools who couldn’t see what was plain to the rest of us — that Obamacare was an oncoming disaster of epic proportions. Now it’s here, and you can see you were foolish to trust these people.

It’s too late to avoid the harm that’s already been done, but there is something you can do. Next November 4th, when you go to vote, take a look at the letter after the candidate’s name. If you see a D… vote for the Republican, instead. Fixing Obamacare won’t be easy, but at least we know the right way to fix it:

Repeal it, burn it with fire, and scatter the ashes.

Oh, and stop listening to your union leaders, too. They really don’t have your best interests at heart.

via Rick Moran

Footnote:
(1) I am, after all one of them. A Teamster, to be specific.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


LA restaurant imposes surcharge to pay for #Obamacare

February 18, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

What is it we like to say, folks? That’s right, “Elections have consequences!” When you vote for a party that insists against all sound reason on passing legislation that raises a business’ cost, said business is likely to pass that cost along to the consumer — us.

It’s called economics, progressives. You should acquaint yourselves with it, sometime.

Anyway, a hot new Los Angeles restaurant, Republique (1), has added a 3% surcharge to all tickets to cover the cost of their new, more expensive, Obamacare-mandated insurance:

Republique has taken heat from patrons for the tacked-on cost, but managing partner Bill Chait told Southern California Public Radio there is a method behind the madness.

The restaurant wanted its 80-plus workers to be full-time workers, but the health care law in the coming years will require large employers to provide health coverage to its full-timers or pay fines.

Although the Obama administration has delayed the mandate for companies of 50 to 99 employees to 2016, critics say the rule is forcing employers to trim payroll or move people to part-time status ahead of time.

From there, employees can fend for themselves on new insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare.

“There’s an inherent incentive to put people in the exchanges and not through the restaurant and their employers if they’re part-time employees,” Mr. Chait told SCPR.

But that wasn’t good enough for Mr. Chait or chef Walter Manzke.

Chait and Manzke decided that they needed full-time staff to provide the best service possible to their customers, and that in turn meant paying more for insurance. And that in its turn lead to the decision to charge customers more. All of these are reasonable business decisions, and I have no problem with Chait and Manzke’s decision. It’s their business, their property. And they seem to have made their peace with it. (2)

(Or maybe they don’t want to tick off their trendy, mostly liberal customers by complaining…)

What I do have a problem with is government forcing them to make a choice that leads to higher prices for consumers, especially when it’s clearer every day that this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a law, which a majority of the nation has never wanted and which was shoved down our throats, is not going to do a bloody thing it promised and in fact is going to make things worse. (For the latest example…)

Obamacare doesn’t just need to be repealed. It needs to be staked and buried under a crossroads at midnight.

Here’s a video report from KCAL 9.

via The Right Scoop.

Footnote:
(1) No menu online? Dudes, really?
(2) You can have fun watching customers argue with each other over the surcharge in their Yelp reviews.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: California family finds “affordable care” to be neither

January 29, 2014
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

It’s becoming an all too common story: people who thought Obamacare would solve their healthcare-coverage problems find instead that, thanks to bigger premiums, higher deductibles, and shrinking provider networks, they’re arguably worse off than before.

In this case, the victims (1) are the family of German Campos and Andrea Redamonti, themselves and their children, who live in Chico, CA. Redamonti and one of her children have been denied insurance in the past, so, to them, Obamacare seemed like the answer to their prayers.

But, now that the PPACA has kicked in, Redamonti is learning her dream was just a delusion:

“I was so excited,” Redamonti said about Obamacare. “My son and I had both been denied coverage previously, and with the new Obamacare, they couldn’t refuse us.”

But since signing up for Covered California in October, she’s been going in circles with the health exchange.

Simply securing the coverage has been a major headache. Redamonti has spent hours navigating the frequently failing website and on the phone with her provider, only to be asked for income verification for her sons — ages 10 and 8, and repeated requests for payment, even though her check was sent in weeks earlier.

In addition, their new insurance — the minimum available — costs $800 per month instead of the $650 they were paying before and carries a $15,000 deductible.

“When it finally happened and we figured out what we’d be paying and what our benefits would be, our hearts sank,” Redamonti said.

Technically, she’s been covered since Jan. 1, but still waiting on her medical ID card, it’s been difficult to make doctor’s appointments or fill prescriptions.

“I feel like I have paid for coverage and I don’t have it,” Redamonti said.

This is a story being repeated over and over across California, which, God help us, has one of the better-functioning Obamacare sites, and the nation in general: people think they’ll at last have coverage, only to discover they’ve been sold a worthless bill of goods.

By the Democratic Party, let me remind you.

Normally, this is where I’d express minimal or no sympathy with people like Ms. Redamonti and her family, but I’m actually quite sympathetic to her predicament. Worried for her child who has a congenital heart condition, herself at high risk for breast cancer, both denied coverage… Well, one can understand why she and her husband would see Obamacare as the relief they needed and why they’d be eager to buy into the fairy tale that was sold to them.

By the Democratic Party, I’ll point out, again.

What was it Reagan once said? Oh, yeah:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

I hope, genuinely, that Ms. Redamonti and Mr. Campos learn from this a lesson about government control of the economy –it doesn’t work and it makes things worse– and vote accordingly in the next election.

Where I find my sympathy lacking, though, is for people who just don’t get it, such as one of the doctors interviewed for the article. Co-owner of the pediatrics clinic where Redamonti’s children were treated, Dr. Eliza Brown had to turn them away because the insurance company refused to reveal their reimbursement rates, which were likely to be lower than under the old system. They’re a business after all and they have to recover costs. But then she had this to say:

Brown loves the idea of providing basic affordable coverage for everyone, but said the reality proves to be “nebulous and fuzzy,” and be more of a hindrance to health care than a help.

“If I can’t prescribe medicine because it will be denied or can’t give a vaccine to prevent illness because it will be denied, how do you provide care?” Brown said. “Medical decision-making is being put into insurance companies’ hands. They say what they will and will not provide and what can be prescribed.”

Effective health care reform is not possible without health insurance reform, Sullivan said.

With today’s higher premiums and lower reimbursement rates, the extra profit must go “straight into the pockets of the insurance companies and their shareholders,” she said. Care providers and patients suffer as a result.

I have little but contempt for the big insurers, who saw Obamacare as a way to get guaranteed rents thanks to the individual mandate, but Dr. Brown is missing the root of the problem here: it’s not the insurance companies determining allowed care and reimbursement rates, but the government via the Independent Payments Advisory Board (IPAB), Sarah Palin’s “death panel.” (2) The insurance companies are now little more than divisions of HHS. She needs to learn that government cannot provide “affordable coverage for everyone” without somehow rationing care: by curtailing reimbursements or limiting access, or, in the case of Ms. Redamonti and her children, both.

Of course, situations such as these are opportunities for advocates of free markets and limited government; it’s up to us to explain gently to people suffering the same travails why statist health care cannot work and that there is a better way., which starts by not voting for the Democratic Party.

Because we’re from the People, and we’re here to help.

RELATED: From Moe Lane, more on shrinking Medicare provider networks. The Democrats are so going to enjoy November.

Footnote:
(1) And I use that word deliberately; the whole nation is a victim of this bill.
(2) Oh, that dumb chill-billy. Right again.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obamacare chronicles: Target part-timers to lose their health plans

January 22, 2014
"Targeted"

“Targeted”

Why, because the company found it more economical to cancel the plans, give the employees a cash payout, and tell them to go find their insurance on the exchanges.

Just as the progressives planned:

Target Corp. (TGT) will end health insurance for part-time employees in April, joining Trader Joe’s Co., Home Depot Inc. and other U.S. retailers that have scaled back benefits in response to changes from Obamacare.

About 10 percent of part-time employees, defined as those working fewer than 30 hours a week, use Target’s health plans now, according to a posting yesterday on the Minneapolis-based company’s website. Target is the second-largest U.S. discount retailer by sales and had about 361,000 total employees last fiscal year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The U.S. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the largest regulatory overhaul of health care since the 1960s, creating a system of penalties and rewards to encourage people to obtain medical insurance. The law known as Obamacare doesn’t require most companies to cover part-time workers, and offering them health plans may disqualify those people from subsidies in new government-run insurance exchanges that opened in October.

“You see a lot of retailers making adjustments in contemplation of the full effect of the employer mandate penalties in 2015,” Neil Trautwein, a lobbyist with the National Retail Federation, a trade group in Washington, said in a phone interview. “Even though it is not effective yet, it is already having an effect on the job market and putting companies where they would probably not otherwise want to be.”

The move should also reduce the cost of Target’s health benefits, Trautwein said.

That last makes plain what we already knew: that Obamacare creates perverse incentives for employers to cut hours and, in the case of Target and others, drop coverage, because it saves them money, regardless of the cost to the employee. But, hey, the employees may well qualify for a subsidy… increasing the burden on an already-suffering middle class and making both dependent on government. But that’s the point: the non-reforming reforms that create such friction in the system that the people will eventually accept a single-payer solution.

Just ask Harry Reid.

Meanwhile, to those Target part-timers who voted Democratic in the last two elections and thought they were getting “free” healthcare or that their plans would be left alone… Congratulations. This is what you really voted for.

Elections have consequences, folks.

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

Yep.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If only they would allow do-overs in elections…

November 19, 2013
"Voters' remorse"

“Voters’ remorse”

Mitt Romney would win in a landslide:

The results overall represent a sharp turnaround in fortune for Obama and his party, which just a month ago were ascendant over the Republicans in views of the budget dispute that led to a partial government shutdown. Today 45 percent of Americans call Obama “too liberal,” matching the high, and 46 percent say the same about the Democratic Party. And perhaps adding insult to injury, registered voters divide numerically in Mitt Romney’s favor, 49-45 percent, if they had a mulligan for the 2012 presidential election. While the difference between the two is within the poll’s error margin, Obama’s support is 6 points below his actual showing a year ago.

And almost all of this is traceable to the fallout from the Obamacare fiasco and from people eyes finally being opened about what a bunch of mendacious creeps the President and the national Democrats are. From another portion of the ABC poll:

Other ratings of the president’s performance have tumbled as well. He’s at career lows for being a strong leader, understanding the problems of average Americans and being honest and trustworthy – numerically under water on each of these (a first for the latter two). His rating for strong leadership is down by 15 points this year and a vast 31 points below its peak shortly after he took office. In a new gauge, just 41 percent rate him as a good manager; 56 percent think not.

This poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that the president’s personal image has suffered alongside his professional ratings. Fewer than half, 46 percent, see him favorably overall, down 14 points this year to the fewest of his presidency. Fifty-two percent now view him unfavorably, a new high and a majority for the first time since he took office. It may matter: Personal popularity can provide a president with cushioning when the going gets rough. Losing it leaves the president more vulnerable.

Obama’s personal popularity in spite of the public not liking many of his policies has always puzzled and frustrated me. It’s served as  a shield for him in the past, but, as the poll shows, that shield is gone for now, and likely for good.

But the fallout hasn’t just hit Obama:

The poll produces evidence that the ACA could spell trouble for Democrats in the 2014 midterm elections. Americans by a 16-point margin, 37-21 percent, are more likely to oppose than to support a candidate for Congress who favors Obamacare. That’s opened up from an even score in July 2012. (Using an intensity rating – those who are “much” more or less likely to support a candidate who backs the ACA – it’s still 15 points negative, vs. 2 points last year.)

The health care law looks most politically hazardous in the states that backed Mitt Romney in 2012; there Americans by 3-1, 46-15 percent, say they’re more inclined to oppose than to support a candidate who favors the law. But the ACA’s no help even in the blue states that backed Obama; while the division is far closer, 31 percent in those states are inclined to oppose an ACA-linked candidate, vs. 25 percent who’d be more apt to support one.

And thus we see why congressional Democrats are panicking and starting to jump ship: things are bad enough for them now, but, when the employer mandate (1) kicks in starting in Fall, 2014, the ACA rollout might well turn the 2014 midterm into an anti-Democratic “wave election” that will make the 2010 results look like a ripple in a pond.

The ACA is destroying Obama’s second term.

Pauses. Thinks.

Why, yes. I think I will have another helping of schadenfreude, thanks!

PS: Turning back to Romney, I still maintain that, while he would have frustrated me at times as president, he would have been a far better Chief Executive  than Obama — and a better man, too.

Footnote:
(1) The ABC poll shows people still favor the employer mandate. I suspect a large fraction of those have no idea that their nice group policies are on the block, too. Expect that number to tank fast next summer.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare chronicles: another supporter loses their insurance. Irony or Justice?

November 9, 2013
"Suckers."

“Suckers.”

You make the call:

Cathy Wagner says she isn’t political and has never written a lawmaker, much less the president, but with Obamacare she felt compelled.

“I really just wanted him to know … I was so hopeful that this plan was going to move us forward, but in fact I think it’s moving us backward,” Wagner said.

Wagner and her husband retired early. She was a nurse for 35 years and championed Obamacare, until she received a letter from her insurance company saying it was canceling her policy.

“I was really shocked … all of my hopes were sort of dashed,” Wagner said. “’Oh my gosh President Obama, this is not what we hoped for, it’s not what we were told.’ “

She was shocked further to learn that for the same coverage she would pay 35 percent more and have a higher deductible.

“Our premium for next year is going up to over $1,000 a month for two of us and we’re two fairly healthy individuals,” Wagner said.

Maybe a bit of both. We’ve seen this before: people who naively put their faith in government to takeover and manage something as complex as healthcare for a nation of 330 million people, amounting to 16% of the national economy, see their dream shattered by implacable economic reality. I suppose what truly makes me sad is that the foolishness of people such as the Wagners is taking the rest of us down with them.

Oh, and the caring response from her representative in the House when asked about the sticker shock the Wagners and so many others are experiencing?

“This is yet the most recent issue,” said U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado.

DeGette sits on the committee that oversees Obamacare. She insists the Wagners are the exception, not the rule.

“As we work through all of this I think that a year from now people overall are going to be very, very happy with the way the Affordable Care Act is working,” DeGette said.

In other words, “shut up and learn to like it, suckers.”

PS: Similarly to what I suspect will be many people, Cathy Wagner is now seriously considering doing without insurance. Great job, Mr. President. I hope Cathy and her friends will remember what the Democratic Party has done for them, when election day rolls around.

LINKS: My blog-buddy ST beat me to the punch. Curse you, Eastern Time Zone! Moe Lane comments on DeGette’s “state of denial.”


Obamacare site crumbled like a wet cookie in “stress” tests…

October 22, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

And yet they let the godforsaken thing go live, anyway:

Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.

Let’s not forget, these are the same people who think they can manage healthcare for a nation of 330,000,000 people with very diverse needs, and yet these hubristic morons couldn’t build a system over three years that could handle the population of even Sierra County, California. Though I suppose this shouldn’t come as too much of a shock, since we already knew that the site had received only 4-6 days of testing.

More from the Post article:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.

About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.

“We discussed . . . is there a way to do a pilot — by state, by geographic region?” the executive said.

It was clear at the time, the executive said, that the CMS was still dealing with the way the exchange handled enrollment, federal subsidies and the security of consumers’ personal information, such as income.

One key problem, according to a person close to the project, was that the agency assumed the role of managing the 55 contractors involved and had not ensured that all the pieces were working together.

Some key testing of the system did not take place until the week before launch, according to this person. As late as Sept. 26, there had been no tests to determine whether a consumer could complete the process from beginning to end: create an account, determine eligibility for federal subsidies and sign up for a health insurance plan, according to two sources familiar with the project.

President Sham-Wow held a press conference patent medicine show yesterday at which, when not dealing with a fainting pregnant woman, he declared that no one was “madder than me” about the problems with the Obamacare rollout. So he also announced several firings, right?

Would you like that bridge gift-wrapped?

Remember, this is only the front end, the sales showroom for Obamacare. Just imagine what’s in store for us when they start handling sensitive patient data and managing treatment.

Don’t faint.

RELATED: Jim Geraghty thinks the private insurance death spiral is looking increasingly inevitable. For Obamacare, that’s a feature, not a bug. UnitedHealthCare in Connecticut has removed thousands of doctors from its network. Remember, Obama said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.  He’s a funny guy. The mind-boggling incompetence of Obamacare. Finally, a must-read: Charles Cooke on “Obamacare Snake Oil. If we had an honest press, instead of a courtier media, they’d be throwing this in The One’s face.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I am a bad person, for my sympathy well has run dry.

October 16, 2013
"Facebook staffer"

“California Kos blogger, post-Obamacare”

It’s true. I cannot muster the merest hint of a tear, nor think of consoling words, for this Daily Kos blogger who just got his new Obamacare rates:

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any fucking penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don’t qualify, anyway, so what’s the point?

I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.

What am I missing?

Good question, “Tirge Caps.” Shall we start an understanding of basic economics? Or your divorce from reality, assuming that government could pull off something this massive and not have it fall apart like an old Yugo? Or a healthy dose of skepticism, given your apparent childlike, albeit charming, faith in Obama and Pelosi’s promises?

But you needn’t have suffered for your many deficiencies, Tirge, my friend and fellow Californian. If only you’d listened to and learned from those of us who’ve been screaming bloody murder over this anti-constitutional monstrosity for nearly four years, you might have avoided this unpleasant experience.

Alas.

On the other hand, I’m not sure what you’re complaining about. Since, from your tone of anguished betrayal, you most likely voted for Obama and, I again assume, a California Democrat for the House, that letter you received is exactly what you voted for, moron.

Congratulations.

PS: Yes, this is uncharitable and mean-spirited of me. With the harm Obamacare is causing the nation… tough.

via Matt Vespa and Salena Zito

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, good God. Obamacare originated in a throwaway line for a speech??

September 23, 2013
No way!!

“Are you kidding me??”

Could it be true? Could this anti-constitutional monstrosity of a bill, which was rammed down the throats of a nation that didn’t want it and still doesn’t want it and which is already doing untold damage to our healthcare and the economy, have been born of nothing more than a need for an applause line?

According to Politico, that’s exactly what happened:

The most important red line of Barack Obama’s presidency was scrawled hastily in January 2007, a few weeks before he even announced he was running for president.

Soon-to-be-candidate Obama, then an Illinois senator, was thinking about turning down an invitation to speak at a big health care conference sponsored by the progressive group Families USA, when two aides, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau, hit on an idea that would make him appear more prepared and committed than he actually was at the moment.

Why not just announce his intention to pass universal health care by the end of his first term?

Thus was born Obamacare, a check-the-box, news-cycle expedient that would ultimately define a president.

“We needed something to say,” recalled one of the advisers involved in the discussion. “I can’t tell you how little thought was given to that thought other than it sounded good. So they just kind of hatched it on their own. It just happened. It wasn’t like a deep strategic conversation.”

Unbelievable. The biggest, most far-reaching socio-economic legislation since Medicare, and it was nothing more than spit-balling. People are losing their insurance, their work hours are being cut, their access to doctors and hospitals is being restricted, insurance rates are going up, the relationship between the citizen and the State has been fundamentally redefined, and all because Obama wanted to “go big” in a race he thought he was going to lose, anyway.

Allahpundit is right: this is the domestic version of Obama’s Syrian red line, something tossed off with no prior thought to the consequences.

Except Syria was stopped. With Obamacare, we’re stuck with the bill for his intellectual shallowness.

Next time you and your team have a bright idea, Mr. President — sit on it!

RELATED: More from ST on the coming crunch in medical care access. Andrew McCarthy: Defund Obamacare. John McCormack: There’s a better way. From Legal Insurrection: Medicaid-Lite. Obamacare is forcing layoffs, including doctors.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare Chronicles: Trader Joe’s to drop coverage for part-time employees

September 11, 2013

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

In my area of Los Angeles, the Trader Joe’s employees and clientele tend to be liberal and well-left of liberal. I wonder what they think of this news?

After extending health care coverage to many of its part-time employees for years, Trader Joe’s has told workers who log fewer than 30 hours a week that they will need to find insurance on the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a confidential memo from the grocer’s chief executive.

In the memo to staff dated Aug. 30, Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane said the company will cut part-timers a check for $500 in January and help guide them toward finding a new plan under the Affordable Care Act. The company will continue to offer health coverage to workers who carry 30 hours or more on average.

The law mandates that companies with 50 employees or more offer coverage to such full-time employees, though the Obama administration has chosen to delay that rule for a year.

Trader Joe’s has won kudos for offering its health care, dental and vision plans to part-time workers at a reasonable price — a rarity in an industry known for low pay and scant benefits. But with low-wage workers eligible for tax subsidies to buy health insurance next year, the company has apparently calculated that offering medical coverage to part-timers who work 18 hours or more is no longer worth the cost.

“Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe’s” — i.e., another job — “we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the ACA, many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you,” Bane wrote in the memo.

They have an interesting idea of “little if any net cost,” since the projected increase in insurance rates in California are 23% for a 27-year old, and 14% for a 40-year old.

But, don’t blame Trader Joe’s; they’re just doing what makes economic sense for the business, given the perverse incentives built into Obamacare.  The real targets for anger should be the Democrats and their allies, who shoved this anti-constitutional monstrosity down an unwilling nation’s throat, and the people who voted for them.

Such as many, many of the part-time employees at my local TJ’s, who’ve just had a hard lesson in the old adage, “elections have consequences.”

via Bryan Preston

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare Chronicles: Delta Airlines to take a $100,000,000 hit

August 23, 2013

"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

And it’s not like the airline industry is doing all that well, as it is. But, gee, what’s another hundred million or among friends?

Delta Air Lines has issued an urgent warning about the impact of ObamaCare, claiming the law’s implementation will contribute to a roughly $100 million increase in health care costs next year alone.

The astonishing figure was included in a letter from Delta executive Robert Kight to officials in the Obama administration. The website RedState.com was the first to obtain and publish the letter earlier this week.

(…)

In the original letter, Kight disputes the notion that the law — the biggest parts of which take effect at the start of 2014 — will mean “business as usual” for big employers. A combination of factors, he claimed, will “mean that the cost of providing health care to our employees will increase by nearly $100,000,000 next year.”

Part of that is normal medical inflation and the phase-out of an assistance program tied to the health care law. But a large chunk of it, the exec claimed, comes from various fees and costs associated with the implementation of the health care law.

One of the costly items pertains to an annual fee of $63 per “covered participant” next year. The company estimates this means a more than $10 million expense in 2014. The catch for Delta is that, because many of their employees insure through Delta, the fee meant to help subsidize the health care law’s coverage amounts to a “direct subsidy” from the company that provides “zero direct benefit to our participants,” Kight said.

Another added cost comes from the requirement to cover children and young adults on parents’ plans until they’re 26 years old. Kight reports that the change led to 8,000 more people being added to their rolls, at an annual cost of $14 million.

There’s more; be sure to read it all.

Delta claims it will absorb the costs the “vast majority” of those new costs, but…. come on. Leaving the exact meaning of “vast majority” aside (95%? 75%? 51%??) and ignoring for a moment that the rest will have to be picked up by employees who may already be stretched (and losing their spousal coverage), airlines operate on paper-thin margins; there will be tremendous pressure to recoup these costs. And that means passing them along to the consumer in the form of higher tickets prices and more fees for anything the airline can think of.

Thus not only does Obamacare not make health care more affordable, but it’s almost certain to make airline travel more expensive, too. This is almost a case-study of what happens when government tries to control an economy: the inputs and ramifications are too complex for a few “deciders” to understand, and so we end up with one disastrous unintended consequence after another.

There’s no “fixing it,” regardless of what the Democrats and the Left (but I repeat myself) will try to say in 2014 and 2016. It has to be torn out, root and branch. And if anyone says that’s impossible because there are no alternatives, tell them they lie.

Aren’t you glad the Democrats passed that anti-constitutional monstrosity, just so we could find out what’s in it?

via ST

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare Chronicles: in which UPS proves me right

August 21, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

The timing couldn’t be better. Yesterday I quoted an article from the Pittsburgh Tribune’s TribLive site reporting that, due to Obamacare, some companies were looking to save money by dropping spousal coverage.

Today UPS dropped the hammer:

UPS to drop 15,000 spouses from insurance, cites Obamacare

United Parcel Service Inc. plans to remove thousands of spouses from its medical plan because they are eligible for coverage elsewhere. The Atlanta-based logistics company points to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as a big reason for the decision, reports Kaiser Health News.

The decision comes as many analysts are downplaying the Affordable Care Act’s effect on companies such as UPS, noting that the move reflects a long-term trend of shrinking corporate medical benefits, Kaiser Health News reports. But UPS repeatedly cites Obamacare to explain the decision, adding fuel to the debate over whether it erodes traditional employer coverage, Kaiser says.

Rising medical costs, “combined with the costs associated with the Affordable Care Act, have made it increasingly difficult to continue providing the same level of health care benefits to our employees at an affordable cost,” UPS said in a memo to employees.

At the risk of wearing out this drum I’ve been beating, UPS is only doing the rational thing for the good of the company and its owners (1), because of the perverse incentives created by this anti-constitutional monstrosity.

This is one reason I’ve come to oppose the “Defund Obamacare” tactic pushed by Heritage and Senators Cruz, Lee, Paul, and Rubio (2), even though I’m unalterably against Obamacare: this thing is falling apart on its own, both through missed deadlines and because of the pain and dislocation it’s starting to cause Americans, such as those 15,000 UPS workers.

But recognizing that it’s collapsing of its own poor design does not meant that we can sit back and relax, because, per the far Left’s plan, the problems of Obamacare will be used to pave the way for truly nationalized single-payer health care. Don’t take my word for it — ask Harry Reid. If we let them, this is exactly what they’ll do. It’s up to us to point out at every opportunity (such as when the UPS guy happens to mention losing his wife’s coverage) that all this is a result of not a few problems in Obamacare that need fixing, but of the law itself. The whole thing.

The basic concept, not just its execution.

If we do the political work to beat the Left’s propaganda and show how Obamacare harms the average American, we can still repeal this thing in 2017, or so reform it that it will be like repeal.

Obamacare delenda est.

via Jim Geraghty

Footnote:
(1) In this case, mostly shareholding mutual fund companies, which certainly include a a large number of pensioners. You don’t want retired people hurt, do you?
(2) “Oppose” means just that: I disagree with their strategy, while still liking, admiring, and generally agreeing with them. It’s the Left that likes to anathematize people for varying from accepted group-think. I just think they’ve misread the tactical situation badly and instead risk leaving Obamacare in place by failing.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare Chronicles: Like your family’s insurance? Suckers!

August 20, 2013
"Quack medicine"

“Quack medicine”

Great news! Because Obamacare imposes higher costs on employers, but doesn’t require employers to cover spouses, more and more companies are dropping spousal coverage:

A growing number of companies are looking to clamp down on rising health care costs by dumping coverage for their employees’ working spouses.

Others are requiring their workers to pay extra money to cover a spouse who could get health insurance elsewhere. And some may even consider making employees pay the full cost of insuring their children.

The moves are viewed as low-hanging fruit for companies that are expecting higher costs next year under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“We’re seeing costs going up,” said J.T. Shilling, a benefits consultant who runs the Pittsburgh office of consulting firm Mercer. “Taxes, fees, more enrollment are driving up costs, and employers are looking for ways to reduce costs. And this is a pretty easy one.”

The higher charges and exclusions for spouses are part of a national trend that’s hitting home in Western Pennsylvania.

Or, if you’re “lucky,” they’ll only impose a surcharge.

Again, the companies are acting rationally in the face of an irrational law: since Obamacare vastly increases costs for the employer, it makes sense to drop spousal coverage when that spouse has coverage through his or her employer, even if it’s not as good as what the first company is offering.  But, you know, Obamacare is for the children, and therefore everything is okay.

Oh, wait:

Although the law requires plans to cover children, it allows companies to pass along the full cost of so-called dependent coverage to the employee, McTiernan said.

“Some employers were in fact contemplating” whether to make workers pay for their children, he said. “It’s one way to mitigate the cost.”

Nice. They’ll give you the required coverage, perhaps more than you need, and then stick you for the full cost — thanks to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

Remember that when election day rolls around.

Via Jim Geraghty, who asks a darned fine question:

Why does most of the media coverage suggest that Republicans are crazy for wanting to repeal this legislative monstrosity, and the Democrats are sane for wanting to keep it in place?

Because most of them are toe-kissing heralds for their Sun King, Obama? Just a guess.

BTW, Jim, it’s “anti-constitutional monstrosity.” Let’s keep our terms straight, okay? ;)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare Chronicles: Labor votes for Obama, labor gets its thank-you

August 19, 2013
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

In the form of having their hours of employment cut to avoid the (delayed) employer mandate in Obamacare:

The predictions and fears of the Affordable Care Act’s adversaries have begun to materialize, specifically fears that the law will encourage employers to demote their employees to part-time positions in order to evade federal health care requirements. Popular clothing company Forever 21 is the first of what might be many companies to limit its non-management workers’ hours to 29.5 a week, just below the 30-hour minimum that the ACA deems full-time work.

Explaining that the company “recently audited its staffing levels, staffing needs, and payroll in conjunction with reviewing its overall operating budget,” Associate Director of Human Resources Carla Macias informed employees that effective August 31, they will no longer be full-time employees of Forever 21.

It is a move that will likely harm the reputation of the company, will absolutely harm the economic circumstances of its employees, and will function as a tangible example of the Affordable Care Act’s consequences and shortcomings.

Although the ethical nature of Forever 21’s decision is debatable, it is both rational and understandable. A company that boasts regularly low prices and frequent, sensational sales, Forever 21’s competitive success is largely dependent upon its ability to maintain low manufacturing and operational costs. The ACA is an undeniable burden on this principle, and Forever 21’s management has the prerogative to take any legal measures necessary to avoid raising the costs of its products.

Contra Ms. O’Neill at Policymic, who does a good job with the economics of Forever 21’s dilemma, I don’t think the ethics are debatable at all. Forever 21’s management owes a fiduciary responsibility to the company’s owners to return the most profit at the least cost while staying within the law and the laws of good business. This is their primary duty. They owe their employees nothing more than what is required under law and the overall decent treatment again dictated by good business sense. (Happy employees leading to less turnover and higher productivity.)

What they do not owe their employees is anything that actually harms the business. As the article reports, Forever 21’s business niche is as a provider of low-cost clothing, presumably mainly to a budget-conscious student and working-class clientele. To do this, they have to keep costs down. Obamacare makes this impossible with regard to health care benefits (1), so the managers are faced with three choices:

  1. Pay for insurance as required under Obamacare and accept a lesser profit margin in a business that’s already low-margin, thus betraying their primary duty to their owners;
  2. Pay for insurance as required under Obamacare, but increase prices to the consumer, thus hurting Forever 21’s competitiveness and probably lessening profits, again violating the main reason any business exists;
  3. Adapt by controlling expenses, in this case by reducing employee hours to avoid the employer mandate’s tripwire.

In the end, they still probably harm their business, assuming a higher instance of unhappy employees, but it’s the least harmful option that also meets management’s primary responsibility — to create a profitable business for the owners. It is, in fact, the unquestionably ethical choice.

As I’ve said before, I feel sorry for anyone seeing their hours cut, but don’t blame the company, which is simply making a rational choice. Instead, lay the blame directly where it belongs, with the Democrats who voted for it and their Leftist and Big Business enablers who shoved this anti-constitutional monstrosity down our throats, thus creating the perverse incentives that lead to Forever 21’s decision.

And, to the extent that any of you seeing your hours cut voted for Barack Obama and the (Social) Democrats, blame yourselves, too.

Elections, as they say, have consequences.

via Bryan Preston

Footnote:
(1) And maybe their other costs, too, as their suppliers will likely have to meet Obamacare’s mandates and thus pass the costs along in the form of price increases.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Obamacare Chronicles: 100,000 in New Jersey to lose the insurance they like

August 18, 2013
"Bad medicine"

“Quack medicine”

What was it someone once said? Oh, yeah…

Tell that to over 100,000 New Jerseyans:

The bare-bones health insurance policy that’s been the plan of choice for New Jerseyans who can’t afford something better is set to go away next year, thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

And what those policy holders will be left with may be a choice among pricey, pricier and priciest.

About 106,000 people in the Garden State are insured under what are known as “basic and essential,” or B&E, health care plans, according to state data. Since 2003, all health insurers that operate in New Jersey’s individual health market have been required to sell these plans which, as their name implies, offer only a thin layer of coverage for things such as doctor’s office visits and procedures that don’t involve a hospital stay.

But while B&E plans were meant to help young families get coverage and stanch the drop of enrollment in the individual health market, their relatively low price — as little as a couple hundred dollars a month for some people — made them the most popular option for those who don’t get insurance through an employer or a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid. About 71 percent of those covered by the individual health market have a B&E plan.

Soon no longer.

Obamacare requires all policies to cover certain conditions, whether the purchaser needs that coverage or not. It also caps out-of-pocket expenses, which means costs go up for the insurance companies. They have to charge more to meet these requirements, and so the “bare bones” plans no longer are viable, even though they met the needs of over 100,000 Garden Staters.

Message to New Jerseyans losing their coverage: This is exactly what many of you in this Bluest of Blue states voted for. Elections have consequences. Next time, think before you vote.

Message to Republicans: These and other economic problems caused by Obamacare for the poor and the middle class are a gift from the Democrats. They are a giant, nail-studded club with which you can beat them mercilessly from now through November, 2016. Do it! If you wield this populist, anti-Washington weapon for all it’s worth, I guarantee you a happy election night.

via Brian Faughnan

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obamacare and job losses: when you’ve lost NBC… Updated: More job cuts

August 14, 2013
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

Oh, my. This is not going to make Obama or his spokes-droid Jay Carney happy at all. NBC is a reliably pro-Obama (read: “toe-licking”) network, so for them to point out how Obamacare is creating a nation of impoverished part-time workers is… interesting, as Spock might say:

Employers around the country, from fast-food franchises to colleges, have told NBC News that they will be cutting workers’ hours below 30 a week because they can’t afford to offer the health insurance mandated by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“To tell somebody that you’ve got to decrease their hours because of a law passed in Washington is very frustrating to me,” said Loren Goodridge, who owns 21 Subway franchises, including a restaurant in Kennebunk. “I know the impact I’m having on some of my employees.”

Goodridge said he’s cutting the hours of 50 workers to no more than 29 a week so he won’t trigger the provision in the new health care law that requires employers to offer coverage to employees who work 30 hours or more per week. The provision takes effect in 16 months.

Luke Perfect, who has worked at Goodridge’s Kennebunk Subway for more than a decade, said it was “horrible” to learn he was among the employees whose hours would be limited, and that it would be a financial hardship. “I’m barely scraping by with overtime,” he said.

Read the whole thing. I’ve covered this phenomenon before, and we’re going to see a lot more of it as this anti-constitutional monstrosity goes into effect. Also have a look at my blog-buddy ST’s post on the topic; it’s a good one. (1)

PS: I have a lot of sympathy for the people losing hours and facing financial hardship because of this (2), but I have to ask, how many of them voted for Obama and his Democratic enablers? How many of them backed their unions’ demands that Obamacare must be passed, all while assuming their union leaders must know what they’r talking about? How many of them trusted the pro-Obamacare propaganda spewed by the so-called news networks, without thinking critically about what they were claiming? Like I said, you have my genuine sympathies if your hours are being cut back… but next time think, damn it!

Footnote:
(1) Of course it’s good; she quotes me, after all.
(2) But I have none for the Democrat congressmen who rammed this thing down our throats. Payback is coming in 2014 and 2016, and you chuckleheads who sold out your constituents are going to get it on Election Day, good and hard.

UPDATE: At Via Meadia, Walter Russell Mead reports on public school districts cutting back staff hours due to Obamacare.


That’s some economic recovery you have there, @BarackObama

August 7, 2013
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we won the election! Obama!!”

Of all the jobs created since 2009, almost 90% have been part-time:

Since January 2009 the country has added a net total of 270,000 full-time jobs, but it has added 1.9 million part-time jobs, according to the House Ways and Means Committee.

And much of that is directly attributable Obama’s economic policies, especially businesses avoiding the crushing burden imposed by Obamacare.

No wonder he prefers late-night, softball talk shows.

Heckuva job, Barry.


#Obamacare: Party of the working man to shaft hourly workers

June 17, 2013

This is what happens when Washington tries to dictate “one size fits all” regulations for a very complex national market, such as health care.

As Jillian Kay Melchior explains in National Review, the authors of Obamacare faced a conundrum: they wanted firms with 50 or more employees working 30 or more hours per week to offer health plans that meet certain minimum requirements — tough minimums at that. To “help” these companies, the authors created a generic acceptable plan as a safe harbor for businesses; meet these standards, and you face no penalties.

Trouble is, the safe-harbor plan turns out to be so expensive, hourly workers –the very people this bill was meant to help– find themselves stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place:

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a low-income hourly worker within a certain unlucky bracket. This hypothetical employee earns more than $15,900 a year — which disqualifies him from Medicaid — but still struggles to make ends meet.

If his employer goes with the minimum, safe-harbor plan, he might face no good options.

He could take the employer’s plan — but if it’s a safe-harbor plan, it would cost, at minimum, $1,080 a year. And that’s before the deductible is even factored in. For someone who earns $28,725 a year, falling at 250 percent of the poverty level, these costs are sizeable.

Option two: He could shop around on the health exchange for an alternative. But because his employer provides a sanctioned plan, he’s disqualified from any subsidy he might have received to help offset costs. Even a very basic plan would cost up to $2,316 a year in premiums alone.

Option three: Forgo insurance altogether and pay the steadily increasing penalty to the federal government. In 2014, for an individual, that’s $95 for the year or 1 percent of household income, whichever is greater. But by 2016, it will rise to either $695 or 2.5 percent of household income. And that’s not even factoring in whether the worker has kids. In that case, he could face an annual penalty of $2,085 or more by 2016.

Prior to Obamacare, hourly employers could offer relatively inexpensive limited-coverage plans. No catastrophic coverage, but there was no deductible and the rates were affordable. Now, under the new, wonderful, UnicornCare regime, those plans are eliminated, and the hourly worker gets his choice from among three expensive ways to get the shaft. Rather than let states and regions find solutions tailored to their needs, rather than let market forces create the match between need and offering, the Democratic Party (1) decided it could make the economy obey. King Canute shakes his head in sadness.

Memo to all the hourly wage-earners out there who voted for Obama and the Democrats — you’re welcome.

Footnote:
(1) Yes, just the Democrats. Rammed down our throats without a single Republican vote, the Democrats own this monstrosity.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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