Something for #Obamacare apologists to worry about

August 11, 2014

satire Train Wreck

Supporters of the ACA were blaring the trumpets when it was announced last April that the system had reached 8 millions enrollments, one million more than the the figure former HHS Secretary Sebelius said was the minimum needed for Obamacare to be viable. That’s great news for fans of state-run healthcare systems, right?

Maybe, except for the fact that those numbers seem to be crumbling:

The nation’s third-largest health insurer [Aetna] had 720,000 people sign up for exchange coverage as of May 20, a spokesman confirmed to IBD. At the end of June, it had fewer than 600,000 paying customers. Aetna expects that to fall to “just over 500,000” by the end of the year.

That would leave Aetna’s paid enrollment down as much as 30% from that May sign-up tally.

“I think we will see some attrition … We’re already seeing it. And we expect that to continue through the end of the year,” CEO Mark Bertolini said in a July 29 conference call.

It’s not clear how representative Aetna’s experience is of broader exchange trends, or whether its projection may be too conservative. (If it were representative, a similar 30% decline would drop ObamaCare enrollment to 6 million or less.)

Still, as one of ObamaCare’s largest players, participating in exchanges in 16 states plus D.C., Aetna’s experience provides a pretty good window into what is happening across the country, and there are other indications that enrollment has turned down.

Emphasis added.

One of the questions many of us have had about Obamacare enrollments has been “how many have really paid,” since you don’t get services until you make that first payment, and it’s not clear from article whether those initial 720,000 were all paying customers. IBD correctly points out that there are a number of reasons why paying customers might drop out of an exchange plan, other than simply being dropped for non-payment (1). For example, purchasers of exchange-plans may have since found work that provides employer-based coverage, or they may have suffered a decline in income and thus qualified for Medicaid. (That’s a plus?) But they may also have dropped out because the premiums, with or without subsidy, are still too much to bear, especially with higher deductibles and reduced provider networks. Some may have decided to do without insurance altogether, just paying the fine and buying coverage when a serious ailment strikes, since insurance companies can no longer turn one down.

Regardless of the reason or reasons, this is not a good trend, particularly if those leaving the exchanges are mainly those who mostly pay into the system, leaving behind those who mostly take from it. And when you factor in the coming premium increases, that rate of decline may accelerate. It will be interesting to see figures from other companies over the course of the summer.

As ST likes to say, stay tuned…

Footnote:
(1) I also wonder how many of these are duplicates or otherwise-defective applications weeded out in the effort to clean up Obamacare’s troublesome 834 problem.

 

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Obama lied, your insurance coverage died

October 5, 2010

Remember when Nancy Pelosi said Congress had to pass the health care reform law so we could find out what’s in it?

Surprise! 

Congratulations, 3M retirees! Thanks to ObamaCare, you’re getting dumped from your company health plan:

3M Co., citing new federal health laws, said Monday it won’t cover retirees with its corporate health-insurance plan starting in 2013.

Instead, the company will direct retirees to Medicare-backed insurance programs, and will provide reimbursement for that coverage. It’ll also reimburse retirees who are too young for Medicare; the company didn’t provide further details.

The company made the changes known in a memo to employees Friday; news of the move was reported in The Wall Street Journal and confirmed Monday by 3M spokeswoman Jackie Berry.

In its memo, the company said the new health-reform act would create new opportunities for people in their 50s and 60s to find affordable insurance.

But… But… But the President said people could keep their insurance coverage if they liked it…

Of course, 3M is doing what any rational business would do when government creates new costs for them: evaluate the expense and decide what is in the company’s best interests: cut it or keep it. That’s just commonsense, something anyone with a basic knowledge of economics and business would know, which lets out the entire Obama administration and the congressional Democratic caucus. Meanwhile, the “little guy” the Democrats profess to care so much about gets to explore the wonders of Medicare and its shrinking pool of doctors…

And, gee, the election is less than a month away, and retirees tend to vote in large numbers. You don’t think they’ll remember this in the ballot booth, do you?

Oh, yes, they will. You betcha.

LINKS: More at Hot Air.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


When you pass a bill no one has read…

April 13, 2010

Stuff like this is bound to happen:

Baffled by Health Plan? So Are Some Lawmakers

In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.

For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available.

(…)

The law apparently bars members of Congress from the federal employees health program, on the assumption that lawmakers should join many of their constituents in getting coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges.

But the research service found that this provision was written in an imprecise, confusing way, so it is not clear when it takes effect.

The new exchanges do not have to be in operation until 2014. But because of a possible “drafting error,” the report says, Congress did not specify an effective date for the section excluding lawmakers from the existing program.

Under well-established canons of statutory interpretation, the report said, “a law takes effect on the date of its enactment” unless Congress clearly specifies otherwise. And Congress did not specify any other effective date for this part of the health care law. The law was enacted when President Obama signed it three weeks ago.

Schadenfreude is sweet, and sometimes there is justice in the universe.  Devil

And this quote just begs a “So NOW you’re asking??” response:

The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?

A lot of us were raising that and similar questions for nearly a year before this monstrosity passed, but then we had “leaders” like Congressman John Conyers (D-MyWifeIsAFelon) tell us they didn’t need to read the bill:

I can’t wait to watch as they scramble to fix this.

(via Exurban League)

LINKS: More at Hot Air, Fausta, and Sister Toldjah.


How ObamaCare will shaft the middle-class

March 18, 2010

Quote of the day, from Scott Gottlieb:

The hardest hit won’t be those earning more than $250,000 a year–the group that he [Obama] says needs to “pay their fair share.” Rather, it’s families whose combined annual income is around $100,000 who could be crushed under this plan.

These folks will be too “rich” to qualify for ObamaCare’s subsidies, but probably too poor to easily afford the pricey insurance that the president’s plan forces them to buy.

Many of these $100K families will be obliged to buy a policy costing an average of $14,700 for the mid-level, “silver” health plan, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimates. After income taxes, they’ll be spending almost a quarter of their net income for health insurance.

Be sure to read the rest, and then call your congresscritter’s office.

(via Obi’s Sister, Potluck,  and NRO, in that order.)


When you’ve lost Bob Herbert

December 29, 2009

It’s finally happened: Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have succeeded in uniting the nation – we all hate the proposed health care reform. When even a reliable left-liberal like the New York Times’ Bob Herbert says it stinks, you know it’s done. Stick a fork in it:

There is a middle-class tax time bomb ticking in the Senate’s version of President Obama’s effort to reform health care.

The bill that passed the Senate with such fanfare on Christmas Eve would impose a confiscatory 40 percent excise tax on so-called Cadillac health plans, which are popularly viewed as over-the-top plans held only by the very wealthy. In fact, it’s a tax that in a few years will hammer millions of middle-class policyholders, forcing them to scale back their access to medical care.

Which is exactly what the tax is designed to do.

In other words, rationing. I know it would kill Herbert to admit this, but he’s on his way to agreeing with Sarah Palin.

Give in to the Right side of The Force, Bob. We have cookies.

(hat tip: Jennifer Rubin, who uses this as an example of an overall growing awareness among liberals that this plan stinks.)


Shouldn’t the President be raging at Medicare?

October 5, 2009

They are, after all, the biggest denier of health-insurance claims in the country.

And yet this is one of his models for the proposed public option….


How to rescue ObamaCare

August 28, 2009

Charles Krauthammer argues that the current Democratic proposals for health-care reform are dead. If they want to pass anything that they could call a victory, they need to junk the current schemes and come up with a new plan. Call it ObamaCare 2.0:

…Make health insurance universal and permanently protected. Tear up the existing bills and write a clean one — Obamacare 2.0 — promulgating draconian health-insurance regulation that prohibits (a) denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, (b) dropping coverage if the client gets sick, and (c) capping insurance company reimbursement.

What’s not to like? If you have insurance, you’ll never lose it. Nor will your children ever be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The regulated insurance companies will get two things in return. Government will impose an individual mandate that will force the purchase of health insurance on the millions of healthy young people who today forgo it. And government will subsidize all the others who are too poor to buy health insurance. The result? Two enormous new revenue streams created by government for the insurance companies.

And here’s what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage — but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largesse — subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy.

It’s the perfect finesse — government health care by proxy. And because it’s proxy, and because it will guarantee access to (supposedly) private health insurance — something that enjoys considerable Republican support — it will pass with wide bipartisan backing and give Obama a resounding political victory.

Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? Simple, seductive, almost irresistible. Rather than the bloated, laden with mines legislation now being pushed, Congress simply mandates private coverage for all and provides subsidies for those who can’t afford it. (Never mind the constitutional questions.)

There’s a doozy of a catch, however, a big, fat worm hidden at the core of this oh-so-sweet looking apple. There always is. Read the whole thing to find out. And remember Maine.

TANGENT: Krauthammer’s point three essentially agrees with and validates Palin’s death panel metaphor. So why the elitist nastiness in telling her to “leave the room?”