How Will Obamacare Fare During the November 2014 Midterm Elections?
The answer to that question may depend upon how far and how long some voter disenchantment with the Affordable Care Act carries over into the 2014 Midterm Elections. As things stand right now, according to the Kaiser Family foundation, only 37 percent of those surveyed have a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it is also known. In approximately the past 30 days, the 53 percent who disapprove of the healthcare law – is reflective of an 8 percent increase in those unfavorable views.
The Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) is a provision of Obamacare which mandates insurers expend a significant portion of their premium earnings on patient’s medical care.
The MLR and other provisions of the Affordable Care Act may require a comprehensive review of several of its key provisions to discern the actual and real benefits purportedly flowing from it – or don’t.
According to a report on the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal Web page (Aug. 8) the Department of Health and Human Services recently trumpeted $332 million in the form of rebates – due to consumers because of the Medical Loss Ratio. Yet, according to Alyene Singer’s Daily Signal article, these savings rapidly shrivel and pale in light of Obamacare’s spending practices nationwide. Specifically, as an example, two states, Oregon and Nevada are headed over to the federal exchange for their 2015 open enrollment sessions. The grants they got from the feds ($305 million and $91 million) have already been spent.
Lawmakers draft, then pass laws which can adversely impact business. Rarely do those legislators feel the impacts of their created legislation themselves. Those impacts are usually in the form of financial losses, which can wind up being covered by the U.S. taxpayer, according to a report by Rick Manning in the Net Right Daily of Aug. 13 (online). The account also elaborates on the increasing cost of health insurance, specifically, as being the reason behind those opting to pay the ACA tax or fine – meaning they have opted to go without health insurance coverage altogether.
If the actual number of individuals paying for their health insurance via Obamacare lessens – this will have an adverse effect on the earnings of health insurance companies. Under the Affordable Care Act, these losses will in part be covered by U.S. taxpayers.
The cost of certain medications, for some most seriously ill patients, is now out of reach. Additionally, treatments described as “targeted therapies” are not covered. This is per certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Thus, the health of those patients requiring such care is now in peril. According to a recent report in the New York Post by Peter J. Pitts (Aug. 10) Obamacare places restrictions on insurers, narrowing their ability to levy higher premiums on less-than-healthy patients. One way of overcoming these limits? Insurers can still promulgate increased individual out-of-pocket expense for so-called “specialty drugs.”
Frequent and noted Affordable Care Act critic, Arvik Roy, who is also a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, has a plan to replace Obamacare – one that does not actually mandate full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
According to a report in Human Events (online, 8/14) Roy’s proposal would:
● Reform the healthcare exchanges (or marketplaces).
● Call for a repeal of the employer mandate.
● Reform both Medicaid and Medicare.
Other reforms proposed by Roy would address hospital groups employing their collective power to charge high rates; also, medical malpractice litigation reforms are proposed Roy.
According to an article in Nextgov.com (online, Aug. 11) the White House is getting ready to roll-out a fix for the troubled Healthcare.gov Web site. Its name is “U.S. Digital Service.” Back in October of 2013 Healthcare.gov was unveiled as part of the Administration’s Obamacare launch. Disaster soon followed, in the form of a massive online meltdown – while annoying millions of those attempting to access the site; a bright spotlight was soon cast on the federal government’s lack of ability in launching an internet-oriented federal health program.
Also, according to the Nextgov report, a recent White House blog post claims, “The Digital service will work to find solutions to management challenges that can prevent progress in IT delivery.” . . . “To do this, we will build a team of more than just a group of tech experts – Digital Services hires will have talent and expertise in a variety of disciplines, including procurement, human resources and finance. The Digital Services team will take private and public-sector best practices and help scale them across agencies – always with a focus on the customer experience in mind.”
The specific date of U.S. Digital Service’s actual debut has not been specified.
A spin-off nonprofit, The California Endowment, with links to a top insurance company, is pushing for Obamacare benefits to be extended to illegal immigrants.
For those people not wanting (or cannot afford) to purchase healthcare insurance and wish to avoid paying a penalty, there is an interesting, though little-known exemption under Obamacare.
The exemption relates to anyone who “experienced another hardship acquiring health insurance.”
This exemption does not require documentation, so anyone can legally claim it. Therefore, people can avoid buying insurance, and not be required to provide proof of the alleged hardship they experienced when attempting to acquire health insurance.
Approximately 310,000 Obamacare consumers have yet to respond to prior requests to for documents verifying their citizenship or immigration status, causing the Obama administration this week to begin sending out notices warning them that if they don’t verify this information, they risk losing their insurance coverage next month.
Healthcare based on the government single-payer model is increasingly in trouble around the world.
A liberal-leaning private foundation called the Commonwalth Fund issued a report ranking Britain’s socilaized National Health Service (NHS) as the best medical systrem among those in 11 of the world’s most advanced nations, including Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. Coming in last: U.S. health care. The author challenges this ranking, claiming that report’s methodology relied heavily on subjective surveys about “perceptions and experiences of patients and physicians.” In reality, Britain’s NHS is doing badly, with hospital waiting lists soaring to their highest point since 2006, with 3.2 million patients waiting for treatment after diagnosis.