There are more attempts by the administration to encourage specific demographic groups to enroll in Obamacare. This time its blacks and Hispanics. The hope is they’ll be persuaded to join prior to the March 31, 2014 deadline. The two groups are important to administration enrollment goals, as they comprise a disproportionate percentage of the uninsured. Yet, in a Monday, February 24, 2014 interview with HuffPostLive, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resfused to say how many blacks have enrolled, or even how many the administration hopes will sign up. Also on Monday, the administration launched a Latino Enrollment Week of Action directed at enlightening Hispanics about the benefits of coverage. Mayor A.C. Wharton of Memphis, Tennessee has said one of the impediments to Obamacare enrollment in his city has been poverty-stricken city residents’ reliance on free emergency room services, that any expense for insurance, no matter how cheap, would result in sticker shock.
Sebelius states 40 percent of blacks are under the age of 35, and added more than 3 million are uninsured. The administration has said 8 million uninsured Hispanics in the U.S. are Obamacare eligible.
Does it again begin in California, then spread elsewhere? A new report says as many 125,000 young Golden State immigrants may qualify for coverage under Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance subsidies and enrollment in Medicaid for undocumented immigrants. A provision in the California rules does permit enrollment for those with “deferred action status.” Tanya Broder, an attorney with the National Immigration Law Center, says that as more gaps in Obamacare become evident, as Obamacare rolls out, more states may adopt the same policy.
There is no data about how many illegal immigrants have signed up for Medi-Cal – because most fear deportation.
The Washington Examiner reports a senior HHS official, gravely concerned about Administration disarray over healthcare, prior to the introduction of healthcare exchanges, was prepared to have a “come to Jesus meeting”. Anton Gunn, then head of HHS external affairs, expressed concerns in an e-mail exchange with Anne Filipic, president of Enroll America, a non-profit dedicated to boosting enrollment.
At one point during the e-mail exchanges a frustrated Gunn observed: “I think we need to have a Come to Jesus meeting with our friend over there. I think they are in disarray. I don’t know whose in charge.”
The White House did not respond to the Washington Examiner’s request for comments regarding the e-mails, and HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters has avoided questions about Gunn’s comments.
Does Congress want to supplant misguided Medicare policy with one reinforcing current policy deficiencies? A rare consensus has emerged on Capitol Hill, between three congressional committees: Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce in the House, and Finance in the Senate.
Each has agreed to replace the dysfunctional Medicare physician-payment system. This supposedly would no longer require Congress to act every year, heading off across-the-board cuts in physician fees, which the present day, awkward system, known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) requires. Annual “Doc Fix” legislation would no longer need to be enacted by Congress. Problematic is the fact the new fee schedule and payment plan would still be another government-based and run payment structure.
What shouldn’t be pursued at this point is a costly, long-term solution to the “doc-fix” dilemma, which in reality just more funding for an “un-reformed Medicare fee-for-service insurance model”, says commentator James C. Capretta, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Are ACA horror stories propaganda from the right? The latest left-leaning Obamacare barbs hold that tales of cancelled and lost plans, premium increases, among other travails, are simply made up by the deceitful right in order to discredit a beautiful, all-inclusive healthcare dream? Paul Krugman in the New York Times argues all is well with the ACA, and that conservative gloom and doom predictions are erroneous. MSNBC has joined the chorus line of this rhetoric as well, with Steve Benen saying “[T]he ‘horor stories’ aren’t so horrible.” Yet, these claims are sometimes directly contradicted by the very media outlets Obamacare apologists work for. Krugman’s own paper featured Mike Horrigan, a lifelong Democrat , detailing about how his own state’s high risk plan, by which he was covered, was cancelled – only to be replaced by a more expensive one.
If the left truly believes no one has been hurt by Obamacare, they’re in denial about established consensus of some of the most reputable media outlets in the U.S.
Republicans have jumped on a report in which the administration admits the ACA would raise premiums for approximately two-thirds of small businesses. Democrats counter that it was Republicans who asked for the report, and that information contained in it ignores the billions of dollars in tax credits that will decrease premiums for smaller firms. While the report was released with little fanfare, House Speaker John Boehner was on it immediately, with a tweet: “BREAKING: Obama administration says 11 million will pay higher premiums for healthcare.” Since the report’s release, tit for tat dialogue has been on-going between Republicans and Democrats.
Molly Day of the Small Business Association did not find the report surprising. The organization wanted health reform but eventually opposed the ACA because it doesn’t go far enough to reign in small business healthcare expense.
The Colorado nuns who convinced the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the Affordable Healthcare Act’s birth control rules, provided more details of their objections on Monday. The nuns have a filed a 74 page appeal in Denver federal court. Known as Little Sisters of the Poor, they operate nursing homes and contend that mandated coverage for birth control for the facilities’ employees directly violates their religious beliefs. Also, the sisters believe the requirement violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as First Amendment guarantees of freedom of religion and speech. A lower court denied the nuns’ petition to halt the rule, but in late-December 2013 Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily stopped the provision from taking effect. In January the Supreme Court agreed to protect the nuns from the requirement until their appeal is heard at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Meanwhile, the Court has asked the sisters to write HHS declaring themselves as being a religious, non-profit group
HHS says current ACA rules accommodate concerns of hospitals, universities and social service providers that oppose contraception.
Much has been touted about an Obamacare provision allowing dependents to remain on their parents’ healthcare insurance until age 26. Some have interpreted this to mean that all plans must cover dependents in that category. In reality, it only allows for the possibility of such coverage – if you’re lucky enough to have comprehensive insurance. What about families lacking the financial resources to fund their adult children? As Obamacare is taxpayer funded redistribution, competition amongst insurers is ultimately discouraged. College students are finding this out the hard way. They are experiencing sticker shock – with severe jolts.
Some colleges have dropped a requirement that students be inured, or are assisting students in signing up for affordable care.
The latest findings in a new Rasmussen Poll of Likely U.S. Voters also shows 46 percent oppose the individual mandate, while 40 percent favor a single-payer healthcare system, providing coverage for everyone. Other critical poll results reflect consumer awareness (or lack of it) with respect to available state exchanges for the sale of health insurance.
Likely voters still like the idea of consumer choice when it comes to shopping for healthcare.
Some Obamacare supporters are vexed and perplexed at what they contend is on-going hostility toward the Affordable Healthcare Act. The law, thus far, has not proven affordable, causing many to flee rather than get on board. Resistance seems to increase and solidify. This led MIT Economist Jonathan Gruber to observe: “It used to be you had a fight and it was over, and you moved on.” Many have chosen to not move on, pointing out Obamacare is not working, and is a torpedo aimed at the federal budget. The ACA may collapse on its own for practical reasons.
Many in the U.S. believe Obamacare is fraudulent, disingenuous legislation, not entitled to moral authority. Their minds are made up.