In the first quarter of 2014, GDP shrunk 2.9 percent and most of the reason is because health-care spending declined. That doesn’t mean we’re in for a recession though.
January 2014 saw the formal launch of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), and its attempt to transform U.S. health insurance and medical practice. So it’s notable that a major cause of the sharp downward revision in first-quarter GDP was a decline in consumer spending on health care. Lower exports and investment also played a role, but the overall decline in health spending from the previous quarter was a startling 6.4%.
The Affordable Care Act will eventually push the United States into a new recession, says Dr. Casey Mulligan, a professor of economics at The University of Chicago.
“Obamacare is going to eventually make the economy smaller,” Mulligan told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.
Perhaps sooner rather than later, the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the case of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties.
The two family owned and operated businesses have challenged an Affordable Care act directive mandating that employers provide abortion and birth-control related drugs and/or treatments. Conestoga and Hobby Lobby are not alone in fighting this Obamacare provision and 49 others have joined the cause. These businesses now await a decision from the highest court in the land which determines whether they get to run their companies in ways aligned with their respective Christian faiths.
In 35 other such lawsuits, courts have issued injunctions denying the federal government mandate enforcement powers for this issue.
The New York Times’ Robert Pear reports that the Obama White House is trying to reach “hundreds of thousands” of those with subsidized health coverage. The goal? Reconcile unanswered questions about such individuals’ eligibility.
Pear’s article of June 15, says an inquiry has been spurred by consumer groups voicing anxiety that many people may be forced to give back a portion, if not all of those payments.
Such subsidies, for the buying of private health insurance coverage, are part of the foundation of the Affordable Care Act. Since June 1 of this year, the notification sent by the Feds says, “the information in your application doesn’t match what we found in other records.” The notice adds, “you need to follow up as soon as possible and provide more documents to make sure the marketplace has the correct information. If you don’t send the needed documents, you risk losing your marketplace coverage or help you may be receiving to pay for such coverage.”
Some health insurance customers have reported chronic issues as they attempt to upload documents through HealthCare.gov. Mara Youdelman, an attorney with the National Health Law Program (NHLP) which lobbies on behalf of low-wage earners, is quoted as saying: “In some cases, consumers say they already sent the documents to the federal marketplace. They don’t understand why they are being asked to send them in again.”
The government has a laundry list of verifying identifiers the public can provide substantiating individual eligibility. Republicans believe the administration has been too casual in establishing both earnings and other eligibilities of those attempting to receive the insurance subsidy.
Health networks rooted in the Affordable Care Act are precluding Americans from utilizing coverage, a scenario which could soon affect the whole country, as well as all of the insurance industry.
This forecast comes from health policy expert and physician, Scott Gottlieb, who recently testified before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.
Gottlieb said, “These narrow networks will start to roll out to the other parts of the market – the commercial market, the Medicare Advantage market,” adding, “It’s not going to be confined to Obamacare.”
Gottlieb says the narrow networks are the remaining alternatives insurers have left from Obamacare to keep costs low. House Republicans on the subcommittee cautioned while an increased number of people are insured, Obamacare components still block the insured from getting the actual healthcare sought. The Affordable Care Act stops insurance companies from levying higher prices on less-healthy patients as well as enforcing more restrictive co-pays.Even Cancer sufferers with an insurance card will not likely have access to what are termed “specialized cancer treatment centers.
A new report out by the SHADAC (the Minnesota State Health Access Assistance Data Center) says the uninsured rate has fallen to some 40.6 percent. Yet, the question remains, is this due, in whole or in part, to both provisions and effects of the Affordable Care Act? The SHADAC study also says, “The increase in coverage was primarily driven by an increase in the number of Minnesotans enrolled in state health insurance programs.”
SHADAC additionally reports coverage under private health insurance saw appreciable increases. The number of Minnesotans with a private group that is mostly employer-provided coverage, remained at equilibrium but reflects a decrease of approximately 6,000.
SHADAC also concluded, “We found the largest enrollment growth in Medical Assistance due in part to the Medicaid expansion provisions of the ACA but also due to the fact that more than two-thirds of uninsured Minnesotans were already eligible for public coverage.”
Ferdous Al-Faruque reports in The Hill.com, June 12, the ACA-established non-profit cooperatives aren’t seeing many new enrollees.
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee report 14 of the 23 CO-OPs saw appreciably lower sign-ups than initially forecast for 2014. Low enrollment makes it difficult for Republicans to support backing $2 billion in federal loans to help bolster the their enrollment.
“We know that most of the CO-OPs failed to meet their expected enrollment numbers with 11 CO-OPs spending more than $10,000 for each person they ultimately enrolled,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.). Current enrollment numbers render CO-OP future financial viability questionable, bringing to light concerns whether taxpayers will be reimbursed.
Issa’s panel cites the example of the Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company, based in Tennessee, which projected they would sign up more than 25,000 people. However, the agency was only able to enroll 325 people and the cost totaled $207,000 per person. “The CO-OP received more than $73 million in federal loans to help with their operations,” according to the report.
Individuals who purchased health insurance set up under U.S. President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law (“Obamacare”) rate their personal health as worse than people who bought individual plans elsewhere, a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found.
To offset losses that insurance companies will take in 2014 on their exchange business, the “bailout” money is going to come from a new tax levied on the insurance companies.
The new Obamacare tax on insurers will be passed onto everyone in the form of higher premiums.