Insurance Premiums: Is $100 the Next Obamacare Hurdle?

A large majority of adults say “$100 a month or less” is the highest monthly premium they can afford to pay for health insurance in 2016, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The HealthPocket.com report found that 57 percent of respondents named that price range when asked about coverage affordability. The second-most common answer was $200 per month, which was the response of just 17 percent of respondents.

Read more at CNBC

ObamaCare is Entering its Dreaded ‘Death Spiral’

The Obama administration is having trouble selling insurance plans to healthy people. That’s a big problem: When the young and healthy don’t enroll, premiums have to be hiked to cover the costs of older, sicker people, discouraging even more young people from signing up.

Read more at The New York Post

 

Clinton And Sanders Healthcare Proposals May Differ Only In Speed

According to a new posting by Justin Haskins (Human Events, online 9/30), when it comes to healthcare reform if Barack Obama was right about anything, it was that “Obamacare was designed from the very beginning to slowly move the nation toward a government-controlled health insurance system, but President Barack Obama understood at the time [the] ACA was being debated that it would be impossible to move immediately into a single-payer model. He was right. The backlash against Obamacare in 2009 and 2010 – the same backlash that led to one of the most lopsided congressional elections in history in 2010 – would have been even greater had Obama pushed a single-payer system. There was simply no way Obama could have passed a single-payer plan through Congress at the time.”

  • Haskins’ Human Events report cites Sam Frizell of Time Magazine: It seems Clinton wants a hallmark of the ACA to remain, that is in the form of “progress,” meaning,  U.S. healthcare changes would proceed more less deliberately. Whereas, “Sanders wants to tear up the ACA and establish single-payer, government-controlled health insurance right now.”
  • Human Events also says both Clinton’s and Sanders’ healthcare reform proposals “eventually end up in the same place, with the only real difference being the speed at which single-payer is instituted.”
  • The final results (whether Clinton’s or Sanders’ plans are implemented) remain the same, “a socialistic, European-style single-payer health insurance system that will lead to longer wait times, more premature deaths, higher costs, and a reduction in the quality of care,” according to Haskins’ Human Events account.


Read more at: Human Events.com

HealthCare.gov Undergoing Enhancements

A posting on an ABC News Web page (online, 10/7) says that HealthCare.gov, the notoriously botched 2013-born site, is actually getting a revamping, with “upgrades that should help consumers find out whether their doctors and medications are covered, and get a better estimate of costs.”

However, concerns remain, and as the AP article by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar (cited by ABC News) says, “With the start of 2016 open enrollment season approaching, the Obama administration expects that some 10 million Americans still uninsured but eligible for coverage will be a tougher sell.”

  • Healthcare.gov actually has a well-received feature which allows potential healthcare coverage consumers to “window shop”. . . “for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance plans.”
  • Other upgrades include the providing of estimates of expected total healthcare costs for consumers. The revamped website will also have a feature that helps people get a rough estimate of anticipated total costs.
  • Meanwhile, the Obama White House has had no comments on the HealthCare.gov upgrades.
  • HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell confirms “about 10.5 million uninsured people are eligible for coverage through HealthCare.gov and state markets, and they will be harder to sign up,” according to the AP and ABC.


Read more at ABC News.com

Obamacare to Increase in ‘The First State’

According to Jon Offredo (writing in The News Journal / Delaware Online, 9/30) “Obamacare health plans in Delaware just got more expensive.”

Those living in The Diamond State can thank the federal government. According to Offredo’s News Journal account, “The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service approved double-digit rate hikes submitted by the Delaware Department of Insurance for plans offered on the state’s health insurance marketplace.” Offredo also offers this, “Delaware Insurance Commissioner Karen Weldin Stewart released the 2016 health insurance rates Tuesday, saying that individual plan rates for Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield would increase 22.4 and by 16 percent for Aetna Life Insurance plans.”

Meanwhile, Obamacare-related premium Increases are anticipated in other U.S. states. According to the News Journal story, “Blue Cross Blue Shield requested for rate increases of about 30 percent in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Minnesota.”

  • Last year just over 25,000 in Delaware signed up for healthcare coverage via the state’s exchange.
  • Highmark had previously requested 25.4 and 33 percent higher premiums.
  • According to Offredo, “Blue Cross franchisees across the country are making requests for increases of 25 percent or more, claiming the Affordable Care Act has unleashed pent-up demand by persons who have not seen a doctor for years. Regulators have been approving significant rate increases throughout the country.”
  • The Delaware state insurance department is expected to post rates on their website by the middle of October, 2015.


Read more at The News Journal / Delaware Online

N.Y. Will Shutter ACA Insurer

The Obamacare drama continues . . .  in the states. Now it’s New York, recently announcing the closing of an Obamacare insurer. Known in the Empire State known as Health Republic (of New York).  And according to a recent article in Bloomberg News (online, Sept. 25) by Zachary Tracer, Health Republic, “got $265 million in U.S. loans, will stop selling policies and eventually cease operations under orders from New York and federal regulators.”

The reason for the shutdown in N.Y. is “because regulators found that it was likely to become financially insolvent, according to an emailed statement Friday from New York’s Department of Financial Services. That decision was actually made collaboratively, “by DFS, New York’s health-insurance marketplace and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” according to Tracer’s Bloomberg account.

  • “Sixteen other insurers will sell health coverage on New York’s ACA marketplace this year, according to the statement.”
  • Tracer’s Bloomberg article provides some history by saying the 2010 Affordable Care Act, later to become known as Obamacare, assisted in the establishment of non-profit healthcare co-ops, whose goal was actually to heighten competition, while purported multitudes of consumers shopped for healthcare  coverage – with federal subsidies. “At some point in time, the co-ops have to turn around their core business,” according Deep Banerjee, a Standard & Poor’s expert. “Unless they’re able to turn around their core business, they won’t be able to generate capital.” (Tracer/Bloomberg).
  • Health Republic of N.Y. actually got some $265 million in the form of federal loans. As of this writing, uncertainty remains as to how much, if any, Health Republic will be able to repay.


Read more at Bloomberg.com

Yes, It’s Still Unpopular

Bob Adelmann writes in The New American (online, 9/28) that when it comes U.S. healthcare reform efforts (at least for those pushing towards a single-payer system) the fact that the “lawsuit against President Obama” is proceeding “should bring comfort to that majority of Americans who, despite distractions over the Middle East, immigration, the decline in the stock market, and the 2016 presidential races, have actually increased their opposition to Obamacare’s requirement that every American have health insurance.”

Adelmann’s New American article cites a Rasmussen survey which recently disclosed that just under 40 percent of “likely U.S. voters” feel the government “should mandate that every American have health insurance.” This reflects the lowest level of support for Obamacare since December 2013.

  • In July of 2014, the House voted to authorize a lawsuit by its members in its entirety against the Obama administration for “actions by the President or other executive branch officials inconsistent with their duties under the Constitution of the United States.”

The U.S. House lawsuit lodged against the Affordable Care Act and Obama administration argues:

  • The Obama White House overstepped its authority with its postponing of the employer mandate.
  • The Obama administration “spent billions in payments to insurance companies that were never authorized by the House.”
  •  The New American article additionally summarizes by saying, “In simple terms, the lawsuit complains that the Obama administration, being denied the funds necessary to implement a major part of ObamaCare — paying off insurance companies to offset premium reductions mandated by the act — went ahead and paid them off anyway.”


Read more at: New American Magazine.com 

Ohio Gov. Says Obamacare Opponents Don’t Understand The Bible

John Nolte writes in a posting for Breitbart (online, Oct. 6) that in a recent “appearance before the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Ohio governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich offered to buy Bibles for those of us who don’t agree with his decision to increase the welfare state.”

Some may recall it was Kasich who acquiesced to the Affordable Care Act’s Ohio Medicaid expansion. At the Chamber of Commerce gathering, Kasich retorted (for the benefit of his healthcare adversaries), “Look at Medicaid expansion. Do you know how many people are yelling at me? I go out to events where people yell at me. You know what I tell ‘em? . . . I say, there’s a book. It’s got a new part and an old part; they put it together, it’s a remarkable book. If you don’t have one, I’ll buy you one. It talks about how we treat the poor. Sometimes you just have to lead.”

Nolte’s Breitbart article poses this food for thought, “I don’t mean to argue with Brother Kasich, but I must have missed the part where the Christian thing to do is to use the punitive power of The State to force your personal Christian values on others.”

  • Nolte also cites a prior occasion in which Kasich invoked Christianity over those whom he disagreed with (in 2013) saying, “I had a conversation with one of the members of the legislature the other day. I said, ‘I respect the fact that you believe in small government. I do, too. I also know that you’re a person of faith. ‘Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.’”
  • A Real Clear Politics “average of polls,” says Kasich’s national approval rating currently stands at just over 3 percent. Comparatively, NBC News has the Ohio governor sliding by half, to 6 percent, down from 12 percent.


Read more at Breitbart.com

Hillary Clinton’s Answer to Obamacare: More Government

Late last month, Hillary Cliinton began releasing the details for her vision for halth reform.

That vision is little more than Obamacare on steroids. “I will defend the Affordable Care Act, but as president I want to go further,” the Democratic presidential hopeful said at a recent community forum in Iowa. “I want to strengthen the Affordable Care Act.”

By “strengthen,” Hillary means entrench and expand. At every level of her plan, Clinton uses Obamacare’s flaws as an excuse for more mandates, more regulations, and more taxes.

Read more in Forbes