When It Comes To Obamacare, ‘Debt’ And ‘Deficit’ Are Political Distractions

Stan Collendar cites a new report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in an article for Forbes (online, 6/22). The latest CBO accounting may more than displease some members of the GOP. It concludes eliminating Obamacare increases (not decreases) the U.S. budget deficit. Ironically, the CBO report was initiated at the request of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi, R-Wyo. According to Collendar’s Forbes story, the CBO findings are, “directly contrary to what Republicans have been saying since the law was enacted and should be a body blow to their insistence the law was a mistake and should be repealed.”

Collendar also discusses both the federal debt and deficit as being “phony issues” – – at least when debated politically, in ACA terms. The reason(s)? “The non-reaction to CBO’s projected increase in the deficit (and therefore, national debt) shows all the supposed concern about the burden we’re leaving to our children and grandchildren is nothing more than a scare tactic used when it’s convenient.”

Read more at Forbes

Obamacare Picks Up Healthcare Tab, Yet Debt Lingers

Bruce Japsen, who has written about healthcare for more than two decades, returns to the pages of Forbes (online, 5/24). In an article he cites several studies which cover the impact of healthcare costs on U.S. families.

Japsen’s Forbes story cites a brief by the Urban Institute which concludes that while the Affordable Care Act, as Japsen says, “has taken a load off of family budgets with 9.4 million fewer families ‘having problems paying medical bills,’ concurrently only 1 out of 4 adults aged between 18 to 64 still have medical debt they are attempting to retire once and for all.  Also, employers are passing healthcare costs onto their employees , and this has been occurring for as long as the past 10 years.

Japsen adds, “Some argue that cost-shifting has led to more medical debt and to some Americans being “under-insured” when they choose skimpier plans that have less expensive premiums. These plans generally have higher deductibles and related cost-sharing.”

Read more at Forbes

An Over 50 Percent Increase in Obamacare Premiums?

A portion of the nation’s GDP is made up of “national health spending,” according to Breitbart (online, 5/25 – by Chriss W. Street). In 2014 that number was at 17.8 percent; which is up from 16 percent at the time Barack Obama became president.

Street is able to personally testify as to his contribution to that portion of the GDP, and the resultant increase in national health spending. In writing about his own experiences with the purchasing of healthcare coverage, Street says, “My own insurer, Aetna, left the ‘individual market’ rather than participate in the Covered California exchange. I was forced to purchase a 2014 Blue Shield Policy on the state exchange. The premium for my wife and I, who have not major health issues, almost doubled from $740 per month with Aetna to $1,340 under covered California.”

Street also adds in his Breitbart article, “President Obama claimed he compromised the design of Obamacare in 2010 to achieve fiscal neutrality over a 10 year projection to avoid increasing the deficit spending. But to achieve that mirage, the implementation was delayed for three years and the premium cost increases were ramped up over the next three years.”

Read more at Breitbart.com

ACA’s Risk Aspect May Rock Insurance Rates

More from CBNC’s healthcare writer Dan Mangan. This time he says, on the CNBC Web page (5/5)  “There may not be enough to cover costs of Obamacare’s Risk Corridor Program.” Mangan’s report cites a recent Standard & Poors Ratings Services Report which says, “A large number of insurers – more than half of the Obamacare exchange issuers – – “were conservative” and did not record any risk corridor payments that they might be owed.” . . . “This indicates that the actual aggregate payments due to insurers from the corridor are likely even higher than what has been currently recorded.”

According to CNBC, the Standard & Poors Report also says, “ . . . [S]ome insurers may have a tougher time covering their costs—and Obamacare customers in some areas of the country may face higher premium prices in 2016.”

Read more at CNBC 

When All Else Fails Mention A Silver Lining

More from noted single payer healthcare critic Sally Pipes, President of the Pacific Research Institute. According to her new report in Forbes (online, May 4) the current view of the Obama administration when it comes to contemporary healthcare expenditures simply is “it could have been worse.” Pipes’ articles refers to an increase of “over 12 percent” – – since the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) premiums for both individuals and families have soared. And, at the end of the day, “That’s a far cry from President Obama’s repeated 2008 campaign promise that Obamacare would “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family,” says Pipes.

Pipes Forbes account also says “Plans with higher deductibles already dominate in many states. In Indiana, which uses the federally operated Healthcare.gov exchange, 24 of the 29 plans available have high deductibles – – defined as at least $1,300 for individuals and $2,600 for families. In South Dakota, 31 of 38 plans do.”

Pipes adds, “Instead Obamacare has made health costs worse – – much worse. It’s pushed both deductibles and premiums though the roof. As a result, millions of consumers have been forced to buy overpriced insurance – and yet still have to empty their wallets when they visit the doctor’s office.”

Read more at Forbes

Doctors Could Take Heat For Obamacare’s Shortcomings

How do you measure success or failure of a government program? Is it by how many people it helps? Is it by its costs; or savings – that is, if there are any?  Or, do other standards exist by which to judge its overall effectiveness? In the case of Obamacare, the only indicators mattering to many in need of healthcare is just how much money it has (or has not) paid out; and how much medical treatment it has dispensed.

According to a report in Human Events (online, Mar. 23, by Justin Haskins) an appreciable number of physicians are refusing both Medicaid and Medicare patients. The reason? Federal government levels of “reimbursement rates” (Human Events) are not sufficiently high enough for doctors to make the effort in this regard worthwhile.  Yet, what this does is give the stark appearance that doctors (as a group) act harshly against patients.

Haskins’s Human Events report adds, “It may seem counterintuitive to some since doctors spend their whole lives healing sick people, including many sick and poor people, but the reality is that doctors actually make easy political targets for the Democrat machine.”

Another component in the care versus cost conundrum (the Human Events report outlines) is that “[M]ost doctors are not politically active and are poorly represented in government.” Only 17 serve in Congress, for example, who are actually physicians.

Haskins further explains, doctors who are “specialists” are convenient targets.  Their annual earnings easily place them in the “1 percent.” Thus, they are lumped in with that more affluent segment of the population comparatively recently demonized by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Read more at Human Events

Obamacare’s Small Business Drama Continues

Holly Wade is Research Director for The National Federation of Independent Business’s Research. Recently, according to a recent report in Reason by J.D. Tuccille (online, Mar. 23) Wade testified before the Senate Finance Committee. Regarding Obamacare’s effects on U.S. small business, she said, “The problems that many predicted have arrived but most of the promises for small business owners remain unfulfilled. We found that 62 percent of small business owners are paying higher premiums while only eight percent say their costs have dropped.”

Tuccille’s Reason account also cites the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia who have found the following after receiving reports from small businesses in their locales:

  • The New York Federal Reserve Bank heard from businesses in the region they serve, describing higher healthcare costs emanating from the Affordable Care Act. Such businesses expect that trend to continue in 2015.
  • Additionally, businesses have relayed to the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia their intentions to increase prices, employ fewer staff, and utilize an increased amount of labor actually working fewer hours. The reasons are again “because of the increased costs associated with the health law,” according to Reason.

Read more at Reason

Tallying Obamacare Taxes

A report by Robert W. Wood, of Wood LLP.com, on a recent post for Forbes online (Feb. 17) asks how many ACA taxes are there – in reality? A most important question, since an appreciable segment of Obamacare , is also indeed about that – taxes and /or  fines – (depending on one’s political philosophy). Either way it adds up to money you have to pay as an individual or employer.

Wood, a prominent tax attorney, points out, “Yet for most of the approximately 85 percent of Americans who have health insurance and who make less than $250,000 a year, you can relax. Most of the new taxes are unlikely to hurt you or your pocketbook. Even so, it’s easy to be overwhelmed, which is one reason the IRS has a 21-page Publication 5187 on the Healthcare Law: What’s New for Individuals and Families.”

Some of these taxes include ones possibly not well-known. They are:

  • A yearly $63.00 charge by Obamacare — on all plans.
  • A Medicine Cabinet Tax.
  • Additional Tax on Health Savings Accounts’ (HAS) and Medical Savings Accounts’ (MSA) distributions.

Read more at Forbes.com 

Untruths And Unpleasantness Of Obamacare

A recently posted report in the Net Right Daily site, by Robert Romano, (online, 02/10) says prior to 2010, families in the U.S. actually had some options, at least when it came to their healthcare. They could have forked over nearly one third of their overall household earnings to pay their insurance premiums — or not. Now, with the individual mandate built into the Affordable Care Act, some healthcare choices are not so pleasant, people can purchase the more costly plans Obamacare established, or pay a fine (or tax as it is also known).

According to the Net Right Daily Story, “the real culprits for the continued, growing unaffordability of health premiums . . . are slower economic growth, slower population growth, and the slower growth in incomes that both bring. In fact, these have been trending downward along with job creation, interest rates, and inflation for a generation,” says Net Right Daily.

Read more at Net Right Daily

Yes, Under Obamacare It Will Cost More to Visit The Doctor

An unpleasant Affordable Care Act scenario is brought to light a recent report on the CNN Money web page (2/12). It’s about high deductibles. According to the CNN Money story, these “have been a sore point with some Obamacare enrollees. They have complained that they have to shell out thousands of dollars, on top of their monthly premium, before their insurance kicks in. Employers have also been raising deductibles, but they are generally lower than in many Obamacare plans.” CNN Money adds, “Even after they meet the deductible, enrollees in both Obamacare and work-based plans have to fork over a co-pay or co-insurance, a share of the bill, to see a doctor. Employers have been raising their co-pays in recent years, but those in Obamacare plans are still higher.”

Regarding the subject of co-insurance, Obamacare policyholders carry a bigger burden here. ACA sign-ups will wind-up paying 26 percent of the fee to visit with a primary care doctor or a specialist. Those with a health insurance policy coming from their job will pay only 18 percent – – that is for primary care, specialists visits will cost 1 percent more.

While you pay about the same for generic drugs under Obamacare, prescription brand names are pricier under ACA-controlled plans, so says CNN Money.

Read more at CNN Money.com