According to the medical director for student health services at Clayton State University, “We should be encouraging Millennials to save for their first down-payment on a home, or free themselves of debt by paying off student loans.” In a report for The Hill (online, Jan. 22) Deborah Ann Travis Honeycutt, M.D., refers to increased costs for Obamacare, targeting those young persons defined as Millennials. Honeycutt claims such ACA-based healthcare expenditures couldn’t be coming at a worse time for categorized youth between the ages of 16 and 29 years. The Hill report also advises the unemployment rate for Millennials stands at 14.7 percent.
Honeycutt adds, “Typical20-somethings in Georgia now face premiums averaging $2,750.00 per year – a 179 and 108 percent increase for men and women, respectively, over what similar pre – Obamacare plans cost.” The student health services medical director of the Georgia based university describes this as, “a demoralizing reality for college students working their way through school while still having adequate time to devote to their studies.”
Vivian Ho, a contributor to The Hill.com, asks (online, Jan. 14) “So are the economic downturn and stagnant wages to blame for workers’ healthcare cost problem?” It may be other factors. This recent article also cites information from USA Today which in turn recites Kaiser Family Foundation findings which say, “Health care costs have risen substantially for middle-class workers. Apparently, Kaiser also found that the amount of the deductible (on average) for individual health insurance coverage has “more than doubled in eight years, from $584 to $1,217.”
The Hill report additionally cites to Journal of The American Medical Association (JAMA): . . . “research estimates that at least 21 percent, and perhaps 34 percent, of U.S. healthcare spending is waste. The sources of this waste are many, including overtreatment, failures of care coordination and failures of execution in care processes.” Ho also asks, “Why do we passively accept the waste caused by healthcare providers, which is making healthcare increasingly unaffordable for middle-class workers?”
Noted conservative commentator Michelle Malkin’s recent post in Human Events (online, Dec. 31, 2014) recalls President Obama as having “promised that he’d “lower premiums by up to $2,500.00 for a typical family per year.” Yet, as Malkin points out, premiums for individual healthcare consumers have appreciably increased during the past 12 months. Malkin cites noted Forbes health policy writer Avik Roy and his Manhattan Institute’s analysis of over 3,100 counties in the United States. The findings? Individual market premiums went up by just under 50 percent.
The Human Events Report also says further implementation of the ACA in 2015 will wind up presenting taxpayers with a $2 trillion tab over the next 10 years. “That’s just the direct costs. Obamacare’s job-killing regulations continue to discourage businesses from expanding and force more bosses to slash hours to avoid the employer mandate,” according to Malkin.
Malkin also says, “The worst is yet to come. Before the midterms, panicked and politically driven Obama bureaucrats delayed premium payment deadlines, high risk insurance cancellations and onerous “meaningful use” mandates on health insurance providers grappling with Obamacare’s disastrous top-down electronic medical records rules. Those chickens will come home to roost in 2015.”
A recent report on Bloomberg Businessweek (online, Jan. 6) says approximately one year ago, in the North Star State, PreferredOne, an insurance plan, possessed all the hallmarks of an Obamacare success story. PreferredOne’s appeal had been offerings of reduced health insurance coverage premiums. Its enrollment levels stood at 60 percent — of a pool of 55,000 applicants. Yet in a recent surprise move (Fall, 2014) the insurer steeply hiked costs for coverage for 2015. Then they decided to altogether drop out or abandon the Minnesota’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) health insurance marketplace.
The Bloomberg Businessweek report by John Tozzi adds, “Minnesotans who got subsidies last year to help them buy Preferred One plans will see their premiums more than double if they don’t switch plans, according to an analysis by Wakely Consulting Group.”
In a new report in Human Events (ojnline, Dec. 18) blogger John Hayward describes Vermont as ”a little socialist paradise – the landlocked Cuba of the Northeast.” Thus, adds Hayward, it “seemed to make it an ideal laboratory for the great experiment in single-payer, but the small size of the laboratory proved to be its undoing. Socialism is a lie; it relies on deception and trickery to conceal its costs, fooling voters into surrendering their freedom in exchange for discounted goods that suddenly become far more expensive, once the need for deception ends.”
Now comes news (according to the Human Events report) that Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has lowered the boom on single payer healthcare in his state. In making his announcement, the governor said, “These are simply not tax rates that I can responsibly support or urge the Legislature to pass,” adding, “In my judgment, the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families and the state’s economy.”
Is Shumlin’s action confirmation of the argument that Obamacare / single-payer healthcare can’t can’t work in the Green Mountain State – – and every other state? Hayward additionally argues, “Obamacare will collapse as planned by its designers, and we’ll be told total, direct government control over the medical industry is our only option. Every American should consider the fate of Vermont’s single-payer scheme as a teachable moment, and a warning, but it’s not going to get a whole lot of national media coverage. It will be spun the same way every leftist failure from Soviet communism on down has been spun: the wrong people tried it, at the wrong time.” The right inclined Human Events cites the more left-leaning Politico, which recently reported that Shumlin voiced other insecurities about government sponsored healthcare in his state, “This is not the right time.” The governor also expressed his own concerns over an increase in taxation needed to fund it.
Hayward perhaps best sums his anti-ACA positions on the issue by writing, “A big left-wing scheme died because the governor had to admit it would cause “economic disruption and risks” that would be too much for small businesses and individual citizens to handle.”
According to Betsey McCaughey of the Committee to Reduce Infection, actuaries at the federal level forecast health-related expenditures will now average some 6 percent per year; this is through the year 2023. This winds up driving total health care spending to 19.3 of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In her recent New York Post article (Dec. 9), she also points out this number is actually up from 16.6 percent “pre-ObamaCare.” McCaughey also claims federal actuaries also found that federal health spending crept up by some 3.6 percent in the year 2013 — a marginal improvement.
For her part, McCaughey, who is also a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, does not mince words, saying, “The ObamaCare lies keep coming. In two highly publicized announcements last week, top Obama health officials claimed the Affordable Care Act is slowing health care spending and improving hospital safety. The media parroted these boasts, but the evidence shows they’re bogus.”
McCaughey’s contributed piece also historically examines the real slowing of health care spending, citing its actual origins back to 2009, making the case that it was emergent long before Obamacare’s passage. Health spending slowed to 3.8 percent rise that year, “and stayed at that slow pace in 2010,” according to McCaughey. She later concludes, “Instead of lying about Obamacare, some top Democrats are taking another tack, distancing themselves from this increasingly toxic issue. Shrewd politicians like Sens. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, can spot a loser.”
While often reported from a national perspective, the Affordable Care Act remains as a state-level story. This time, it’s New Jersey. Chris Glorioso and Evan Stulberger report on the NBC New York website (Dec. 15) by quoting Pro Publica Senior Health Reporter, Charles Ornstein, “Just because you had a great plan this year with a good premium that you can afford and you really like the benefits that they afford does not mean that it will exist in the same form next year.”
In the Garden State this translates as only eight New Jersey ACA plans reducing their premiums – for 2015. Many of the less-expensive plans available in New Jersey “have compensated by steeply raising out-of-pocket charges for things like medications and emergency room visits,” according to the NBC New York report. One plan, known as Health Republic Prime Silver will cost less – by nearly $75.00 each month, in 2015. Yet, the plan transfers emergency room expenses to the consumer.
The NBC New York account also relates the findings of its “I-Team”, uncovering the story of Bayonne New Jersey resident and his insurance carrier. They were billed $9,000 for a finger cut. In this instance, an injury not requiring stitches.
The author, a fellow of the Heartland Institute and a talk show host on 850 KOA in Denver, argues that, when it comes to lowering healthcare spending, the only thing that ObamaCare does right is making people spend more of their own money when they go to the doctor.
In the four years since The Affordable Care Act became law, some are still finding it difficult to get health insurance; they can’t even afford their employer’s offered health insurance plan. In a recent post on NPR online (Dec. 2) Don Benfield of Taylorsville, N.C. is profiled. According to NPR, he earns $11 per hour working in mobile home parts. Some of the items he sells include replacement windows and doors. He is 51 years old, and still doesn’t have insurance.
According to the NPR piece, by John Ydstie, Benfield describes his health insurance coverage plight this way, “I haven’t had health care insurance in years, simply because I haven’t been able to afford it, especially with food prices, how they went up.”
Compounding Benfield’s woes, his employer does offer health insurance coverage, because of its size. It has less than 50 employees, so it is not required to do so.
Ydstie’s NPR report describes this inherent flaw in the Obamacare law, which serves to contribute to the misery of people like Benfied, “The Affordable Care Act is expected to provide around $10 billion in subsidies this year to make health insurance affordable for low – and middle-income people. But a quirk in the law is denying subsidies to a significant number of low-income people, especially those with families.” To cover solely himself, Benefield – – according o the NPR post – – would have to come up with some $2,200. By adding his wife, that number begins to knock on the door of over $6,000 per year.
NPR also quotes Linda Blumberg, of the Urban Institute, who says, “A lot of people refer to this as the family affordability glitch.”. . . “All of the assessment of whether or not employer-based coverage is affordable is based on worker-only coverage, and doesn’t take the cost of family coverage into account.”
John C. Goodman, a physician, writing in Forbes (online, Dec. 4) asks if the Obama White House has done anything to lower the costs of healthcare? As Dr. Goodman points out in his article, “Millions of dollars have been spent on pilot programs.” . . . “We’ve had demonstration projects for coordinated care, integrated care, medical homes, electronic medical records, pay-for-performance and just about every other faddish idea. Unfortunately, the Congressional Budget Office has found in three separate reports that none of this is working.”
Dr. Goodman’s Forbes piece also points to a lack of change in healthcare spending, when considered in light of the recent ACA history. In Spite of Obama administration “boasts”, “[T]he increase in per capita health care spending last year — 2.9% — was exactly the same as it was in 2009, the year before the Affordable Care Act was passed.”
One of the developments in healthcare which serves to monitor yearly transformations and transitions in healthcare spending is the Health Savings Account, which increased by some 22 percent in 2012.
HSAs provide individuals with the chance to control their own healthcare dollars. As Dr. Goodman further elaborates in his recent Forbes article, “When people are spending their own money in the medical marketplace, they are usually more careful shoppers than when they are spending money that comes from a third-party payer — an employer, an insurance company or government.”