What’s missing from the purportedly new and improved Obamacare Web site? Information about premium costs. This significant data will be available instead, only during the second week of November, 2014. That happens to be one week following the 2014 Midterm elections. A report by Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, writing in the Investor’s Business Daily online edition of 10/28, also claims the Obama White House is now touting HealthCare.gov as a Web site making less complicated actual purchasing procedures; thus potential Obamacare consumers will better comprehend just what plans they are obtaining.
Phillips notes also says President Barack Obama has used his administrative power to rewrite Obamacare 24 times, yet, “Obamacare is not working as advertised and voters may hold the law’s supporters accountable for its failure. Given this toxic political cocktail, Obama unilaterally changes the law in order to delay constituent anger until after the next election, protecting Obamacare and pro-Obamacare politicians in the process. If only he devoted as much effort to developing sound policy as he does to political gamesmanship.”
According to Byron York in Townhall (online, 10/28) some Democratic candidates are acknowledging voter discontent over the Affordable Care act by promising to repair the 2010 healthcare law. York briefly outlines events at recent political debate in the state of New Hampshire when Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen was quizzed about her proposed Obamacare remedies. At best, when asked to list her ideas for fixes, she responded with plans to name a committee to identify problems with HealthCare.gov.
Byron also cites a Gallup Poll information, hinting voter opposition to the Affordable Care Act may be rooted in their actual personal experiences, versus upon what they have read or heard about the law. York adds, “Since Obamacare was enacted in 2010, the Gallup polling organization has asked people whether the law has helped or hurt them personally, or whether they haven’t been affected at all. In the latest survey, most people — 54 percent — said they have not been affected. But 27 percent said they have been affected and hurt, while a smaller group, 16 percent, said they have been helped.”
Byron’s Townhall piece also explains, as Republicans continue their attacks against the Affordable Care Act, their positive numbers in the polls grow. Such criticism may be effective, and working.
A report in the Britain’s The Daily Mail (online, Oct. 28) says no law currently exists in the United States requiring the federal government to notify anyone that their personal health information has been hacked. About 20 million Americans have gained medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, since it was signed into law in 2010. The law was designed to make health insurance simpler and more available to Americans, but critics still see it as a waste of money.
‘”[I]t’s a mess out there right now,” says David Kennedy a security expert, in describing the current level of (or lack of) integrity with respect to the Obamacare website. Critics still say HealthCare.gov remains as a Web site which is easily compromised.
Kennedy additionally cautions (in the Daily Mail account) that HealthCare.gov security breaches increased by some 400 per cent in 2013. This may be significant when one considers HealthCare.gov also stands as one of the most voluminous aggregations of individual health profiles ever compiled in the U.S.
The Government Accountability Office has highlighted several critical security “weaknesses” – regarding the Obamacare Web site, including, that the site was compromised back on July 8, 2014. Yet, the data breach wasn’t found until some 7 weeks afterwards.
A recent online post (Oct. 28) in Forbes features another article by physician John C. Goodman. Dr. Goodman says senior citizens should still be concerned about Medicare ramifications of the Affordable Care Act. This latest report by Dr. Goodman describes a perhaps lesser-well-known provision in Obamacare which imposes pervasive budgetary constraints on Medicare expenditures. In prior years, Medicare was solely an entitlement. Meaning, the federal government was compelled to fund care both seniors and the disabled received. Now, the ACA imposes spending limits.
Dr. Goodman’s Forbes account additionally says, “One bad result is that that Medicare beneficiaries are likely to be pushed into a second tier health care system – where access to care will become increasingly difficult, as seniors less financially attractive to providers than become Medicaid patients.” Dr. Goodman adds, “The new law gives an Independent Payment Advisory Board the power to recommend cuts in reimbursement rates for providers of health care. Congress must either accept these cuts or propose its own plan to cut costs as much or more. If Congress fails to substitute its own plan, the board’s cuts will become effective.”
According to a new report in The Daily Caller (online, Oct. 29) the state of Virginia will be hit hard by prospects of “Obamacare cancellations.” Additionally, additional 50,000 healthcare plans will be terminated across the country during the Fall of 2014.
The Daily Caller, also quotes one HHS official, rationalizing the policy termination scenario, by saying that it does not translate into individuals losing their health insurance coverage, it simply means they “are being invited to join an Obamacare exchange.”
“If you got one of the notices that your policy was going to be discontinued because it didn’t adhere to the law, it meant that now you could go into the health-insurance marketplace,” Joan Grossie, regional director of the HHS, told the Virginia state legislature – - according to The Daily Caller.
In Virginia alone, some 250,000 Virginia citizens are facing termination of their healthcare coverage – effective Jan. 1, 2015. That is because, purportedly, their insurance does not conform to ACA requirements. Grossie apparently would not directly Virginia state lawmaker(s)’ questions on the cancellations issue, while deriding quality levels of the terminated plans.
At one, point, during Grossie’s visit to the Virginia State Legislature, Republican state Sen. Jeff McWaters, quizzed the HHS official as whether HHS has knowledge of just the number of how many individuals are going to lose their coverage. Grossie took exception, pretty much avoiding the issue.
A new report by Forbes contributor John G. Goodman (online, Oct. 20) says the federal government has announced it is changing how its nursing home ratings system will work. Goodman says, nonetheless, “Pay-for-performance has no chance of succeeding unless the payer can measure quality. Without quality control, provider can always lower costs by simply providing less care.”
Currently, the feds use a five star system to rate nursing homes. According to Goodman’s Forbes story only one of three standards to determine ratings – the “annual health inspection” – actually employs an independent evaluation process. The other two measurements of quality – staff levels and quality stats – are the result of self-evaluations.
According to the Investor’s Business Daily (Investors.com, Oct 17) Obamacare premium increases in the double digits remain the exception versus a rule - so far. The IBD article by Jed Graham goes on to say, however, that beginning November 1 of this year, with the next (or second) round of open enrolment for Obamacare, some Obamacare customers may be in for an unpleasant rate surprise. According to the IBD report, 2015’s rates in 15 U.S. states, as well as Washington, D.C., show premium pricing for the cheapest “bronze” healthcare coverage, spiking by 13.9% for some. This could hurt Obamacare enrollment figures for 2015. The surge in the cost of the cheapest subsidized bronze policy could negatively impact enrollment in 2015.
The IBD account tellingly adds, with respect to 2015, “While some potential enrollees may opt out because of the higher cost of bronze, some young adults may instead pick catastrophic plans available to those under 30. The latter scenario is also not great news for Obamacare exchanges, since catastrophic plan members are grouped separately, leaving the main risk pool relatively older and more costly.”
The Daily Caller contends in a recent report on its web page(s) that “Obamacare is hiding in plain sight as a cause of the slow recovery.” This account by John R. Graham, additionally claims, employers continue to reduce employment opportunities, in response to adverse impacts of the Affordable Care Act. Also according to The Daily Caller, a recent survey of employers by the New York Federal Reserve inquired specifically about Obamacare business impacts. Commercial respondents, 20 percent, anticipate increasing – - proportionally – - the number of part-time workers. However, only 5 percent expect to hire relatively fewer part-timers; 22 intend to implement wage cuts, as well as benefits reductions. Also according to the New York Fed, as outlined by the Daily Caller, 68 percent of businesses polled are planning reductions in healthcare services covered.
Dan Mangan asks in his recent report on the CNBC Web site (Oct. 20) “What happens if they flip the switch to begin Obamacare’s second open enrollment period next month and hardly anybody shows up?” This question could also potentially be put to others, chiefly the Obama administration. Have they done all they can to educate the public about its signature Affordable Care Act? Including, its purported benefits and the procedures for getting on board?
Also, according to the CNBC report, a very recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll says 9 out of 10 those persons classified as uninsured did not know that open enrollment starts again – - in November, 2014. This is indicative of a widespread lack of knowledge when it comes to overall knowledge of the Affordable Care Act.
When Kaiser conducted similar research in 2013, it discovered Obamacare knowledge gaps at that time, as well. What is different in 2014 – is that the second enrollment period will only run from November, 2014 to February, 2015. Not for 6 months like it did back in 2013.
Mollie Brodie, who is in charge of the Kasier poll, is quoted by CNBC as saying, “I think a lot of work needs to be done. We’re at the very early stages of the second enrollment period, and right now one of the main target audiences is not primed or focused on it.”
According to a recent online post in the Daily Caller (Oct. 21) taxpayer funded ACA subsidies in the federally-overseen exchanges (or marketplaces) still face potentially daunting legal obstacles. Such subsidies – according to the Daily Caller – are responsible for 5 million out of 7.3 million Obamacare sign-ups.
The Daily Caller also cites a study recently out by RAND Health, which concludes that if taxpayer subsidies are done away with, the Obamacare Exchanges would succumb, going into a “death spiral.”
Also, according to the Daily Caller report, the RAND study additionally found that without the ACA subsidies, the cost of premiums will rise by 43 percent; Obamacare enrollment could decline by as much as 68 percent. Translation: 11.3 million Americans, additionally, would be uninsured.