Obamacare: the failed health care panacea


by Betty Arenson

Source: Signal SCV

President Obama spoke Jan. 8, rejecting an Obamacare repeal bill, saying the Affordable Care Act provided “fairer and stronger consumer protections” “that have made health care affordable, more attainable and more patient-centered. And it is working.’”

That’s certainly arguable.

Obamacare was crafted absent any Republican input with Obama signing the bill March 10, 2010. Obama pledged to provide “affordable” health care for all Americans, including the oft-repeated 47 million uninsured Americans.

He and Democrats promised Americans we’d keep our doctors, hospitals and plans.

That was all propaganda, and worse, the deception was designed and intentional.

Jonathan Gruber PhD., MIT economist and architect of Obamacare, admitted in testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Dec. 9, 2014, that he knew people would lose their existing coverage they had already responsibly acquired, based on “calculation” and a “model.”

Moreover, he stated and re-stated that he told administration officials that fact. Gruber was callously pompous noting that he “believed that the law would not affect the vast majority of Americans.”

Ultimately, 6 million people experienced elimination of their policies.

It’s straightforward to opine that only a handful of people who actually pay full fare (no subsidies) for their coverage have benefited from Obamacare.

Young people are not signing up because they reject the costs, leaving soaring premiums for others.

The young are weighing the cost of the penalties for being uninsured against the odds of needing care.

Enrollment is dismal.

The Congressional Budget Office projected 21 million sign-ups for 2016. History has shown the number at 9.1 million (http://healthblog.ncpa.org/research-explains-why-the-obamacare-marketplace-is-slowly-failing/#sthash.tccXYoD5.dpuf).

By mid October 2015, numerous co-ops (public plan options) had failed in four states. Additionally the National Center for Policy Analysis published that co-ops (meant to replace private insurance companies) in those states would be either cutting services or stop writing polices altogether.

NCPA said: “The co-op program was plagued by numerous flaws from the start:

  • They had no customers and no historical actuarial data to assist in setting realistic plan premiums.
  • The pool of potential enrollees was sicker than average.
  • Co-ops had virtually no access to the capital markets to shore up losses.
  • Moreover, the eight co-ops that have failed so far in 2015 owe taxpayers nearly $1 billion in loans that will never be repaid.
  • Some co-ops appear to be purposely underpricing (sic) premiums to gain market share. Thus, from the very beginning, many co-op executives have expected taxpayers to bail out their losses.

UnitedHealth Group, a once-huge supporter of Obamacare, expects to lose $500 million in 2016 and may leave the market in 2017. Insurers were lured into the Risk Corridors Program wherein dollars would be shared with the underperforming companies.

It failed. The administering body (CMS) can only provide 13 cents on the dollar requested. (NCPA 11/20/15).”

Medicaid and Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid), coverage for the poor, have expanded dramatically. That’s predictable — Medicaid is free to enrollees.

It applies to nearly 25 percent of Americans at a cost to taxpayers of $500 billion annually.

Medi-Cal covers one-third of Californians (note there is no distinction in legal residents).

To increase costs further, California, now provides Obamacare-driven health coverage to illegal aliens (SB4); another broken promise.

Obama personally promised a family $2,500 savings per year.

The Health Care Cost Institute found:

  • by 2010 consumers spent 12 percent of each dollar on health care;
  • in 2012 out-of-pocket was 14.8 percent;
  • by 2013 it was 15.2 percent.

CPA (May 8, 2015; source Merrill Mathews) sums up that data with:

  • under Obamacare deductibles have never been so high;
  • “high deductible advocates” suggest a $3,000 (individual) deductible but Obamacare’s number is $5000-$6000.
  • $12,000 family deductibles provide “very little health insurance for most middle-class families.”

Nationally 84 percent of Obamacare enrollees receive subsidies; in California its 90 percent.

Everyone is subject to Obamacare? No.

Congress, their staffers and Obama himself are not burdened with the exact strictures as are the peons.

Obama friends, like numerous unions, have been granted various waivers, such as freedom from the penalty of the “Cadillac Tax” that Obamacare imposes on upper-crust plans.

Every granted waiver withholds money that is needed to fund Obamacare.

Expanding Medicaid and related programs and provisioning for pre-existing conditions could have been accomplished without disrupting the nation’s health care.

It’s prudent to conclude that the professed intent of Obamacare was not helping the uninsured or making coverage affordable. Twelve percent of the population (39,600,000) remain uninsured from the original 47 million.

The L.A. Times reported Obama counts 2010 Obamacare the “best moment of his presidency,” “knowing we’d helped millions.”

What a sad low bar.