Posts Tagged ‘Cost’
August 29th, 2016 at 2:06 pm
Stiffed: Middle Class Carrying Increasing Share of U.S. Healthcare Burden
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Barack Obama’s solemn assurances regarding ObamaCare, including “If you like your  doctor, you can keep your doctor,” have been exposed as fraudulent.  That’s a main reason why his main “legacy” has remained terribly unpopular since its inception.

Now, another alarming factor has been added to the miserable litany:  Middle-class Americans have had the cost of it all increasingly heaped upon them.  Since 2000, U.S. healthcare spending has jumped from 13.3% of our economy to 18.2% this year.  The news gets worse for the middle class:

The government has taken on a larger share in recent years as more people age into Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act [ObamaCare] expanded Medicaid and provided subsidies for low-income people buying insurance on state exchanges.  Middle-class households are finding more of their health-care costs are coming out of their own pockets.  David Cutler, a Harvard health-care economist, said this may be ‘a story of three Americas.’  One group, the rich, can afford health care easily.  The poor can access public assistance.  But for lower middle- to middle-income Americans, ‘the income struggles and the health-care struggles together are a really potent issue,’ he said.”  (emphasis added)

Overall, middle-income Americans’ healthcare spending is 25% higher than what it was in 2007.  That means far less income to spend on other discretionary items, whether eating out, vacationing, clothing, automobiles, etc., and provides another clue as to what has made Obama’s tenure the worst stretch of economic growth in recorded U.S. history.

Heckuva job, Barack.

November 20th, 2015 at 9:55 am
In Other News, ObamaCare Is Now a Slow-Motion Disaster
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As ObamaCare enters the real world and departs Barack Obama’s “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” fantasy world, it is already proving a slow-motion disaster for Americans.  This week, The Wall Street Journal featured a front-page article entitled “Rising Rates Pose Challenge for Health Law,” and the news is grim:

Insurers have raised premiums steeply for the most popular plans at the same time they have boosted out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, copays and coinsurance in many of their offerings.  The companies attribute the moves in part to the high cost of some customers they are gaining under the law, which doesn’t allow them to bar clients with existing health conditions.  The result is that many people can’t avoid paying more for insurance in 2016 simply by shopping around – and those who try risk landing in a plan with fewer doctors and skimpier coverage.”

The report proceeds to describe the magnitude with greater specificity, and it is astonishing:

Premiums for individual plans offered by the dominant local insurers are rising almost everywhere for 2016, typically by double-digit percentage increases, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of plan data in 34 states where the site sells insurance.  More than half of the midrange ‘silver’ plans are boosting the out-of-pocket costs enrollees must pay, while more than 80% of the less-expensive ‘bronze’ plans are doing so.”

Meanwhile, a new Gallup survey released this week shows that the percentage of Americans rating their healthcare quality as excellent or good has plummeted from 62% in 2010 when ObamaCare was enacted to 53% now.  The survey also reveals that the percentage who are satisfied with healthcare costs has actually declined from 26% in 2009 to 21% today.

As experience with ObamaCare increases with implementation, the situation promises to get worse by the day.  Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed, now we’re staring at the reality of what was in it.

September 25th, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Self-Employed Health Insurance Rates Soaring as ObamaCare Nears

With ObamaCare’s insurance exchanges going online next week, there is suddenly an avalanche of information confirming that the law is bending the cost curve significantly upward for people already buying health insurance on the individual market.

The most famous example so far is conservative pundit Michelle Malkin’s notice that her high-end PPO policy is being eliminated by her insurance provider in order “to meet the requirements of the new laws,” i.e. ObamaCare.

Jim Angle of Fox News describes how a Kentucky family’s monthly premium is set to spike from $333 to $965. Humana, the family’s insurance provider, explains that “Increases aren’t based on your individual claims or changes in health status. Many other factors go in to your premium including: [ObamaCare] compliance, including the addition of new essential health benefits.”

Those “new essential health benefits” are a big part of what will make many plans bought by individuals and families unaffordable under ObamaCare.

As I write in this week’s column, the disruptive impact of ObamaCare on the self-employed is just one element of many that, taken together, articulates ObamaCare’s biggest lie.

Defund, repeal or replace – whichever it is, this law cannot be allowed to stand.

August 6th, 2013 at 7:25 pm
Ready for Your ObamaCare ID?

With just eight weeks to go until ObamaCare’s October 1 enrollment, the Health and Human Services department is scrambling to meet the deadline.

Its first order of business: A log-in portal where users can create a personal account.

In a few clicks you can get a sense of the kind of information you’ll be sharing via your account: family size, personal income, health history, age, gender and employment status.

Yes, some level of government likely has access to most if not all of this information, but it is ObamaCare’s user account that will, for the first time, house all of it in one place.

It will then be the Federal Data Hub’s job to share this information with the applicable state-based insurance exchange, and check your entries against another federal database to ensure accuracy.

As I’ve written before, the two federal databases will attract attention from hackers and identity thieves.

The ObamaCare user account creates a third inviting target.

Enjoy your privacy, while it lasts.

January 25th, 2013 at 7:49 pm
“Affordable” ObamaCare Lowers Standard of Living

The Wall Street Journal shows us that the price of “affordable” health care is a reduced standard of living:

The Affordable Care Act requires large employers to offer a minimum level of health insurance to employees who work 30 hours a week or more starting in 2014, or face a penalty. The mandate is a particular challenge for colleges and universities, which increasingly rely on adjuncts to help keep costs down as states have scaled back funding for higher education.

A handful of schools, including Community College of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania and Youngstown State University in Ohio, have curbed the number of classes that adjuncts can teach in the current spring semester to limit the schools’ exposure to the health-insurance requirement.

The scaled back hours and pay for adjunct professors is part of a larger trend in a wide variety of industries.  Faced with lower thresholds that require new benefits, employers from universities to fast food restaurants face three options: pay-up, pay-out, or tap-out.  In other words, they can increase their health care spending, be fined for not increasing such spending, or cap the hours and pay of otherwise eligible workers to avoid the spending and the fines.

Unfortunately for workers, capping hours and pay reduces their standard of living.  But don’t worry.  In 2014, Obamacare mandates that every state will have a fully functioning health insurance exchange where newly impoverished workers can get “affordable” health care – some even with government (i.e. taxpayer) subsidies – so it’s a safe bet that all will be well when the feds are in charge of at least 25 separate state programs.  Right…

December 5th, 2012 at 3:15 pm
Text of Marco Rubio’s Speech to Jack Kemp Foundation

Human Events kindly provides the full text of Senator Marco Rubio’s speech at last night Jack Kemp Foundation ceremony bestowing on him its annual Leadership Award.

While the entire speech is a must-read, a passage on a specific health care reform struck this conservative as especially attractive:

In addition to promoting Flexible Savings Accounts, we should create a health insurance system that focuses on empowering people, not bureaucracy. People should be able to buy a health care plan that fits their needs and budget, from any company in America that is willing to sell it to them. And they should be able to buy it with tax free money, just like their employers buy it for many of them now.

That is, until Obamacare fully kicks in.  Since Obamacare’s regulations on employers only apply to full-time workers, there is a regulatory incentive to minimize the amount of full-time workers one employs.  In order to avoid either the stiff compliance costs or the steep penalties for failing to comply, employers are likely to increase the trend of laying-off workers, scaling back hours, or using contract workers in order to avoid the profit-killing expense of paying for all of Obamacare’s new required benefits.

Because of the entirely predictable response to Obamacare’s mandates, millions of American workers are likely to be caught in an employment trap where they work just enough at two or more jobs not to qualify as full-time employees with benefits.  If Republicans are unable to repeal Obamacare, then fixing the tax code to allow independent workers to buy affordable health plans with pre-tax dollars is one of the next best moves.  Marco Rubio seems poised to lead that charge.

June 11th, 2012 at 1:07 pm
College Costs: Cause/Effect Relationship Dawns On Government, Academia
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Under the headline “New Course in College Costs,” today’s Wall Street Journal meditates on something that should be obvious:  “As Student Debt Grows, Possible Link Seen Between Federal Aid and Rising Tuition.”

A “Possible Link?”

Apparently, it’s news to academia that federal subsidies lead to higher prices:

Rising student debt levels and fresh academic research have brought greater scrutiny to the question of whether the federal government’s expanding student-aid programs are driving up college tuition.”

But don’t try telling that to the Obama Administration, famously callous toward anything that includes the concept of “profit” or “private”:

A spokesman for Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the administration believes there is a link between federal aid and tuition increases at for-profit schools, but that it sees no such tie with public and nonprofit schools. “

The real-world data contained in the report, however, contravenes the Obama Administration’s party line:

Tuition and fees at four-year public schools have risen 150% since 1990, to an average of $8,244 per student this past academic year, according to the College Board, an advocacy group made up of universities.  Over the same period, federal grants and tax benefits rose 242%, to an average of $4,292 per student, said educations consultants Kathy Payea and Sandy Baum, who conduct the College Board’s annual research on college prices.  Federal loans per student tripled.”

Unsurprisingly, George Will cogently captures the phenomenon in his latest column entitled “Subprime College Educations”:

This bubble exists for the same reasons the housing bubble did.  The government decided that too few people owned homes/went to college, so government money was poured into subsidized and sometimes subprime mortgages/student loans, with the predictable result that housing prices/college tuitions soared and many borrowers went bust.  Tuitions and fees have risen more than 440 percent in 30 years as schools happily raised prices – and lowered standards – to siphon up federal money.”

It’s just unfortunate that George Will remains too scarce on the syllabi of government and academia.

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September 28th, 2011 at 5:13 pm
Then: Obama Said ObamaCare Would Reduce Premiums; Now: Premiums Jumped 9% for 2011
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So how many times must Barack Obama be wrong – flatly, indisputably, wholly, precisely wrong – before he withdraws from American political life out of pure shame?

Today provided another example.  In selling ObamaCare, his cornerstone “achievement,” to the American people, Obama promised on March 8, 2010 that his bill “reduces most people’s premiums.”  So what is actually happened in just the first year since he made that assurance?  The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust report that health insurance premiums rose 9% this year.  Employers’ average yearly premium for families climbed from $13,770 last year to $15,073 this year, and from $5,049 to $5,429 for individuals.

Perhaps this explains why Obama’s Justice Department curiously didn’t seek to delay United States Supreme Court review of ObamaCare this week – maybe even Obama suddenly wants it overturned as quickly as possible.