Healthcare Reform

 

We need more choices & more competition in healthcare

The experience of individual families and citizens after the Affordable Care Act was implemented has not been good. Instead of the promised $2,500 “savings for the average family”, premiums are up; deductibles are up; co-pays are up. While a few citizens are paying less out of their pocket, it’s simply due to taxpayer subsidies — their fellow citizens are paying part of their premiums.

 Let’s set the stage for a more in depth discussion. H/T to Prager U for this excellent explanation by a former Congressman.

2017’s “brutal” premium increases

As the 2017 “Open Enrollment” begins, a nationwide outcry erupts as the “average” increase in Obamacare health insurance premiums is a 25 percent increase. Clearly this is “unaffordable” and a far cry from what citizens were promised.

Additionally, Investor’s Business Daily published this chart showing the hardest hit cities around the nation. Note that these costs are AFTER SUBSIDIES from the government.

obamacare_hardest-hit-cities-in-2017

The accompanying chart lists the after-subsidy cost of the cheapest bronze plan for a 30-year-old earning 257% of the poverty level, or about $30,500. Topping the chart, young adults earning $30,500 in Chicago would have to pay $2,435 for the cheapest exchange plan — more than triple the mandate penalty — which is offered by Cigna (CI) and carries a $6,650 deductible.

Costly Care — increasing premiums and deductibles

This news report is aired as the 2016 “Open Enrollment” period comes to a close.

In 2016, the cost of healthcare for ordinary Americans is dramatically rising. According to independent research, millions of people are watching their premiums skyrocket to new highs this year. There’s also a reverse impact for some who used to have policies, but can no longer afford them under Obamacare. For them, it’s a case of insurance lost.”

Here’s how the numbers stack up. The vast majority of the newly insured, ten million–are people now allowed to get insurance from Medicaid: taxpayer-funded insurance for the poor. The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid to people making more money than before.

The Results Thus Far

Health insurers continue dropping out of Obamacare — leaving Americans with fewer choices.

“UnitedHealth expects to lose $850 million on Obamacare in 2016, while Aetna, Anthem, and Humana are all on track to lose at least $300 million each on their ACA plans this year, according to company reports and estimates from Bloomberg Intelligence. UnitedHealth says it’s quitting 31 of the 34 states where it sells ACA policies. Humana is exiting 8 of 19 states and reducing its presence to just 156 counties, from 1,351 a year ago. Anthem hasn’t announced plans to change its participation in the program.

 

 

This report in Feb. 2016.

Obamacare has been successful by one metric: the number of uninsured Americans plummeted by 8.8 million in the first year and a half after the rollout, according to U.S. Census data. This still left 10.4% of the population, or 33 million, without insurance, but that is down from 13.3% at the end of 2013.

After 2013, both PolitiFact and the Washington Post Fact Checker declared the administration’s claim “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” as the Lie of the Year. It turns out the “grandfathering” strategy had all sorts of rules and restrictions and many older plans lost their grandfather status. Healthcare.gov made its debut on Oct. 1, 2013; HHS began sending out cancellation letters to insurance customers the very same day.

Rather than saving $2,500 per family in health insurance costs, the real cost of insurance skyrocketed after 2010. A 2015 Kaiser study found that, for employer-sponsored plans, premiums rose nearly $5,000 since the passage of Obamacare. The same study showed that average deductibles nearly tripled since 2005 to $1,077. Even family plans rose a modest 3% per year since 2010.

The large spike in premiums is probably the least surprising effect of Obamacare. It is simple economics; millions of new people are looking for more medical care than they did before, but there is nothing in the law that magically creates extra hospitals, doctors, medical equipment or insurance companies. The supply of insurance and medical care stayed the same, or shrank in many instances, but the demand shot up considerably; prices had to rise.

And then THREE horrible bits of news in one week, (April 22, 2016), as reported by Investors Business Daily.

Meanwhile, IBD’s Jed Graham reported on Friday that ObamaCare enrollment has already dropped an average of more than 14% in five states since February — a faster rate of decline than last year — as people get kicked off for not paying premiums.

Finally, we learned on Tuesday that UnitedHealth Group (UNH) is planning to drop out of almost every ObamaCare market it currently serves after losing $1 billion on those policies.

The result will be less competition in those states. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that “more than one in four counties where UnitedHealth participates nationally would see a drop from two insurers to one if the company exits and isn’t replaced by a new entrant.”

and

Marilyn Tavenner, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, revealed that she expects ObamaCare premium hikes “to be higher than we saw previous years,” including last year, which saw double-digit rate increases across the country.

25% Dumped Their ObamaCare Plans Last Year, White House Admits

From this March 15, 2015 Investor’s Business Daily report:

President Obama described ObamaCare as a great product. So why did one in four of those who signed up in 2015 cancel their plans?

An official report released last Friday said that enrollment in the ObamaCare exchanges fell to 8.8 million by the end of the year, from 11.7 million who’d initially signed up. That’s a 25% decline.

About 1.5 million who signed up never paid their first premium, so the number of actual enrollees dropped to 10.2 million by the end of March 2015. Then another 1.1 million canceled their coverage in the last six months of the year, according to an analysis by the Mercatus Center‘s Brian Blase. Half a million got booted off because they couldn’t verify citizenship or immigration status.

There’s been no solid research to why so many canceled their ObamaCare plans before the year was out, but it’s not hard to make educated guesses.

For many, ObamaCare just isn’t worth it, even for many of the 84% who get insurance subsidies. The plans typically feature sky-high deductibles. As the New York Times reported, even if the coverage is cheap, that’s leaving “some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.” Why bother paying even heavily subsidized premiums?

There’s also a built-in incentive to cancel plans before year is out because of ObamaCare’s 90-day grace period, which lets people getting subsidies keep coverage for three months if they stop paying premiums. Plus, the mandate tax penalty only kicks in for those who’ve been without insurance for three months or more. ObamaCare guarantees they can get their coverage back the next year — without making good on their unpaid premiums.

Then there are those who’ve learned to game the system — buying insurance midyear when they have big health care expenses, and then dropping it once the bills are paid. (The administration is trying to crack down on this.)

Presumably some drop ObamaCare plans because they get better coverage somewhere else. Still, since the healthier are more likely to drop out, the ObamaCare risk pool gets sicker, which will add upward pressure on premiums.

State demands Oregon insurers raise health rates even more

That is the headline in a Portland Business Journal story.

“Insurance regulators believe health insurance rates need to rise next year even more than Oregon carriers requested, after companies lost $127 million in 2014.”

Is there anything more you need to know about government run health insurance?

There has to be a better way!

Obamacare Plans Put Big Dent in Customers Wallets

A new study reveals that many Obamacare customers pay more than 10 percent of their incomes toward coverage. And the share of income eaten up can be much greater for some people, particularly if they use a lot of health services under their plan.

One in 10 Obamacare customers who earn between just two and five times the federal poverty level will have coverage costs that exceed 21 percent of their incomes, an analysis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute found.

And the median Obamacare customer who earns in that range spends more than 10 percent of their income on monthly premiums and out-of-pocket health expenses, the analysis found.

The entire Dec 2015 story can be read here.

What’s really happening with Obamacare, or “free healthcare”?

D’Souza uses an analogy that compares Obamacare and free healthcare to getting free food. Take a listen. 

Health insurers will lose $2.5B

Patients covered by new law were sicker than expected in’14

Health insurers will lose about $2.5 billion because patients covered through President Barack Obama’s health law last year were sicker than expected, according to government figures released late Thursday.

The Department of Health and Human Services released updated numbers for a program that helps stabilize premiums in the health care law’s insurance markets, which offer taxpayer-subsidized private plans. Under that program, insurers whose medical claims costs were lower than expected pay in money to help insurers whose costs were higher.

They said those are expected to be isolated cases.

“It shows that insurers set premiums too low in the first year for the health care costs associated with who enrolled,” said Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. “I would expect insurer finances to improve as they’ve adjusted premiums and enrollment has grown, bringing in more healthy people.”

No where are American’s seeing premium price reductions, as this Oct. 2015 news report and so many other stories indicate.

Overall — costs are up each and every year since the implementation of the ACA. Here’s a national report showing a 49% increase in 2014 premiums.

Premiums up 49 percent in 3137 County study

And in Washington state, it’s even worse — a 64% jump in the cost of the cheapest Obamacare plan in Seattle for 2015. That’s the steepest increase in the nation according to the article.

Obamacare costs up 64 percent in Seattle -- IBD

Here’s what happened in Clark County as a result of Obamacare. Clearly, there’s nothing “affordable” about the ACA in the lives of our citizens.

Obamacare premium increase in Clark County for men

What’s coming in 2016? Sadly, more of the same.

From an Investor’s Business Daily report:

“The deductible for Seattle’s second-cheapest plan will soar 175%, from $2,000 this year to $5,500 in 2016. Meanwhile, the out-of-pocket maximum will jump 30%, from $5,000 to $6,500… As for Seattle’s cheapest silver plan — also from Ambetter — it will have a $6,500 deductible.”

The Washington Policy Center announced in early June 2015, that the state’s insurance commissioner reported requested price increases ranged from a low of 10% to a high of 49.6%.

“Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the premium requests for health insurance companies for 2016. The information applies to plans compatable with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, and those sold through the state and federal health insurance exchanges. CMS organized the requests on a state by state basis. Only requests of a 10 percent or more increase were required to be submitted.

There are five carriers and 26 plans listed for Washington state. The average increase is 15.2 percent, with a range of 10.4 percent to 49.6 percent.

These rate increases reflect the fact that carriers now have a better understanding of the costs of the mandates in the ACA. Prior to 2014, companies had no real information on the impact of the pre-existing condition and community rating regulations in the ACA. Carriers now have a better idea of where to set premium prices to compensate for these mandates.

Obviously, with double digit increases in the cost of health insurance, the ACA is not holding down the cost of health care for many people in Washington state.

In Oregon – the state’s insurance commissioner forces price increases!

More than 220,000 Oregonians who buy their own health insurance are poised to pay higher premiums next year — some of them a lot higher.

State regulators on Thursday announced rates for people who aren’t covered by their employers or government programs. And the news is not goodreports the Oregonian.

Oregon forces rates higher for 2016

ObamaCare Enrollment Tumbles As Huge Price Hikes Loom

From Investor’s Business Daily, Sep 2015:

ObamaCare enrollment has fallen sharply since March, and that’s before consumers confront huge rate hikes for 2016. These are not the signs of a successful program.

In its latest enrollment report, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says 9.9 million were still enrolled in ObamaCare exchange plans.

That’s almost 2 million fewer than the administration claimed in the spring, when it bragged that 11.7 million had signed up, and way below the Congressional Budget Office’s earlier forecast of 13 million.

And if this year is anything like last year, that 9.9 million will dwindle further as the year goes on.

and

Earlier this year, insurers started putting in rate requests for 2016, and in many cases they were gut-wrenchingly high — with some above 50%. Obama told the public not to worry, that state insurance regulators would knock them down to size.

But like every other promise he’s made about his namesake law, this one was phony.

In state after state, insurance commissioners are approving huge rate hikes, based on the fact that the people who’ve signed up for ObamaCare are older and sicker than insurers hoped.

By one estimate, the average rate hike in Oregon — a state that eagerly embraced ObamaCare — is above 24%. Average approved rates are 20% or higher in Alaska, Idaho, Iowa and Kansas.

An analysis by Agile Health Insurance found almost a third of all plans being sold through the federal Healthcare.gov exchange — which covers 36 states — had double-digit rate hikes.

And for our Senior Citizens — it’s also bad news regarding their Medicare premiums. From a Wall St. Journal story:

That is creating uncertainty for many seniors on Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient care such as doctor’s visits. About 30% of the roughly 52 million people enrolled in Part B could see a 52% rise in those premiums if Congress and the Obama administration don’t find a way to freeze or reduce the increase.

Open enrollment for Medicare for 2016 starts Thursday, though Congress could subsequently act to prevent the rise.

Pressure on Congress is mounting because many state budgets also would be hard hit. The premium increase would affect about nine million lower-income Medicare beneficiaries whose premiums are paid by state Medicaid programs because they are eligible for both plans. Many of those state programs are already stretched thin.

13,000 customers overbilled by the Washington Healthplanfinder

13,000 customers overbilled by the Washington Healthplanfinder finally received reimbursements, but the headache isn’t over. Now they are filing claims to get reimbursed for overdraft fees incurred by the banks, and trying to rectify billing problems with other vendors caused by insufficient funds in their accounts.

David and Bonnie Jensen of Gig Harbor say they live a modest middle class life. The Affordable Care Act enabled them to have insurance for the first time in a decade.

“We are absolutely elated, absolutely elated. Particularly because both of us have pre-existing conditions that may have made it difficult and challenging for us to access healthcare.

The Washington Healthplanfinder debited $260 from their checking account monthly for their insurance. That was until last week, when an automated email notified them the debit would be more than $1,400.

“I was absolutely shocked when I opened it and it was five times what we are normally debited,” said Bonnie Jensen. “And it scared me because it was going to overdraft our account.”

See a King5 news report on this here.

Consumer spending and family savings hit by Obamacare cost increases.

A Nov. 2015 report.

Recent surveys reveal the hardship being inflicted upon families across the nation. As The Burning Platform’s Jim Quinn details, those who are willfully baffled by the lack of consumer spending need look no further than Obamacare and its impact on the budgets of hard working Americans.

According to a survey by LIMRA, an insurance and financial services trade association, six in 10 workers agreed that the rising cost of health insurance directly affects how much they set aside in their workplace retirement savings plan. Employees are being forced to cut back on their retirement savings in order to meet the skyrocketing cost of their health insurance. Based on the numbers being bandied about by the Kaiser Family Foundation, it seems average families will soon have to decide between food and healthcare. Remember Obama’s quotes in 2008- 2009 when he was selling this bloated pig of a plan to you?

“We will start by reducing premiums by as much as $2,500 per family.”

“If you like the plan you have, you can keep it. If you like the doctor you have, you can keep your doctor, too. The only change you’ll see are falling costs as our reforms take hold.”

Millions of people have been kicked out of their existing health plans and have seen their premiums and deductibles go up by double digits. Small business owners are being forced out of business. And now the fines, mandates, and taxes really begin to kick in. At least median household real wages are lower than they were in 1989. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation:

Single and family average premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 4% this year over last. The average annual premium for single coverage is $6,251, of which workers pay an average of $1,071; the average family premium is $17,545, of which workers pay an average of $4,955. Deductibles have risen more sharply than premiums. That’s the amount that consumers must pay out of pocket before insurance pays for anything, except for certain preventive services that are covered at 100%. The average deductible for workers with employer-sponsored health insurance who face a deductible is $1,318 for single coverage this year, up 44% from $917 in 2010. By contrast, over that same period, single premiums are up 24% and wages have risen 10%, just outpacing general inflation at 9%.

Alaska, Oregon suspend activity by health insurance company

In 2015, Moda exited the Washington State health insurance market, leaving citizens with fewer options. Before the end of the 2016 “Open Enrollment” period, Moda was forced by both Oregon and Alaska to leave their health insurance markets.

Alaska insurance regulators on Thursday suspended Moda Health Plan from accepting new or renewal policies in the state, citing concerns with the Oregon-based company’s financial situation.

The Alaska Division of Insurance acted after officials in Oregon placed the company under supervision because of its financial condition.

 

Moda is one of two companies offering individual insurance policies for Alaskans on the federally facilitated health insurance marketplace. The other is Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield. The division of insurance last year approved average rate increases of nearly 40 percent for both companies.

The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services said its supervision order calls for the company to obtain sufficient capital and to present a business plan that demonstrates Moda can operate in sound financial manner into the future. The business plan is due by Friday.

The department said its actions were prompted by Moda’s “excessive operating losses and inadequate capital and surplus.”

About 244,000 Oregon residents were enrolled in Moda plans in the individual, small group and large group markets as of Sept. 30, according to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

 

Medicaid expansion will add to Washington state’s budget woes

The 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was in reality, a huge expansion of Medicaid. This 1964 program was designed as a health care safety net for the poor, where the states split the costs 50/50 with the federal government.

A recent Seattle Times article reported that 90 percent of individuals signing up for health insurance via the Washington state “exchange”, have in fact signed up for Medicaid. Less than 10 percent were buying private health insurance. This confirms earlier reports from Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers that 85 percent were signing up for Medicaid.

The direct result is that health care provers have a huge, unsustainable financial burden. The government reimbursement rates are less than the cost of providing care.

 

WSJ: Medicaid Expansion Is Proving to Be a Bad Bargain for States

The Nov 2015 report: New ObamaCare enrollees and costs have exceeded estimates and threaten to swamp budgets.

Recall that the Affordable Care Act was designed to essentially bribe states to expand their Medicaid programs: The feds offered to pay 100% of additional costs through 2016, dropping to 90% by 2020. This “free money” prompted 30 states and the District of Columbia to take the deal.

Consider the experience of the states that did expand Medicaid. “At least 14 states have seen new enrollments exceed their original projections, causing at least seven to increase their cost estimates for 2017,” the Associated Press reported in July.

The AP says that California expected 800,000 new enrollees after the state’s 2013 Medicaid expansion, but wound up with 2.3 million. Enrollment outstripped estimates in New Mexico by 44%, Oregon by 73%, and Washington state by more than 100%.

This has blown holes in state budgets. Illinois once projected that its Medicaid expansion would cost the state $573 million for 2017 through 2020. Yet 200,000 more people have enrolled than were expected, and the state has increased its estimated cost for covering each. The new price tag? About $2 billion, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Obama Holding Medicaid Funding Hostage

as the headline says:

Obama Administration Tries To Blackmail States Into Expanding Medicaid

Last month, Obama officials sent a letter to Florida’s Medicaid agency, warning that it may not reauthorize $2.2 billion in unrelated Medicaid funding unless the state agrees to expand Obamacare. These actions make the administration’s priorities crystal clear: expanding welfare for able-bodied adults is more important than funding for hospitals treating poor children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.

A local impact — The Vancouver Clinic.

In May 2014, the Vancouver Clinic announced it would no longer accept new Medicaid patients. They are the largest provider of heath care to Clark County citizens on Medicaid. “We’ve had an open door to Medicaid,” said Duane Lucas-Roberts, chief executive officer of The Vancouver Clinic. “That’s one reason our volume is so high. The problem is, that’s not sustainable. There won’t be a Vancouver Clinic.”

Read that again: “there won’t be a Vancouver Clinic”.

The government doesn’t pay enough. The clinic’s reimbursement rate for Medicaid clients has been cut in half over the last three years, with the current reimbursement for an office visit covering about 40 percent of the cost of providing the services, reported Dr. Shannon Crowell, chairman of the clinic’s Board of Directors.

“Declining reimbursement rates — they fell 50 percent over three years — and the increasing number of Medicaid clients threatened the clinic’s financial stability, clinic officials said.” according to a Columbian news story.

The Vancouver Clinic has experienced a significant rise in Medicaid patients, with 36.000 patients accounting for 25 percent of their business. In order to be sustainable, they’ll have to cut that back to 10 percent over the next three years. Sixty percent or 21,600 Clark County residents will lose their health care provider; just the opposite of what the Affordable Care Act promised.

ACA failing the people Sept 2014 Columbian letter by JPL

An April 2015 story in the Columbian reports: “32,000 Clark County residents have joined Medicaid rolls under health care law”. The headline says it all: Provider access a primary concern. The story reports: “Prior to the Medicaid expansion in January 2014, Clark County had about 80,000 residents enrolled in Medicaid programs. As of March, that number had grown to more than 115,000 enrollees.” That’s about 25% of Clark County residents!

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A new report indicates HALF of doctors on a government list as Medicaid providers are not available to treat new patients on Medicaid. Here’s the story:

A new study by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services found half of all providers listed in Medicaid managed care plan are not available to new Medicaid patients, either because they are not at the listed location or they are but aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients.

And similar to the Vancouver Clinic report, the “why” is due to low government reimbursement rates that doesn’t cover the cost of the care being provided.

Devon Herrick, a senior fellow and health care researcher for the National Center for Policy Analysis, says the fees state Medicaid programs pay are often only about half of what private insurers pay for the same service. As a result, doctors are reluctant to participate in Medicaid managed care plans.

Physicians cannot pay their office overhead and expenses with this poor reimbursement,” said Dr. Roger Stark, a health care policy analyst at the Washington Policy Center and a retired physician.

and then the Wall Street Journal reports:

“Those more dependent on public insurance, mostly the poor and middle class, will have limited access to medical care. About one-third of primary care physicians and one-fourth of specialists have already limited the access that Medicare patients have to their practices, or are planning to, according to a 2012 survey by Merritt Hawkins for the Physicians Foundation. More doctors than ever already refuse Medicaid and Medicare due to inadequate payments for care, and that trend will only accelerate as government lowers reimbursements.”

                                                                                                                                 — WSJ

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In Ohio, their Medicaid expansion is going broke. Former US Senator Jim DeMint wrote the following in March 2015:

Today, fewer and fewer doctors will even accept new Medicaid patients because of low reimbursement. Medicaid patients in the future may not even be able to find a doctor. In Ohio, only around 40 percent of doctors have been taking new Medicaid patients, a number that is likely to fall in light of the “bump out” Medicaid payment ending. This has led to doctors lobbying the state government to cover the payment itself—over half a billion dollar hit to the state budget.

As baby boomers expand Medicare rolls and Obamacare pushes more Americans into Medicaid, cost shifting and fewer enrollees will make private plans even more expensive—a vicious cycle that could someday destroy the private health insurance industry.

And, as state governments make more of their citizens dependent on government health care, they also make themselves more dependent on the federal government.

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A casualty of Obamacare, Assurant to leave health insurance business

A major national player in the Affordable Care Act bails out — losing too much money.

Assurant reported $2 billion in revenue last year, and has sold health insurance to individuals in 41 states and on 16 marketplaces set up under the ACA. It sold health plans to small employers in 34 states.

However, the ACA proved the downfall of one of Assurant Health’s strengths — determining which customers are the best risk. Because the ACA forbids insurers from using pre-existing conditions in underwriting, Assurant suffered losses.

The company expects Assurant Health to report a net operating loss for the first quarter of 2015 in the range of $80 million to $90 million. Approximately half of the loss is attributable to a reduction in 2014 estimated recoveries from ACA risk mitigation programs. The remainder reflects elevated claims on 2015 ACA policies.

Assurant Health will not participate in the next ACA open enrollment period beginning in November.

A May 2015 news report — “States wasting millions by keeping ineligible recipients on ObamaCare’s Medicaid rolls, critics say.”

Even the GAO weighs in.

“Medicaid is a high-risk program,” said Carolyn Yocom, director of the health care team at the Government Accountability Office (GAO). “High risk for waste, fraud, and abuse by virtue of its improper payment system.” 

Improper payments last year alone totaled about $17.5 billion, Yocom said. 

One more reason to fear Medicaid — government leins on your property!

With 80% – 90% of Washington citizens using our Healthplanfinder “exchange” actually signing up for Medicaid, I can guarantee they didn’t know this part of the “law” regarding Medicaid.

“But if you go on Medicaid, you owe the entire amount that Medicaid spends on you from the day you turn 55.”

“So here’s the deal: since 1993 there has been a federal law requiring states to recover at least some of the costs of Medicaid-covered medical care for anyone 55 years old and up,  from the estates of those covered.

States enforce this law, with their own laws and policies added in, differently in every state. But the general principle is there. Up until now the usual consequence has been things like this: Medicaid puts a lien on the house of someone in a nursing facility who has run out of money, and after they die, the heirs find they have to buy the house back from the state if they want it.

We haven’t had lots of people younger than 65 on Medicaid, because in most states simply earning less than the Federal Poverty Level did not qualify one for Medicaid.

And we haven’t had many people with lots of assets on Medicaid, because in most places you have to have less than around $2400 to your name before Medicaid will cover you. You can keep your house and your car, but Medicaid reserves the right to put liens on them and take them when you die.

But now we have the Affordable Care Act, and its expectation that everyone in the lower tier of income will end up in the Medicaid system. To accomplish this, they have dropped  the asset test. So now we will have lots of people ages 55-64, who have assets but not a lot of income right now, for whatever reason, on Medicaid.”

You can read the entire story here.

In 2014, 90% of Washington state citizens using our ACA “exchange” actually signed up for Medicaid. In 2015, the initial numbers are 80% signing up for Medicaid. What will their healthcare be like? Sadly, not good. Watch this report.

Even once you’re on the program, it’s hard to find specialists and dentists who will treat those with Medicaid cards. And as a recent study in Health Affairs showed, once you get enrolled in Medicaid, it’s not necessarily easy to stay enrolled in Medicaid. Think about how upset people get about losing access to a doctor because of “narrow networks,” and then think about what happens when you’re bouncing in and out of a government insurance program.

 

The Washington Policy Center reports:

The moral tragedy is that Medicaid is low-quality health insurance. Proponents say that at least enrollees have coverage, yet it is unfair to force millions of Americans into a poor insurance plan. Many studies, including the high-quality study from Oregon, show Medicaid is no better than not being insured, and in many cases it’s worse.

Washington Taxpayers could pay an additional $462 million/year due to Medicaid expansion

A Washington Policy Center recent analysis revealed the following. Washington state taxpayers will see an added cost of an additional $462 million ($383 million plus $79 million) per year because of the Medicaid expansion.

In 2012, the traditional Medicaid program cost $7.5 billion in Washington state and the federal government paid about 50 percent of this cost. Approximately 1.36 million Washingtonians were enrolled, which results in an average cost of $5,550 per person overall, and $2,775 per person in Washington state funds per year.
According to the Washington State Health Benefit Exchange website, 285,275 people had enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program as of April 23, 2014. That’s $791.6 million for our state at $2,775 per person. We don’t know how many of these people we enrolled on the old program, how many were uninsured, or how many had private insurance and switched to Medicaid.

Bottom line – an added cost of at least $462 million is a burden our state can’t afford, especially when the Supreme Court has held the legislature in contempt for failure to spend another $3 Billion or more on education.

Sadly, in May 2015, the failure of the Washington “exchange” is adding to taxpayer’s woes. They’re not selling enough PRIVATE health insurance policies, which pay a 2% tax to help run the day-to-day operations of the exchange. Healthplanfinder’s poor enrollment performance forces it to become more reliant on the state’s taxpayers. “Exchange officials asked state lawmakers for a whopping $127 million for its 2015-17 budget.”

More than 214,000 doctors will not participate in Obamacare

That’s the headline in an Oct 30th story. Of course this highlights the fallacy of President Obama’s promise: “If you like your doctor, you can keep you doctor”.
According to a survey conducted this year by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), a trade association comprised of multi-physician medical practices, “as many as 214,524 American physicians will not be participating in any ACA exchange products.” Reasons abound as to why, but, “chief among them is the fact that exchange plans are more likely to offer significantly lower reimbursement rates than private market plans, confusion among consumers about the obligations associated with high deductibles, and fear that patients will stop paying premiums and providers will be unable to recover their losses”

 One possible solution.

Why your health insurance plan is getting cancelled

In 2009, President Obama repeatedly told the American people, “If you like the plan your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.” However, implementation of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, quickly led to the debunking of the President’s claim.

But why exactly did millions of Americans receive cancellation notices from their health insurance companies? Robert Graboyes, senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, dug through the Affordable Care Act’s 1,000 pages and came up with a simple way to explain the specific provisions that prompt insurers to cancel plans.

Breaking down the ObamaCare scam: Guaranteed Issue

Dr. Keith Smith of the Oklahoma Surgery Center lays it out in 3 minutes!

 $1.2 billion in loans to ACA health insurance co-ops may be a loss

According to the Washington Post in this March 2016 report:

The failures of a dozen non­profit health insurance plans created by the Affordable Care Act could cost the government up to $1.2 billion, according to a harsh new congressional report that concludes federal officials ignored early warnings about the plans’ fragility and moved in too late as problems arose.

The report, released Thursday by a Senate investigations panel, says that the bulk of those loans are unlikely to be recovered, with some plans unable to pay “a substantial amount of money” they still owe doctors and hospitals for members’ care.

Nearly three-quarters of a million people in 14 states were forced to scramble for new insurance coverage as the plans shut down last year, voluntarily or under regulators’ orders.

“These failed CO-OPs were a costly experiment gone wrong, and real people got hurt — including the more than 700,000 Americans who lost their health plans,” the panel’s chairman, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), said as he opened a hearing Thursday to review the problems.

How do we fix healthcare in America?

Here’s an amazing story of 3 doctors thinking “outside the box” and doing amazing things for their patients. Some “free market” thinking that has NO insurance. Here’s a total paradigm shift that works for everyone, but especially for the patients!

Josh Umbehr, MD of http://Atlas.MD/wichita discusses working directly with his patients, and cutting out the insurance and government bureaucrats, lowers costs for the patients and increases the quality of care they receive.

Here’s another great story of private sector “success” in providing healthcare.

Thanks to John Stossel for this great interview of Dr. Keith Smith about the Surgery Center of Oklahoma and the importance of free market health care. Dr. Keith Smith spoke at the local republican party Lincoln Day Dinner, May 30th.

Here is the ad from the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, Dr. Smith helped to found. We ask for pricing on everything else we purchase; why not healthcare?

Surgery Center of Oklahoma -- know the price

One Hospital Tells You What You Will Have To Pay — Before The Surgery

From a Jan. 2016 Forbes article:

“Don’t take our word for it. You can try this out yourself. Just google Surgery Center of Oklahoma and here is what you will find. For Achilles tendon repair, you will pay $5,730. That’s not an estimate with a huge variance around it. It’s a package price that includes doctor, nurse, anesthesia, room, drugs, supplies – everything.

For rotator cuff repair, the price is $8,260.  For carpal tunnel release, it’s $2,750. All these prices are posted online for everyone to see. For more examples, see the table below.

The center is owned by Dr. Keith Smith, an Oklahoma anesthesiologist who started posting prices about the same time the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was enacted. Since then he has adjusted his prices (downward!) five times.”

You can also watch Dr. Smith’s presentation to Clark County citizens here.  http://www.cvtv.org/vid_link/4453?start=4822&stop=8038

Dr. Ben Carson lays excellent groundwork for a national discussion.

http://tmblr.co/ZK3B-u10OPIi9
Government run health care programs are failing the people they are supposed to serve. We can and must do better.