Tag Archives: Obamacare

California Bill Would Create Health Care Price Controls

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But, but…I thought Obamacare was suppose to reduce the cost of health care?

From Sacramento Bee: California’s government would set prices for hospital stays, doctor visits and other health care services under legislation introduced Monday, vastly remaking the industry in a bid to lower health care costs.

The proposal, which drew swift opposition from the health care industry, comes amid a fierce debate in California as activists on the left push aggressively for a system that would provide government-funded insurance for everyone in the state.

Across the country, rising health care costs have put the industry, lawmaker and employers and consumers at odds.

The proposal in California would affect private health plans, including those offered by employers and purchased by individuals. A nine-member commission appointed by the governor and legislative leaders would set prices for everything from a physical exam to an allergy test to heart bypass surgery. No other state has such a requirement.

“If we do not act now, I’m concerned that health care prices will become unsustainable,” Assemblyman Ash Kalra, a freshman Democrat from San Jose who wrote the legislation, said in a news conference in Sacramento.

The measure faces an uphill battle in the Legislature, where lawmakers are generally cautious about making drastic changes to the health care system and are already juggling a wide range of ambitious proposals.

The proposal is backed by influential unions including the Service Employees International Union, Unite Here and the Teamsters. The unions are frustrated that health care costs are gobbling an increasing share of employee compensation.

“Every dollar that we spend on rising health care prices is a dollar that comes out of a worker’s pocket,” said Sara Flocks, policy coordinator for the California Labor Federation, a union coalition. “This is something that is eating up our wages and it is increasing income inequality. This is a fundamental question of fairness.

Health care providers say price controls would encourage doctors to move out of state or retire, making it harder for people to see a physician when they’re sick, and force hospitals to lay off staff or, in some cases, close their doors.

The California Medical Association, which represents physicians, called the proposal “radical” and warned that it would reduce choices for consumers.

“No state in America has ever attempted such an unproven policy of inflexible, government-managed price caps across every health care service,” Dr. Theodore Mazer, the CMA president, said in a statement.

Under Kalra’s bill, prices would be tied to Medicare’s rate for a particular service or procedure, with that price as a floor. There would be a process for doctors or hospitals to argue that their unique circumstances warrant payments higher than the state’s standard rate.

Paying hospitals 125 percent of Medicare’s rate would cut $18 billion in revenue and force them to trim nurses and other support staff, said Dietmar Grellman, senior vice president of the California Hospital Association. Private insurers make up for the low payments from government-funded health care, which doesn’t cover the full cost of care, he said.

“That’s why their bill is such an empty promise,” Grellman said. “They take money out of the system with rate regulation, but then they don’t address the huge gaping hole that’s created by Medicare and Medicaid.”

In recent decades health care spending has risen faster than inflation and wages while employers and health plans have shifted more of the costs onto consumers through higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays. Americans spend more per capita on health care than other developed countries.

Meanwhile, a wave of consolidation by hospitals, physician groups and insurance companies has given industry players more power to demand higher rates.

Source: Fellowship Of The Minds

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Charlottesville Families Shocked By 2018 Obamacare Moonshot Premium Hikes

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Over the past several months, Democrats have jumped on every opportunity possible to blame the Trump administration for yet another year of staggering Obamacare premium increases.  Ironically, despite arguments from the Left that Trump’s defunding of Obamacare’s marketing budget would cause 2018 signups to plunge, as Politico recently noted, they’re actually up in 2018…which begs the question: was the Obama administration just wasting $100 million a year in taxpayer money for nothing?  Shocking thought, we know.

Meanwhile a fresh barrage of outcries from Democrats, most notably Ms. Nancy Pelosi, came after Trump’s decision to cut federal subsidies, an action which the CBO insisted could result in devastating premium increases of up to 20%.

Of course, if Trump is responsible for 20% of Obamacare’s premium hikes in 2018, then perhaps Nancy Pelosi should explain to the Dixon family in Charlottesville, VA precisely who is responsible for the other portion of the 235% premium hike they just received. 

As the Washington Post points out this morning, the Dixons, a family of 4 in Virginia, were shocked earlier this month to find that their Obamacare premiums were going to surge from roughly $900 per month in 2017 to over $3,000 per month in 2018.

Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.

But when the 38-year-old Charlottesville husband and father of a 3- and a 1-year-old went to re-enroll this month, his only choice for coverage would cost him more than $3,000 a month for his family of four, which amounted to an increase of more than 300 percent over the $900 he paid the year before. And this is for the second-cheapest option, with a deductible of $9,200.

“Helpless is definitely a good word for it,” Dixon said. “Rage is also a good word for it.”

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Of course,Democrats and the MSM also applauded Obamacare’s ‘great success’earlier this year when several counties that were previously feared to be left with no coverage options in 2018, suddenly picked up a carrier.  That said, perhapsBloomberg, Reuters, NBC, etc. should reconsider just how meaningful these Obamacare monopolies are if the premiums charged are so high that no one can afford them anyway…

Earlier this year, Aetna and Anthem pulled out of the Albemarle market, citing too much unpredictability and risk. A smaller carrier, Optima, came in to fill the void. Consumers in the area went from having 19 plans offered in the options from Aetna and Anthem to only five coverage options with Optima.

Several factors led to Optima’s offering such high-priced plans, said Michael Dudley, the president of Optima.

First, small communities like Charlottesville tend to be pricier to cover because there is a small patient pool to balance out risks. So Optima took a cue from the carriers who had already ditched the market when actuaries predicted it was a place where the insurance companies might be paying out more to cover claims than it receives in premiums.

It is also a more expensive coverage area because the primary provider is University of Virginia Health System, an academic medical center that charges higher rates for its care than a community hospital. Optima will include UVA Health System in-network, unlike many carriers who have dropped the big medical centers as a cost-saving measure.

…perhaps local business owner Shawn Cossette can provide the Obamacare cheerleaders within the media some helpful insights…

Among them was Shawn Marie Cossette, 55, who runs her own event and floral design business in Charlottesville. Last year, she purchased an Anthem silver plan for $550 a month for herself. This year, under Optima, a silver plan would cost her $1,859 monthly.

“It’s a huge percentage of my income,” she said. “I really believed in the ACA. I really feel everyone deserves the right to health insurance, but who can afford those prices if you don’t qualify for subsidies?”

* * *

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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“It’s a huge percentage of my income,” she said. “I really believed in the ACA. I really feel everyone deserves the right to health insurance, but who can afford those prices if you don’t qualify for subsidies?”

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Feel them now?

Sources: ZeroHedge & Western Rifle Shooters Association

CBO: Repealing Obamacare’s Individual Mandate Would Save $338 Billion

With Republicans scrambling to find every possible dollar to pay for Trump’s “massive” tax reform package, on Wednesday morning a new analysis by the CBO (congressional budget office) calculated that repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate – an idea that had been floated previously by Trump – would save $338 billion over 10 years. CBO previously estimated repeal would save $416b over 10 years due to reduced use of Obamacare subsidies, demonstrating once again how “fluid” government forecasts are.

The report was released as the Senate prepares to unveil its own version of the Tax reform bill amid growing GOP dissent, and comes as some Republicans are pushing for repealing the mandate within tax reform, as a way to help pay for tax cuts. Still, as The Hill reports, that idea has met resistance from some Republican leaders who do not want to mix up health care and taxes. Previously the CBO had come under fire on Tuesday from Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who slammed the agency after Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told The Hill that he had been informed that the CBO was changing its analysis of the mandate to find significantly less savings.

Just as notable was the CBO’s announcement that it was changing the way it analyzes the mandate, which Republicans suspect would show less government savings and fewer people becoming uninsured as a results.

“The agencies are in the process of revising their methods to estimate the repeal of the individual mandate,” he said. “However, because that work is not complete and significant changes to the individual mandate are now being considered as part of the budget reconciliation process, the agencies are publishing this update without incorporating major changes to their analytical methods.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who has been one of the most vocal advocates of including repeal of the individual mandate in the tax bill, has touted the savings that would come as a result. His team said it is confident that the scoring will include similar numbers to previous reports. “We’re confident the CBO estimate will still show a substantial — north of $300 billion — savings for tax reform,” Caroline Tabler, spokeswoman for Cotton, told the Washington Examiner in an email.

CBO has been criticized for years for its analyses on the effects of the individual mandate. Republicans have charged that the mandate isn’t as effective as CBO concludes and have said they want to see it repealed. Some Obamacare supporters also have said it should be stronger by becoming more expensive or should be more heavily enforced.

While the CBO calculation is a boost to Republicans who want to repeal the mandate in tax reform, because it means there are still significant savings to be had from repealing the mandate, mandate repeal still faces long odds. Repealing the mandate – a broadly unpopular decision in many states – could also destabilize health insurance markets by removing an incentive for healthy people to enroll.

Earlier in the day, the CBO said that according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” would increase deficits over the next decade by $1.4 trillion, which is good enough to slip under the $1.5 trillion limit required for reconciliation. The CBO did however add that the additional debt service would boost the 10-year increase in deficits to $1.7 trillion.

Source: ZeroHedge

Here’s How Much Your Obamacare Rates Are Going Up In 2018 (Hint: It’s a lot and it’s all Trump’s fault)

A new study conducted by Avalere and released earlier today found that Obamacare rates will surge an average of 34% across the country in 2018.  Of course, this is in addition to the 113% average premium increase from 2013 and 2017, which brings the total 5-year increase to a staggering 185%.

Meanwhile, and to our complete shock no less, Avalere would like for you to know that the rate increases are almost entirely due to the Trump administration’s “failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions”…which is a completely reasonable guess if you’re willing to ignore the fact that 2018 premium increases are roughly in-line with the 29% constantly annualized growth rates experienced over the past 4 years before Trump ever moved into the White House…but that’s just math so who cares?

New analysis from Avalere finds that the 2018 exchange market will see silver premiums rise by an average of 34%. According to Avalere’s analysis of filings from Healthcare.gov states, exchange premiums for the most popular type of exchange plan (silver) will be 34% higher, on average, compared to last year.

“Plans are raising premiums in 2018 to account for market uncertainty and the federal government’s failure to pay for cost-sharing reductions,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president at Avalere. “These premium increases may allow insurers to remain in the market and enrollees in all regions to have access to coverage.”

Avalere experts attribute premium increases to a number of factors, including elimination of cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, lower than anticipated enrollment in the marketplace, limited insurer participation, insufficient action by the government to reimburse plans that cover higher cost enrollees (e.g., via risk corridors), and general volatility around the policies governing the exchanges. The vast majority of exchange enrollees are subsidized and can avoid premium increases, if they select the lowest or second lowest cost silver plan in their region. However, some unsubsidized consumers who pay the full premium cost may choose not to enroll for 2018 due to premium increases.

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Of course, not all residents are treated equally when it comes to premium hikes.  So far, Iowa is winning the award for greatest percentage increase at 69%, with Wyoming, Utah and Virginia close behind. 

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On an absolute basis, Wyoming wins with the average 50 year old expected to pay nearly $1,200 per month (or roughly the cost of a mortgage) on health insurance premiums.

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So what say you?  Have we finally reached the tipping point where enough full-paying Obamacare customers will simply forego insurance that they can no longer afford and cause the whole system to come crashing down?

Source: ZeroHedge

Whistleblower Files Charges Against Looting Of Freddie Mac Scheme

Obama administration looted investors to fund Obamacare

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A whistleblower who filed last week a formal complaint with the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) provided Infowars.com with a document leaked from Freddie Mac that proves both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are currently out-of-compliance with Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing requirements.

The whistleblower – a CPA who worked in risk management for Freddie Mac from 2014 to 2016 – explained to Infowars.com the leaked internal document was created by Freddie Mac auditors in the preparation of Freddie Mac’s 2015 filing with the SEC of the Government Sponsored Entities (GSEs) Form 10-Q and 10-K – two SEC forms that require auditors to review and management to submit a comprehensive financial summary of the entity’s performance.

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“Freddie Mac management was and is aware that the GSEs equity shares have no value due to the Net Worth Sweep (NSW) but have not disclosed this in any public filing, including not in their 10-Q and 10-K filings,” the whistleblower told Infowars.com.

“At a minimum, Freddie Mac management is complicit with FHFA in the erosion of the property rights of shareholders and likely complicit in securities fraud with FHFA, as Freddie Mac’s management has not disclosed to the public that they are aware Freddie Mac equity has zero value.”

The NWS traces to Aug. 17, 2012, the Federal Housing Financial Agency and the Department of Treasury engineered an amendment to the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreements through which Treasury had invested in Fannie and Freddie to allow the U.S. Treasury to grab ALL Fannie and Freddie earnings, regardless how large Fannie and Freddie’s profits might be.

“The document leaked from Freddie Mac is an internal memo prepared by the auditors (either internal or external) to management discussing their thresholds for materiality for their testing,” the whistleblower explained. “This document was prepared for a ‘review’ (the level below an audit in terms of assurance) and is done in conjunction of filing quarterly SEC filings like the 10-Q.”

“The auditors would have met with management for interviews to allow the auditors to gain an understanding of the organization itself, its operations, financial reporting, and known fraud or error.”

On Page 8 of the leaked report, the Freddie Mac auditors and management write: “We see no value in the common shares or the junior preferred shares as the Net Worth Sweep dividend effectively prohibits Freddie Mac from rebuilding capital despite the return to operating profitability.”

No similar statement from the auditors and management of the GSE effectively considered Freddie Mac as headed toward a situation where the Treasury had robbed Freddie Mac of all shareholder value by confiscating some $260 billion from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae since 2012 by sweeping all earnings under the NWS from the GSEs into the Treasury’s general fund.

“This is shocking because SEC regulations required the auditors and management of Freddie Mac, when reporting the GSEs audited financial statements (including 10-K and 10-Q Forms) to report their financials not as a ‘going concern,’ but as a liquidation,” the Whistleblower stressed. “Additionally, Freddie Mac management states in the report, ‘The Treasury, which holds a warrant to purchase nearly eighty percent of our common stock, has recommended that our company be wound down.”

“FHFA, as an independent agency, has a fiduciary responsibility to Freddie Mac as it ‘has all rights of stockholders’ and therefore, FHFA as an independent agency, should not be taking direction from another agency,” the Whistleblower emphasized.

“Freddie Mac management was and is aware that the equity shares have no value due to the net worth sweep but have not disclosed this in any public filing,” the Whistleblower concluded.

“At a minimum, Freddie Mac management is complicit with FHFA in the erosion of the property rights of shareholders and likely complicit in securities fraud with FHFA as Freddie Mac’s management has not disclosed that they are aware the equity has zero value.”

By Gerome Corsi | Infowars

Yet Another Reason to Worry About Obamacare: Property Seizures?

Obamacare requires everyone to have health insurance. In more than half of the states in the country, that comes through an expansion of Medicaid, the joint federal-state program for the poor. Under a 1993 federal law, states can recoup the costs of Medicaid by seizing the property of deceased Medicaid recipients.

With the vast expansion of who can enroll in Medicaid under Obamacare, that could mean significantly more property.  Click here to finish this article posted in The Blaze.