Sunday, December 4, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Repeal via the Legislative Tool Known as “Reconciliation”

‘Now, following Trump’s defeat of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Republicans are laying the groundwork for dismantling the Affordable Care Act next year.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a sentence-per-sentence destruction of the bill, but I do think that substantial chunks of it are in really grave danger,” Seth Chandler, a visiting scholar at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and a professor at the University of Houston Law Center, told The Daily Signal.

Republicans need 60 votes in the Senate to pass a bill repealing the health care law and would fall short of that threshold in the new Congress, where the GOP will hold at least 52 seats.

But GOP lawmakers are likely to use a budget tool called reconciliation—a procedure used in the Senate that allows a bill to pass with 51 votes—to roll back key provisions of Obamacare and avoid a Democratic filibuster.

The GOP-led House and Senate passed a budget resolution last year that included instructions to use reconciliation to repeal Obamacare and were ultimately successful in getting it to Obama’s desk, where it was vetoed.

The bill called for the repeal of the individual and employer mandates, Medicaid expansion, tax credits, medical device tax, and Cadillac tax. It also stripped the government of its authority to run the exchanges set up under the law and lessened the fine for failing to comply with the mandates to $0, which was needed to abide by Senate rules.

GOP leaders in the House and Senate haven’t committed to using reconciliation again next year to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, but House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday the law is “collapsing under its own weight.”

“This Congress, this House majority, this Senate majority has already demonstrated and proven we’re able to pass legislation and put it on the president’s desk,” Ryan, R-Wis., said during a press conference. “Problem is, President Obama vetoed it. Now, we have a President Trump who has promised to fix this.”’ - How Republicans Can Start to Dismantle Obamacare With a Trump Presidency, dailysignal.com, 11/09/2016

 

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://dailysignal.com/2016/11/09/how-republicans-can-start-to-dismantle-obamacare-with-a-trump-presidency/?utm_source=TDS_Email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MorningBell&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWkRabFlXWXdOV1F5WXpGaiIsInQiOiJZeEkyQ1RhanVSOWMyWTlKTmRPTXEzbTg0RXRFM1daZU5LcFFoK3JPK090cG5UVmNYWjhIQ3FvZUJpc2NJK1ZRMStqT0xjM1FHSlhCU3lVRWQ4TGJHOWJiNTloajdPVlpwaytyOGhXYUZDQT0ifQ%3D%3D


 


 


Saturday, December 3, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Supreme Court Rulings and Influence

“Here's an interesting bit from the latest trove of Clinton campaign emails leaked out Thursday morning: Clinton operatives were conspiring in June 2015 on how to best threaten the Supreme Court to rule their way in King v. Burwell, the case that could have effectively ended ObamaCare.

On June 2, 2015, Neera Tanden, the president of the leftist Center for American Progress, emailed Clinton advisor Jake Sullivan her thoughts on how to put the most pressure on the Supreme Court to rule in favor of ObamaCare.

Basically, she wrote, scaring the Court would be the best tactic:

As Jennifer will remember, it was pretty critical that the President threw the gauntlet down last time on the Court, warning them in the first case that it would politicize the role of the Court for them to rule against the ACA. As a close reader of the case, I honestly believe that was vital to scaring Roberts off.

Tanden went on to strategize that the campaign would have to make the Supreme Court aware of “negative political consequences to ruling against the government,” which it could do by planting stories about how Clinton would turn the Supreme Court into an election issue:

Therefore, I think it would be helpful to have a story of how progressives and Hillary would make the Supreme Court an election issue (which would be a ready argument for liberals) if the Court rules against the government. It's not that you wish that happens. But that would be the necessary consequence of a negative decision...the Court itself would become a hugely important political issue.

“We can get that story started,” Tanden helpfully suggested, but acknowledged it “rests on you guys to make it stick.” In subsequent emails on the thread, Jennifer Palmieri (communications director) approved of the approach, while Brian Fallon (press secretary) offered his help in getting the story out there.

The message to the Supreme Court? Vote against us, and you'll regret it.” - Leaked Email: Clinton Campaign Plotted To Threaten Supreme Court Over ObamaCare Ruling


Also see this link:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-10-13/email-confirms-obama-political-pressure-vital-scaring-roberts-supreme-courts-obamaca


ACA/Obamacare: Price Nominated to Lead HHS


"Rep. Tom Price, a Georgia Republican, is President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. He is currently chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee.

Price, an orthopedic surgeon for nearly 20 years before coming to Congress, has represented the northern Atlanta suburbs in the House of Representatives since 2005.

If confirmed by the Senate, Price would likely have a central role in the Republicans' stated plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and design a replacement. He has repeatedly introduced legislation to repeal and replace the ACA and is one of hundreds of Republicans who have voted dozens of times to repeal the federal health care law since it was enacted in 2010. Those efforts either didn't make it to President Obama's desk or were vetoed by him.

As HHS secretary, Price would not only oversee Obamacare as it currently exists, but also run the government's largest social programs, including Medicare, Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. He would also have authority over the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and other major health agencies." - Trump Chooses Rep. Tom Price, An Obamacare Foe, To Run HHS, npr.org, 11/28/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/11/28/502566553/trump-chooses-rep-tom-price-an-obamacare-foe-to-run-hhs


 


 



Sunday, November 6, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: Director’s Law on the Skids

“For the 85% of enrollees with lower incomes, federal subsidies make the premiums somewhat more affordable. Those even closer to the poverty line can get additional subsidies that reduce the deductibles, which can run into the thousands of dollars.

But for many middle class Americans -- a single person earning more than $47,520 or a family of four with an income of $97,200 -- the pricey premiums and deductibles mean health care coverage remains out of reach.

"The middle class are getting squeezed," said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "They aren't getting subsidies and these deductibles are hard to afford."

This schism is turning Obamacare into another government benefit program for lower- and moderate-income Americans. The typical enrollee has an income of only 165% of the federal poverty level, or $40,000 for a family of four.

The real problem is that health care is very expensive, Levitt said. But most Americans don't realize the true cost because they are shielded by their employers.

Some 150 million people have insurance through work, paying only about $440 a month for a family plan, while employers cover the rest, or about $1,075.” - Is Obamacare really affordable? Not for the middle class, Obamacare is now a tale of two health insurance programs, CNN money, 11/04/2016


Note: The seen and unseen regarding the above, the unseen as it were, might well be found in Director’s Law, political constituency building with other people's money and the backfiring (unintended negative cascading consequences) of the conjunction of both concepts. How so? (1)

Reviewing Director’s Law:

Director's law states that the bulk of public programs are designed primarily to benefit the middle classes but are financed by taxes paid primarily by the upper and lower classes. The empirically derived law was first proposed by economist Aaron Director.

The philosophy of Director's law is that, based on the size of its population and its aggregate wealth, the middle class will always be the dominant interest group in a modern democracy. As such, it will use its influence to maximize the state benefits it receives and minimize the portion of costs it bears. (2) (3)

Hence if in the main and upon normal occasion ACA/Obamacare is viewed as a program to benefit the middle class, then the benefit thereof could easily be considered as: Particular politicos exercising political constituency building with other peoples money. That is, yet another middle class benefit at the expense of other taxpayers which leads to a political constituency wanting the continuation of the benefit and therefore reliance upon (support/voting for) the sponsoring politicos of such program.

The problem then becomes: Much of the middle class, rather than benefiting, are being pummeled by skyrocketing premiums along with high deductibles and high co-insurance payments.

In the end, a middle class benefit (Director’s Law) meaningfully and purposefully deployed as a political constituency building exercise by particular politicos with other people's money, backfires. Backfires as a vast swath of the middle class fails to benefit and actually experiences rising prices.

The supposed political constituency developed by the politico becomes an advisory political constituency.

Notes:

(1) http://www.econlib.org/library/Bastiat/basEss1.html


(2) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Director%27s_law


(3) https://www.jstor.org/stable/724835?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents


 

 

 


 





Monday, October 31, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: “Everything called insurance is not necessarily insurance.” -Thomas Sowell

“American consumers figured out from the beginning that Obamacare wasn’t worth buying. Now insurance companies are wising up. Aetna is withdrawing from Obamacare exchanges in 11 states, following United Healthcare Group’s decision last April to leave 34 states. Which will be the next domino to fall?

In a well-functioning insurance market, such as for automobile accidents, insurance carriers craft countless plans to meet exactly the needs of millions of different individuals. Typically, only catastrophic unexpected events are covered, not the predictable oil changes. Automobile insurance is real insurance, and automobile owners as well as insurance companies eagerly participate.

Not so for Obamacare, which is not insurance at all. Under Obamacare annual physicals, which are predictable and routine, are covered without charge, but major surgery requires payment of a $6,000 to $12,000 deductible.”

“The Obamacare model is not workable, as I wrote in a 2009 column. It requires an expensive, comprehensive plan that obligates participants to purchase coverage for maternity care even if they have finished having children, pediatric dental care even if they are childless, mental health coverage even if they do not need it, and drug abuse coverage even if they have never taken any drugs.

People are not allowed to buy a simple plan that covers major illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, or falling off a bike in traffic. Furthermore, the deductibles—the amount that has to be spent before people can use the insurance—are so broad as to make coverage practically useless. For 2016, the average deductible for singles for the lowest-cost bronze plan is $5,700, and for families, it is $12,000.

That is why those who are on the exchanges are disproportionally sicker than average and have chronic health conditions that make them more expensive to insure.

Obamacare is collapsing as health insurance companies continue to withdraw from the exchanges. What then? Congress will either convert Obamacare into a public plan—such as Medicare for all—or repeal it altogether.”

“Rather than hire the same academic consultants who designed the non-insurance program called Obamacare, the next administration would be well advised to listen to the real expert on medical insurance: the American consumer. That consumer is very happy with a wide range of well-functioning insurance markets such as automobile insurance, home-owners insurance, and life insurance. So too are the insurance companies that provide the insurance, all without a dime of federal subsidy.” - Insurance Companies Wise Up to Obamacare, economics21.org, 08/16/2016

Link to the entire essay appears below:

http://economics21.org/html/insurance-companies-wise-obamacare-2021.html


 

 

 

 

 


ACA/Obamacare: Yes, Obamacare Did Make Health Insurance More Expensive Without Addressing the Real Price Driver Problem.

"Way back in 2009, some folks on the left shared a chart showing that national expenditures on healthcare compared to life expectancy.

This comparison was not favorable to the United States, which easily spent the most money but didn’t have concomitantly impressive life expectancy.

At the very least, people looking at the chart were supposed to conclude that other nations had better healthcare systems.

And since the chart circulated while Obamacare was being debated, supporters of that initiative clearly wanted people to believe that the U.S. somehow could get better results at lower cost if the government played a bigger role in the healthcare sector.

There were all sorts of reasons to think that chart was misleading (higher average incomes in the United States, more obesity in the United States, different demographics in the United States, etc), but my main gripe was that the chart was being used to advance the cause of bigger government when it actually showed – at least in part – the consequences of government intervention.

The real problem, I argued, was third-party payer. Thanks to programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, government already was paying for nearly 50 percent of all heath spending in the United States (indeed, the U.S. has more government spending for health programs than some nations with single-payer systems!).

But that’s just part of the story. Thanks to a loophole in the tax code for fringe benefits (a.k.a., the healthcare exclusion), there’s a huge incentive for both employers and employees to provide compensation in the form of very generous health insurance policies. And this means a big chunk of health spending is paid by insurance companies.

The combination of these direct and indirect government policies is that consumers pay very little for their healthcare. Or, to be more precise, they may pay a lot in terms of taxes and foregone cash compensation, but their direct out-of-pocket expenditures are relatively modest.

And this is why I said the national health spending vs life expectancy chart was far less important than a chart I put together showing the relentless expansion of third-party payer. And the reason this chart is so important is that it helps to explain why healthcare costs are so high and why there’s so much inefficiency in the health sector."














- Another Grim Reminder that Obamacare Has Made Healthcare More Expensive, FEE, 08/30/2016.

Link to the entire essay appears below:

https://fee.org/articles/another-grim-reminder-that-obamacare-has-made-healthcare-more-expensive/#0



Friday, October 7, 2016

ACA/Obamacare: When “Affordable” Means Unaffordable…..Oklahoma Premiums to Increase an Average of 76% for 2017

‘Obamacare premiums will raise a staggering 76 percent on average for Oklahoma residents, and the state's top insurance regulator says the state's insurance exchange set up by the law is on "life support."

Oklahoma's Insurance Department said on Tuesday that increases in individual marketplace plans will range from 58 percent to 96 percent.

"These jaw-dropping increases make it clear that Oklahoma's exchange is on life support," said Insurance Commissioner John Doak, in a statement. "Health insurers are losing massive amounts of money. If they don't raise rates they'll go out of business. This system has been doomed from the beginning."’ - Oklahoma Obamacare plans face 76 percent hike, Washington Examiner, 10/04/2016

Link to the entire article appears below:

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/oklahoma-obamacare-plans-face-76-percent-hike/article/2603629#!