Healthcare

Obamacare proves unaffordable for many Americans

The Obama Administration continues to insist that Americans will get better health insurance coverage and see lower healthcare costs because of the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” But that’s not true for those who make too much money to receive tax credits to offset the higher costs.

USA Today analysis shows that many Americans in states on the federal exchange are finding that Obamacare is bringing much higher health insurance premiums, not just in rural areas, but also in the suburbs of major cities:

More than half of the counties in 34 states using the federal health insurance exchange lack even a bronze plan that’s affordable — by the government’s own definition — for 40-year-old couples who make just a little too much for financial assistance, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

Many of these counties are in rural, less populous areas that already had limited choice and pricey plans, but many others are heavily populated, such as Bergen County, N.J., and Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties.

Obamacare isn’t slowing down healthcare costs

President Barack Obama and administration officials have been playing up Obamacare as part of the reason that healthcare costs have grown at its slowest rate in 50 years, which, they say, will be part of the legacy of the law.

“I’m not going to walk away from 40 million people who have the chance to get health insurance for the first time,” said President Obama on November 14 in a statement on Obamacare.  ”And I’m not going to walk away from something that has helped the cost of health care grow at its slowest rate in 50 years.”

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made a similar claim during her appearance before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Wednesday, telling members that “costs have gone down based on the trajectory we would have seen absent [Obamacare].”

But doubt has been cast on that claim by many healthcare policy analysts. Bob Laszewski, President of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, has cast doubt on these claims, shooting down the rhetoric over Obamacare and the slowdown of health costs as “silly.”

“First, Obamacare is not a health care reform law; it is a health insurance reform law. No one on either side of the debate has ever argued anything different,” wrote Laszweski, who is frequently cited in mainstream media reports about the law, last week on his personal blog. “Does the law have some limited cost containment features in it? Yes. But these are either pilot projects or are years from being fully implemented.”

Quinnipiac poll: Obama approval rating hits new low, voters want GOP control of Senate

Grinch-Obama

Santa Claus has delivered a big block of coal to President Barack Obama by way of the latest national survey from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

President Obama’s numbers have hit a new low, based on Quinnipiac’s polling, as just 38% of voters approve of his job performance, while 57% disapprove. The numbers are worse than what the firm found last month, when his approval rating was at 39/54.

He doesn’t fair much better on an issue-by-issue basis. While he has tried to pivot to the economy to take focus away from disastrous Obamacare rollout, voters don’t seem to be buying the rhetoric. Just 37% approve of President Obama’s handling of the economy, 59% disapprove.

The numbers are even worse on healthcare, the issue on which President Obama has staked his legacy, as 34% of voters approve of job performance on healthcare, while 62% disapprove of his handling of the issue.

While Quinnipiac did not specifically poll Obamacare, one can reasonably surmise, given that just about every other poll confirms it, that the rollout of the law and other factors have led to the decline in support.

President Obama still has a hill to climb in order to restore his credibility with voters. Just as with other recent polls, Quinnipiac found that a majority of voters (52%) don’t believe he is trustworthy and 51% say he isn’t a strong leader.

Tom Price’s Obamacare replacement saves $2.34 trillion over 10 years

Legislation offered by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) that would repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered healthcare reform would save taxpayers nearly $2.34 trillion over the next 10 years, according to an independent analysis by a former Congressional Budget Office director.

The Empowering Patients First Act, H.R. 2300, would provide Americans with tax incentives for maintaining health insurance coverage, improve access to health savings accounts (HSAs), reform Medicare and Medicaid, and allow consumers to purchase plans across state lines. It would also guarantee coverage for roughly 1% of Americans with pre-existing conditions.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who served as director of the CBO from 2003 to 2005, and Stephen Parente estimated that these reforms will reduce health insurance premiums almost across the board and reduce the budget deficit by nearly $2.34 trillion in the 10-year budget window from 2014 to 2023.

“H.R. 2300 would lead to smaller premium increases on average when compared to current law. The largest reductions would occur in narrow network and high PPO insurance products,” wrote Holtz-Eakin and Parente at the American Action Forum.

“The number of insured individuals would increase by 29 percent in 2016, a smaller net increase than current law by 3 percentage points. Over ten years, H.R. 2300 would yield a net savings of $2,337 billion,” they added.

Obama gears up for yet another campaign

Let’s face it, President Barack Obama has no idea how to govern. He refuses to reach across the aisle to Republicans on almost every issue, most notably Obamacare. Even as his signature domestic initiative — Obamacare — is still on the ropes and wildly unpopular with the public, he refuses to budge even an inch.

Instead of governing, President Obama campaigns, endlessly. His entire presidency has, to this point, been an ongoing cycle of campaign events — ranging from healthcare to gun control — because he and his team are convinced that they can sell anything to the public as long as they hear him speak.

That’s apparently why the White House is gearing up for, yet another, campaign, which began yesterday afternoon. This time repackaging Obamacare and, once again, trying to sell it to Americans before the end of the year, because we haven’t heard these speeches and talking points over and over already:

President Barack Obama will launch a coordinated campaign Tuesday by the White House, congressional Democrats and their outside allies to return attention to why the Affordable Care Act passed in the first place.

No, Americans don’t trust President Obama

Some of President Obama’s most ardent apologists spent some time on the Sunday talk show circuit desperately trying to spin the Obamacare implementation disaster and the millions of insurance cancellation notices that Americans are receiving because of the law’s narrowly written grandfathered plan regulations.

The message was that President Obama didn’t lie when he said people could keep their health plans under Obamacare, Americans just misunderstood what he was saying, and that people still trust him. Or something.

During a panel discussion on ABC’s This Week, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), one of the most leftist members of the House, tried to spin President Obama’s oft-repeated, now-infamous promise. The problem is that the Minnesota Democrat was incredibly misleading in doing so.

“You know, I just want to say that I think that everything that the president said and did was in pursuit of trying to get Americans, all Americans health care. So I think even though he may have said, if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it, I think that people really get that,” Ellison said. “He owned it. He said, look, man, if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I’m sorry about that.”

“I think that shows integrity. He didn’t do anything to self-promote. He did — what he was doing he was trying to do — to help Americans all over this country for decades,” he added.

NC Senate: Kay Hagan’s approval rating tanks

Kay Hagan

Fresh off a Public Policy Polling survey showing her in statistical ties with four potential Republican opponents, a new poll from Elon Unversity shows North Carolina voters are increasingly unhappy the job performance of Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and that healthcare is single most important issue on their minds.

The Elon Unversity poll found that 37% of voters approve of Hagan’s job performance, while 44% disapprove, a net-negative of 7 points. In September, the North Carolina-based school showed her approval rating slightly above water at 38/35.

North Carolinians have continued to sour on President Barack Obama. His approval rating is at 37/54, up from 38/51 in September.

The most prominent issue on the minds of North Carolina voters is healthcare (24%), followed by the economy (21%), jobs/unemployment (13%), and budget/debt (10%). Just 31% of voters in the state believe Obamacare will make healthcare better, while 54% say it will make thing. worse.

That’s an ominous sign for Hagan, given all of the attention currently on Obamacare, including the disastrous rollout of the federal exchange website and 473,000 health plan cancellations in the state.

Obamacare limits choices of doctors, hospitals

doctors

Over the last week or so, some defenders of Obamacare have pointed to a study produced by the White House that purports that the law is helping slow the growth in healthcare spending. But one way in which Obamacare is accomplishing this is by insurers limiting choices of doctors and hospitals in plans available on the federal and state exchanges:

As Americans have begun shopping for health plans on the insurance exchanges, they are discovering that insurers are restricting their choice of doctors and hospitals in order to keep costs low, and that many of the plans exclude top-rated hospitals.
[…]
The result, some argue, is a two-tiered system of health care: Many of the people who buy health plans on the exchanges have fewer hospitals and doctors to choose from than those with coverage through their employers.

A number of the nation’s top hospitals — including the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, and children’s hospitals in Seattle, Houston and St. Louis — are cut out of most plans sold on the exchange.

In most cases, the decision was about the cost of care.

Debunking the Myths that Debunk the Myths of Obamacare

A few days ago, Reason’s Nick Gillespie had a must-read piece that The Daily Beast, to their credit, saw fit to run, in spite of the fact that it lays out, in horrifying detail, how the millennials are running away from home (that home being The Obama White House):

Back in 2008, Barack Obama seemed like the coolest cat to hit the national scene in a long time, almost scientifically engineered to appeal to idealistic young Americans. He was the perfect combination of a dream dad and an older brother who could run you ragged up and down the basketball court, wink and nod about smoking dope, and hip you to some older but still cool music, you know? In 2008, the Pravda of youth culture, Rolling Stone, slathered the future president with praise for being so with it that he even knew how to use…an iPod. We were all pretty sure that his eventual Republican challenger, John McCain, had stopped listening to music when Rudy Vallee went electric or Stephen Foster released his Chris Gaines record or something, but there Obama was, listening to Bob Dylan, Yo-Yo Ma, Sheryl Crow, and even Jay-Z. “I have pretty eclectic tastes,” Obama told Rolling Stone. He even went on to invoke “Maggie’s Farm,” Dylan’s classic song of generational defiance and opting out. “It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric,” explained.

Yeah, well, it’s all over now baby blue.

Nevada newspaper to Harry Reid: Consider GOP healthcare ideas

The Obamacare disaster has put Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is a tough spot. Not only is he finding discontent from vulnerable Democrats who are fearing for their political futures, Nevada’s largest paper is calling on Reid to consider Republican healthcare ideas because of the Obamacare “meltdown.”

The Las Vegas Journal-Review isn’t buying lines from President Barack Obama and other congressional Democrats who claim that Republicans who oppose the law don’t have any healthcare policy alternatives. The paper points to a comprehensive reform package introduced by Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-GA) with a number of ideas from which to draw.

“Rep. Price’s plan is lacking in paper weight — it’s 250 pages, compared with the more than 2,000 pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its accompanying thousands more pages of regulations — but it’s heavy on ideas that would make health insurance and medical care more affordable,” wrote the Journal-Review’s editorial board.


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