Healthcare

More Americans fall victim to ObamaCare sticker shock

Many Americans have found out exactly what ObamaCare means for them, and they’re not happy. Sure, some will be able to obtain cheaper coverage, thanks to subsidies that hide the true cost of coverage. But too many people are getting stuck with sticker shock.

“My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible,” wrote Tirge Caps on his diary at Daily Kos, a leftist blog. “We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.”

“Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is [going] to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284,” he continued. “I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?”

“Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don’t qualify, anyway, so what’s the point?” he asked. “I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

“I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people,” he added.

This reflects the feelings of many people, including some who were previously ObamaCare supporters. The San Jose Mercury News recently told the stories of two Californians, both of whom voted for President Obama, who are seeing premium increases because of ObamaCare.

36,000!?!: Embarrassingly low enrollment numbers put ObamaCare in jeopardy

Barack Obama

The Obama Administration is counting on as many as 7 million Americans, including 2.7 million young people, to enroll in health insurance coverage on the state and federal ObamaCare exchanges. Based on early numbers, however, it appears that they’ll fall far short of that number, which could put the heart of the law is very real jeopardy.

Millward Brown Digital (formerly known as Compete), a company that tracks web traffic, broke down the numbers from the first week the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges were online. Based on the traffic and reports of successful enrollees, they note that just 1% of people who visited the exchange websites actually enrolled.

“Over the course of Obamacare’s first week, 9.5 million people visited healthcare.gov, the federal government’s official healthcare website and the de facto exchange for residents of two thirds of the states,” wrote Matt Pace at the company’s blog. “In addition, the 16 operational state-run exchanges combined to attract over 3.1 million visitors during the same period.”

“In total, 11.3 million consumers visited the federal and state exchanges during their first week of operation,” he explained. “Unfortunately, what started as a fire hose of interest, resulted in only a small trickle of actual healthcare enrollments.”

Pace noted that 27% of those who visited the site, some 214,000 people, were able to register an account, but the actual enrollment numbers are, well, pathetic.

RNC hits Obama on exchange glitches and problems

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The Republican National Committee (RNC) released a new ad last weekend mocking the launch of the ObamaCare state exchanges, which were plagued with glitches and problems, making for a frustrating experience for those who tried to buy health insurance coverage.

The RNC’s ad showed video of President Obama touting the exchanges, which were launched last Tuesday, cutting to news reports documenting the glitches, not just with the website, but also one reporter’s frustrating experience calling into the 800-number provided on the exchange website. At the end of the ad, the RNC notes that President Obama “gave big business a break from ObamaCare,” a reference to the administration’s delay of the employer mandate, and asks, “Why not you?”:

Fox News poll: Blame for shutdown spread equally, ObamaCare still unpopular

Though his approval rating is still underwater, President Barack Obama has seen his numbers jump slightly since early last month, according to a wide-ranging poll released on Friday by Fox News. But ObamaCare remains unpopular and blame for the government shutdown is spread around evenly.

The poll found that President Obama’s approval rating now stands at 45%, while 49% disapprove of his job performance. That’s up from 40/54 in September. Congress, on the other hand, saw its approval rating fall, from an already abysmal 17/75 last month to 13/81 in October.

President Obama’s approval ratings on key issues have increased slightly. He sees a 7-point jump on healthcare, from 38/58 in September to 45/51 in October. His approval rating on the economy didn’t see as high of a jump, but it did increase slightly from a tepid 37/60 last month to 40/56 this month.

The uptick in President Obama’s numbers can probably be attributed to the government shutdown. To this point, the White House has been more effective in their messaging to the American public than congressional Republicans, who face hurdle due to the media’s general deference to President Obama. It is important to note, however, that his approval ratings are still underwater across the board, and has been underwater since almost mid-July.

But when it comes to President Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act (or “ObamaCare,” as we’ve come to know it), Americans’ still aren’t fans and would like to see changes.

Saturday Night Live lampoons ObamaCare

SNL on ObamaCare

Though still not as great as the 90’s era show, Saturday Night Live can still occasionally offer a humorous take on news and events. Take the opening of the show this past weekend, for example, when they lampooned President Barack Obama’s overtures on the so-called “Affordable Care Act,” known to most of us as “ObamaCare.”

The fake President Obama (SNL actor Jay Pharoah) brought out various “regular people” to tout the supposed benefits of ObamaCare. “I am psyched for Obamacare…because now that I have healthcare, I can get sick all the time!” said a gleeful woman (Aidy Bryant). “Woooo! Free medicine, y’all!”

Next up was a father (Bobby Moynihan) and his slacker son to talk about the provision of the law that allows “children” to say on their parents’ insurance until their 26 years old. “We kept telling him, ‘Hey, idiot, you have to get a job to have healthcare,’” said the father. “But Mr. Obama here, he made sure my son will never have to lift a finger to get health coverage.”

The skit also features an appearance by actor Aaron Paul, who appeared in character as ”Jesse” from Breaking Bad, to talk about this friend, a New Mexico teacher, who “got sick, like cancer sick,” a reference to Walter White from the AMC show.

The fake Obama brought up “ObamaCare Oscar” (Kenan Thompson) to rap about the law. The rapper fell off the stage and broke a bone told President Obama not to call an ambulance because he didn’t have health insurance, noting that it was “too complicated to figure out.”

Watch the whole skit below:

States represented by vulnerable Senate Dems see large premiums increases

As noted earlier today, the Obama Administration has released the rates yesterday for the state exchanges opening next month that will be run by the federal government. The rates, while lower than originally estimated, may still be unaffordable for someone trying to make it through these tough economic times.

But the senators up for re-election next year will, ultimately, have to explain to voters why they voted for the so-called “Affordable Care Act” — especially Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), members who haven’t backed down from ObamaCare from states that went for Mitt Romney in 2012.

Below we’re taking a look at some of the states where we may see competitive Senate races next year and the effects of ObamaCare, using the same information from earlier today via the Wall Street Journal.

Here is a look at what a single, 27-year-old, non-smoker living in metropolitan areas in these states can expect to pay per month when they take out a “bronze” plan on the exchange, the least expensive available, compared to the lowest-cost, pre-ObamaCare rates (percentages are rounded down):

British NHS demonstrates the perils of socialized healthcare

UK's NHS

While there are still many clamoring for a completely socialized healthcare system in the United States, a report late last week from The Telegraph shows just how hazardous government-run medicine can be to your health, as patients in the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) are 45% more likely to die than those across the Pond:

Previously unpublished data collated by Professor Sir Brian Jarman over more than 10 years found NHS mortality rates were among the worst of those in seven developed countries.

A patient in England was five times as likely to die of pneumonia and twice as likely to die of septicaemia compared to similar patients in the US, the leading country in the study, the data suggested.

The elderly were found to be particularly at risk in English hospitals compared with those in the other countries.

The figures showed that the situation had improved since 2004, when the death rate in English hospitals was 58% higher than that in the best performing country.

But NHS institutions still lagged behind in the most recent data, from 2012, despite reforms of the health service and increased funding.

Georgia-based healthcare provider to layoff 100 workers, ObamaCare partly to blame

Emory Healthcare

Yet another employer is has announced big changes as they deal with the costs of ObamaCare, joining an ever-growing list of businesses that have cut hours, rolled back health benefits, or laid off workers because of the law.

Atlanta’s WSB-TV reported Emory Healthcare, a healthcare provider connected to Emory University, announced recently that 101 workers will be laid-off in mid-November, partly because of ObamaCare:

Channel 2 Action News has confirmed that more than 100 Emory Healthcare employees will lose their jobs, in part, because of the Affordable Care Act.

An upset viewer alerted Channel 2’s Erica Byfield to the development.

A letter the viewer provided from Emory Healthcare’s Chief Human Resources Officer reads, “This notice is to inform you that Emory Healthcare is restructuring and consolidating its Psychiatry Services Program.”

A spokesperson from the health system confirmed the letter was mailed to 101 employees on Sept. 9. 
[…]
An Emory spokesman, Vincent Dollard, said the new health care law backed by the president played a role in the layoffs. Dollard added the economy was also a factor.

Here’s the video from WSB-TV:

Trader Joe’s drops healthcare coverage for part-time workers

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Following in the footsteps of Universal Orlando and several other businesses, Trader Joe’s, a California-based grocery store, plans to drop health insurance coverage for part-time workers because of added healthcare costs, pushing them off to ObamaCare’s state health insurance exchanges:

After extending health care coverage to many of its part-time employees for years, Trader Joe’s has told workers who log fewer than 30 hours a week that they will need to find insurance on the Obamacare exchanges next year, according to a confidential memo from the grocer’s chief executive.

In the memo to staff dated Aug. 30, Trader Joe’s CEO Dan Bane said the company will cut part-timers a check for $500 in January and help guide them toward finding a new plan under the Affordable Care Act. The company will continue to offer health coverage to workers who carry 30 hours or more on average.
[…]
Trader Joe’s has won kudos for offering its health care, dental and vision plans to part-time workers at a reasonable price — a rarity in an industry known for low pay and scant benefits. But with low-wage workers eligible for tax subsidies to buy health insurance next year, the company has apparently calculated that offering medical coverage to part-timers who work 18 hours or more is no longer worth the cost.

CNN poll: ObamaCare support drops, despite big marketing push

Support for ObamaCare has dropped below 40%, according to a poll conducted by CNN, even as the Obama Administration ramps up its efforts to promote the law before the state insurance exchanges launch at the beginning of October.

The poll, released on Wednesday, shows that only 39% of Americans favor all or most of ObamaCare, while 57% have an unfavorable view of the law. Those numbers have changed in a big way since the beginning of the year, when CNN found that 51% of Americans favored ObamaCare.

Here’s a look at the shift over time, as noted by CNN:

CNN's ObamaCare polling

The most recent CNN poll also found a shift on President Obama’s healthcare policy approval rating, with 54% now disapproving of his performance on the issue, up from 49% at the beginning of the year. Only 44% approval of his approach to healthcare, down from 50% in January.

Here’s a look at selected CNN polls on President Obama’s healthcare approval rating. As you can see, he hasn’t done well on the issue, despite his uptick in January 2013, which appears to be an outlier:

 Obama's healthcare approval rating


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