Thursday, June 20, 2013

ObamaCare Sticker Shock

Note: This is a re-issue. Since this was posted in June, millions have lost their current plans and the computer glitch continues. And we also learned from NBC that the Obama administration knew many would lose their insurance policies contrary to what Obama promised.

While there are a few good advantages with ObamaCare (The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010), the disadvantages far outweigh the law's advantages. In fact, even some of the advantages, e.g. keeping children on your health plan until age 26, incur an additional cost. In addition, there are tax credits for the poor and some businesses.

But let's take a closer look at the unintended consequences that have been revealed since the legislation was enacted. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Costs will rise. In fact, they have already risen in many states.  The truth is at no time in recent history has the cost curve for health insurance ever bent downward on an aggregate basis. Not long ago, even HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted that some Americans will face higher premiums, especially the young and healthy in some cases as much as a 169% increase.
  • Just last week, California officials announced that ObamaCare will raise individual premiums from 64 to 146%.
  • Unlike promised by Pres. Obama, many Americans will have to give up their current plans and their current physicians.
  • Even if you retain your health coverage, it will most likely change to conform to the many new regulations and standards mandated by ObamaCare.
  • The CBO estimated that the law will cost more than $1.7 trillion by 2022 (as most government estimates, that will probably double. Just look at the promises made for Medicaid and Medicare decades ago, the estimates were embarrassingly wrong).
  • In the last two years, the White House granted over 1400 waivers to various companies and unions. In fact, some unions are already complaining about the law (they supported 3 years ago).

  • There are literally thousands of new regulations being rolled out, many of these by the IRS.
  • Those who refuse health insurance will be assessed a tax from $95/year the first year to over $600/year in 2016.
  • A recent Gallup Poll found that 41% of business surveyed have frozen hiring because of the law. Another 38% acknowledge they've pulled back in growing their businesses because of ObamaCare (603 business owners were surveyed).
  • Investors Business Daily reported just this week that local governments and municipalities have been cutting hours of their employees so they can skirt ObamaCare mandates. Many of these employees face pay cuts up to $3000 per year depending on their hourly wage. These included municipalities in Kansas, Michigan, Indiana, California, Utah, New Jersey, Virginia, and a host of others.

  • Forbes reported this week thanks to ObamCare there will be a massive shortage of physicians up to 20,000 but that could increase by a factor of five in the coming years. In fact, A Physicians Foundation Survey found that of the 13,000 doctors surveyed, over 60% said they would retire immediately if they could.  In a February report by  The LA Times, they reported the state already does not have enough physicians to meet the demands of ObamaCare.
  • Regarding the shifting of patients to Medicaid, over 50% of doctors in many states refuse to accept Medicaid today. The reason? Medicaid pays only 60% of what private insurance pays for medical services.
  • Of course, common sense indicates when you add millions to the already strained patient rolls, there will not be enough physicians available to care for those patients. Hence, there will be more reliance on nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
  • Yahoo News reported last week that ObamaCare may end up being unaffordable for low income wage earners. For example, an employee making $21K per year may end up having to pay about $2000 a year for insurance coverage. And a low wage earner making less than $16 grand will not be eligible for Medicaid.
  • According to Kaiser Health News, 16 states have already started rationing by limiting the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients.
  • The young will be hit hard. The law forces insurers to charge young, healthy people more to cover the cost of insuring older persons and those with pre-existing conditions (you see, the pre-existing coverage also comes at a cost).
  • In fact, the law is scaring so many Americans, that CNBC reported two weeks ago that two-thirds of those who lack health insurance don't know yet if they will purchase the coverage as of January 1, 2014.

  • Deloitte Development found that many businesses will be backing away from ObamaCare. They found that 41% of businesses embraced this sentiment.
  • Investors Business also reported that because of the cost factors involved in meeting ObamaCare mandates, they've already started cutting back on benefits offered to employees.
  • In addition, MSN Money reported last April that many companies are opting for more  part-timers in response to the law. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO)  that fewer people will have employer provided health insurance in the coming years.
  • ADP Research reported many workers in industries such as hospitality and retail will lose their employer-provided insurance.

  • Regarding senior care, Section 3000A of the law awards bonus-points to the hospitals that spend the least per senior. Remember, cuts in Medicare pay for a portion of ObamaCare.
  • And, after all of this and more (I can literally go on for pages), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that by 2023 at least 30 million Americans will still be uninsured.

So Ms. Pelosi, you should have read the bill before passing it.