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Let's Talk Obamacare

Discussion in 'Debate Hall' started by Dark Lotus, Aug 5, 2012.

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  1. Mustapha00

    Mustapha00 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/04/u...es-seek-big-rate-increases-for-2016.html?_r=0
    Insurance providers are asking for premium increases of 20% to 40%- or more- in order to cover the influx of Obamacare patients because those patients are turning out to be sicker than they- or Obama- envisioned.

    Many statistics that refer to "health care costs" do not include the costs of insurance premiums, thus their fixation on a slowing in the increases of costs does not take in the entire picture. No doubt that 4% to 6% increase in "health care costs" looks very good, but it measures only the costs of the particular treatments themselves; it does not factor in the dramatically increasing costs of the insurance which many, many millions of people rely on to reduce their out of pocket expenses.

    The NYT article also reminded me of yet another reason why I think Obamacare was created purposely to fail. Consider that one of its precepts was to discontinue the ability of an insurance company to refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions, meaning that people with illnesses that are often very expensive to treat could not be treated any differently by insurance companies that individuals with perfect health. In order to reduce the cost spike to insurers, Obamacare introduced the "Individual Mandate", which forces everyone to have health insurance or to pay a "penalty". The idea here was to force young people, who tend to be healthier, to purchase insurance at a higher rate than they normally would pay in order to subsidize older and sicker folks so they would pay a lower rate than they otherwise would or face paying a penalty.
    OK...so how much is that penalty for not having health insurance? In 2015, it was $325 or 2% of yearly household income. That increases to $695 or 2.5% in 2016.
    And how much is the yearly premium for the cheapest Obamacare plan? $2411.
    So why pay $2400 for insurance, asks young, healthy folks, when I can pay a $325 penalty and pocket over $2000 difference? Simple answer: they didn't, and so the whole Obamacare mess is going to prove more costly than anticipated because those signing up are poorer (requiring larger subsidies from the government to pay the premiums) and sicker (requiring more costs of treatment).
    If Obamacare were truly meant to be a credible alternative to the current system, the penalty would have been the same as the lowest tier of premiums, thus giving individuals no choice but to sign up. But it wasn't crafted that way....I wonder why not?
     
  2. Algona

    Algona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Insurance companies asked for big increases. Got it.

    But did they get those increases?

    The Kaiser Foundation has an analysis of insurance premium increases state by state, as approved by the state insurance commissions, published last week.

    You keep pointing to op-ed articles filled with slanted opinions based on cherry picking data. I've found plenty of those representing the entire spectrum, almost all are really short on good data and really long on amphigary, usually with a side of preconceived notions showing through.

    Like the piece of sensationalism you just posted.

    EDIT I'm not sure what an Obamacare program is but in a couple minutes I found multiple inurances for under $200 per month.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  3. Algona

    Algona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Sorry for double posting, but Mustapha asked an interesting question about penalty versus plan costs.

    Some digging at the IRS provides some clarification. I think. At least as much as anything from the IRS is understandable.

    The fine is supposed to be 2.5% of income. $695 is the minimum fine. The fine maximum is capped at the national average bronze package. Which in 2014 was $204 per month, and in 2015 $207 per month.

    Did you notice that last? According to the IRS bronze plans went up 1.5% from 2014 to 2015. Kaiser seems to agree regarding bronze and silver plans, 2-4 % increase 2014 to 2015.

    See here:

    https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/

    and IRS Circulars rev proc 2014-46 and 2015-15.
     
  4. Mustapha00

    Mustapha00 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    If you found only opinion in the articles to which I linked, you were looking only for opinion because those articles referenced many core sources from which their conclusions were drawn. I clearly pointed out that MY personal opinions and conclusions were just that...my opinions. But they are derived from facts.

    An article on coverage and rate increases: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/31/u...ise-on-healthcaregov-high-rate-increases.html
    Of particular interest is the high deductibles required and the premium increases granted, not merely sought, in many states.

    Another similar article: http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/01/obamacare-premiums-to-soar-3-times-faster-than-feds-claim/
    Of particular interest is that, mere days ago, we were told that Obamacare premiums would increase an average of only 7.5%. Now, the truth is that premiums will rise at an average of 20%. Yet another lie told/promise broken.

    I read the Kaiser Foundation piece you reference. It makes a very big deal of the fact that California will ask for a rate increase for 2016 of only some 2%, but it takes great pains to minimize the fact that other states, such as Minnesota, Utah, and others, rates are going to increase by many multiples of that. And they will likely get it, because....

    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/o...ignore-them-at-your-own-risk/article/2566556- in this article, the spin that a requested rate increase has little to do with actual rate increases is put to rest. Statistics- not opinion- are cited comparing the total number of rate increases sought and the size of the increases sought in both 2015 and 2016. 2016 shows far more increases sought, and those increases tend to be much higher than they were in 2015. In addition- and most crucially- 38 state exchanges sought rate increases in 2015. Of those 38 state requests, in only 4 states were all of the requests- ALL of them- not approved....and in those 4 states, only 1 increase request in each state was not approved. Only if Obama decides to play politics with the exchanges in order to make his failed plan look better would that trend not rightly continue.

    Another thing that Kaiser minimizes is that the only way those lower tier plans can offer such low rate increases to their buyers is either by dramatically increasing the subsidy (increasing the overall cost of Obamacare) or by dramatically increasing the deductible (out of pocket costs before the plan pays anything). The NY Times article I cited describes the deductibles required. If the goal of Obamacare truly was to provide affordable health care to the poorest among us, why would the plan require an individual to pay $5500 out of pocket before the insurance pays a dime?
     
  5. Konrad the mediocre

    Konrad the mediocre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Issues related to health care costs give pundits an easy way to skew facts to fit their agendas. Price increases only have a modest effect on cost/premium increases. Most people completely ignore changes in utilization in their analysis. For example, even if food prices don't change, you're going to have a bigger grocery bill when you have kids. To your point, most people look up "medical CPI" and try to compare that to their premium increases and wonder why they are so different. As you note, CPI doesn't include employer paid insurance premiums, nor does it include insurance benefits. The CPI is a consumer metric so only tracks what consumers pay and yet it generally cannot even track employee contributions to employer sponsored medical plans (this may or may not have changed recently).

    If prices increase by 5% but your plan doesn't change then a higher percentage of medical costs are paid by the insurer, leading to premium increases at a rate higher than the price increase (leverage). Then there is cost shifting. The government sets the price that providers can charge medicare patients for services, which are artificially low and is driving many providers to stop accepting new medicare patients. The result is shifting costs to the private sector to make up for this.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  6. Algona

    Algona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Mustapha, is there any chance you can provide primary sources of data? You keep linking discussions, I have dound plenty of those on both sides, unfortunately Sturgeon's Law applies. In spades.

    Take those first two links. They both discuss an Analysis but do not give a link to the actual Analysis aside from a scribd link to a meaningless table. Hard to judge validity of that Analysis without being able to read it, not? *

    The third link is talking about rate increase requests, not what was actually granted. Pretty much the same as a previous link you gave. Without historical data for comparison the numbers are meaningless.

    ----------

    My takeaway from all that I've seen, call it my op-ed if you will, is that the differing states receive wildly different requests for changes and also accept a wide amount of changes. I wonder if anyone has done work regarding why the differences? I think there might be something important hiding in there.

    To misquote Mae West, "Good data is hard to find, and hard data is good to find."



    * I;m not being anal here. Cursory inspection of the numbers given in those links with California, Florida, and New York having relatively low numbers leads me to think the 'average' of 20% is not weighted by population. But I can't tell for sure because of the dearth of data. Also no mention is made of what if any weighting was given the four plan levels.
     
  7. Konrad the mediocre

    Konrad the mediocre Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    I'm not sure exactly what you're referring to but each state requires all insurance policies issued to residents of that state to include various benefits. These mandated benefits differ from state to state and could be 1 reason for the differences you're seeing. Note that this applies to insurance policies. Plans that are self-funded are regulated by ERISA which preempt the state laws.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  8. Algona

    Algona Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2015
    Good info Konrad, thanks. One wonders how much the states differ in the requirements? I'm not sure i want to wander down that path.

    I'll try to rephrase what I mangled previously.

    The links Mustapha provided give some examples of how much different insurance companies are asking or received for 2016.

    These amounts varied tremendously from state to state and company to company.

    It would be interesting to see someone try to figure out why these large variances occur.

    Maybe California has found a secret the rest of the country could use?

    Who knows?
     
  9. cbalto1927

    cbalto1927 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2015
    Boring topic, Of course none of this really matters to anyone in US. Cbalto1927 left the conversation,,,,
     
  10. Mustapha00

    Mustapha00 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    A couple of new developments:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news...uld-replace-obamacare-with-statewid/?page=all

    Colorado is potentially taking the first step to replace Obamacare with Single-Payer. Some in that state feel that Obamacare did not go far enough- just as I contended would be the argument. What I find most interesting is what the Obama Administration would do in response to a state attempting to override Federal law. Their track record has been mixed: they have not chosen to contest Colorado's law legalizing marijuana, which is in conflict with Federal law, but chose to sue several states which attempted to enforce Federal immigration law which the Obama Administration- illegally- chooses not to enforce. So the only guiding factor in the Obama Administration deciding whether to intervene or not would seem to be whether they agree with the state law or not.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/05/half_of_state_obamacare_exchanges_failing.html

    Note that, while the link is to a clearly conservative website, the information within the article is from The Washington Post.
    A synopsys: fully half of of the state exchanges are going broke, as real-world spending far exceeded the fantasy-land estimates handed down by Obamacare officials. As any sentient being would have realized, those signing up for Obamacare were poorer than average, thus needing subsidies in order to afford coverage, and older/sicker than average, thus requiring more treatment. Young, healthy people, who were going to make up the difference by paying more than their coverage would have had they bought private insurer policies, decided to pay the penalty rather than sign up. Again, this was predicted by many on the Right and ignored by all on the Left.

    - - - Updated - - -

    You are aware that Obamacare is happening in the US, aren't you?
    If you aren't...well then thank you for leaving the conversation.
     
  11. shrekgreen

    shrekgreen Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2015
    Mustapha00 to cbalto1927 "You are aware that Obamacare is happening in the US, aren't you?" LMFAO:laugh:!!!!!
     
  12. bptexas

    bptexas Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2014
    Worlds:
    Arvahall, Brisgard, Cirgard, East Nagash
    Regarding Obamacare, and one of it's tenets: pre-existing conditions. With the expansion of DNA research, so called pre-existing conditions can be diagnosed earlier and earlier. Do we draw a line? That aside, anyone who's worked in an Emergency room or on the battlefield is familiar with basic triage. The humane thing may be to take care of everyone, but the recourses, personal, space, or even time do not exist. If we do the "humane" thing, and go "all in" on those most in need, we may be denying or delaying care to much larger numbers thus ultimately costing more. Do we save one, or do we save 10?
    One another note, since it has been determined that it's a tax, how was it possible for the senate to approve it, since only the House can approve a new tax?
     
  13. bptexas

    bptexas Active Member

    Joined:
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    Worlds:
    Arvahall, Brisgard, Cirgard, East Nagash
    LOL...We give Foreign aid to Norway and many other countries. I always find it ironic that so many mention what "other countries" are doing. They wouldn't be able to do it without our money.
     
  14. Konrad the mediocre

    Konrad the mediocre Well-Known Member

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    Nov 13, 2014
    Since when does the US give foreign aid to Norway?
     
  15. nomad richie

    nomad richie Well-Known Member

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    Mar 12, 2016
    The Senate does need to approve new taxes, it is just that Tax bill need to start in the House and then go to the Senate. Considering that almost everything that is passed gets written in each chamber and then reconciled in conference that sort of doesn't seem to apply anymore, as they can claim the conference bill is the one that started in the House modified.
     
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  16. Mustapha00

    Mustapha00 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    http://beta.foreignassistance.gov/explore

    This is a link to an interactive map. You can click on any country and see not only how much money in foreign aid that is in the FY2017 budget directed to go to that particular country but if we have sent any money to that country in the past.

    In the case of Norway, the FY2017 total is $0, but it does appear that we have given foreign aid to them at some point in the past.
     
  17. Mustapha00

    Mustapha00 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Which is yet another reason why Obamacare is unconstitutional.

    The bill originated in the Senate. The bill contains a "tax", which is the amount one owes the Federal government if one chooses not to have health insurance. Tax bills, under the Constitution, must originate in the House. Ergo, it is unconstitutional.

    Chief Justice Roberts had to rewrite the law to redefine that tax as a "penalty" because the Constitution is mute as to from which chamber of Congress bills containing a "penalty" must originate.
     
  18. JennyButler

    JennyButler Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    The bill that passed the Senate wasn’t technically a Senate bill. Reid took a bill that had already passed the House, stripped out the provisions to turn it into a “shell bill,” and then inserted the text of ObamaCare to get around this requirement. The bill that passed the Senate was H.R.3590. So the bill did originate in the House. No hanky panky, unfortunately.
     
  19. Konrad the mediocre

    Konrad the mediocre Well-Known Member

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    Nov 13, 2014
    If I'm not mistaken, the way the ruling came down is that the Democrats originally argued that it wasn't a tax when trying to pass the bill but decided it was a tax when the supreme court decided that it was unconstitutional unless it was considered a tax.

    US hasn't given Norway significant aid in 50 years. Since 2012 Maybe a total of 100k - perhaps for some extra pickled herring grants.
     
  20. jaelis

    jaelis Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2013
    My recollection was that no one had argued it was a tax, but the court decided that it essentially was. (For what little it's worth, I agree and think it should have been called that from the start.)
     

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