Morning Action: The #Obamacare Nightmare
OBAMACARE NIGHTMARE. The Washington Examiner reports on information from an insurance industry source regarding the confusion and problems resulting from the glitches on the federal health care website.
The Administration deliberately made the process of singing up on the website extremely complex in order to disguise the true cost of the health plans being offered:
Administration officials imposed these extra steps because they didn’t want consumers to see the base price of the health insurance plans offered – which are inflated by new regulations – before the system could collect their income data and calculate what they’d pay in premiums after receiving government subsidies.
Not only this, but insurers are seeing duplicate enrollments, and they fear the website won’t “be able to properly communicate with a massive federal data hub to verify applicants’ income accurately, calculate subsidies they may be entitled to under the law, and display the correct plan price.” Finally, they are concerned that the federal website may not display information properly abut plan deductibles, co-payments, and benefits.
Yet, the Administration continues to sweep these issues under the rug:
Administration officials have emphasized that Americans have until the end of next March to purchase health plans through the exchanges.
But insurers are focused on a much earlier date: Jan. 1. That’s when the insurance plans will start to become active. The nightmare scenario for insurers would be if, at the beginning of the new year, they are bombarded by complaints from consumers who, based on information displayed on the federal website, were expecting a certain set of benefits that don’t correspond to the plans to which they signed up.
OBAMACARE FAILURES. The Washington Examiner also notes that the problems with Healthcare.gov may be devastating for the law:
This doesn’t even get to the broader health policy issue. The success of Obamacare hinges on the exchanges being able to enroll enough young and healthy individuals to offset the cost of covering older and sicker patients, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.
Given that Americans with higher medical costs are more likely to endure an arduous enrollment process than healthier individuals, sustained technological problems could be devastating to the program.
OBAMA. After weeks of ensuring us that he would not negotiate, especially on Obamacare, President Obama expressed his willingness Wednesday night, shortly before Congress passed legislation to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, to “work with anybody” to address the nation’s most pressing issues. He said Washington can move forward “by addressing the real issues [the American people] care about.”
Apparently, however, that doesn’t include Obamacare – his massive government takeover of healthcare in America, which is going swimmingly… in his eyes. These Americans don’t agree with him, as they watch their premiums rise and their hours at work reduced because of Obamacare.
INCREASED PREMIUMS. The deal struck by the House and Senate and signed by President Obama may have ended the partial government shutdown and raised the debt limit, but it did nothing to protect America from the ravages of Obamacare:
Congressional leaders have been congratulating themselves on reaching a deal to spend more of our money—a deal that keeps their own special Obamacare treatment.
But while they were arguing about it, regular people have been reeling from the horror of Obamacare’s insurance hikes.
That’s right—Members of Congress and their staffs are still getting their taxpayer-funded subsidies to pay for their health insurance.
That $5,000 for individual coverage or $11,000 for family coverage will come in pretty handy for them if they’re shopping on the Obamacare exchanges, where Heritage research shows premiums are up in nearly every state.
Congress has ignored the shocked outcry from Americans opening letters from their insurance companies.
GETTING PAID. Though Healthcare.gov is still not working, those hired by the federal government to build the health care website and get it running are still getting paid millions of taxpayer dollars, and millions more than originally expected, which calls into question the contract oversight:
A Reuters review of government documents shows that the contract to build the federal Healthcare.gov online insurance website – key to President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform – tripled in potential total value to nearly $292 million as new money was assigned to the work beginning in April this year.
The increase coincided with warnings from federal and state officials that the information technology underlying the online marketplaces, or exchanges, where people could buy Obamacare health insurance was in trouble.
“Why this went from a ceiling of $93.7 million to $292 million is hard to fathom,” said Scott Amey, general counsel at the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group that analyzes government contracting.
“Something changed. It suggests they ran into problems and knew last spring that they couldn’t do it for $93.7 million. They just blew through the original ceiling. Where was the contract oversight?”
BUSINESS OWNERS. Business owners are very concerned about how much their insurance costs will rise under Obamacare, and some are hesitant to expand as a result of the law’s burdensome costs and regulations:
Jim Williams with Woodbury and Co. says that fear could likely become a reality.
“We are seeing prices go up anywhere from 15 to 20 percent to 100 percent it just depends on their individual group,” explained Williams. He says the new law requires more coverage, forcing plans to include things like maternity benefits, unlimited mental health and substance abuse benefits. Williams says since companies have to cover more benefits it could cost more money for them and their employees.
One Human Resource director, who works at a company with 40 employees, says it will make her company think twice before expanding.
“As far as going over 50, it’s a concern for us because we know there will be more compliance and greater regulations that we will have to deal with and higher costs for us – so it’s a concern,” said Sharon Hovanski.