Saturday, March 8, 2014

Affordable Care Act II

The Affordable Care Act is much more than health care financing and healthcare.  As time elapses and the internal workings of the ACA as well as reactionary events on the part of insurers take  hold there will be many surprises.

Some have already ocurred.

Politics and political correctness have created  an image of ‘consumerism’ for health care.  That image creates a “Wild West”, rather than a scientific approach.  It  created the illusion that health care has been a ‘free market’.  That is not true.  Access to care is throttlel by employers who chose what plans employees can access, and there are regional and state differences as well. Layer upon that limitation  providers and hospitals select the plans they accept. Some of these plans refuse to accept certain policies due to low reimbursement and/or cumbersome bureaucratic requirements.

The ACA has levelled the field in some respects by standardizing the offerings among health insurance companies.

It is still too early in the adoption of the ACA, however some ‘cracks’  have appeared.

Consumer Power Report

Contributors: Heartland Institute (Benjamin Domenech), The Washington Examiner,Michael Canon, The Arkansas Times, The Hill, Time, the  John Loche Foundation, The Daily Beast,

Obamacare is affordable, so long as it’s outside Obamacare

The Washington Examiner reports there are many cheap and affordable plans, if they look outside the Obamacare Exchanges. A careful study compared the offerings of the healthcare.gov health benefit exchanges vs private wesites, such as e-HealthInsurance, and finder.healthcare.gov. President Obama enabled this by unlawfully altering subsidies to include policies outside health.gov.

Since the ACA was passed the Obama administration has used the law of  “standing” to implement the act.

This change introduced the concept of ‘moral hazard’ whereby lower copays lead to more demand for provider visits, and conversely higher copays will cause exchange patients to avoid visits to the doctor. This feature creates differences in cost sharing and prompted insurers to consider ‘declatory judgement’ to challenge the new guidance OBAMACARE’s health exchanges will also trigger illegal taxes against employers.

The Obama administration is in a rush to enroll as many people as possible to create as much difficulty for repeal in 2017 . Human nature being what it is , who would give up a free product ?  It is still too early to know how effecive, or not the exchanges have been until March 31 when enrollment ends for 2014 and we find how many actually paid their first premium.

Politics play a major role in the recurring delays implementing the Affordable Care Act.

This week the White House will announce a new directive to allow insurers to continue offering health plans that do not meet OBAMACARE’S  minimum coverage requirements. The ‘keep your plan’ fix avoids another wave of policy cancellations. The timing of the delays is more than fascinating. The extensions go beyond the midterm November elections and in some cases beyond the the end of Obama’s last term. Obama

Could the Affordable Care Act be a thinly disguised ‘bail out’ for an industry responsible for 1/6th of the economy?  We have witnessed bail outs for two other ‘too big to fail’ segments of the economy, the financial and the automobile industry.  There are some aspects to this thought.

The initial goal of recruiting young people has still not been accomplished and will not be known until the enrollment deadline of March 31 when final figures become availabale of who has paid premiums.

The 2015 White House Budget includes a ‘slush’ fund of $ 5.5 billion for Obamacare. The ACA creates a temporary pool of money known as risk corridors to pay for insurers who enroll a higher-than-expeted number of sick patients through 2016. The financial device intends to transfer money from lower risk plans to higher ris plans to keep premium prices stable.  Republicans say the government is likely to be is likely to make some of those payments, which they say would be  tantamount to a taxpayer bailout of the insurance industry.

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