Obamacare’s Medicaid Population Already Costs 49% More Than Expected (and Rising)

“A government report finds that the cost of expanding Medicaid to millions more low-income people is increasing faster than expected, raising questions about a vital part of President Barack Obama’s health care law.”

[...] “But the new cost estimates could complicate things.”

“In a recent report to Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the cost of expansion was $6,366 per person for 2015, about 49 percent higher than previously estimated.”

Medicaid estimate renews cost concerns over ‘Obamacare’
By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR Associated Press
August 12, 2016 11:41 AM

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Obamacare’s DEATH SPIRAL Is Here

Let the excuses begin!

Comment: Obamacare drives up costs. That forces insurers to hike premiums, which makes healthy smart people drop out, which raises costs even more.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

“Aetna the nation’s fourth-largest health insurer, just decided to stop offering plans on Obamacare‘s exchanges in all but four states in 2017. The firm says that it was losing roughly $300 million per year on these policies. And it projected that its losses would only increase, since the share of covered individuals “in need of high-cost care” was growing, according to CEO Mark Bertolini.”

“Aetna isn’t the only insurer giving up on Obamacare. UnitedHealth, America’s biggest insurer, will sell plans in just three states next year, down from 34 this year. Humana will offer coverage in just 156 counties in 2017, 88 percent fewer than this year.”

“In other words, the insurance “death spiral” has arrived. Obamacare’s critics have long predicted that exchange plans’ high premiums and deductibles would keep all but the sickest Americans from enrolling. These people would need so much medical care that insurers would lose money no matter how much they raised premiums. Eventually, insurers would have no choice but to pull out.”

“President Obama and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have proposed a novel solution to this government-created problem — more government.”

Aetna’s Obamacare pullout means the ‘insurance death spiral’ has arrived
Sally C. Pipes, CEO, Pacific Research Institute

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UPDATE – Out of the Obamacare Frying Pan into the Single-Payer Fire

It was a peak week for concern about Obamacare. On Tuesday, the big insurance company Aetna announced it will leave the Obamacare exchanges in 11 states.  That’s 500 counties across the country that are losing another carrier.  Only one or two insurers are left in Arizona, North and South Carolina, and parts of Florida.  There were reports of a county in Arizona that may have NO Obamacare insurer next year.

 Aetna’s departure put Obamacare on the front page once again.  There were stories EVERYWHERE about how this may be the beginning of the end for the Affordable Care Act.  Many of the stories put it in terms of Obamacare being “unstable”.  That’s no surprise to Tea Partiers.  We knew from the beginning that any law forcing insurers to ignore correct underwriting principles and deliberately misprice their policies flies in the face of economic reality and cannot go on in its present form indefinitely.  How can anything that starts with such economic lunacy ever be stable?  What we have here is the stupidity of the American mastermind on full display.

I can’t predict there will be an insurance death spiral, but you know it’s bad when LIBERAL publications like the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post worry that Obamacare is unstable and ask out loud, “Can Obamacare be saved?”

 The word “unstable” gives us a rhetorical opportunity.  Just keep saying “Obamacare is unstable” every chance you get.  That should wake some people up, and it has the added virtue of being true.  Put the law’s supporters on the defensive.  Make them explain how this law is going to work when we’re getting down to one or two insurers in so many parts of the country.  You might add, “Obamacare is growing even more unstable over time, not less, as we were promised.”

 Meanwhile, the administration promised it would try to boost the number of purchasers in the next enrollment period which is coming up soon.  But the plans they’ve announced so far are a big yawn – another advertising campaign and targeting young people.  That’ll really get’em.  Make Pajama Boy Great Again!

 But we can’t spend our time gloating over Obamacare’s troubles and saying ‘see, I told you so.’  It didn’t take long after Aetna’s announcement for the single-payer crowd to start up in full cry again: ‘See, it’s those greedy insurance companies.  They’re the problem.  They’re avoiding the sick.  If it weren’t for their bad behavior, we would have had $2,500 off our insurance and been able to keep our plans, just like President Obama promised us.  So we tried the free market and it didn’t work.  The government has to put every private insurance company out of business and take over healthcare completely for these problems to be solved, once and for all.’  All of this is preposterous, of course, but even Bernie Sanders is back, promising to introduce a single-payer bill in the next Congress.

 So keep your eye on the ball.  Single-payer IS the next debate.  The Truth Squad is arming you up.  We put out the bad news about single-payer most Mondays at 10 a.m. Eastern Time, and there’s a lot of it that the supporters of single-payer want you to ignore.  So join us on Twitter and please ask your members to follow us there.  I’ll put the link in Chatzy and send it in for the wrap-up.

Links

Obamacare Truth Squad – ‘All the Bad News About Obmacare, Every Day’
https://twitter.com/ObamacreTrthSqd

“Aetna to pull out of most Obamacare exchanges”; saying good-bye to 500 counties
http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/15/news/economy/aetna-obamacare/

Arizona, North and South Carolina, Georgia and parts of Florida hurt the most; only one or two insurers left
http://khn.org/news/obamacare-marketplace-shakeout-rocks-arizona-southeast/

The flood of bad news can no longer be denied. E.g.:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-08-17/obamacare-s-in-trouble-as-insurers-tire-of-losing-money

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/291655-insurer-exit-darkens-obamacare-picture
http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20160816/NEWS/160819928/aetna-pullout-heightens-pressure-for-aca-exchange-fixes-as-elections

“The exchanges do not seem to be stabilizing; instead, they seem to be growing more unstable over time”
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-08-16/aetna-s-retreat-from-obamacare-is-more-than-it-seems

ACA inherently unstable because forces sale of mispriced insurance. #UnicornsAndRainbows
http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-unstable-economics-in-obamas-health-law-1471452938

You know it’s bad when staunch liberal publications worry aloud Obamacare is unstable.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/aetna-decision-exposes-weaknesses-in-obamas-health-care-law/2016/08/16/3bed308e-63d1-11e6-8b27-bb8ba39497a2_story.html?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_no-name%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

You know it’s bad when staunch liberal publications are asking, “Can Obamacare be Saved?”
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-saved-20160816-snap-story.html

O-admin flailing about looking for ways to boost enrollment. (Deja vu all over again. Give it up, it’s hopeless.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/us/politics/as-insurers-balk-us-makes-new-push-to-boost-health-care-act.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Dems won’t bail out insurers; angling for public option / single payer.
http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2016/08/latest-proposals-to-fix-obamacare-come.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HealthCarePolicyAndMarketplaceBlog+%28Health+Care+Policy+and+Marketplace+Blog%29

“Bernie Sanders: My single-payer plan will solve Obamacare’s problems”
http://hotair.com/archives/2016/08/17/bernie-sanders-my-single-payer-plan-will-solve-obamacares-problems/

“The case for a single-payer health plan: Aetna shows how insurers are avoiding the sick”
http://www.salon.com/2016/08/20/the-case-for-a-single-payer-health-plan-aetna-shows-how-insurers-are-avoiding-the-sick_partner/

 

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Top Tweets – Aetna Gets Out of Dodge

“Aetna to pull out of most Obamacare exchanges”; saying good-bye to 500 counties
http://money.cnn.com/2016/08/15/news/economy/aetna-obamacare/

#PremiumPain #47 – “Blue Cross asking for 60 percent rate hike for Obamacare plans in Texas in 2017”
http://bizbeatblog.dallasnews.com/2016/06/blue-cross-asking-for-60-percent-rate-hike-for-obamacare-plans-in-texas-in-2017.html/

Costs of Medicaid expansion $21 billion a year higher than the genius mastermind swindlers promised us
http://www.theintelligencer.net/opinion/editorials/2016/08/obamacare-cost-claims-falsehoods/

#KasichKalamity – Ohio Medicaid expansion has already cost $8.4B, cost overrun of $3.5B in 2+ yrs
http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2016/08/15/lawmakers-sleep-through-obamacares-medicaid-expansion-nightmare/#63b6577f544b

Kasich worked with far-left groups to push Medicaid expansion on Ohio
http://mediatrackers.org/ohio/2013/02/11/kasich-enlists-socialized-medicine-lobbyists-to-help-implement-obamacare

Blue Shield of California to furlough employees to stem the bleeding from Obamacare.
http://www.breitbart.com/california/2016/08/16/blue-shield-california-shutting-due-obamacare-losses/

Massive insurer bailouts on agenda for next President, but stoking furnace with more cash won’t solve anything
http://cnsnews.com/commentary/phil-kerpen/taxpayers-hook-obamacare-exchanges-near-edge-collapse

“Insurer participation in Obamacare will continue its steep decline next year” – getting down to 1-2 per state
http://freebeacon.com/issues/insurer-participation-in-obamacare-will-continue-decline/?utm_source=Freedom+Mail&utm_campaign=cc97c213e5-WFB_Morning_Beacon_8_18_168_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-cc97c213e5-45628225

O-admin flailing about looking for ways to boost enrollment. (Deja vu all over again. Give it up, it’s hopeless.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/18/us/politics/as-insurers-balk-us-makes-new-push-to-boost-health-care-act.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fhealth&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

You know it’s bad when staunch liberal publications are asking, “Can Obamacare be Saved?”
http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-obamacare-saved-20160816-snap-story.html

 

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It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, No, Wait–Those Are Your Obamacare PREMIUMS!

Comment: In their desperation to salvage Obamacare, its supporters have taken to claiming that premiums have actually DROPPED under the ACA. The claim is laughable given the scores of double-digit rate increases occurring across the country. Moreover, policy analysts have ripped the claim apart. Here is the first article to do so:

“Two scholars at the renowned Brookings Institution, Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg, have published an analysis finding that “average premiums in the individual market actually dropped significantly upon implementation of the ACA [Affordable Care Act].” This contrasts with a plethora of evidence, including a rigorous 2014 Brookings study, showing that the ACA significantly increased premiums. In this post, I discuss methodological concerns with the Adler and Ginsburg approach as well as evidence that leads most scholars to reach a very different conclusion.”

[...] First, unlike Adler and Ginsburg’s approach, Brookings 2014 study used actual data and found that “enrollment-weighted premiums in the individual health insurance market increased by 24.4 percent beyond what they would have had they simply followed…trends.”

Overwhelming Evidence That Obamacare Caused Premiums To Increase Substantially
Brian Blase, Contributor, Jul 28, 2016

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Another Obamacare LIE Explodes–Study: Small Employers ARE Dropping Health Benefits

Comment: To paraphrase an old wit, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and Obamacare lies.  Almost nothing we were sold about the unAffordable Act was true.

“Small businesses have been pumping the brakes on offering health benefits to their employees since 2009, according to new data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute.”

[...]

The proportion of employers offering health benefits fell between 2008 and 2015 for all three categories of small employer, EBRI found: by 36 percent for those with fewer than 10 employees, by 26 percent for those with 10 to 24 workers and by 10 percent for those with 25 to 99 workers. ”

Small Employers Pulling Back on Health Benefits Since ACA
By Kristen Ricaurte Knebel, July 29, 2016

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DEATH SPIRAL! — Another Insurance Giant Quits Obamacare’s Faltering “Exchanges”

 Comment: Told ya.

“Aetna Inc. [...] announced it will withdraw expansion plans for Affordable Care Act exchanges in response to steep financial losses and is considering future participation in its current 15-state footprint.

The Administration’s response?  “Quick, have someone from the Ministry of Truth get George Orwell on the phone…”

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the health insurance marketplace will continue to thrive “as a place where insurers compete for business and consumers have access to a range of affordable coverage options.” ”

Baghdad Bob couldn’t have said it better.

Aetna To Halt Obamacare Expansion Plans
By Stephen Singer, August 2, 2016

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The unAffordable Act Burns Entrepreneurs

Promised: “We see it as an entrepreneurial bill,” Pelosi said in May 2010.  “A bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.” –Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi

Delivered:
“Between the Federal ACA and Cuomo’s heavy handed response in New York, the ACA actively impedes entrepreneurs. Health care coverage has become the number one concern of would-be freelancers and sole proprietors I speak with [...]”

“As a lifelong Democrat, I was first deceived by our president’s “you can keep your doctor” promise and am now more discouraged than ever by the New York State of Health Marketplace. My options for regaining the comprehensive benefits I had prior to ACA are:

“a) Hire a 20 hour per week employee (who I don’t need) in order to qualify as a “small business.”

“b) Close my business and find a large employer that still offers comprehensive health plans (like the ones our elected officials are still enjoying).”

“c) Marry someone with better benefits.”

“Is this what ACA and Cuomo had in mind to encourage entrepreneurs in New York?”

By Deb Stevens,  August 2, 2016 12:01 a.m.
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UPDATE – A Tale of Two Obamacares

Tonight, I have for you ‘A Tale of Two Obamacares.

The first, as told by the Obama administration:  It was the best of times.  The Obamacare exchanges are stable, the administration has proclaimed. More young healthy people have enrolled.  As a result, the average cost of an Obamacare enrollee stayed flat between 2014 and 2015, while the average cost per enrollee went up three percent in the wider market.  This means there is a broader, healthier risk pool in the Obamacare exchanges and that is really encouraging and exciting news, CMS says.  Except it’s all guesswork. The risk pool has not substantially improved, one expert says.  Costs per enrollee are not coming down, as the administration said they would when the sickest got the care they needed.  Besides, the data is a year old, so we don’t know what happened in terms of average costs this year.  Also, you don’t hear insurers saying, ‘Gee, costs are stabilizing. Guess we don’t need those 40 percent increases after all.’  The administration is obviously seizing on any number it can, to make things look good.  It’s easy to make fun of their rosy outlook, given the scores of stories about premium increases and insurers leaving the exchanges.  But the real take-away is that the administration is finally admitting that Obamacare can’t work without shafting young people, something us Tea Partiers knew a long time ago.

Now for the second tale.  It was the worst of times. The next President might have to deal with an Obamacare meltdown in the very first month of a new administration.  Sign-ups begin right before the election and end right before the inauguration.  Last year, only 11 million people signed up for Obamacare – and not all of them paid their first premium.  That’s far lower than the Obama administration’s initial boast that 21 million people would sign up, and far lower that what some experts say is needed to sustain the marketplace. So far, young people have stayed away in droves, leaving the risk pool much older and sicker than the administration represented when it was selling us this bilge.  Many insurers have already called it quits after seeing the real world results and others are expected to leave if there isn’t a big bump in enrollment this time around.  Meanwhile, the risk corridor subsidies for insurers haven’t materialized. Profitable companies were supposed to give money to unprofitable companies, but that’s hard to do when most of them are losing money.  Right now, all five top insurers in the Obamacare exchanges say they are losing money on Obamacare plans. “We’re basically seeing the exchanges unravel,” one expert says, while another says the insurance companies are just posturing, hoping to get more subsidies out of Washington.

Epilogue:  The administration can spin the numbers any way it wants, but ask yourself this question:  If things are going so great on the Obamacare exchanges, why is the administration now asking states to kick in their own money and start reinsurance programs to subsidize the insurers themselves?  That sounds like an admission to me that Washington can’t save Obamacare and we need the states to do it.  I don’t have a crystal ball, but good luck with that.

Links

“Next president faces possible ObamaCare meltdown”
http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/291056-next-president-faces-possible-obamacare-meltdown

“Feds: Early ObamaCare data ‘encouraging’”
http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/291156-feds-early-obamacare-data-as-encouraging

O-admin : Obamacare has failed. Please, pretty please, states, create your own reinsurance programs to subsidize insurers.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2016/08/14/how-the-white-house-aims-to-push-obamacare-risk-onto-states/#11b57c086d07

 

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RATE-QUAKE Hits CoveredCA, 13.2% Avg. Hike !

Comment: Here’s the latest (but not the ‘lastest’) installment on that “savings” Obamacare promised you… enjoy it while it lasts!

“Covered California, the biggest state public health exchange, is implementing some hefty price increases for California residents who use the e-commerce platform to enroll or re-enroll for healthcare insurance.

For the next enrollment season that begins Nov. 1 and runs until Jan. 31, 2017, the average cost of buying a health insurance policy will increase by about 13.2%

Covered California ups health insurance prices by double digits

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