Obama Administration Fudges Obamacare Premium Numbers

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The Obama administration has released a new report about the cost of health insurance under Obamacare entitled, “Significant choice and lower than expected premiums available in the new Health Insurance Marketplace.” The wording was no doubt picked very carefully, because while the premiums for insurance might be lower than expected they’re much higher than what Americans are paying now.

Today, during a White House press briefing, Obama administration spokesman Jay Carney was asked by Fox News reporter Ed Henry why the report they issued compared current premiums to previous projections rather than real-world prices Americans are paying right now.

Because it’s not an “apples-to-apples” comparison, responded Carney. Rather “it’s an apple full of worms compared to an apple that’s fresh and delicious.”

Carney is suggesting that it’s not fair to compare Obamacare prices that will soon be available on government exchanges with prices Americans are currently paying because the Obamacare policies carry new care mandates that increase the quality of the insurance.

Of course, the fact that Obamacare makes health insurance less customizable is sort of the problem isn’t it? Most people would consider the ability to customize their plans, rejecting coverages they don’t need or want in favor of lower prices, to be an important feature I’d think.

Obama Administration Fudges Obamacare Premium Numbers | Say Anything.

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Tennessee: Obamacare will triple men’s premiums, double women’s

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Remember this report is from the White House, not the GAO.

The White House on Wednesday released a report on the costs of Obamacare for most Americans, heralding its interpretation that 95 percent of the nation will be able to buy health insurance premiums below “earlier projections.”

Tennessee: Obamacare will triple men's premiums, double women's | WashingtonExaminer.com

But note the words “earlier projections.” That doesn’t mean that the insurance Americans will have to buy, or be fined, under Obamacare will be cheaper than what they pay today, before Obamacare kicks in.

We know this because at the same time the White House was releasing its broad study, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander released his analysis of the report’s portion on his state. He found that Obamacare will cost far more than what many of his constituents are paying today, some by as much as 190 percent.

From his release:

— Today, a 27-year-old man in Memphis can buy a plan for as low as $41 a month. On the exchange, the lowest state average is $119 a month — a 190 percent increase.

— Today, a 27-year-old woman in Nashville can also buy a plan for as low as $58 a month. On the exchange, the lowest-priced plan in Nashville is $114 a month — a 97 percent increase. Even with a tax subsidy, that plan is $104 a month, almost twice what she could pay today.

— Today, women in Nashville can choose from 30 insurance plans that cost less than the administration says insurance plans on the exchange will cost, even with the new tax subsidy.

— In Nashville, 105 insurance plans offered today will not be available in the exchange.

Said the Republican senator, “Why should a 27-year-old male in Memphis be forced to pay nearly three times more than what he pays today for health insurance? Why should a young woman in Nashville have to pay twice as much? This isn’t what President Obama promised Tennesseans, but it’s what he’s giving them — higher costs and less choice — that are two of the most urgent reasons Obamacare must be repealed and our health care system fixed.”

The White House blog, however, focused on other states and details in its report.

“Nearly all eligible uninsured Americans (about 95%) live in states with average premiums below earlier projections. And nearly all consumers (about 95%) will have a choice of health insurance companies, each of which offers a number of different plans,” wrote Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy.

She focused on Texas, not Tennessee: “Premiums are even lower for workers and families qualifying for tax credits. For example, in Texas, an average 27-year-old with income of $25,000 could pay $83 for the lowest-cost bronze plan, $133 for the lowest-cost silver plan, and $145 per month for the second lowest-cost silver plan after tax credits. For a family of four in Texas with income of $50,000, they could pay $57 per month for the lowest bronze plan, $239 for the lowest silver plan, and $282 per month for the second lowest-cost silver plan.”

Tennessee: Obamacare will triple men’s premiums, double women’s | WashingtonExaminer.com.

Poll: Only 31 Percent Believe Obamacare a Good Idea

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A large number of Americans continue to adamantly oppose the nation’s new health-care law and believe it will produce damaging results, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Forty-four percent of respondents call the health-care law a bad idea, while 31 percent believe it’s a good idea — virtually unchanged from July’s NBC/WSJ survey.

By a 45 percent to 23 percent margin, Americans say it will have a negative impact on the country’s health-care system rather than a positive one.

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Attendees cheer at the Tea Party Patriots ‘Exempt America from Obamacare’ rally on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, September 10, 2013.

And 30 percent of respondents think it will have a negative impact on their families. Just 12 percent think it will be positive and a majority — 53 percent — don’t believe it will have an impact one way or another.

Responses to an open-ended question in the poll about the law are especially revealing, showing little has changed in the public’s perception as the Obama administration races to meet implementation deadlines next month.

“We’re going to get worse health care, and it’s going to increase the debt,” said one Republican-leaning female from North Carolina. “There are death panels in there, and they’re going to decide whether people get treatment or not.”

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Poll: Obamacare remains highly unpopular as implementation looms – First Read.

Report: House GOP Leadership Plan Procedural Trick to Avoid Obamacare Funding Fight

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Sources close to House conservative leaders have confirmed to Breitbart News that House GOP leadership is planning to cave and fund Obamacare’s implementation for at least the rest of 2013.

Text of the Continuing Resolution (CR) that will fund the government for 60-75 days will be released on Tuesday, the conservative source said, before a House vote on Thursday. The move comes abruptly as conservatives are ramping up their final push on House leadership with a big Tea Party rally outside the Capitol on Tuesday calling for Obamacare’s defunding.

House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman Michael Steel told Breitbart News the “CR will include defunding ObamaCare,” but would not specify whether or not a certain procedural “trick” the GOP leadership used in a similar situation in 2011 will be employed yet again.

Breitbart News’ source, a high-ranking conservative movement figure close to House conservatives, said that this CR from House leadership will continue to pay for Obamacare’s implementation without cutting from current levels of taxpayer funding for the healthcare law’s rollout, despite claims from Boehner’s office it will “include defunding ObamaCare.” The source said the budget riders that will be attached to the CR can be removed easily by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, allowing him to pass a CR through the Senate funding Obamacare–a procedural move that does not require the House to revisit its CR and makes the Senate version final.

The source added that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is “shopping an idea of passing defund through the House with the CR, but with a mechanism that would allow it to be decoupled in the Senate, defeated, and then the base CR be passed without coming back to the House.”

The source said the conservative movement should “reject and pan” this “trick” from Cantor, which allows House GOP members to claim they voted to defund Obamacare but allows Reid to strip out budget riders defunding Obamacare and pass a Senate CR without them.

In rushing the CR to the floor for a vote, Breitbart News’ source said that House GOP leadership will put votes on whether the U.S. should authorize use of military force in Syria off until next week.

Politico has also confirmed the GOP leadership’s plans, reporting that Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner are “dusting off an old legislative gambit from April 2011 as one way to move ahead this week with a stopgap spending bill for the first months of the new fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.”

“The goal is to give conservatives a vote on defunding health care reform without resulting in a government shutdown,” Politico’s David Rogers wrote. “It’s worked before, but ‘before’ is the operative word.”

Report: House GOP Leadership Plan Procedural Trick to Avoid Obamacare Funding Fight.

Feds are building a detective squad to target consumers and companies that don’t follow Obamacare

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Just one more reason to DEFUND Obamacare:

 

More than 1,600 new employees hired by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources in the aftermath of Obamacare’s passage include just two described as ‘consumer safety’ officers, but 86 tasked with ‘criminal investigating’ – indicating that the agency is building an army of detectives to sleuth out violations of a law that many in Congress who supported it still find confusing.

On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, HHS received authority from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to make as many as 1,814 new hires under an emergency ‘Direct Hiring Authority’ order.

The Obama administration ordered that employment expansion despite a government-wide hiring freeze.

 

A total of 1,684 of those positions were filled. An analysis by MailOnline shows that at 2010 federal government salary rates, the new employees’ salaries alone cost the U.S. at least $138.8 million every year.

Had the agency filled all its available jobs, that cost would have been a minimum of $159 million.

The hiring began in May 2010 and continued through June 2013, making the later hires eligible for higher salaries as a result of annual cost-of-living increases.

The difference between what HHS spent on new Obamacare-related employees and what it was authorized to spend is explained by its failure to hire most of the 261 ‘consumer safety officers’ it was authorized to bring aboard. Only two such employees were hired.

But while OPM authorized HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Resources Denise Carter — later renamed Denise Wells — to hire 50 criminal investigators, the agency increased that numberto 86 on its own.

After MailOnline lodged a Freedom Of Information Request with HHS, the agency sent aspreadsheet containing records of the positions it filled, along with the salary level for each one on the government’s ‘GS’ hiring scale.

On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, HHS received authority to make 1,814 new hires. Obama is pictured here on August 15

On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, HHS received authority to make 1,814 new hires. Obama is pictured here on August 15

 

The lowest salary on the list was for a single contracting officer at Grade 7, Step 1, an annual rate of about $42,350, including a so-called ‘differential’ payments. Those increases are given to all federal employees in order to adjust for regional cost-of-living differences.

The highest salary in 2010 dollars, including that differential payment, was about $161,450, earned by a total of 29 new employee. They include health insurance administrators, contracting officers and information technology managers.

The fleet of 86 new criminal investigators are earning a range of compensation between $51,800 and $89,350, according to the 2010 salary tables and differential payment guidelines.

Judicial Watch, a nonprofit that has told MailOnline it files ‘hundreds’ of FOIA requests, first published evidence in July of the HHS hiring binge.

‘Sounds like we now have the Obamacare police,’ said the group’s president, Tom Fitton, after MailOnline showed him the new data.

‘Given the confusion and problems of the law’s implementation, we would need a small army to police all the waste, fraud, and abuse that is already evident.’

Heritage Action for America, a conservative lobby group that opposes implementation of the Affordable Care Act, told MailOnline that it sees the hiring of criminal investigators inside HHS as a sign that its position is more and more defensible.

‘The Obama administration continues to assert near unilateral power when it comes to Obamacare,’ said Dan Holler, the group’s communications director.

‘This blatant disregard for the rule of law raises serious questions as to how these new criminal investigators will behave, what guidelines they will follow and who will provide much-needed oversight.’

Heritage Action is circulating a letter this week, penned by freshman GOP Rep. Mark Meadows, calling on 100 House Republicans to ‘take the steps necessary to defund Obamacare in its entirety, including on a year-end funding bill like a continuing resolution.’

The Department of Health and Human Services didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but it responded to MailOnline’s FOIA request within the number of days the statute permits.

Feds are building a detective squad to target consumers and companies that don’t follow Obamacare | Mail Online.

CBO: One-Year Delay of Employer Mandate Increases Spending, Debt, and Dependence

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“The CBO estimates the administration’s action will lead to about half a million additional people receiving government subsidies, including through #ObamaCare’s Exchanges…Which makes the president’s delay of the employer mandate and anti-fraud provisions consistent with his administration’s goal of hooking enough voters on government subsidies to affect electoral outcomes and votes in Congress.”

The Congressional Budget Office has released its cost estimate of the Obama administration’s one-year repeal delay of ObamaCare’s employer mandate and anti-fraud provisions. The CBO expects the Obama administration’s unilateral rewriting of federal law (my words, not CBO’s) will increase federal spending by $3 billion in 2014 and reduce federal revenues by a net $9 billion, thereby increasing the federal debt by $12 billion. If President Obama keeps this up, Congress may have to raise the debt ceiling or something.

Where is that $3 billion of new spending going? The CBO estimates the administration’s action will lead to about half a million additional people receiving government subsidies, including through ObamaCare’s Exchanges:

All told, as a result of the announced changes and new final rules, roughly 1 million fewer people are expected to be enrolled in employment-based coverage in 2014 than the number projected in CBO’s May 2013 baseline, primarily because of the one-year delay in penalties on employers. Of those who would otherwise have obtained employment-based coverage, roughly half will be uninsured and the others will obtain coverage through the exchanges or will enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), CBO and JCT estimate.

Which makes the president’s delay of the employer mandate and anti-fraud provisions consistent with his administration’s goal of hooking enough voters on government subsidies to affect electoral outcomes and votes in Congress.

 

CBO: One-Year Delay of Employer Mandate Increases Spending, Debt, and Dependence | Cato @ Liberty.

Another key Obamacare provision delayed until 2015

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I don’t know about you, but I can’t afford $6,350 out of my pocket every year. And another thing is where does the President get the authority to change a law Congress passed? This is the 2nd time he’s done this in a month on his own. The Consitution ONLY give Congress law making or changing authority.

Hidden in a maze of legal jargon is another key provision of Obamacare: the administration has delayed a consumer protection law that sets limits on the costs of health care, giving some insurers the option to raise prices until 2015.

The consumer protection law was created to limit out-of-pocket healthcare costs, such as co-pays and deductibles, to $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family – but under the long-unnoticed provision, these limits will be delayed for one year.

The year-long grace period will allow certain insurance companies to set higher limits or no limits on the cost of health care when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in 2014. With no limits, American consumers might be required to pay $6,350 a year for doctor and hospital care, as well as an extra $6,350 for a prescription drug plan – and for some, these costs might be even higher.

Federal officials confirmed the one year delay in implementing the consumer protection law to the New York Times, explaining that it is necessary to give certain insurers and employers more time to comply with President Barack Obama’s hallmark health care legislation, since many of them use multiple companies to provide medical care and benefits. Sometimes, these companies cannot communicate with one another through their computer systems, thus making it difficult to coordinate to come up with a combined out-of-pocket limit.

A senior administration official defended the year-long consumer protection delay, telling the Times that “we had to balance the interests of consumers with concerns of health plan sponsors and carriers, which told us that their computer systems were not set up to aggregate all of a person’s out-of-pocket costs.”

Avik Roy, a Forbes contributor, argued that the delay solely benefits insurers and employers, and has no benefit for individuals hoping for affordable health care.

“Exactly how is it in consumers’ interests to pay far more for health insurance than they already do?” he wrote. “It’s not. Unless you have a serious, chronic condition, in which care you may benefit from the fact that law forces healthy people to subsidize your care. To progressives, this is a holy grail. But for economically rationed individuals, it’s yet another reason to drop out of the insurance market altogether.”

The delay was noted on the Department of Labor’s website since February, but went unnoticed until this week, buried in legal jargon and confusing bureaucratic language. The revelation comes just a few weeks before the opening of health care exchanges on October 1, and a few months before the Affordable Care Act takes effect in 2014.  Republicans and Obamacare critics are continuing to fight its implementation, and House Republicans have voted 40 times to remove it.

News of the delay on out-of-pocket limits has been particularly outrageous for critics, since the president previously pledged to keep costs low.

“We’ll place a limit on how much you can be charged for out-of-pocket expenses, because no one in America should go broke because they get sick,” President Barack Obama said in a weekly address in 2009 – a promise that he repeated on at least one other occasion.

Continue reading:

Another key Obamacare provision delayed until 2015 — RT USA.

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