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ACA Fail Fractal
Gray Lady Sweats As Obamacare Premium Hikes Loom

A front page story at the New York Times gives some bad news to die-hard blue readers: Obamacare price hikes appear to be coming, and they could be much worse than the President hoped. As Robert Pear tells NYT readers, insurance companies around the country are asking regulators for 20 to 40 percent price hikes as costs under Obamacare are turning out to be higher than expected.

There are some hollow words from unnamed federal regulators who claim to be ‘determined’ to scale the rate requests back, but the pesky numbers appear to favor the insurance companies’ case. The problem? The patients who enrolled in the programs were older and sicker than ‘expected’, meaning that it costs more to cover them.

How big of a deal is this? Ask Oregon’s PIRG, which put out a statement after the state’s commissioner found the rate hike requests by the insurance companies were largely justified by the costs. Again, from the NYT:

“Rate increases will be bigger in 2016 than they have been for years and years and will have a profound effect on consumers here. Some may start wondering if insurance is affordable or if it’s worth the money.”

Oops.

These aren’t the kind of Obamacare stories Democrats will want as 2016 approaches, but if next year’s rate resets are anything like the disaster that seems to be shaping up in 2015, Obamacare may be more of an albatross around the party’s neck than a star in its crown. Could John Roberts be the sneakiest GOP partisan ever?

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  • Boritz

    …an albatross around the party’s neck…”

    We have consistently heard that the herd truly appreciates ACA to the extent that they would not opt for repeal and don’t want to go back to pre-Obamacare. What albatross? They believe themselves to have been done a favor.

  • Blackbeard

    They will just blame the rate increases on greedy insurance companies. This will be taken as evidence that the evil, profit-seeking private sector shouldn’t be involved in health care and therefore the government should take over. This will bring us to single payer, a la the NHS. this was the plan all along.

    • Proud Skeptic

      Read the comments section of the article. That’s pretty much what many of them are saying. Hope springs eternal and the Progressive heart never learns. Somehow it manages to look all around at the pathetic waste integral to the Federal Government and still believe that if it takes over healthcare it will get better and cheaper.

  • Proud Skeptic

    Best of all is the comment in the article by Silvia Burwell.

    “Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said that federal subsidies would soften the impact of any
    rate increases.”

    The only costs a political party cares about are the costs borne by its constituencies. Any increase in cost to the rest of the country doesn’t count.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Hillary Clinton recently warned an audience that a GOP president and GOP Congress WILL repeal the ACA if they are put into office together. Wiley ole John Roberts (as described here) would have to be relying on Americans’ profound stupidity to seek the conservatives to repeal ACA when those conservatives NEVER really tell you in detail what you’d get next.

    • JR

      Well, if ACA turns into a mechanism that increases costs 20 to 40% a year PER year, than I guess the only detail people will need to hear is “Not that!”. So far, every prediction of people who have said that ACA will be a fiscal disaster have proven to be disturbingly prescient.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Only a moron (not you, an average consumer) would say “anything but THAT” on something as absolutely critical to family solvency as health insurance.

        People need to know that the ONLY Republican plan is to “sell insurance across state lines”, meaning repeal of federal policy standards and dilution of 49 states’ policy standards to those of the least-regulated GOP state—-from which something cheaper (but not at all good) would suddenly be available.
        Employers would then switch their groups to THAT and dare employees to challenge their decision. The only way for average people so stem this tide is to keep their federal policy standards—-you know, the ones conservatives make fun of.

        • JR

          I agree with you. Health insurance is important. The thing is, if you have a 30% increase in 2015 and then 30% increase in 2016, all of a sudden insurance, which wasn’t THAT cheap in 2014 is costing almost 70% more in 2016. That’s real money, especially if ZIRP is lifted and issuing debt will start to be more of an issue. If somebody takes something that is vital and makes it cost 70% more in 2 years, that is not a good look. The point of ACA was always to increase coverage, not to decrease costs. And now, like all government programs, it is over budget and under delivering. The % of people on subsidies means that this is another huge unfunded liability.
          Look at Greece. Huge unfunded liabilities do come due.

          • Dale Fayda

            Not to forget that over 2/3 of those who received Obamacare subsidies in 2014 are now having to pay them back, to the tune of $700+ per household. I’m sure that what an unexpected kick in the you-know-whats for the Obamabots.

            Every time the government twitches its horny tail, another financial disaster ensues.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I hadn’t heard that anyone who correctly estimated 2014 income on Healthcare.gov is paying back any substantial portion of their subsidies. Why would they be?

          • Dale Fayda

            You haven’t heard, ha? Well, let me hip you to this: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/apr/27/66-pct-obamacare-customers-paid-back-subsidies-irs/?page=all.

            Feel free to Google it yourself, if this link doesn’t convince you.

          • FriendlyGoat

            I clicked your link and got nothing but a headline and ads with the story blocked out.

          • Dale Fayda

            Try this one: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3284110/posts or this one: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/two-in-three-obamacare-beneficiaries-had-to-repay-subsidies/article/2563701.

            If that doesn’t work, Google: H&R Block 2/3 paying back Obamacare subsidies. Lots of recent articles on this development.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Okay, I got the story at the washingtonexaminer link you provided, but it doesn’t include any surprises—-to me, anyway. Those subsidies are VERY income-sensitive and rely upon applicants’ advance estimates of income. If the estimates were “off”, then they adjust to a correct subsidy and fix any over-or-under after a real tax return is filed. What’s wrong with that? I mean, the government was giving people money in advance based upon an advance guess of income. The adjustment may be inconvenient for people who mis-estimated, but what else could we expect when the government is GIVING people money IN ADVANCE?

          • Dale Fayda

            Have you thrown up on your keyboard from “twisting” this much yet? My original point was that a huge number of Oabamcare recipients were in for a very unpleasant surprise come tax time, were they not? How many expected to have to pay back a sizable chunk of their subsidy money, in some cases thousands of dollars, to the IRS?

            “The adjustment may be inconvenient for people who mis-estimated…” It looks like virtually everyone receiving Obamacare subsidies mis-estimated, mostly to their own detriment, wouldn’t you say?

            And this nightmare is going to happening EVERY year. There is literally NO way to plan for this monstrosity of a rationing program. Household incomes fluctuate wildly, not just from year to year, but often from quarter to quarter. Household size and composition changes all the time – births, adoptions, divorce, deaths, grown children leaving, etc. This clusterf*#$k is going to be an annual occurrence now, for millions and millions of people.

            Now, as you know, if you owe money to the IRS, they will want it back immediately, whereas they will surely take their sweet time with overpayment refunds, which you may get in the form of a check or a tax credit eventually. That’s a PR win for the Democrats, ha?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I already know you don’t like ACA, but it’s TRYING to put fair subsidies into the hands of people who need them IN ADVANCE.
            No one is being hoodooed by the IRS on this. People go to the exchange, get subsidy help based on what THEY input, get it ADVANCED to them and then have a reconciliation after the fact to an amount that syncs with their final reported income. You need to find some other reason to pitch a big fit. This one ain’t working.

          • Dale Fayda

            Pitching a fit? Once again, you misread me entirely, FG. I’m only pointing out yet ANOTHER Obamacare failure. Or are you going to tell me that it was the Democrats’ intention to create yet another massive tax boondogle which the IRS will be powerless/unwilling to resolve?

            As I mentioned above, this idiocy will be taking place EVERY years as long as this abortion of a law is in effect. According to the likes of you, that means “forever”. Face it, this is the only way this process can happen with this law, as currently structured and with the “friendly” IRS in charge of it. As I asked you before, do you think this is a PR winner for the Democrats?

            “…but it’s TRYING to put fair subsidies into the hands of people who need them IN ADVANCE”. Liberals always insist on being judged on their supposed “good intentions”, never on their disastrous results. Your defense of this pile of puke has degenerated into something like: “yeah, I know it’s not working, but the Republicans are mean”.

            Truly, liberalism is a mental disorder.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Like I said, I already know you don’t like ACA. I do, so we differ.
            What’s new?

          • FriendlyGoat

            I’m not against cost control. We have not done nearly as much as we could be doing by forcing all pricing into the light of day—-in advance.
            We are not getting the proper benefit of “sticker shock” because we have been systematically hiding the stickers from people for decades.

            But, the GOP approach to health care cost control—-as far as I can determine—–is to tell everyone in the working class or below that “You can’t afford health care. Don’t access it. If you do, and your poor wages do not justify what the doctors and corporations charged you, then go bankrupt and never have a financial life again.”

            I mean, that sounds over-the-top on my part, but what else have they got—–really?

          • JR

            You make a good point. I feel like it deserves a real answer that i currently don’t have time for. But I will soon. Be well…

          • FriendlyGoat

            You too.

          • Dan

            What’s wrong with opening up the insurance market to out of state companies? (As a start) works for auto, life, homeowners, etc..

          • FriendlyGoat

            Republicans tell us we need to sell insurance across state lines in order to enhance competition. Us citizens hearing this are being invited to believe there are other carriers not now licensed in our home states who are just dying to sell us something better and cheaper than we can get from our state-licensed insurers. We “want” to believe the magic of competition will help us.

            I believe it WILL NOT. First of all, the GOP idea of selling across state lines is conditioned on their expected repeal of ACA including all federal policy standards created by ACA. Then we would return to state policy standards. The GOP goal is not, as an example, to let a carrier from Mississippi sell Colorado-approved insurance into Colorado. Any carrier can already do that by getting a Colorado license. The GOP goal is for a Mississippi carrier to be able to sell Mississippi-approved insurance into Colorado, and bypass any Colorado state standards that the Colorado legislature or Colorado insurance commissioner has in place.

            Though no one is talking about it, what this MEANS is that the poorest insurance standards in the country, the 50th worst state rules anywhere, would suddenly become “acceptable” standards for every state—-forced on 49 other states from Congress if the GOP has its way. EVERYONE, not just purchasers of individual policies on the exchange, should be alarmed about this, because the terms of employers’ group plans could eventually be changed too—-down to those Mississippi (or whatever state is worst) standards. The GOP-controlled states might even start racing to the bottom on standards at the request of insurers offering to “locate” in a particular state. Republicans NEVER mention any of these consequences when they fast-mumble about getting “common-sense competition”, etc. Citizens need to know that THEY will be the ones set up to do the competing—-for corporations—-and not the other way around.

  • Dan

    Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

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