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All items for May, 2016


Managing Points Of View and Healthcare

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACE, MACE

Finally, it is official. Ben Rhodes, the deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, admitted that the Obama administration lied about the Iranian Nuclear deal to the press, public and congress.

His interview with David Samuels in a New York Times Magazine typified the approach to manipulating the truth by the Obama administration in all areas of the administration’s activities.

The administration has been trying to walk back Ben Rhodes’ statements for a week. The traditional media is trying to bury his statements even though the king of the mainstream media (the New York Times) published the interview.

The justification for this behavior is that it has been used by all-previous administrations including that of George Bush. It is therefore an insignificant objection.

Ben Rhodes explained to David Samuels, in the New York Times profile that,it was first necessary to lie to a corrupted and inexperienced American media about all sorts of things, beginning with the nature and intentions of the enemy in this case the Iranian regime.

Subsequent lies were added, as the White House took advantage of a dangerous mix of journalists’ ignorance, their ideological and partisan commitment to the administration, and finally, their career aspirations.

It reminds me of Jonathan Gruber’s attitude toward the press and President Obama’s pretense that he hardly knew Jonathan Gruber.

Rhodes went on to say, The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns… They literally know nothing.”

This implies the lack of respect the Obama administration has for the press, Americans and for the virtue of honesty. It is not a good example for our youth’s future behavior and the way to mange a Point of View.

Thus they (the press) will believe what he tells them. He also tells friendly non-governmental organizations and think tanks what he is telling the journalists. Those outlets produce “experts” whose expert opinion is just what Rhodes wants it to be. These ignorant young journalists thus have quotes that look like independent confirmation of the White House’s lies. :

Ben Rhodes admitted, when David Samuels asked,We created an echo chamber of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. ‘They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.’

This is the apparent attitude of President Obama and his administration. It is applied to every lie they have told to the American people.

Ben Rhodes described a tactic that is an extension of Sol Alinsky’s playbook. I believe the American people are catching on.

The defendants of the Obama administration marginalize the people who expose the lies with additional lies.

The Obama administration and its defendants are usually effective in marginalizing their opponents.

The defendants of the lie have the power of the pulpit and a friendly mainstream media.

The same tactics are used in defending Obamacare as I have described many times in my blog.

I find it difficult to believe that so many smart people believe these lies.

Carl Sandberg said “if you tell I lie enough times its eventually becomes the truth. This is especially true when people start adjusting and investing in the lie.

Marilyn Travenner, now that she is CEO of the healthcare insurance industry lobbying group, has a different point of view than when she was the head of CMS. Someone else other than government is paying her.

I have said that the dysfunction in the healthcare system is the fault of all the stakeholders, namely the government, the healthcare insurance companies, the drug companies, the physicians and the patients.

Each group adjusts to a dysfunctional element making the healthcare system more dysfunctional. The growing dysfunction is driven by the multiple points of view.

President Obama’s ideology has accelerated the dysfunction.

Marilyn Travenner is now diverting blame for the dysfunction away from the healthcare insurance industry. Many do not realize that the government run healthcare system is totally dependent on the healthcare insurance industry. The healthcare insurance industry does the administrative services for the government.

The administration brags that CMS’ overhead is only 2.5-5% of Medicare’s cost. This is an illusion; It is false.

The percentage of overhead published does not include the cost paid by the government to outsource the administrative services to the healthcare insurance industry.

The administrative services overhead is added into the cost of healthcare. Insurance premiums are calculated using the Medical Loss Ratio calculation. Many insurance company expenses are considered direct medical care expenses. Direct medical care expenses should only be for direct medical care.

The government programs set payments to the healthcare insurance industry for administrative service according to the Medical Loss Ratio.

Insurance administrative expenses, like a help desk or network selection expenses, should not be included in direct medical cost. Presently, it is the method used by the healthcare insurance industry to ultimately take 30-40% of the healthcare dollars off the top.

President Obama and his administration brag that Obamacare is bending the healthcare cost curve for Medicare and Medicaid. The only reason this was true in 2012 and 2013 was because Obamacare’s hidden taxes from citizens at every income level were being collected while there were no Obamacare medical care expenditures until 2014. The 2014 and 2015 cost curve was bent upward contributing to the 19 trillion dollar deficit.

In my last blog I mistakenly left out the word contributing to the 19 trillion dollar deficit. Obamacare is not budget neutral. It is not presently bending the healthcare cost curve.

Some smart people believe Obamacare is bending the healthcare curve because they uncritically believe all the administration’s press releases.

In the last few weeks we have been warned not to believe everything President Obama and his administration tell us.

I am sure the judge in Texas who was lied to by the Department of Justice about immigration reform is not very happy.

The cost of physician services might be increasing on a retail level. However, government and insurance reimbursement to physicians is decreasing.

Travenner, in her previous life blamed the rising cost of medical care on physicians. In order to divert attention from the healthcare insurance industry she continues to blame physicians.

The cost for everything from office visits to complex surgeries is on the rise, so there’s not much that can be done here to ebb this common cause of premium inflation.”

This is an incorrect premise. It is true that hospital costs are rising. If the premise is incorrect the solution is usually incorrect.

Next, Ms. Travenner explains additional reasons for increasing premiums.

“Prescription drug price inflation is a far bigger problem. A lack of a universal health plan, long periods of patent exclusivity, high demand for pharmaceutical products in the U.S., and the speed with which approved drugs can be brought to pharmacy shelves are all reasons why prescription drug costs could continue soaring in 2017 and future years.”

She omits the most important reasons for the increase in drug prices to the public.

President Bush’s deal with congress to pass Medicare Part D was to eliminate government’s ability to negotiate drug prices with the drug companies. The government negotiates drug prices for the military and VA. It gets negotiated prices that are comparable to all other countries on the globe.

At the same time the government restricts consumers from buying prescription drugs in Canada, suppressing competition.

The Obama administration keeps blaming the drug rules on President Bush’s administration. Why hasn’t President Obama renegotiated a better deal in the last seven years, or just change the rules by executive order as he usually does?

Tavenner also hit onthe point that restructuring the insurance market hasn’t paid benefits as expected.”

New regulations requiring Obamacare insurers to provide plans with a host of minimum benefits, as well as being unable to deny benefits to people with pre-existing conditions, has left insurers exposed to adverse selection.

In plainer terms, it means sicker people who’d been shut out of the insurance system previously have flooded in, and not enough healthier individuals have enrolled.

This last point is valid. The claim that the insurance industry is losing money is not true. It is losing money on adverse selection but they are making up that loss by increasing premium prices to the government and the corporate market.

If they did not make money how could they pay CEOs of some healthcare insurance industry companies 100 million dollars a year?

Finally, Tavenner cautioned that the turbulence can be expected because insurers “sit in the three-R world.”

What Tavenner is alluding to are two programs that are set to end in 2017: the reinsurance program that provided payments to plans that enroll higher-cost members, and the risk corridor, which acted like a modern day Robin Hood by taking excessive profits from top-performing insurers and giving them to Obamacare insurers losing excessive amounts of money.

Without the risk corridor, new insurance entrants could be discouraged, since they’d be responsible for covering the entirety of their losses. The third “r,” risk adjustment, will remain in place to distribute capital from plans with low-risk enrollees to those with high-risk.

The reinsurance aspect of Obamacare was probably illegal. The government guaranteed the insurance companies that it would make up whatever loss they claimed. The Obama administration paid the healthcare insurance industry only 12% of the promised amount. This deception by the government has led to some of the reasons UnitedHealthcare and now Aetna are pulling out of Obamacare’s health exchanges.

However, the government is totally dependent on the healthcare industry for it administrative services.

The devil is always in the details.

There is an ever-growing need to lie to manage the public’s point of view in favor of Obamacare.

The public is becoming aware of the Obama administration’s attempt to mange the public’s point of view. Ordinary citizens are madder than hell at the Obama administration and the establishment in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2015 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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A Point Of View Is Not Reality

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

I find it harder and harder to believe the administration’s press releases. Every press release and press conference seem to be a lie.

How can President Obama’s press secretary live with himself?

America’s government is supposed to be a government by the people, for the people. The three branches of government are supposed to balance each other’s power.

The executive branch under the Obama administration has usurped much of the power of the legislative and judicial branches of government.

I have pointed out that things are not going well for Obamacare.

Consumers cannot keep their doctors.

Consumer cannot keep their insurance.

Obamacare’s hidden taxes have raise taxes at least 10%. Many increases are passed on to all consumers in every tax bracket.

Healthcare premiums have increased for everyone.

The only real increase in Obamacare enrollment has been in Medicaid enrollment. The central government currently pays for 100% of the insurance cost for Medicaid patients.

The Obama administration pays for the yearly increases for Medicaid premiums billed to it by the healthcare insurance industry.

Eighty-five percent (85%) of Obamacare enrollees receive subsidies. The average taxpayer does not know these facts.   I suspect most congressmen do not know these facts.

Meanwhile, during President Obama’s term in office, the budget deficit has increased from 12 trillion dollars to 19 trillion dollars.

Marilyn Tavenner was the former head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. She helped construct policy, publicize, sell, and administer Obamacare and its expansion of Medicaid.

Ms. Taverner had one point of view as head of CMS. She helped create greater dysfunction in the healthcare system.

Now, she has a completely opposite point of view. She is presently president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the healthcare insurance industry’s premier lobbying group.

She continuously defended Obamacare after each mishap such as the enrollment web site, the enrollment errors in counting enrollees, the insurance premium increases, the poor enrollment and the decrease in service. Each disaster increased the dysfunction of the healthcare system.

Now that her point of view has changed she has become extremely critical of Obamacare.

Her criticisms of Obamacare have gotten her closer to reality. Now, her point of view is that of the healthcare insurance industry.

However, it is not a point of view that supports the needs of consumers.

Someone ought to look at the consumers’ and physicians’ point of view.

Marilyn Tavenner has harsh criticism of the program she once helped get off the ground.

The Obama administration’s continuous praise of Obamacare’s success has marginalized Ms. Taverner’s recent criticism of Obamacare.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s praise of Obamacare’s success is a lie.

The news that UnitedHealth Group, the country’s largest health insurer, announced last month that it would pull out of many ACA markets next year is a very big deal.

UnitedHealth, which actually operates in nearly two-thirds of all U.S. markets, has predicted it could lose $500 million on its individual Obamacare plans in 2016.

The Obama administration’s response was a classic misdirection response.

“The news is not all that shocking, and it is not a sign that the law is failing.”

 United is not a dominant player in the marketplaces that the ACA “Obamacare” set up for individual insurance buyers. It covers only about 6 percent of 12.7 million marketplace participants. United does not appear to have been very effective at competing to attract customers.

 UnitedHealth CEO Stephen Hemsley has blamed higher medical utilization rates for Obamacare members, as well as the ease of switching plans, for his company’s Obamacare woes.

The higher utilization rates are because the government subsidizes 85% of the people in Obamacare. Medical care is essentially free. People do not join Obamacare or pay premiums unless they are sick.

A huge study released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association recently analyzed the medical claims of millions of Obamacare and employer-based members and found that Obamacare members are 22% costlier than employer-based members. Obamacare enrollees also tend to be sicker, coming with a host of chronic or expensive-to-treat conditions.” 

United plans offer the largest network of doctors, hospitals and other providers to choose from.

All this is expensive. Unsurprisingly, marketplace insurance buyers tend to pick lower-cost options. All this causes their premiums to be higher.

Most people believe free is best. Many are being conditioned by the administration to love free healthcare insurance.

The quality and availability of care is ignored in the administration’s boasting of Obamacare’s success.

The Obama administration wanted insurance companies with large networks to join. Only companies with restricted networks are joining. These companies are not providing the infrastructure for the access to quality care.

Obamacare ignores individual responsibility for healthcare and emphasizes individual dependence on the federal government.

The Obama administration’s misdirection continues;

“United’s selective exit from ACA marketplaces appears to reflect two positive features of the law. “

First, Obamacare was meant to spur competition among insurance companies, thus constraining premiums; in many markets, this dynamic appears to be at work, to the detriment of United.”

How is Obamacare promoting competition when UnitedHealth Group is leaving and Aetna is threatening to leave?

“Second, the law has curtailed many of the ways that insurers used to contain their costs, such as refusing to cover certain people or certain treatments, or jacking up premiums for older customers.”

This “positive feature” has caused premium prices and deductibles to increase and the affordable care act (ACA) to become the unaffordable care act (UAC).

“Many insurers on the ACA marketplaces have responded by offering plans that keep costs down by narrowing their networks of providers. This is a better way to contain costs than those the law forbids”.

Does anyone think this will make access to quality care more available?


Marilyn Tavenner is now implying the worst is yet to come. She made this prediction when she rolled out Obamacare and is declaring the same now as she runs the healthcare insurance lobbying group.

“I’ve been asked, what are the premiums going to look like [in 2017]? I think the overall trend is going to be higher than we saw in previous years. That’s my big prediction.”

 Marilyn Tavenner was formally a big fan of Obamacare. Her point of view has now changed.

She doesn’t see just one problem pushing premium prices substantially higher next year. She sees a confluence of many factors. This would suggest that overcoming these obstacles isn’t going to be easy.

I will discuss the factors Ms.Taverner is referring to my next blog.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2015 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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Another Father Son Weekend

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

Every year Brad and I go away somewhere to just hang out, eat a lot of ice cream and a couple of fancy meals. Daniel and I do the same drill on a separate weekend.

Both boys and I feel it is very good for our health and spirit. When they were teenagers and young men I felt good because I had the opportunity to teach them something when we were alone.

Those days are long past. I am the one that learns from them and their view of life. I relish the opportunity to just to be with them alone and talk about their life and their worldviews.

Brad and I can walk for hours just talking.

Brad always has me pick the city. This year I picked Chicago. I know Brad’s been to Chicago 100 times. He was the lead investor in Chicago based Feedburner and was on the board of directors.

I guessed Brad had never been on the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise. I have done that tour three (3). It is a very educational experience. Brad knows a good deal about architecture but had never been on the Chicago River Cruise.

The cruise and the Chicago Cubs is the reason I picked a trip to Chicago.

We both got into Chicago about ten a.m. on Friday May 6th. I had a terrible time getting through security at DFW airport even with TSA Pre. I have had TSA Pre early on and never had a two block line at DFW airport. Something funny is going on with TSA.

The ride from O’hare was not bad because the driver took the side streets.

Brad booked two rooms at the Peninsula Hotel.

It was getting late after checking in, talking and playing with all the electronic toys in the room. We had tickets for a 1.00 p.m. River Cruise.

We had a quick lunch at Rosebud on Rush. I had eaten there before. The pasta was excellent.

Chicago May 6 Rosebud pasta

We then walked the mile to the River Cruise port just below the Michgan Avenue bridge.

As we walked over the bridge guess what we saw?

Chicago bridge tump

Donald Trump is ubiquitous even in Chicago. Actually, this is the first building the tour guide told us about.

The Wrigley building is a wonderful building. It was the first building we went into after the boat tour because it has a Ghiradeli ice cream store.

Brad and I usually have chocolate ice cream twice a day during our weekends together.

Chicago Ghardeli

Let us get back to the River cruise. The cruise gives one the opportunity to see Chicago and the tremendous architecture along the riverfront from a viewpoint one never sees on the city streets. Chicago has done a wonderful job it showing what can be accomplished using the riverfront as an asset for revitalizing g a city.

  Chicago building 2

Chicago Wrigley Building

Chicago river boat building 1

Chicago building Grand Avenue

  Chicago building 2a

Chicago 3 a

Chicago 4a

Chicago 5a

Chicago 6a

I think I have made my point. This is a tour that should not be missed.

After our ice cream we walked the mile back to the hotel. Along the way we stopped in a few stores. We stopped in Disney’s store to see the BB-8 display, the Garmin store, the Nike store, and the Under Armour store.

Along the way we talked politics, philosophy, economics and life in general.

It was time for a half hour nap. Brad and I are both experts on napping. He claims I taught him how to nap.

Next we were off to Swift and Sons for dinner. We met Brad’s friend Jeff Hyman for a drink at Swift and Sons before dinner. I love meeting Brad’s friends. I always learn a lot from them. Brad had invested in one of Jeff’s companies a while ago.

After drinks Brad and I had dinner and talked more. After dinner we were trying to figure out where to have chocolate ice cream. A chocolate ice cream sundae just showed up for both of us with the following note from Phil Nadel of Florida.

Chicago 7a


Our Chocolate Ice Cream

Chicago  swift on sons Phil nagel
The note was in response to Brad’s blog post pre our Chicago trip in which he said,

My only regret about my father son trip with my dad is that we’ve only been doing it for a decade. I wish we had started 40 years ago. If you are a father and your son is at least ten years old, I strongly encourage you to consider this tradition. If you are a son and you are at least 20 years old, I encourage you to take the initiative and just start doing this with your dad.”

I second this comment. I also suggest you open Brad’s link and read the comment section.

On Saturday morning Brad went for a long run along Lake Michigan. I intended to go for a short run (3 miles). I went outside. It was 48 degrees with a strong wind coming from the north. I went back into the Peninsula Hotel and up to its exercise room. It was good enough for me.

Chacago 8 a Brad Run

Next was the Chicago Cubs game. The game started at 3 p.m. Brad’s partner Jason Mendelson arranged a 12.30 pm tour of Wrigley Field for us.

We had to go to Giardino Pizza which was right across the street on Rush. I had forgot it takes forever to cook a Giardino’s Pizza. We had to down the pizza, then get an Uber to get us to Wrigley Field in time for the tour.

The pizza was great but the eating experience was lousy.

We met our tour guide in front of the Ernie Banks statue.

Chicago Earnie Banks statue

I look a little stuffed because I had all the clothes I brought in my suitcase on for the game. I wore three undershirts, two button down shirts, one cashmere sweater and a Cubs T shirt.

Brad was still shivering from his run on the lake. He went to the Cubs store and bought a sweatshirt hoody and hat.

Chicago Brad new clothes

The guide took us all around the ballpark showing us the renovations historical elements and collected mementoes.

Chicago mememtoes

The Cubs have been a perennial losing team. In the last few years, under Manager Joe Madden, the Cubs become a pennant contender. On May 7th they had the best record in their division and in all National League divisions.

Thanks to Jason Mendelson and his friendship with the Cubs present owner Brad and I had the best seats in the house. We had a chance to see how Joe Madden manages the team.

Chicago Joe Madden

It was a fabulous game. The National were first in the eastern division. The lead changed hands 3 times during the game. The Cubs beat the Washington Nationals 8 to 5 in a superbly managed baseball game by both Joe Madden and the Nationals Dusty Baker.

Chicago ball park hitter

Chicago catcher

Chicago batters box

Both managers used almost their bench.

After the game we had dinner at Coco Pazzo with Troy Henikoff (who runs Techstars Chicago) and his wife Kristin (a Columbia College graduate and lawyer). They are two lovely people. The conversation was stimulating. I always learn a lot from Brad’s friends. Thank you Brad.

We walked a mile and a half from Coco Pazzo to the Peninsula at 11 pm. It was warmer than the game time temperature.

We were tired but we are heading home in the morning.

This last picture is at the airport after another unforgettable weekend with Brad.

Chicago airport picture

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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All Medical And Healthcare is Local

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE

It is apparent that Obamacare is failing. Obamacare was built on a defective business plan designed with the goal to have all medical care controlled by the federal government.

If a stakeholder could potentially develop a plan that would threaten the central government’s takeover of the healthcare system, President Obama and his administration would simply rewrite the rules to destroy the initiative.

A clear example is the new rules to destroy health savings accounts. Medical savings accounts are similar to health savings account. The difference is Medical saving accounts put the money in the consumers’ hands initially. If there is any money left of the deductible it goes into a retirement account that is not directed to healthcare. Health saving account direct the unspent money to healthcare costs in the future.

The states are responsible for Medicaid. States claim that the central government is impinging on states’ rights by directing states to do what the federal government tells them to do with respect to Medicaid.

States have fought and won their argument in the Supreme Court when the federal government was paying 100% of the bill for Medicaid if states extended Medicaid. The Federal government will pay 100% until 2017. Then payment will decrease to 95% until 2020. At that time it will decrease to 90%.

Twenty-two states are not participating. The issue is a states’ rights issue rather that a healthcare issue even though the states need the federal help.

Even with this help many people on Medicaid cannot find a physician or can afford the medical care.

Many plans are being canceled, and many doctors and hospitals are no longer being covered by the new plans on the health insurance exchanges.”

A Medicaid patient said, “Even though I am now on Medicaid, I cannot use it because I cannot find a doctor. “

Another recently discovered stifling of states innovative ability has come to light.

After much bickering after the Affordable Care Act was written state innovation waivers, also called 1332 waivers, which are to begin in 2017, were written into the law.

The state innovation waivers or 1332 waivers are like a golden parachute to states both participating and not participating in the Medicaid expansion program. They are allowed to dictate the conditions and receive federal money.

The 1332 waiver solves the states’ rights problem.

The 1332 waiver would provide states with block grant funding to provide healthcare insurance to state citizens. It also waives nearly every major component of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

A major provision of the 1332 waiver is that it is deficit neutral.

Two things could happen.

States wanting to experiment with a single party payer system could pursue it.

States that want to experiment with a free market healthcare system could pursue it.

Two prominent examples of innovative experimentation have been proposed.

In Arkansas, Governor Asa Hutchinson has signaled that the state’s “private option” Medicaid expansion. Medicaid beneficiaries would receive private insurance plans.”

 These private insurance plans would require higher spending for Medicaid. Theoretically the decreased spending in the Obamacare Exchange would offset the increased spending and better service for Medicaid patients. It would remain deficit neutral.

Rhode Island and Hawaii want to pursuit innovative entitlement programs that would cost less than the inefficient bureaucratic central cost.

The Obama administration could not tolerate the thought of the states being independent of federal control. A recent Friday afternoon, at 3 pm, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a rule change.

“These 1332 innovation waivers must still be deficit-neutral. However,

Savings from Obamacare may not be used to offset increased costs in other parts of a state’s health-care budget.”

The ruling by non-elected officials now makes these state controlled innovative experiments mostly impossible because the states cannot offset the savings.

Since all medicine is local, common sense dictates that states should be able to do a better job than a bloated federal bureaucracy in serving its local citizens’ healthcare needs.

The present system is a multi-trillion dollar failure. The states are correct in wanting to try something new.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2016 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE


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More Double Digit Obamacare Price Increases

Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE

Its getting boring to hear about Obamacare’s double-digit health insurance premium increases each year. The healthcare insurance industry is now preparing the public for another round of double-digit premium increases in 2017.

It is important to remember the public experienced double-digit health insurance premium every year since 2014.

The cost of buying insurance has skyrocketed since Obamacare was enacted. The public is not forgetting this.

The table below compares health insurance premiums before and after Obamacare.

This table includes both the numbers in the federal and state exchanges and the private healthcare insurance markets.

Ost of Obamacare on individual market 2014

President Obama and his administration are bragging that the healthcare insurance markets are stabilizing.

All the federal funded state health Co-ops will be bankrupt before the 2017 enrollment period.

Updated state reports on enrollment since the close of 2016 extended enrollment period indicates that more than 1 million of the 12.7 million who were reported to enroll for 2016 have dropped their Obamacare healthcare insurance policies.

In 2015 only 1.5 million consumers out of 11.7 million enrollees dropped out the entire year.

Arielle Levin Becker of the Connecticut Mirror reported“In Connecticut of the 18,800 customers who dropped out (16%), 20% failed to provide required information; 53% didn’t pay; 10% asked to have their plans canceled; and 12% shifted to Medicaid.

Those exiting customers were partly offset by nearly 8,000 latecomers, more than one-third of whom lost Medicaid.”

The truth is the Obamacare health exchanges are not stabilizing the healthcare insurance markets. Obamacare is destabilizing the healthcare markets.

It is becoming more and more difficult to believe anything President Obama says or his administration reports.

United Healthcare declared they are dropping out of most of the exchanges they are participating in because of the toll the health exchanges have taken on their bottom line.

Aetna just announced it lost more than $100 million on its healthcare exchange business last year (2015) but hopes to break even this year (2016).

This is a pipe dream on Aetna’s part. Less people have signed up for Obamacare and the people who signed up have been sicker people with pre-existing illnesses.

Aetna chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini said Thursday, “ the nation’s third-largest health insurer still sees a good business opportunity, but Congress needs to provide leeway for companies to design lower-cost plans tailored to young, healthy people.”

President Obama is not going to let insurers design lower cost policies tailored for young, healthy people. His legacy legislation is built on equal premiums for all.

These announcements can put the healthcare debate back in the headlines for the general election. It can re-ignite consumer and voter backlash once again.

President Obama ignored the backlash before. Can Hillary Clinton ignore the upcoming price increase backlash?

“Hillary Clinton is the only one promising to build on the Affordable Care Act. She’s proposed an aggressive effort to increase enrollment along with measures to reduce consumer costs.”

Hillary Clinton is mouthing words that sound good but are impossible to fulfill. People understand these empty promises now.

“ The Republican candidates all want to repeal “Obamacare.”

No one has come up with a solid proposal. Not even Donald Trump.

“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would incorporate it into a bigger government-run system covering everyone.”

 Bernie Sanders is dead wrong. America cannot afford the cost and it has been proven not to work in the healthcare systems in the rest of the world.

The health law has many problems. The problems are too numerous to list here. The biggest problem in terms of costs for next years premiums (2017) are the lower-than-hoped-for enrollment, sicker-than-expected customers, and a bloated bureaucracy that is not an efficient business model.

Obamacare has created a financial drain for many healthcare insurance companies. The increase in premiums and the government pressure to keep prices low have in turn created pressure on insurance companies to lower reimbursement to physicians and hospitals.

Hospitals have to participate in the health exchanges, Medicare and Medicaid for survival. Physicians do not. Obamacare has created a more severe physician shortage.

The healthcare insurance companies would never consider becoming more efficient and lowering their cost. Some top executives are making more than 100 million dollars a year.

The healthcare insurance industry is setting the stage for 2017 premium hikes that could reach well into the double digits.

Virginia has nine returning insurance companies participating in Obamacare in 2017. These companies have submitted premium price increases ranging from 9.4 percent to 37 percent to the state board of insurance.

I am sure the Virginia state board of insurance will start negotiating with the participating insurance companies.

Obamacare will only cover 11 million enrollees in 2016. As more enrollees drop out of Obamacare because they cannot afford the premiums the total might be closer to 8 million. Many of the enrollees are subsidized. These subsidized enrollees have dropped out because they cannot afford the remaining premiums and deductibles.

The healthcare insurance industry increases premiums in the individual and group private markets to protect its profit margin.

This is occurring on top of the destruction of Health Saving Accounts and does not speak well for a stable healthcare insurance market.

President Obama’s goal is to destroy the healthcare system and replace it with a single party payer system.

Does anyone think a government run single party payer system will be more efficient or deliver cost effective care?

If you do, please think of the efficiency and effectiveness of the VA healthcare system?

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.

All Rights Reserved © 2006 – 2015 “Repairing The Healthcare System” Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

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