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Obamacare: Its Failure Increases

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE


C-Span has provided the public with important lessons on how our government is really run by televising various congressional committee meetings.

The traditional mainstream media provides us with little of the important information that comes out of these committee meetings.

C-Span’s coverage has revealed how inefficient, political and bureaucratic our government is.

Americans should elect representatives to be our spokesmen. Our representatives should do what is right for us and not for the vested interests of various special interest groups.

The latest information about Obamacare has not been reported in the media but came out in committee.

The Obama administration had announced publicly to a subcommittee in April 2014 that its "risk corridor" plan would be revenue neutral.

In English, it means that there would be no extra taxpayer dollars available to cover the losses of the healthcare insurance companies. Those healthcare insurance companies insure enrollees through the government’s healthcare insurance exchanges.

Chet Burrell, head of Maryland insurer CareFirst told Valarie Jarrett this plan would result in premium increases of 20% or more later this year as Obamacare policies come up for renewal. 

He warned it would be "an unwelcome surprise" to the Democratic Party and Democrats running for reelection in November.

The Obama administration was very concerned about a 20% premium increase for enrollees in Obamacare. After a while, Ms. Jarrett assured Mr. Burrell the insurance industry would get 80% of the subsidy (bailout) they sought.

The 80% was granted by executive order without congressional approval. A few weeks later the healthcare insurance industry bailout was changed to almost 100% of the request with little notice from anyone.

The government guarantee affects all of the enrollees in Obamacare. It also permits the increase in private insurance plans.

There are 50 million people on Medicare, 65 million people on Medicaid, 9 million in the VA system, 7.3 million in Obamacare and an additional 149 million for employer-provided healthcare insurance.

It turns out that Obamacare is just another government subsidy program with the government throwing more money at the health care insurance industry while the healthcare insurance industry raises the premiums.

President Obama, by executive order, has created an unlimited Obamacare reinsurance program covering the healthcare insurance industry’s supposed losses.

According to some, the total subsidy to the healthcare insurance industry is $1.3 trillion dollars.

It’s no surprise that many more healthcare insurance companies are planning to participate in President Obama’s health insurance exchanges.

If a healthcare insurance company sells insurance without risk it is a great deal. Taxpayers are assuming the risk for the insurance companies. Some insurance companies are decreasing their rate to capture a larger market share. They will  cash in on the Obamacare subsidy.

This subsidy is a mistake. It adds little value in improving the nation’s health. President Obama does not seem to care about how much money he is wasting.

It is all about politics. 

The subsidy adds much political value to Obamacare because it postpones the 20% premium increase at this midterm election.

Bob Laszewski, a policy wonk and former insurance executive said,

 “The administration has succeeded in temporarily suppressing incipient Obamacare price hikes, contributing to an illusion of Obamacare sustainability.”

However, the healthcare insurance industry is finding it necessary to increase premiums an additional twenty percent despite the tremendous subsidies. This is the result of the enrollees who acquired insurance but did not pay the premiums and used the services and the terrible demographic distribution of enrollees who paid their premium.  Eighty-five percent of the people who paid premiums were high risk patients with pre-existing illnesses. 

The rules of Obamacare have turned out to be totally improvised. The Obama administration changes the contents of the law in order to keep it afloat without the approval of congress.

The plot thickens. A challenge is in the courts right now on whether the government health insurance exchanges are allowed to provide subsidies to enrollees.

The law specifically states that tax credits are only available through the state health insurance exchanges and not the federal health exchange.

Funny things are going on in the courts. One panel said yes, the subsidies may be provided by the federal health insurance exchanges. The D.C. panel of three judges said no.

Attorney General Holder appealed to the D.C. court of appeals. He wanted the judgment determined by the entire panel of 9 judges not a subpanel of 3 judges.  The 3 judges’ decision was overruled by the 9 judge panel.

I still do not understand how tax credits are given to people who do not earn enough to apply a tax credit to their income tax. Why do they receive a subsidy? They pay no federal income tax.

I hope Americans wake up soon to the fact that Obamacare is deeply flawed and cannot work. The only thing that will overturn it will be an overwhelming taxpayer protest.

This midterm election cycle is a good place for voters to start. A Republican majority of the senate might be able to stop Obamacare in its tracks.   

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

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