Category Archives: Affordable Care Act

Very Bad News For Obamacare Opponents In The Government’s Latest Report

shutterstock_obamacare money

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Think Progress

Premiums for health care insurance in the Affordable Care Act are lower than the federal government had anticipated, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Monday when it revised its cost estimate for the health care law. The nonpartisan office now believes that the ACA will cost the government $5 billion less than projected in 2014 and $104 billion less for the 2015-2024 period. It also found “no clear evidence” that premiums will surge in 2015, noting that “enrollees in the future will be healthier, on average, than the smaller number of people who are obtaining such coverage in 2014.” The agency estimated that the national average premium for individual silver policy plans would increase by $100 that year.

The CBO attributes the additional savings to government, relative to the CBO’s last assessment from February 2014, to lower-than expected premiums, which in turn lowered the cost for exchange subsidies, and higher-than expected revenues from the excise tax on high-premium insurance plans.

“Despite projecting that slightly more people will receive insurance coverage through exchanges over the 2015–2024 period than they had anticipated previously,” the report says. “CBO and JCT project that costs for exchange subsidies and related spending will be $164 billion (or 14 percent) below the previous projection, mainly because of the downward revision to expected exchange premiums.” The office also predicted that plans offered in the exchanges will provide wider provider networks and higher reimbursement rates to providers as enrollment increases. “That pattern will put upward pressure on exchange premiums over the next couple of years, although CBO and JCT anticipate that the plans’ characteristics will stabilize after 2016,” it found.

The office also concluded that the law’s so-called shock absorbers — reinsurance payments that are distributed to insurers that attract high-cost enrollees — “reduced exchange premiums this year by approximately 10 percent” and will “reduce premiums by smaller amounts in 2015 and 2016.” CBO found additional savings in Medicaid, revising downward government spending per adult enrolled in the program.

Ultimately, 12 million more nonelderly people will have health insurance in 2014 as a result of the law. Twenty-six million more “will be insured each year from 2017 through 2024 than would have been the case without the ACA,” the CBO concluded.

 

UPDATE

This post initially suggested that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) supports repealing the ACA’s reinsurance program. A spokesperson for the senator notes that the senator’s bill only targets the risk corridor provision of the law. Rubio has voted to repeal the ACA in its entirety, however, which would include the reinsurance provision. We regret the error.

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Obamacare

New Yorker Shows Obama Getting His Health Care Revenge On Republicans

 The Huffington Post

Republicans are not going to like the New Yorker’s latest cover.

The illustration nods to Obamacare’s recent victory, and shows President Obama feeding medicine to a little boy.

That’s just not any little boy though — it’s Mitch McConnell. Artist Barry Blitt told the magazine, “I enjoyed drawing Ted Cruz, John Boehner, and Michele Bachmann as petulant children—and I especially wanted to draw an open-mouthed Mitch McConnell being spoon-fed his meds.”

(h/t Gabriel Debenedetti)

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, New Yorker Magazine

Glenn Beck responds to Obamacare enrollment news by bellowing incoherently

Glenn Beck responds to Obamacare enrollment news by bellowing incoherently

Glenn Beck, freaking out (Credit: Screen shot, Right Wing Watch)

Sorting out the crazies…

Salon

The right-wing media mogul calls Obama a “sociopath” and, for some reason, screams about the pursuit of happiness 

In the days since Obamacare reached its goal of enrolling at least 7 million people before the end of March, Republicans and conservatives have been struggling to figure out the best way to downplay the good news and reaffirm their deeply held belief that the health insurance reform is a disaster. While most have decided to pursue what one could call the “phony numbers” tactic and argue the White House was “cooking the books,” Glenn Beck revealed on his radio show on Wednesday that he would be approaching the issue from a slightly different angle.

Instead of critiquing the administration’s arithmetic, Beck opted to yell incoherently about how President Obama is a sociopathic dictator who is trying to keep Glenn Beck from pursuing happiness.

Speaking of Obama’s Tuesday press event at the White House, during which the president celebrated Obamacare’s early successes and urged Republicans to give up on repealing the law, Beck said, “We’ve never had this before.”

“This guy, this guy,” Beck continued, “you put him in a military uniform — I’m not kidding you — you put him on a balcony in a military uniform, this guy is a full-fledged dictator.”

Beck went on to complain that the press event was orchestrated by the White House and attended by supporters of the president, a situation that Beck argued reduced the event to “a circus.” He railed against the press for covering the event and the Obamacare 7 million figure with, he claimed, mendacious intent. “And everyone in the press — you rat bastards — every single one of you know what he’s saying isn’t true.”

“You know it!” Beck repeated. “You know it!”

Beck went on to claim that the president is “a sociopath” who “doesn’t care anymore” and then repeated his earlier statement that Obama was thisclose to becoming a dictator by implementing a strange and lengthy metaphor about how Obama, were he an autocrat, would wear a uniform of his own design “because nobody else could design a uniform like he could.”



Seemingly reaching his wit’s end, Beck next proclaimed, “I’m not going to pay attention to these people anymore!” He then delivered a lengthy and passionate monologue about how he would not allow Obamacare to impinge upon his freedom. Or something:

I’m not going to waste. My. Life. I’m going to do what I was born to do! All men were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, among these are life, liberty AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS! I have a right to pursue my happiness! I have a right to do what was born to do, not what they tell me what to do. That’s what that phrase means!

“Have you had enough?” Beck asked his audience. Then, lowering his voice and adopting a much more genial tone, Beck assured his listeners that his state of mind was “great” because he’s “had enough.”

Watch Beck’s bravura performance below, via Right Wing Watch:

 

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Glenn Beck Delusions

How much freedom did Obamacare cost us?

Daily Kos

Serious question. We’re going to see around seven million people get private insurance (as the Heritage Foundation intended) through the exchanges. Medicaid expansion will deliver health insurance to anywhere between 4.7 and 6.5 million more. And don’t forget the three million or so young adults who are able to stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26.

So … how much freedom did that cost us?

You see, conservatives keep talking about the “death of freedom” and the jackbooted Obamacare Nazi Alinsky thugs who will [fill in the blank and make it really horrible]. So now that the Affordable Care Act has been (mostly) implemented and millions of people now have insurance when they didn’t before, or are paying less for better insurance than they had before, it’s time for a proper accounting.

Anyone know how much freedom was lost? Was it, like, 13? More than that?

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The Top Five Obamacare Myths, Debunked

Media Matters For America

In the four years since the signing of the Affordable Care Act, right-wing media has engaged in a campaign to undermine the law in any way possible, frequently resorting to lies, myths, and misinformation. Among the most prominent and long-lasting of these myths are claims that the law amounts to socialized medicine, will harm the economy, provides federal funding for abortions, kills thousands of jobs, and of course, creates death panels.

To find out the truth behind other health care reform myths, visit Media Matters’ Mythopedia project.

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Long Lines As Obamacare Enrollment Deadline Fast Approaches (PHOTOS)

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TPM LiveWire

With deadline to sign up for health insurance through the exchanges on Monday, locations with Obamacare navigators are seeing long lines of people looking to obtain plans under the the health care law.

People can sign up for insurance online, but the health care law also established navigator programs, which employ people to guide individuals through the sign-up process.

 

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Filed under Affordable Care Act

Did you hear what happened to Senator Cruz’s facebook page?

H/t: DB

Check it out here…

 

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Sen. Ted Cruz

12 Times Republicans Claimed Nobody Would Sign Up For Obamacare

 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a town hall meeting hosted by Heritage

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks during a town hall meeting hosted by Heritage CREDIT: BRANDON WADE/GETTY IMAGES

Think Progress

President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that six million people signed-up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act — meeting and exceeding the administration’s deadline days before the March 31st enrollment period — undermines critics who seized on the law’s troubled early rollout to predict that measure could never attract enough Americans to succeed. Below are some of the worst predictions after the administration published the first enrollment figures in November of 2013:

1. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH)

“Above all, this report is a symbol of the failure of the President’s health care law… It is a rolling calamity that must be scrapped. [CNN]

 

2. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA)

“Pretty stunning…Just another day in a series of mess-ups in Obamacare.”

 

3. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)

4. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

“But this Administration will trudge ahead. Keep the doors open. Thousands of people enrolled instead of millions. They just released a number this week for the 36 states using the malfunctioning federal Exchange. Fewer than 27,000 people. Including people who haven’t actually committed to purchase the plans … those who have put it in their shopping cart….So the Administration will limp along with this pitiful sign up process hoping to get people properly assigned to health plans.

 

5. House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-OH)

He called the numbers “staggeringly low.”

 

6. Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-AR)

 

7. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA)

“The 27,000 enrollments through federally facilitated exchange pale in comparison to the millions of Americans who have lost their health insurance under ObamaCare… It is time for the president to finally acknowledge ObamaCare isn’t working and to delay the law, in fairness to families and individuals.”

 

8. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)

The numbers released today are indicative of failure. Not just the failure of a website, but a failure of the underlying law, a failure to keep promises to the American people, and, above all, a failure of leadership.”

 

9. Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS)

“Today, we learned only 371 Kansans have been able to successfully sign up [in October] for a health care plan on the federally run Obamacare exchange. And only a mere 106,185 total Americans have been able to sign up on both the federal and state exchanges across the country. These numbers are abysmal; the administration has not met even 25 percent of its enrollment goal for the first month.”

 

10. Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA)

11. Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR)

 

12. Rep. David Camp (R-MI)

“Even if this data was an accurate picture, the administration would need to enroll 68,000 people per day to meet their year-end goal…However, the website isn’t even designed to handle that much traffic and is currently capable of only handling less than half that much… With the little data we have so far, I fear we could see a fundamental breakdown of the insurance market with coverage gaps and skyrocketing premiums – pricing millions of Americans out of health care, yet still forced to pay the individual mandate tax.”

UPDATE

During the Nov. 18, 2013 broadcast of his radio show, Mike Huckabee said: “To compare that, 281 people in New Hampshire were issued permits to hunt moose.So I mean, the fact is, you’ve got more people wanting to go moose hunting in New Hampshire than want Obamacare.”

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Chris Hayes tries to deal with a boatload of Koch crazy

 

Screenshot of MSNBC interview, Chris Hayes and Jennifer Stefano

The look on Hayes face says it all. | attribution: Scott Wooledge

Daily Kos

Chris Hayes tried valiantly, Wednesday evening, to get Americans for Prosperity Pennsylvania State Director Jennifer Stefano to explain exactly why conservatives were so upset that people who have already started their Obamacare applications by March 31 will have two weeks to complete those applications, and just why more people getting health insurance was such a horrible thing. It didn’t work.

She started out by asserting that this extra two weeks would take health care away from her children. Really. Hayes tried to get an explanation about how that exactly would happen, and Stefano insisted that the extra two weeks would “not allow people to go back and change this law,” and that the law has “made seven million people lose their insurance.” How that affects her own children remains a mystery. But she doesn’t need actual facts. She just needed to yell loud enough and long enough to not allow Hayes to counter. Which she did.

“As a mother, I take real offense that women are being forced to have no choices to cover their children,” Stefano continued.”What are you talking about?” an incredulous Hayes responded, before arguing that much of the “heavy lifting” under the law would be accomplished by expansion of state Medicare [sic—Medicaid] programs, which have been frequently been opposed by conservatives. […]

“Do you believe in Medicaid expansion?” Hayes asked.

“I have a real problem, when you talk about raising the poverty level, that’s people making $94,000 a year,” she said. “They’re not poor. That is taking resources from the poor.”

“Not on the Medicaid expansion,” Hayes said, shaking his head.

“The expansion of Medicaid is a moral issue, not an economic one” Stefano charged.

“That’s a math trainwreck, that’s not the Medicaid expansion,” he said.

The “interview” ultimately ended with Stefano playing victim, charging Hayes with trying to shut her up, just like Harry Reid did with Julie Boonstra, never mind that Hayes was giving her a slot on his show to air her grievances. It wasn’t just a math trainwreck, it was a reality trainwreck. Just what the Koch brothers ordered. You can watch the whole load of crazy here.

The good news, though, is that isn’t how Hayes’ day ended. Congratulations, Chris and Kate, on the new addition to your family.

Watch the discussion as it aired on MSNBC on Wednesday…

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Chris Hayes

First Doctor Visit in Five Years: Why Repubs Want Us Broke or Dead

This person’s experience with healthcare speaks volumes.  It epitomizes the reason why those of us who believe in the Affordable Care Act need to be a little more proactive in the upcoming mid-term elections.  The handwriting is on the wall.  The GOP pretty much has a lock on their base due to gerrymandering their districts.  However…what they’re not counting on is a turnout equal to that of the last two presidential elections.

Just sayin’…

Daily KosUntyingTheNot

I went to the doctor for the first time in five years today. Although I’m young, I had neglected a couple of health issues for at least a year. I couldn’t afford care and was left hoping none of them developed into anything more serious. As a small business owner who narrowly missed the threshold for buying on the exchanges, I’m enrolled in Medicaid for this year until I can bump my income up a bit. The day my confirmation of benefits and card came was among the best of my life. I nearly broke down in tears.

But that isn’t what this diary is about. Today, I went to the doctor for the first time in five years and saw first hand why Republicans have fought tooth and nail for a system that was so broken for every single stakeholder – except the insurers and the politicians who enable them.

What I found made my blood boil. Follow below the fold for a living example of what our “health care system” could have done to me and millions of others before the ACA. Let’s just say the cheesy poof holding the fold would have been more than the food in my pantry.

My state has done fairly well with the Medicaid expansion, minus some delays in processing paperwork that might be expected in such a situation. Accordingly, last week I received my confirmation- albeit more than two weeks after I supposedly had coverage. When the doctor called this morning to say they couldn’t find me in the Medicaid system, I spent an hour or so on the phone straightening things out. The folks from the local social services office were pleasant, helpful, and identified the problem quickly: a glitch on their end they promised would be fixed overnight. I couldn’t complain. I know these caseworkers must be under an immense load and mistakes happen. Besides, I was just happy to have coverage.

The catch was that I’d have to be reimbursed for today’s visit because I wouldn’t show in the system until tomorrow. No big deal. But it was this that gave me a peak inside the profits Republicans are paid so well to protect.

With my doctor aware of the problem and its pending solution, my paperwork and appointment went smoothly. However, I spent nearly the entire ordeal wondering how this would have ended for someone less fortunate than myself. And how different it might have been for me and so many others a matter of months ago.

You see, I’m not in great shape financially but I make 10-15 bucks an hour catering for my company and working at a local gym (free membership!). Even with income equal to or greater than mine, what I found would be and undoubtedly has been horrifying for a great number of Americans.

Of course, payments these days must be made prior to service. The visibly concerned receptionist informed me my visit was $135. If we assume a $10 wage, what I make at the gym and the minimum wage proposal conservatives are throwing hissy fits over, that’s 13.5 hours of work. I only spent about 20 minutes in the office but fair enough- doctors work hard and people’s lives depend on them.

But, my doc also wanted me to get routine blood work done, something he said should be standard for everyone at some point before they turn 30. As he handed me the sheet to give to the lab, he raised his eyebrows and said: “Make 100% sure your Medicaid is worked out before going for this”. Why? “Because”, he then said, “It’d cost over $1000 out of pocket”. So, had I gone anytime during the last 5 years, how many hours of work would that be at my wage? We’ll take that nice round number and forget the “over” part. Easy math: $1000/$10 an hour = 100 hours.

But that wasn’t it. It turned out I needed a script for one of the recurring issues I’d been forced to ignore. He handed me that after the lab paperwork and said “Same with this- You’d be looking at about $300 a month”. I thanked him for the prescription and advice, as the wheels in my mind spun to do the math. $300 × 12 is $3600 a year. Or 360 hours of work at my wage.

Hang with me as I do the math here on paper. It isn’t a small number.

13.5 hours of work for the visit + 100 hours for standard preventative lab work + 360 hours for one year of a generic medication = 473.5 hours of work.

At 40 hours a week, that’s nearly 12 weeks of work. Or 3 full months. IF you can find full-time work. For one visit, normal lab work, and a necessary medication.

Let that sink in.

That doesn’t include food, housing, transportation, or any other necessity. It doesn’t include follow up appointments or the physical they insist on. It certainly doesn’t include the financial flexibility to stimulate the economy through purchasing a home, shopping for retail goods, or starting a family.

But, it makes the insurers incredibly rich while any serious illness the last five years would have killed me financially, physically, or both. This is what they’re fighting to protect. Republicans want to go back to a system where people like you, me and millions of others either die quickly or mortgage our financial futures for basic medical care.

They’d love to make us work 473 hours for a visit, some blood work, and a single medication. How many House ACA repeal votes now? And how many “replacement plans”? They’ll fight with fervor to return us all to that standard, to enrich their owners and themselves while we die, until we fight back. Until we win.

That means fighting to protect and strengthen the law that allowed me to get there today. It may not be perfect but its a hell of a lot better than allowing a group of immoral insurers and politicians to kill us, at the bank and in our bodies, so they can live the high life.

And if those snakes running the insurance company cartels think the ACA was rough for them, they’d better wait to see what we do when we run the scum that work for them out of office. I’ll be happy to show them catastrophic. I’ll be happier to grin and pull the plug on an ugly industry when we finally achieve single payer. But for now, I’m happy to have coverage and relieved so many no longer have to work hundreds of hours to secure what should be a fundamental human right.

Let’s get to work.

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Filed under Affordable Care Act, Medicaid Expansion

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