THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Clinton Calls Skyrocketing ObamaCare Premiums ‘Glitches’

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[See the VIDEO here]

RADDATZ: What’s broken in Obamacare that needs to be fixed right now, and what would you do to fix it?

CLINTON: Well, I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches that you just referenced. Number one, we do have more people who have access to health care. We have ended the terrible situation that people with pre-existing conditions were faced with where they couldn’t find at any
1208_angry-doctor_400x400-300x300affordable price health care. Women are not charged more than men any longer for our health insurance. And we keep young people on our policies until they turn 26. Those are all really positive developments. But, out-of-pocket costs have gone up too much and prescription drug costs have gone through the roof. And so what I have proposed, number one, is a $5,000 tax credit to help people who have very large out-of-pocket costs be able to afford those. Number two, I want Medicare to be able to negotiate for lower drug prices just like they negotiate with other countries’ health systems. We end up paying the highest prices in the world. And I want us to be absolutely clear about making sure the insurance companies in the private employer policy arena as well as in the affordable care exchanges are properly regulated so that we are not being gamed. And I think that’s an important point to make because I’m going through and analyzing the points you were making, Martha. We don’t have enough competition and we don’t have enough oversight of what the insurance companies are charging everybody right now.PANTSUIT-REPORT

RADDATZ: But you did say those were glitches.

CLINTON: Yes.

RADDATZ: Just glitches?

CLINTON: — Well, they’re glitches because —

RADDATZ: –Twenty-seven percent in the last five years, deductibles up 67 percent?–

CLINTON: It is. Because part of this is the startup challenges that this system is facing. We have fought as Democrats for decades to get a health care plan. I know. I’ve got the scars to show from the effort back in the early ‘90s. We want to build on it and fix it. And I’m confident we can do that. And it will have effects in the private market. And one of the reasons in some states why the percentage cost has gone up so much is because governors there would not extend Medicaid. And so people are still going to get health care, thankfully, in emergency rooms, in hospitals. Those costs are then added to the overall cost, which does increase the insurance premiums.

(read more)

Source: National Review Online

 


Transcript: Jon Gruber’s Opening Statement to the House Oversight Committee

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Written Testimony of Professor Jonathan Gruber before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, December 9, 2014

[PDF – Gruber-Statement-12-9-ObamaCare]

Chairman Issa, Ranking Member Cummings, and Distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify voluntarily today. I am pleased to be able to address some statements I have made regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the reactions to and interpretations of those statements.

I am a Professor of Economics at MIT. I am not a political advisor nor a politician. Over the past decade I have used a complex economic microsimulation model to help a number of states and the federal government assess the impact that various legislative options for health care reform might have on the state and federal health care systems, government budgets, and overall economies. I have had the privilege of working for both Democratic and Republican administrations on health care reform efforts. For example, I worked extensively with Governor Romney’s Administration and the Massachusetts legislature to model the impact of Governor Romney’s landmark health reform legislation. I later served as a technical consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and provided similar support to both the Administration and Congress through economic microsimulation modeling of the Affordable Care Act.

I did not draft Governor Romney’s health care plan, and I was not the “architect” of President Obama’s health care plan. I ran microsimulation models to help those in the state and federal executive and gruber-townhalllegislative branches better assess the likely outcomes of various possible policy choices.

[More – Katie Pavlich – TownHall.com]

After the passage of the ACA, I made a series of speeches around the nation endeavoring to explain the law’s implications for the U.S. health care system from the perspective of a trained economist. Many of these speeches were to technical audiences at economic and academic conferences.

Over the past weeks a number of videos have emerged from these appearances. In excerpts of these videos I am shown making a series of glib, thoughtless, and sometimes downright insulting comments. I apologized for the first of these videos earlier. But the ongoing attention paid to these videos has made me realize that a fuller accounting is necessary.

I would like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that I made. In some cases I made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. I am not an expert on politics and my tone implied that I was, which is wrong. In other cases I simply made insulting and mean comments that are totally uncalled for in any situation. I sincerely apologize both for conjecturing with a tone of expertise and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It is never appropriate to try to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning others. I know better. I knew better. I am embarrassed, and I am sorry.

In addition to apologizing for my unacceptable remarks, I would like to clarify some misconceptions about the content and context of my comments. Let me be very clear: I do not think that the Affordable Care Act was passed in a non-transparent fashion. The issues I raised in my comments, such as redistribution of risk through insurance market reform and the structure of the Cadillac tax, were roundly debated throughout 2009 and early 2010 before the law was passed. Reasonable people can disagree about the merits of these policies, but it is completely clear that these issues were debated thoroughly during the drafting and passage of the ACA. Read the rest of this entry »


Government Takeover: White House Forces Obamacare Insurers To Cover Unpaid Patients At A Loss

Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. (Photo credit: US Mission Geneva)

(Photo credit: US Mission Geneva)

Avik Roy writes:  Of all of the last-minute delays, website bungles, and Presidential whims that have marred the roll-out of Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges, what happened on Thursday, December 12 will stand as one of the most lawless acts yet committed by this administration. The White House—having canceled Americans’ old health plans, and having botched the system for enrolling people in new ones—knows that millions of Americans will enter the new year without health coverage. So instead of actually fixing the problem, the administration is retroactively attempting to force insurers to hand out free health care—at a loss—to those whom the White House has rendered uninsured. If Obamacare wasn’t a government takeover of the health insurance industry, then what is it now?

On Wednesday afternoon, health policy reporters found in their inboxes a friendly e-mail from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, announcing “steps to ensure Americans signing up through the Marketplace have coverage and access to the care they need on January 1.” Basically, the “steps” involve muscling insurers to provide free or discounted care to those who have become uninsured because of the problems with healthcare.gov.

HHS threatens to throw non-complying plans off the exchanges

HHS assured reporters that it would be “urging issuers to give consumers additional time to pay their first month’s premium and still have coverage beginning January 1, 2014.” In other words, urging them to offer free care to those who haven’t paid. This is a problem because the government has yet to build the system that allows people who’ve signed up for plans to actually pay for them. “One client reports only 15 percent [of applicants] have paid so far,” Bob Laszewski told Charles Ornstein. “So far I’m hearing from health plans that around 5 percent and 10 percent of consumers who have made it through the data transfer gauntlet have paid first month’s premium and therefore truly enrolled,” said Kip Piper.

“What’s wrong with ‘urging’ insurers to offer free care?” you might ask. “That’s not the same as forcing them to offer free care.” Except that the government is using the full force of its regulatory powers, under Obamacare, to threaten insurers if they don’t comply. All you have to do is read the menacing language in the new regulations that HHS published this week, in which HHS says it may throw otherwise qualified health plans off of the exchanges next year if they don’t comply with the government’s “requests.”

Read the rest of this entry »


The Long March Through the Institutions Proceeds: ‘This Will Kill Insurance Companies’

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After World War I, two leading Marxist intellectuals, Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary, both concluded, independently of one another, that Western culture and the Christian religion had so blinded the working class to its true, Marxist class interests, that a Communist revolution would be impossible to carry out in the West without first destroying both of those institutions. Gramsci laid out a strategy for destroying Christianity and Western culture by conducting, in an orderly fashion, a “long march through the institutions” – where Marxists would infiltrate the schools, the media, the churches, the labor unions, the major political parties – i.e., every institution that could influence the culture. This process would sabotage American society from the inside, and would require decades to fully unfold. 

Kate Rogers reports:  The latest deadline delay for the Affordable Care Act could lead to even more enrollment problems and place a bigger burden on insurance companies, experts say.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced Thursday it would require insurance companies to accept premium payments for plans that start on Jan. 1 up until Dec. 31-eight days from the already once delayed date of Dec. 23.

“This will kill insurance companies,” says Devon Herrick, senior analyst at the National Center for Policy Analysis, of the latest deadline extension. “I don’t think insurance companies will be there on New Year’s Day figuring out what they owe, who they need to bill and who has legitimate coverage. You can see what a mess this is—I can’t imagine insurance companies can solve this in one day, especially when that day is a holiday.”

This week’s announcement operates under the assumption that enrolling people in insurance plans is simple, adds Tom Harte, president of the National Association of Health Underwriters.

Read the rest of this entry »


Expert Warns Congress: Obama’s Unrestrained Legal Behavior ‘Could Lead to Overthrow of Government’

CannonNoah Rothman reports:  During a congressional committee hearing about the constitutional limits imposed on the presidency and the implications of President Barack Obama’s disregard for implementing the Affordable Care Act as written, one expert testified that the consequences of the president’s behavior were potentially grave. He said that the precedent set by Obama could eventually lead to an armed revolt against the federal government.

 “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.”

On Tuesday, Michael Cannon, Cato Institute’s Director of Health Policy Studies, testified before a congressional committee about the dangers of the president’s legal behavior.

“There is one last thing to which the people can resort if the government does not respect the restrains that the constitution places on the government,” Cannon said. “Abraham Lincoln talked about our right to alter our government or our revolutionary right to overthrow it.”

“That is certainly something that no one wants to contemplate,” he continued. “If the people come to believe that the government is no longer constrained by the laws then they will conclude that neither are they.” Read the rest of this entry »


His Most Excellent Majesty

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Ace writes: The other day, someone remarked to me about Obama: “The clothes have no emperor.”

Steyn has a similar view.

On Thursday, [King Obama] passed a new law at a press conference. George III never did that. But, having ordered America’s insurance companies to comply with Obamacare, the president announced that he is now ordering them not to comply with Obamacare. The legislative branch (as it’s still quaintly known) passed a law purporting to grandfather your existing health plan. The regulatory bureaucracy then interpreted the law so as to un-grandfather your health plan. So His Most Excellent Majesty has commanded that your health plan be de-un-grandfathered. That seems likely to work….

The most telling line, the one that encapsulates the gulf between the boundless fantasies of the faculty-lounge utopian and the messiness of reality, was this: “What we’re also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.” Gee, thanks for sharing, genius. Maybe you should have thought of that before you governmentalized one-sixth of the economy. By “we,” the president means “I.” Out here in the ruder provinces of his decrepit realm, we “folks” are well aware of how complicated insurance is. What isn’t complicated in the Sultanate of Sclerosis? But, as with so many other things, Obama always gives the vague impression that routine features of humdrum human existence are entirely alien to him….

Read the rest of this entry »


SHOCK: Obamacare Fix Could Add Millions of Dollars in Government Costs

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Adam Aigner-Treworgy reports: President Barack Obama’s proposal to allow people to keep canceled health plans for one year could end up costing the government millions of dollars.

This is due to a provision of the Affordable Care Act called risk corridors that allows for insurers to share the cost of insuring more expensive customers…

CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs  [Full Story]


Mission Accomplished: Employer-Provided Health Plans Scaling Back, Forcing Crisis

As millions of Americans receive notice that they’re being dropped from their insurance, a nationwide debate has ensued over the quality and cost of the plans not meeting Obamacare standards. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As millions of Americans receive notice that they’re being dropped from their insurance, a nationwide debate has ensued over the quality and cost of the plans not meeting Obamacare standards. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – As millions of Americans receive notice that they’re being dropped from their insurance, a nationwide debate has ensued over the quality and cost of the plans not meeting Obamacare standards.

The Obama administration argues that the more than 2 million people who have lost their “grandfathered-in” insurance is a result of those companies altering those policies after the Affordable Care Act went into effect. President Barack Obama stated that such insurers will have to “replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage.”

However, for workers receiving employer-based benefits, certain policies will be scaled back due to the “Cadillac tax” implemented under Obamacare.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Conservative Alternative to Obamacare

Yes, conservatives do have an alternative. More power to the patients.

Yes, conservatives do have an alternative. More power to the patients.

Patients need to be the main decisionmakers

Nina Owcharenko writes:  It’s not a secret that Obamacare is wreaking havoc on the health-care sector, and this is prompting many Americans to ask for an escape. However, we wouldn’t want to go back to the health system as it existed before the Affordable Care Act.

Recognizing this, the Heritage Foundation last week released a definitive compilation of health-care solutions that make patients the primary decisionmakers. Our commonsense solutions are based on five principles:

  • Let Americans have total choice and control with regard to their health insurance.
  • Allow free-market forces, with light regulation, to incentivize insurers and health-care providers to offer affordable and effective health coverage.
  • Encourage businesses to provide portable health-insurance benefits to their employees.
  • Help the most vulnerable Americans through the states, non-government organizations, and the free market.
  • Protect Americans’ right of conscience and unborn children.
Read the rest of this entry »

Analysis: The Book Obama Didn’t Read, and Should Have

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Maybe the next elected president will think before he enacts big change

Glenn Reynolds writes:  Back when President Obama was first elected, the folks at Amazon offered a presidential reading list. My own recommendation for him was James Scott’s Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes To Improve The Human Condition Have Failed. Obama should have taken it.

Scott, a Yale professor and no right-winger, produced a lengthy catalog of centrally planned disasters: Everything from compulsory villagization in Tanzania, to the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union, to the “Authoritarian High Modernism” that led to immense, unlivable housing projects and the destruction of urban life in cities around the world. The book stands as a warning to hubristic technocrats: You may think you understand how things work, and how people will respond to your carefully (or, often, not-so-carefully) laid plans, but you are likely to be wrong, and the result is likely to be somewhere between tragedy and farce. The world is more complicated than planners are capable of grasping — and so, for that matter, are the people who inhabit it.

Read the rest of this entry »


What’s Next For Health Care Policy?

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Ben Domenech writes:  Over the past few days we’ve seen an ever-increasing number of voices on the Left, most of whom laughed at the prospects of Obamacare as a train wreck a few months ago, gradually opening up about their concerns on the future of the law.  They aren’t saying it’s going to fail now, mind you – but they are gaming out a future where things just don’t work out as they had intended, where the combination of implementation failures and unfixable policy come together to make a real mess of things. It raises the possibility of the post-Obamacare era, with policy writers on the left finally recognizing that there will be another round of health care reform in the near future.

What might post-Obamacare health care policy look like?

Read the rest of this entry »


ObamaCare: It’s unsustainable; better to scrap it and start anew

Confirming the disconnect between the empty-promise pretenses on which ObamaCare was sold and its real-world effects in practice is a new report from Medicare actuaries that says health spending in ObamaCare’s first 10 years will be about $621 billion higher than it would be without that train wreck of a law.

That’s $7,450 more in health spending per family of four through 2022, according to Duke University health-policy expert Chris Conover, writing for The Apothecary, a Forbes blog. And that figure’s contrast with candidate Barack Obama’s 2008 promise that he’d lower such families’ premiums “by up to $2,500” — during his first term! — is both grim and stark.

The Medicare actuaries’ report is consistent with their prior reports showing ObamaCare would increase, not decrease, health spending. It’s the latest evidence that Mr. Obama made America the “absurd promise” that Mr. Conover says it is. Read the rest of this entry »