Tag Archives: you can’t make this stuff up

An Angry Dad’s Reaction to Dr. Gruber

Articles: An Angry Dad’s Reaction to Dr. Gruber.

As you read this, remember a few of the many promises such as:

  • If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor
  • Obamacare will lower premium by $2500 for a family of 4

In it’s entirety….

If you know what’s good for you Jonathon Gruber, you’ll stay the hell away from me. Why? Because you have done the unpardonable in the eyes of any father – you have brought havoc unto the finances of my youngest daughter – and her newlywed husband.
You see, Dr. Gruber, what you did not only harmed millions of Americans – many of them young – you did so based on arrogance. This is you on all of those videos – glibly counting your fellow citizens as fodder for your tortured contrivances that will ruin, or end, their lives in many cases – without any remorse or perspective whatsoever. This is a damnable quality held by many who hang out in the faculty lounge. And you are obviously eaten up with it.
As an MIT professor, it is your place to do so, and our place as unfortunate rubes to just deal with it.
This faux superiority is obviously what was rolling around in your head as you made statements about the “stupidity” of the voters and the “lack of transparency” being a plus – not to mention the need to lie about the loss of coverage options and doctors. These were no accidents. As Trey Gowdy pointed out in the Issa Committee hearing, you said such things over and over again. As Darrell Issa added, these statements were apparently popular with your audiences as well.
I submit that you’re detestable with no business whatsoever making grand plans for your planned utopian society. And yet, due to many flaws in our political system – some escalated in just the past six years – you can and you do. These plans never work, and yet, you are paid grotesque sums of money to dream them up.
As you told the Committee Tuesday – in a Lois Lerner-esque tone — millions of people losing their current coverage was merely “part of the calculation.” Part of the calculation? That’s all this is to you, a mathematical projection?
You arrogant bastard!
These are real lives we are talking about here. And in the case of Congressman Patrick McHenry – whose question prompted your telling response – we’re talking some 473 thousand real lives in his state of North Carolina alone! If the ratios hold, that’s some 12 million nationwide! And that’s before the wave of cancellations that are taking place right now.
Well let me tell you about this damned calculation. My 23 year old daughter, like many others, is facing a tripling, or maybe a quadrupling – or her contribution to her work place provided coverage. Calculate that you smarmy SOB. Yes, I said tripling or maybe quadrupling. The figures are not final yet. She cannot afford this, as the increase alone will swallow about 20% of her take home pay. She is not alone.
And why is this? Well, it is all just part of the calculation. You see, the magnificent bureaucrats who slither to and from government cubicles every day have deemed that the former coverage isn’t up to Obama Care standards. Never mind that the boss liked it, the employees liked it – the doctors and pharmacies liked it – all of this is academic.
Yep, those bureaucrats under Kathleen Sebelius at HHS didn’t like it. You knew this would happen. You admitted it. You and your ilk designed the excuses they could use to consider plans inferior. But hey, just part of the calculation, like you said.
What I would like to know, given that you are this renowned central planner, is can you name any example in world history where such centralized planning over a huge swath of a nation’s economy ever worked out? When have the decisions of a handful of supposedly expert technocrats ever been superior to hundreds of millions of people acting in liberty and in their self-interests?
Never.
Although I suppose you swat this reality aside with the self absorbed idea that if you had been planning – say Cuba, the Soviet economy, etc – it would have all worked. This is the luxury academics have. You can pontificate all day about how things should be done, knowing that you’ve never tried to actually do them yourself.
Until something screwy happens in our politics and society, and suddenly you can do them. You are allowed to design a health care plan that you insist is a utopian dream come true. Sure, there will be some collateral damage – a few lives ruined – but that’s all just part of the calculation. And hey, if we have to lie to get the thing passed, so be it. The ends always justify the means for tyrants.
Of course, this grand scheme of you is crashing and burning, as the daily headlines demonstrate. The rollout was a disaster; more people have lost their current coverage than have signed up as new enrollees, and prices and deductibles are skyrocketing. There are looming doctor shortages of massive proportions. Today less than 35% of physicians consider themselves independent, as compared to over 60% just a few years ago. You and your minions were going to do all of this better than the private sector. Well I’ll say this about the private sector – normally when deductibles skyrocket in private insurance, the premiums come way down and the coverage limits go up.
In other words, doc, you failed. You lied to get your way, you smirked arrogantly about it, and now your scheme is an abject disaster. The only saving grace is that your words, specifically those about the state exchanges, will probably doom ObamaCare in the Supreme Court. If this happens, know full well that your viral video infamy also played a role.
Yes Mr. Professor from MIT, you will probably do more to doom ObamaCare than any other single human alive – and it was your insufferable pomposity that did it. That will be even more satisfying than anything I could do to you.
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ObamaCare fines loom for uninsured

ObamaCare fines loom for uninsured | TheHill.

Consumers face a Feb. 15, 2015, deadline to buy insurance, after which those without coverage could be hit with fines of $325 per adult or 2 percent of family income, whichever is higher.

Uninsured people looking to escape the penalties are turning to the exchanges before they close, while insurance companies and tax preparers are seizing on the looming tax hit as a business opportunity.

There is no doubt that There can be little doubt Obamacare is good for the tax preparation business:

Firms are also offering to help current enrollees understand how changes in income can affect their tax credits to buy coverage. In some cases, they can also help the uninsured select health plans.

In promotional materials, H&R Block and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service say they can provide consumers relief, arguing that healthcare reform is making tax planning more difficult.

“The ACA [Affordable Care Act] has changed the landscape of both healthcare and tax,” H&R Block states online, inviting consumers to calculate their mandate penalty or receive a “tax impact analysis” when they become a client.

Jackson Hewitt urges consumers to stop by one of its locations, promising that their employees “work harder to keep up with the latest tax law changes to protect you from possible penalties — not everyone else does.”

There’s no KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) within a light year of Obamacare.

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Colorado Exchange struggles with both Consumers and Insurers

Health insurers owed $20 million, worker warns of ‘very low’ 2015 exchange sign-ups | Health News Colorado.

On the consumer front…

“Our enrollments are very, very low because of system issues,” said Jackie Sievers, a director of enrollment for four assistance sites in western Colorado.

She called in to an exchange board meeting and said she only has been able to complete about one in five applications.

“Other sites in my region are reporting 1 percent (completion rates) or even lower. My concern is that our open enrollment period is much shorter this year and we have some pretty significant issues and are having trouble getting people signed up,” Sievers said.

She said the system incorrectly calculates federal tax credits, known as APTC — which stands for advanced premium tax credits. The credits come from the federal government and are designed to make health insurance more affordable. On top of problems with the tax credits, Sievers said anyone seeking coverage through the small business portal, known as SHOP, can’t complete applications. (SHOP is for small group coverage – Ed)

On the insurance company front…

While workers are struggling to help people sign up for 2015, board member Steve ErkenBrack called attention Monday to the fact that exchange system problems have left insurance companies waiting for millions in payments for customers who qualified for federal tax credits this year.

ErkenBrack is president of Rocky Mountain Health Plans, a large insurance carrier. He asked Connect for Health’s interim CEO Gary Drews to do a better job of updating board members on problems the exchange is facing, rather than focusing primarily on rosy updates.

ErkenBrack cited problems with the APTC reimbursements that could cost carriers millions and drive them away from Colorado’s exchange. And he said that Colorado’s systems continue to enroll some customers simultaneously in private plans and Medicaid. So far, about 3,300 people have been caught in the “simultaneous enrollment” snafu. While the customers have double coverage, it’s unclear who will pay their claims: taxpayers or private insurance companies. Furthermore, they are not allowed to receive both Medicaid and federal tax credits. Earlier this year, insurance industry representatives warned that some of the individual claims could reach $1 million each.

“Both of these are critical issues,” ErkenBrack said on Monday.

And let’s pile on while were at it…

Dr. Mike Fallon, another board member, said insurance carriers are “our customers also and if they are not being paid tens of millions,” that’s a significant problem.

“We take this incredibly seriously. This is a big risk for us,” Work said.

Sue Birch, director of Colorado’s Medicaid programs and a non-voting board member, questioned whether the exchange should consider insuring itself in case carriers suffer losses as a result of problems accounting for tax credits.

“There’s enormous potential for liability,” Birch said.

You really can’t make this stuff up. I believe that Connect for Health Colorado has the best of intentions and works very hard. I personally like all the people I’ve met from that organization. All that said, color me “doubtful” they are on the road to success.

 

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Obamacare was supposed to reduce deficits

CBO Projections Indicate Obamacare Will Raise Deficits by $131 Billion | The Weekly Standard.

In all, therefore, CBO projections indicate that Obamacare will increase deficit spending by $131 billion from 2015-24.  That’s a $311 billion swing from the extrapolated 2012 numbers, a $240 billion swing from the actual 2012 numbers, and a $255 billion swing from what we were told when Obamacare was passed.

Polling has consistently shown that Americans do not believe that Obamacare, with its roughly $2 trillion in new federal spending, would somehow reduce deficit spending.  To the contrary, they believe it would send deficits soaring.  Still, it’s good to know that even the CBO, which has been one of Obamacare’s few friends in this regard, now seems to think Obamacare would increase deficits by over $100 billion.

It seems relatively safe to say that Obamacare — which Democrats passed over unanimous Republican opposition with just three votes to spare in the House and without a single vote to spare in the Senate — wouldn’t have passed had it been scored as a deficit bill.  It likewise wouldn’t have passed if its 10-year price-tag had been doubled, if people had been told they couldn’t keep their insurance or their doctors, or if they’d been told Obamacare would provide taxpayer funding of abortion-on-demand.

Are you surprised? I know I’m not.

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Thousands to Be Questioned on Eligibility for Health Insurance Subsidies

What a mess – Thousands to Be Questioned on Eligibility for Health Insurance Subsidies – NYTimes.com.

Federal subsidies for the purchase of private insurance are a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. More than eight out of 10 people who selected health plans through the exchanges from October through mid-April were eligible for subsidies, including income tax credits. So far this year the federal government has paid out $4.7 billion in subsidies, and the amount is expected to total $900 billion over 10 years.

Since June 1, the government has notified hundreds of thousands of people that “the information in your application doesn’t match what we found in other records.” Accordingly, the notice says, “you need to follow up as soon as possible and provide more documents to make sure the marketplace has the correct information.”

“If you don’t send the needed documents,” it says, “you risk losing your marketplace coverage or help you may be receiving to pay for such coverage.”

Be careful out there.

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More Scrutiny for Failed Cover Oregon Rollout

More Scrutiny for Failed Cover Oregon Rollout.

Cover Oregon is the name of the state health insurance exchange for The Beaver State. The name is now synonymous with perhaps the nation’s largest IT failure. More than $300 million in federal grant money was at stake. The state had already spent an estimated $200 million on the website that has yet to register a single Oregonian for healthcare. It may be a couple of years before the website will be up and fully functioning.

Apparently most folks in Oregon don’t need health insurance. If they do, perhaps they won’t re-elect these clowns.

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An Obamacare supporter’s misadventures with HealthCare.gov

An Obamacare supporter’s misadventures with HealthCare.gov | The Daily Caller.

Our troubles may strike some as trivial and particular, although they wouldn’t if it happened to them. And anyone who wants a successful system – as we do – must understand that these nightmares are happening across the nation to the very people who want Obamacare to work.

This story appears to be the Deliverance version of signing up for Obamacare.

Unfortunately, having dealt with many clients, it’s all to believable.

  • Restricted provider networks
  • Restricted formularies
  • Complicated subsidy eligiblity
  • Possibly higher premiums

All of the above are gifts of Obamacare.

If you don’t qualify for a subsidy or it is very small, my recommendation is:

  • Do NOT use the exchange
  • Contact a broker
  • Purchase directly from the carrier, which will also avoid security issues with the exchange websites.
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Expanded Medicaid: Be careful out there

Expanded Medicaid’s fine print holds surprise: ‘payback’ from estate after death | Local News | The Seattle Times.

As fine print is wont to do, it had buried itself in a long form — Balhorn’s application for free health insurance through the expanded state Medicaid program. As the paperwork lay on the dining-room table in Port Townsend, Prins began reading.

She was shocked: If you’re 55 or over, Medicaid can come back after you’re dead and bill your estate for ordinary health-care expenses.

The way Prins saw it, that meant health insurance via Medicaid is hardly “free” for Washington residents 55 or older. It’s a loan, one whose payback requirements aren’t well advertised. And it penalizes people who, despite having a low income, have managed to keep a home or some savings they hope to pass to heirs, Prins said.

Washington state is trying to fix the law but long term, anything is possible…

“People will think this is wonderful, this is free insurance,” Orient said in an interview. “They don’t realize it’s really a loan, and is secured by any property they have.”

Even states that are now limiting estate recovery, she warned, can change the rules again if budget problems become more intense.

Keep in mind, if you qualify for Medicaid, you don’t qualify for a subsidy…

One reason this snafu has become so troublesome is that ACA rules appear to give those who qualify for Medicaid little choice but to accept the coverage.

People cannot receive a tax credit to subsidize their purchase of a private health plan if their income qualifies them for Medicaid, said Bethany Frey, spokeswoman for the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.

But they could buy a health plan without a tax credit, she added.

For someone age 55 to 64 at the Medicaid-income level — below $15,856 a year — it’s quite a jump from free Medicaid health insurance to an unsubsidized individual plan. Premiums in King County for an age 60 non-tobacco user for the most modest plan run from $451 to $859 per month.

I predict an industry will form to assist people in “gaming the system”.

 

 

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Obamacare glitches persist

Insurers: Despite deadline, Obamacare glitches persist – CNN.com.

Customers who signed up for coverage are calling the companies with questions and finding they aren’t in their systems. And insurers have been testing the site, submitting John Doe records and not seeing them come out the other end, an industry official said.

“There’s no part of us that thinks all of this will be fixed in three days from now,” the industry official said, referring to the administration’s self-imposed Saturday deadline to make the site work for a “vast majority” of users.

Another insurance industry insider was more blunt, saying: “It’s still all jacked up.”

Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for the insurance trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, was more circumspect.

“There is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that enrollments can be done and processed accurately,” he said.

If the problems aren’t fixed, insurers fear a worst-case scenario where consumers sign up for insurance through the website and think they’re enrolled, only to find out at the doctor’s office that they don’t have any coverage.

Amateur hour.

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Obamacare Subsidies: No easy trip

Rude Awakening for Federal Way Woman Who Got Shout-Out From President – Can’t Afford Obamacare Policy After All | Washington State Wire – News of Capitol Importance.

There were errors from the start regarding the calculation of Jessica Sanford’s subsidies. It has led her down a long and winding road to a decision NOT to purchase coverage. Here is the comedy of errors…

Big Goof by State

Four days after President Obama made his address, the state health exchange publicly revealed a grevious error – its tax-credit calculations were all wrong. The state had been submitting monthly income information to the federal data hub, but the federal computers were expecting an annual figure. Suppose a person claimed an income of $50,000 a year — the tax credit was based on an income of $4,166 a year. The higher the income, the bigger the error. Brokers say they caught the mistake right off the bat and tried flagging it to the state’s attention, but for some reason it took the state three weeks to acknowledge it. So everyone who purchased a subsidized health insurance policy through the Washington state exchange prior to Oct. 23 was quoted too low a rate. The mistake involved 4,600 policies covering 8,000 people – Sanford’s policy was one of them.

The state sent a letter saying mistakes were made. And so she went back to her broker and tried again. They went over her income and made a more careful calculation of her business tax write-offs. But this time the website showed she qualified for a much lower tax credit, just $110.

With a gulp, she signed up for a less-expensive “silver” plan from Premera – meaning that it had higher deductibles and copays. Still her premium went up. “I knew I would be struggling in my slow months. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But honestly, I just wanted to get it in my budget and start working on it right away and start working on saving money toward it – that was all I could do, just work at it and hope for the best and try to take the money from here or there or wherever.”

Sanford had managed to save enough money for half of the first month’s payment when she got another letter from the state last week. It had goofed again. She qualified for no tax credit at all.

Medicaid Eligibility Becomes Problem

The hitch was that the website told her that her income was low enough that she could enroll her son in the state Medicaid program for children of low-income families, known as Apple Health. For that she would have to pay a premium of just $30 a month. She could enroll him right away, and she did. But that created a problem. When she enrolled Ryan in Medicaid, she couldn’t count him toward a tax credit. Not that the website mentioned it. In fact, it gave her the opposite impression.

Once the new health insurance policy kicked in on Jan. 1, the premium was supposed to be $280 a month, plus, she assumed, the Medicaid premium. But after she signed up for a policy, and after she gave her credit-card information, she got a letter from the state last week saying that her income was too high to qualify for subsidies – the cutoff is $44,680 for a single adult, 400 percent of the federal poverty level. So she would get no help from the feds at all.

“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “I thought this was a total mistake, they’re going to correct this — this isn’t true. How could I not qualify for a tax credit? I make under $50,000 a year. There’s got to be something. So I got ahold of my broker, and a couple of days later he called me back, and he told me that no, it was true.”

Now she says her health-insurance dream has gone bust. Without a tax credit she has to consider the cheapest “bronze” level plans, but the deductibles are so high that couldn’t afford to purchase prescription medication. “I was like, forget that – I’m not going to pay.”

So now she is looking forward to no health insurance at all. Under the terms of the Affordable Care Act, she will have to pay a penalty of $95.

 

Amateur’s everywhere. You can’t make this stuff up. Unfortunately, while these errors may not be repeated, the issue with chlidren being put on Medicaid or CHP+ plans and affecting subsidies is real.

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