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Articles by Donald E. L. Johnson

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Today is Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Health Insurance Reform


Journalists who accept Obama’s claim that 7.1 million signed up for ObamaCare can’t be trusted

The Wall Street Journal's headline writers and most of the media proved that they can't be trusted when they promoted President Obama's blatant lie that 7.1 million people have signed up and enrolled in ObamaCare. Everyone knows that huge percentages of those who signup never pay their ObamaCare health insurance premiums to insurers. Indeed, one insurer says that only 53% of previously uninsured signups pay their premiums. How many will continue to pay their premiums after insurers pay for their initial claims, which will be huge, remains to be seen. The ObamaCare numbers released by Obama so far are pretty meaningless. ObamaCare will never be repealed in full, but Obama already has used his executive orders to unlawfully change the law. Here are a few of the law's big problems as I see them:

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 04/05/14 at 03:45 PM
EthicsTrustHealth insuranceHealth Insurance ReformMedicaidMedia • (0) CommentsRead More

Mark Udall votes for ObamaCare and with Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi 99% of the time

Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is notorious for voting against Colorado and with the hardest left Democrats, Obama, Sen. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, 99% of the time, according to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which, of course, is backing Rep. Cory Gardner's attempt to unseat Udall in next November's election. Here's the NRSC's latest opposition research against Udall:


No reason to believe 6 million have signed up for ObamaCare, much less enrolled

President Barack Obama is claiming that 6 million people have signed up—not necessarily enrolled — in ObamaCare. Does anybody believe anything Obama says about ObamaCare or anything else? No reason to believe him. Lots of reasons to not believe him. He's trying to rush people into signing up for ObamaCare with lies about signups, which are meaningless.

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 03/27/14 at 04:31 PM
EthicsTrustHealth insuranceHealth Insurance Reform • (0) CommentsRead More

American Cancer Society hypes ObamaCare

The American Cancer Society has released a study that it says shows that young uninsured people are more likely to have late stage cancers than their insured peers are, but the study makes little sense. The news release is basically a public relations gambit designed to convince younger people that they should sign up for the terribly expensive and poorly designed ObamaCare (ACA). 


CMS Obama Democrats making Medicare Part D drug program more expensive for seniors
In 2003, I blogged frequently against Medicare Part D, which provides drug subsides for seniors. Now I'm a beneficiary. 
 

Poverty traps: Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment compensation, Social Security disability benefits

ObamaCare is what Rep. Paul Ryan (D-Wis.) accurately calls a "Poverty Trap".


15 questions Republicans are asking gubernatorial candidates

The audience at the North Suburban Republican Forum had about 15 questions last Saturday for the three candidates for the GOP’s nomination to challenge Gov. John Hickenlooper next November. These same questions probably are being asked around the state as the candidates work to visit all 64 counties even though only about 12 counties have most of the votes.


Mark Udall should have easy win over Ken Buck, Amy Stephens, Own Hill; he’s blowing it on ObamaCare

Sen. Mark Udall should easily beat one of the Republicans who are seeking the GOP nomination to take him on—Ken Buck, Amy Stephens or Owen Hills. 

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 01/12/14 at 01:35 PM
ColoradoElections '14BuckHillStephensUdallEnergyHealth insuranceHealth Insurance ReformRead More

What people who don’t buy ObamaCare (ACA) can do to manage self insurance risks

Smart young people who don't have pre-existing medical conditions are deciding to self insure rather than enroll in hugely expensive insurance plans sold on ObamaCare (ACA) health exchanges. If they self insure, I think they should understand their risks and know how to deal with a huge medical bill if they are hurt in an accident or are stricken by an expensive illness. Some ideas:

 


RNC, GOP should not sell out to U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Business Roundtable

Republicans won't win elections with candidates who are just sound bite specialists and empty suits and who sell out to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. 


Real fixes for ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act)

Congress and pundits are proposing shallow, ineffective fixes for ObamaCare, which is the nickname for the Affordable Care Act. Of course, ObamaCare is just as unaffordable as expected by those who read at least parts of the act and wrote about it in 2009 and 2010. I've written several times about how I think ObamaCare should and could be fixed if only Obama wanted to fix it. Here's my latest version, which I posted in the comments section of http://www.nationaljournal.com below an article: Why ObamaCare isn't so easily fixed, by Sam Baker:


Why are individuals’ health insurance premiums soaring on ObamaCare exchanges, healthcare.gov?

So far, neither President Obama nor Congress have proposed real fixes for ObamaCare. There is a lot of grandstanding going on while people who've been notified that they will have to find new health insurance plans sit and worry about what will happen after Dec. 31 when their current plans will be cancelled.

I'm pretty well convinced that Obama and HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius have the power to rewrite what The Wall Street Journal editorial pages says are changes in eight regulations so that insurers and state insurance commissioners can decide whether current health insurance polices can be renewed. Many states are trying to get insurers to extend the policies that have been cancelled as required by the regulations that were written as far back as 2010 by Sebelius. More states aren't going along with the Obama nonfix.

Putting asside the constitutional questions about the changes in the Sebelius rules, I have some more thoughts and questons:

1. Individual policies offered by the Blues, Kaiser, Aetna and UnitedHealth are good plans that cover catastrophic health care cases, but with lifetime limits until ObamaCare rules kicked in. These companies' plans don't comply with ObamaCare and are being taken off the market.
 
2. Hundreds of small, state and regional insurers offer low premium plans that don't cover even catastrophic losses very well. They're the real targets of ObamaCare. Think about the old Golden Rule.
 
3. ObamaCare is loaded with pork for academic medical centers, hospitals, AARP, health insurers, pharmaceutical companies and unions. That is why it is so expensive.
 
4. That the faculty at medical schools like Yale are being shut out of ObamaCare networks by insurers like UnitedHealth is a well deserved punishment for their money- and power-greedy hard left medical professors and hospital administrators. They deserve to lose their contracts with insurers under the ACA, imo.
 
5. While I strongly oppose ObamaCare because it is a Big Intrusive Government gift to the Moocher Nation and crooks, I have long supported community rating, which is at least a small part of the cause of the surge in premiums for the individually insured. I think the young should be in the same risk pool that seniors are in and that they will be in when they become seniors, as their parents and grandparents are.
 
I'd like to see a breakout of what is causing the surge in premiums: Community rating, which insurers hate and want to defeat? Mandated benefits for worthless wellness and preventive care that should be paid for by consumers out of their pockets? Increased marketing and administrative costs created by the need to market to individuals instead of to groups under ObamaCare and the exchanges? Or just premium increases that are needed to cover the insurers costs under the 80% rule? Lots of unanswered questions.

Until ObamaCare (ACA) law is changed, it can’t be “fixed”
"Glitches" aren't #ObamaCare's biggest problems. 
 
The biggest problem is that the law is unworkable, mandates worthless preventive care and wellness benefits, offers free primary care to the lonely well, and implements community rating instantly rather than over an acceptable transition period of several years. 
 
Make deductibles workable and affordable for the low income people who ObamaCare supposedly is intended to help. Create payment plans so that the deductibles can be paid off over three to five years. As now structured, the high deductibles, which I support for those who can afford them, will force more medical bankruptcies, not fewer.
 
Make it very difficult and expensive to defraud ObamaCare, Medicare and Medicaid. Think jail, huge fines. Maybe we need a special court and prosecutors/public defenders for health care fraudsters.
 
Breakup healthcare provider and insurer monopolies and oligopolies so that consumers will have real choices on the exchanges. Let private enterprises other than insurers or insurance brokers create, run and profit from health care exchanges. Get the incompetent, politically driven bureaucrats and politicians out of the health care exchange business.
 
Fix the law so that it will work for consumers and so that it can be sold on the Web. If you're not willing to admit mistakes and keep doing the same dumb things over and over, you're insane.

Obama will call trillion dollar ObamaCare (ACA) a success; GOP will call it a failure

Obama will call whatever happens to his multi TRILLION dollar wealth transfer program that is known as  ACA or "ObamaCare" a "success". 

Republicans will call it a failure. 

Consumers will vote with their dollars and their votes in future elections. Congressmen who are overwhelmed with constituent calls complaining about ObamaCare will have their opinions.

As one who was writing editorials and columns advocating competition in health care markets in the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s, the exchanges look ok until you realize that local markets are now monopolized by a few providers and insurers who have no reason to get into price wars.

As a believer in high deductibles for those who can afford them, I worry about the high deductibles for the subsidized poor enrollees in ObamaCare. I'm thinking we may see a new surge of medical bankruptcies as the subprime enrollees decide that they don't need to pay their deductibles just as they have used bankruptcy courts to get out of paying their medical bills.

Finally, the exchanges are untested and won't be secure, accurate and workable for months, if not years. How may people will have to be screwed and frustrated by the exchanges to get them fixed?

Who will fix them?

The government that still has millions of workers using 10-year-old PCs?

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 10/02/13 at 10:12 PM
Health insuranceHealth Insurance ReformPermalink

9 tips on how to use your new state health insurance exchange

Millions of insured, underinsured and uninsured Americans are being told by President Obama to sign up for very expensive health insurance plans that will be offered on states' health insurance exchanges beginning Oct. 1.

As expected, newspapers, magazines, broadcasters and cable TV networks are trying to win some new readers and viewers by offering advice on how to use the exchanges and how to pick the health insurance plan that will be best for them.  Most of them are and will be misleading consumers.

My suggestions, which are based on years of blogging against and about ObamaCare and reading numerous articles and comments about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), follow:

1. Exchanges probably will give more choices of insurers in urban markets than in rural markets where only one insurer may be available. That could make rural insurers more expensive.

 

2. You will have a choice of deductible plans. Chose a plan that involves deductibles and copays that you can pay off in a year or so at your current income.

 

3. Many state insurance exchanges won't be fully functional on Oct. 1, and nobody can predict when they will be bug free and give you accurate price quotes on your premiums, copays and deductibles. 

 

4. Health insurance brokers and people certified as "navigators' will be as intimidated by ObamaCare as you are. Don't rush to signup. Give the exchanges, brokers and "navigators" time to learn at the expense of other people.

 

5. While the government is inviting you to lie on your applications about your income and other variables, remember that sooner or later the IRS will come after you. Violating federal laws is a big deal.

 

6. Don't believe much of what you see and hear on ABC, NBC, CBS or CNN. They are in the business of selling ObamaCare and making Obama look good. They're serving Obama, not you. The article published recently by WSJ.com shows the same kind of pro-ObamaCare optimism that should be taken with huge grains of salt.

 

7. Carefully calculate whether you can go wiithout ObamaCare insurance until you have a catastrophic financial loss due to a sickness or accident. Enrollment periods last only six months. That could mean that if you need insurance outside the enrollment period, you won't be able to buy it when you need your free lunch.

 

8. ObamaCare covers a lot of worthless preventive care and wellness care services for the worried well. The literature warns that such services too often give false positives and result in unnecessary procedures that could do more harm than good. But if you have pre-existing conditions that require wellness or preventive care services, use them. See my previous post.

 

9. If your health insurance premiums and deductibles seem unaffordable, Obama will be happy to see you stop smoking, skipping your daily Starbucks, canceling your health club and cable TV contracts and keeping your old vehicles for four or five more years than you otherwise would. And you really don't have to buy that new home, appliance, smart phone, computer or mattress.

 

LINKS:

 

State insurance exchange blind spots: Unknown risks and unintened consequences, by Seth Kneller. The Health Care Blog.

 

Will ObamaCare Survive? Nine key questions, by Robert Lazewski. The Health Care Blog.

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