Free Markets, Free People

Affordable Care Act

Observations: The QandO Podcast for 25 Jul 14

This week, Michael, and Dale talk about the Halbig Decision, Immigration and lawn watering.

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The law with the Orwellian name continues to lose support

The Affordable Care Act, the monstrosity of Democratic legislation with the Orwellian name, continues to lose supporters.   And, as an added special feature, people in employer based programs are now paying more out-of-pocket for their medical expenses than before ObamaCare.  Very “affordable”, no?

Support for the Affordable Care Act has plummeted since late last summer, and people with employer-based health insurance say they increasingly are paying more for out-of-pocket medical expenses, a new Bankrate.com survey released Wednesday revealed.

When Bankrate.com first polled people in September—right before the launch of Obamacare insurance exchanges, there was an even split between those who said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act if given the power to do so and those who would keep it: 46 percent each. (The rest either had no opinion or didn’t know how they felt.)

But three months later, after the botched launch of those government-run exchanges, the number of people who said they would gut Obamacare had risen to 48 percent, while the number of respondents who said they would keep it as law had plunged to 38 percent.

While the “botched launch” may have had some effect on that “plunge”, my guess is that hitting people’s wallet has pushed it down even more.  Health care insurance isn’t some esoteric policy argument.  It’s something that is important to everyone.  It is about their family and trying to afford the best for their family’s health. When policy negatively effects real people, they react just as negatively (and I do hope that Democrats double down on their support of the law, since it is all theirs anyway) :

The survey also found that people, by a 2-to-1 margin, felt Obamacare had had a more negative than positive impact on their own, individual health care. The poll questioned 1,005 adults, and had a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.

[...]

His company’s survey also found that a total of 44 percent of people with employer-provided insurance said they are shelling out more dollars in deductibles and copayments than they were a year ago. And 47 percent of that group of people reported having more money deducted from their paycheck to pay the cost of those insurance plans than in 2012.

People earning between $50,000 and $75,000 annually were the most affected group: with 64 percent of them reporting a bigger hit on their paychecks from health insurance. Just 38 percent of the people earning less than $30,000 reported paying more for insurance in payroll deductions as of 2013.

The great leveling.  Apparently you’re “rich” if you earn between $50 and $75k, so it’s okay that you’re paying more – and besides, those “Cadillac plans” just aren’t fair (well, except for the exempt unions, of course … and Congress, and ….).  Don’t forget the tsunami of cancellations that will hit employer based programs hasn’t yet happened.

Obviously it doesn’t take great powers of perception to realize that this is just going to get worse and worse as the months pass.  And as those months pass, those supporting the legislation will become fewer and fewer.  It will be a grand issue on which Congressional Republicans can run (if they actually can figure out how to do that successfully without the usual idiocy).  Unfortunately, politics aside, it is going to be a building disaster for the American people.

Repeal is the best remedy.

~McQ

Study says health care costs projected to rise more under ObamaCare

Promises, promises, promises.  President Obama promised the passage of the Affordable Care Act would lower health care costs across the board, making health care “more affordable”.   The entire premise of the massive government intrusion in that market was to lower costs and make insurance more affordable.

A new study says that doing nothing would actually have been slightly less expensive.  The irony is this isn’t some opposition think tank which has put up these numbers but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services:

Despite President Obama’s promises to rein in health care costs as part of his reform bill, health spending nationwide is expected to rise more than if the sweeping legislation had never become law.

Total spending is projected to grow annually by 5.8 percent under Mr. Obama’s Affordable Care Act, according to a 10-year forecast by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released Thursday. Without the ACA, spending would grow at a slightly slower rate of 5.7 percent annually.

The primary reason, supporters say, is more people will have insurance. 

CMS officials attributed the growth to an expansion of the insured population. Under the plan, an estimated 23 million Americans are expected to obtain insurance in 2014, largely through state-based exchanges and expanded Medicaid eligibility.

The federal government is projected to spend 20 percent more on Medicaid, while spending on private health insurance is expected to rise by 9.4 percent.

Anyone – do you know why “private health insurance costs” are expected to rise by 9.4%?   Because the privately insured will be tapped to help pay the difference between what an expanded Medicaid base pays and what doctors charge.  Or, in other words, they will be the victim of government intrusion and market distortion.  And of course government is then going to point to the costs its distortion caused and claim it should help solve the problem it has created.  And what will be eventual answer to those increased costs caused by government distortion be?   Single-payer, of course.

This study doesn’t address the other real problem – you may expand Medicaid dramatically, but having that insurance doesn’t guarantee seeing a doctor.  Other studies have shown that increasing the insurance base doesn’t decrease emergency room use, but instead increases it in the face of a building doctor shortage.   And then, of course, there are those doctors who simply won’t take Medicaid (or any more than they now have) because of the low reimbursement rate.

So when the White House’s Nancy-Ann DeParle says:

“The Affordable Care Act creates changes to the health care system that typically don’t show up on an accounting table,” she said. “We know these new provisions will save money for the health care system, even if today’s report doesn’t credit these strategies with reducing costs.”

She’s also leaving out that part of the problem that doesn’t “show up on an accounting table” as well.

Bottom line, we were sold a lemon, a bill of goods, snake oil.  All the ACA does is give the government a legal ability to intrude deeper and deeper in a market it really has no business being in at all and to distort that market even further.  And that’s precisely what is going to happen.  We all know that when government gets in as deep as it will be in this market, nothing ends up “costing less”.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO