Beyond the Cusp

February 10, 2014

Obamacare has not yet Begun to Strike

We seem to hear of a new calamity attributed to the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, every week if not every few days. One of the latest is from the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) which predicted that there will be two-million fewer full-time workers by 2017 and 2-million-five-hundred-thousand fewer full-time workers by 2024. What has been even more disturbing than the CBO’s reported bad news has been the attempts to soften the impact of the report by the Obama administration and Democrat Party leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate. The main underlying explanation that this large number of full-time job loss is that it will free people to pursue their other interests since they will no longer be required to hold a job in order to have healthcare. Also on the jobs front, a report from the retail sector found that the average hours worked weekly fell dramatically more and faster than had been expected. This report also predicted that the average retail position will be a twenty-eight hour a week job in order for retail employers to avoid the requirement to provide health insurance for their employees. This is expected to be an epidemic problem most prevalent at the lowest end of scale of hourly workers such as in retail, food service, hospitality industry and other positions which normally pay the minimum wage or slightly above the minimum wage as these employers feel they will be unable to afford to provide health insurance while making a profit without needing to drastically raise prices as higher prices would make their enterprise no longer competitive.

 

The known big lie which President Obama claimed almost incessantly when selling the public his healthcare plan was, “If you like your doctor/health insurance, then you can keep your doctor/health insurance, period.” Less stressed was the other big lie repeated almost as frequently when President Obama exclaimed first made during a State of the Union speech when referring to his healthcare initiatives he stated, “Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.” President Obama was actually correct but not in any manner that could be framed as a good thing as Obamacare was predicted by the GAO (Government Accounting Office), a nonpartisan agency tasked to be the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the United States Congress, to cause a six-trillion-two-hundred-billion dollar addition to the national deficit. That is definitively not a single dime; it is over sixty-trillion dimes. Then there was President Obama’s promise that insurance premiums would be decreased by his healthcare initiative by two-thousand-five-hundred dollars per family per year. The unfortunate truth has been estimated that the average family healthcare premiums have increased by at least three-thousand dollars. When both the Obama prediction and the reality are combined, the result is that healthcare premiums missed the President’s predictions by a mere five-thousand dollars per family per year, a full two-hundred percent under actual cost error for the President. No matter which way one looks at the costs of Obamacare it has been nothing short of a disaster which promises to make the initial problems appear insignificant when the entirety of the law has been allowed to be implemented.

 

That brings us to another problem, implementation of the legislation which was approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the President and then it has been selectively applied with some of the most damning requirements and implementations being put on hold or even repealed due to the financial consequences of allowing them to go into effect as demanded by the law. President Obama has deferred the application of some aspects of the Affordable Care Act such as the employers’ mandate, passed out exemptions to unions and certain other groups who have special access to the President including Congressional staffers if their Representative or Senator saw fit to exempt them, or outright cancelled such as the section which pertained to extended care coverage which proved to be so fiscally demanding that it had to be dropped using a clause injected in the bill by some republicans that demanded that the extended or long time care insurance had to be proven to be deficit neutral or it had to be eliminated from the legislation. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius tried every which way she could find and was unable to make this provision come even close to deficit neutral thus it was quashed. It really is a shame that such a clause was not placed in the Obamacare legislation covering the entirety being rescinded if it proved not to be deficit neutral.

 

There is another time bomb ticking away in Obamacare that is also being spun as the opposite of what will inevitably be the result of the clause. Insurance companies supported Obamacare for one very good reason; it provides them with a win-win situation. There is a reimbursement clause which sets up a situation where the insurance providers make an estimate within certain relatively liberal criteria of their expected payout each year. Should their actual payouts exceed their estimates by a certain percentage, then the government will compensate the insurance company for eighty percent of these losses. The clause also has stipulations that should the insurance companies have payouts sufficiently below their estimation, then the government applies an excess profits tax and this is intended to mitigate the payouts. The extended predictions through 2024 show that the government will pay out eight-billion dollars while over the same period the government will take in sixteen-billion dollars which results in an eight-billion dollar profit for the treasury. Excuse my serious reservations but I always get suspect of figures that fit so nicely together that they balance so perfectly and results show multiples of one-hundred percent as this prediction does. Also, does anybody really believe that the insurance companies have accountants, some of the most meticulous and exacting people in the universe, who would produce estimates of expenditures to insured parties knowing that their company will receive an eighty percent reimbursement for any payouts over their estimate and a penalty should payouts fall short of their estimate set their estimate at the higher? Of course not; they would low ball their estimates by as close to ninety-nine and ninety-nine-one-hundredths percent towards the low end. For an example, if the range under the guidelines provided in the Obamacare legislation calculated that their annual payouts could be estimated to be between a low end of five-hundred-billion dollars and a high end of ten-trillion dollars, where would you as an accountant for the insurance company place your estimate, at nine-trillion dollars risking an overestimate and penalty or closer to five-hundred-fifty-billion dollars and most probably receive a bailout reimbursement for excess payments to insured account holders. My suspicions is that there will be very few if any insurance company financial predictions of expected payouts that will be an overestimation rather than an underestimation. Expect the Federal Government to be reimbursing health insurance companies by very significant amounts year after year without ever bothering to investigate how such a situation could have come into being. They set this in the legislation knowing full well what the end results were going to be and honestly expected to use this as exactly what it is, a bribe to get the insurance companies on board. We can also expect at some point the government to withdraw this safety net leading to numerous health insurance companies either going out of business or nearly doubling already higher premiums in order to assure they do not go broke any faster than avoidable. That is not to claim their health is expected to be good enough for them to survive in the long run as the real aim of Obamacare is to destroy sufficient amounts of the healthcare industries as to make a government run, single-payer healthcare system appear desirable to the majority of the American population.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

June 30, 2012

Is Romney the Cure for Obama Care?

Many conservatives remain in a state of shock and disbelief after the Supreme Court decision upholding the Constitutionality of the Affordable Health Act, aka Obama Care. As these opponents to Obama Care regain their equilibrium, they begin to approach the actions which may be taken in order to revoke Obama Care and return the country to some semblance of sanity. From many directions the cry has begun to take all measures necessary to both prevent the reelection of President Obama and elect Romney to be the next President. Such a call demands we assess whether or not a Romney Presidency would actually be the cure-all which so many are now claiming. The numbers of conservatives who are new advancing Romney as the cure is surprising, especially when you remember where these people stood during the Republican primaries. Many of these same proponents for a Romney win had likely taken a number of stands through the primaries moving from one challenger to the next as each made their initial move to the head of the pack only to fall short. A change of direction and support of proportions this massive that similar transformations are rare in all of political history are not something the average person can fully grasp and recover from with ease or too quickly. So, let’s answer the question as to whether or not having Mitt Romney be elected in November will be the panacea for the United States and the Constitution that many are claiming he will be.

 

The first hint as to what the problem would be under a Romney Presidency was revealed not so much by the press conference he gave announcing his reactions and views concerning the Supreme Court upholding of Obama Care but was more evident from the sign emblazoned on the podium which read, “Repeal and Replace Obamacare.” This slogan drives one to tend to accept the “repeal” part of the sign on Obama Care while one must demand an explanation what is meant in the “replace” part of the message and also why anything needs to be replacing Obama Care once it has been repealed. There have been some prophetic comments made during his campaign since he tied up the Republican nomination in response to queries concerning Obama Care. On a number of occasions Mitt Romney has proudly proclaimed that he believes that parts of Obama Care are exemplary and deserve to be preserved. He has further commented that he would definitely keep the more popular items such as keeping adult children on their parent’s insurance through age twenty-six, outlawing refusal of insurance coverage or increasing rates for people who have preexisting conditions and that these preconditions must be covered as well as other provisions which he will reveal in time. Now, is this the solution you were seeking? Did you want to have Obama Care Lite, aka Romney Care, or did you wish for overturning the entire package? Many staunch conservatives desire the complete overturn of everything included in the thousand-plus pages of the entirety of the Affordable Care Act so as to include a number of other sundry items within the legislation which had nothing to do with healthcare or health insurance. One example was a different set of laws pertaining to various obligations and requirements in owning gold as well as some additions to the tax codes. We must insist on everything that was included in this nefarious piece of legislation be expunged from the books and hopefully history as well.

 

On a further note, even if a Romney Presidency did actually intend to eliminate every iota of the Affordable Health Act, the question remains of could he manage to push the Congress to pass the necessary legislations overturning everything. The most obvious roadblock to refuting Obama Care is the necessity for attaining the sixty votes in order to pass in the Senate. Even deeper we find that very likely some Republicans may not choose to repeal the entirety of the legislation simply for the fear of setting such a precedent. There is always the hope that an equal or greater number of Democrat Representatives and Senators would cross over and assist in the repeal since the majority of their constituents support them doing this. But the truth must be recognized that a President Mitt Romney will most definitively not repeal all of Obama Care because, as he has stated in various speeches, Romney has strong desires to retain many of the stipulations and regulation within Obama Care which he fully intends to keep or reenact should the entire legislation be overturned. That is not removing Obama Care, it is managing or massaging Obama Care. We must recall one item about Mitt Romney’s personality and style, he is not so much an innovator or inventor, he is a manager who adjusts and reorders ideas and procedures to increase efficiencies and maximize affect. This should make anybody nervous regarding his actions towards Obama Care. Fear and trembling is very much in order no matter which candidate is elected President in November as it is a choice of degree, not direction.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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