Category Archives: health insurance
When President Obama met with party leaders in 2009 Eric Cantor pitched some ideas for the stimulus bill. The president responded, “Elections have consequences and, at the end of the day, I won.” The 800 billion dollar stimulus went on to pass with three Republican votes. And ObamaCare rammed its way through Congress without any Republican support. At the time Democrats controlled the White House, Senate, and House.
The program has never been popular with voters. A new Rasmussen survey finds that only 12% of voters want to keep it as it is. However 56% want the law improved piece by piece. Only 30% want to see the program immediately brought to room temperature.
Forbes defines a health insurance death spiral as “adverse selection” which happens when only high risk people buy insurance:
If only people on their death beds buy life insurance, the insurance company would quickly go out of business. Equally, if only sick people buy health insurance, the math will not work…
To reduce the risk of adverse selection, the Affordable Care Act created a penalty for people who do not enroll in insurance. However, the penalty for not having insurance in 2016 was the higher of $695 per individual or 2.5% of income. Although $695 is a lot of money, it is still cheaper than health insurance policies offered on the exchange.
That’s because ObamaCare rates are going up an average of 25% next year. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, that’s just “for the mid-level insurance plans that are performing the best, not the average increase of all ObamaCare coverage.”
That same WSJ editorial says President Obama took a victory lap for ObamaCare in Miami last week. He bragged about “all the progress we’ve made in controlling costs.”
CNN says ObamaCare woes will linger long after he’s gone.
CNN says Hillary Clinton won the debate. Donald Trump disagrees but most other polls aren’t backing him up, so far.
Trump seemed to get the best of Hillary in the first 30 minutes when they tangled over trade rules. He caught her on the wrong side of President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Trade Deal, pointing out that she had called it the “gold standard.” Hillary denied this and then replied it wasn’t her responsibility and that she had changed her mind. So Trump insisted that she say it was Obama’s fault:
TRUMP: You called it the gold standard of trade deals. You said it’s the finest deal you’ve ever seen.
TRUMP: And then you heard what I said about it, and all of a sudden you were against it.
CLINTON: Well, Donald, I know you live in your own reality, but that is not the facts. The facts are — I did say I hoped it would be a good deal, but when it was negotiated…
CLINTON: … which I was not responsible for, I concluded it wasn’t. I wrote about that in my book…
TRUMP: So is it President Obama’s fault?
CLINTON: … before you even announced.
TRUMP: Is it President Obama’s fault?
CLINTON: Look, there are differences…
TRUMP: Secretary, is it President Obama’s fault?
CLINTON: There are…
TRUMP: Because he’s pushing it.
CLINTON: There are different views about what’s good for our country, our economy, and our leadership in the world. And I think it’s important to look at what we need to do to get the economy going again. That’s why I said new jobs with rising incomes, investments, not in more tax cuts that would add $5 trillion to the debt.
At that point Trump seemed to be mopping the floor with her. But Hillary quickly got under his skin by trashing his business acumen and ethics.
She took a page from the Harry Reid playbook to claim Trump doesn’t pay income taxes. Incredibly, The Donald seemed to agree by saying, “it makes me smart.” For the record, PolitiFact doesn’t agree. It rates her claim mostly false.
But after that Trump seemed Low Eenergy.
Elephant In Debate Room
The elephant in debate room was the fact that Immigration, Benghazi, and the Clinton Foundation didn’t make the cut. Those issues were never brought up by moderator Lester Holt or Trump.
Unburdened of that baggage, Hillary dragged her prey off into the tall grass. There she dismembered the small handed one with accusations of racism and sexism.
She claimed the Stop and Frisk law was ruled unconstitutional and moderator Holt backed her up. She also insisted the murder rate continues to decline. In truth, Stop and Frisk was never ruled unconstitutional. And the FBI released a report the next morning showing the murder rate had surged 10.8% in 2015.
Hillary went on to back up her racism charge using Tulsa and Charlotte as “tragic examples.” Trump lacked the energy to point out that Black people rioted in Charlotte where a black man was killed by a black police officer who worked for a black police chief.
Reuters reports that Mylan will produce “the first generic version of its allergy auto-injector EpiPen.” The generic version will sell for $300. That’s half the price of the “branded product.”
This will be the first generic EpiPen because the FDA has dragged its feet approving any other generic version. So Mylan has a near monopoly on a life saving product. Now it also has a monopoly on the generic version.
That monopoly enabled Mylan to increase the list price of an EpiPen two pack from $100 in 2008 to $600 today. The company is offering the generic version in response to criticism of its price hikes.
Here’s a WSJ editorial blaming the FDA for the Mylan monopoly.
What initially looked like a great deal for them – customers federally mandated to buy their product – doesn’t seem to be working out as they had hoped. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that insurers are loosing hundreds of millions of dollars on Obamacare.
Aetna Says Bye Bye
So Aetna now says bye bye to ObamaCare by way of pulling out of exchanges in 11 of the 15 states it serves. UnitedHealth and Humana are following suit. UnitedHealth is ditching 31 of its 34 states, and Humana is leaving 9 of 19 states.
In July the Justice Department blocked a proposed merger between Aetna and UnitedHealth. At the time Aetna wrote that without the cost savings of the merger it would leave the exchanges.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton supports a government funded public option to compete on the exchanges with the remaining private insurers.