Oregon’s health insurance co-operative is yet another Obamacare failure. It squandered taxpayer-backed handouts and loans, disappointed its customers and now has shuttered its operations.
But with an audacity that would make even Donald Trump blush, Health Republic of Oregon wants more taxpayer money. Its executives are suing the federal government to demand more government handouts.
The Obama administration just might settle the case and give Health Republic and hundreds of other insurers the $5 billion that the class-action lawsuit seeks.
Theresa O’Donnell, a Democratic-leaning voter complained that Obamacare caused her family’s health insurance premiums to double from $5,880 per year to $12,972 per year. “I would like to vote Democratic, but it’s costing me a lot of money,” O’Donnell pleaded. “I am just wondering if Democrats really realize how difficult it’s been on working-class Americans to finance Obamacare.” The audience applauded O’Donnell, showing once again that, really, not even Democrats like Obamacare.
Federal health officials approved loans to Obamacare health insurance co-ops despite “specific warnings” about across-the-board failures from Deloitte Consulting, according to a blistering Senate staff report released Thursday.
The report was released by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations at a hearing that featured Andy Slavitt, the embattled acting administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the section of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that manages Obamacare.
A $5 billion lawsuit filed by a nonprofit insurer against the Obama administration for a program implemented under Obamacare is raising questions about the use of a fund available for settlements with the government and whether Congress can, and should, intervene.
According to legal experts, if the Obama administration decided to settle its class action lawsuit with Health Republic Insurance of Oregon, one of 23 co-ops started under Obamacare, and other insurers for all or part of the $5 billion it’s seeking, the money would come from the Judgment Fund, an indefinite appropriation created by Congress and administered by the Department of Treasury.
The two principal expenditures of the Affordable Care Act so far include $850 billion for insurance subsidies and a similar outlay for a massive Medicaid expansion. The truth is that Medicaid—a program costing $500 billion a year that rises to $890 billion in 2024—funnels low-income families into substandard coverage. Instead of providing a pathway to excellent health care for poor Americans, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion doubles down on their second-class health-care status.
Published studies have shown that pairing HSAs with high-deductible coverage reduceshealth-care costs. Patient spending averages 15% lower in high-deductible plans, with even more savings when paired with HSAs—without any consequent increases in emergency visits or hospitalizations and without a harmful impact on low-income families. Secondarily, wellness programs that HSA holders more commonly use improve chronic illnesses, reduce health claims and save money.
The central feature of the latest plan in Nebraska is to deliver Medicaid expansion benefits through health plans sold on the Obamacare exchange, instead of through the state’s managed care system. But, at the end of the day, this is really just a more expensive way to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
Nebraska’s own actuaries estimate that using these plans to expand Medicaid would increase per-person costs by 94% next fiscal year. By 2021, the cost difference is expected to reach 150%. Overall, this plan would cost taxpayers billions of dollars more (as if regular Medicaid expansion wasn’t expensive enough) and leave even fewer dollars for the truly needy.
Ask the price of anything and the answer is always the same: What insurance do you have? Patients are blocked from shopping for fair value. The part of the Affordable Care Act which was supposed to control insurance costs, perversely, incentivizes insurers to pay higher, not lower costs. Under the Affordable Care Act, premiums and profits are legally permitted to rise only as health costs rise. In short, when it comes to pricing, nobody is watching the store and citizens cannot shop to protect themselves from medical price gouging.
This former hospital president says that because billing rates are not set, the health industry is able to prey on patients at their most vulnerable. And if you are out of network or uninsured, you pay the highest rates.
A Senate panel found that the government ignored warning signs that Obamacare co-op plans were a bad bet when it doled out $1.2 billion in taxpayer funds to them.
The report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, released during a hearing Thursday, found that in 2014 the Department of Health and Human Services gave out loans to failed consumer-oriented and operated plans, called co-ops, despite clear warning signs they weren’t reliable.
The co-ops were created to spur more competition on the Obamacare exchanges. However, of the 23 taxpayer-funded co-ops, 12 have shut down.
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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is opening a new front in his attacks on ObamaCare as he campaigns for president.
After trying to bring publicity to his efforts to limit the Affordable Care Act’s “risk corridors” program, Rubio and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the chairman of the Finance Committee and a campaign backer, wrote a letter on Tuesday arguing that the Obama administration is breaking the law with another “bailout” of insurance companies.
Their letter concerns ObamaCare’s “reinsurance” program, designed to protect insurers against high costs for sicker enrollees in the early years of the law. Under the program, the government collects money from insurers and then redistributes it to those with high-cost enrollees.
This one weird trick can help even rich people buy ObamaCare at sharply reduced prices. Really.
A number of wealthy individuals, some of whom were “disgusted” with ObamaCare when it first went into effect, nonetheless are now taking advantage of federal financial aid available under that health-care law to help significantly reduce their monthly insurance premiums.
Carolyn McClanahan, a Jacksonville, Florida-based financial advisor and medical doctor, told CNBC that she’s steered at least five such clients, whose individual net worths range between $1 million and $3 million, toward buying ObamaCare health plans because of the federal subsidies available due to their taxable income levels.