The Right Prescription

The Right Prescription

Taxpayers Get Fleeced to Make Obamacare Look Affordable

By 1.29.14

Last week, Moody’s rating agency lowered the outlook for health insurers from stable to negative, blaming Obamacare. Few Americans will shed tears for insurance companies. But the Moody’s announcement is a warning sign to taxpayers. They’ll be getting clobbered. Section 1342 of the Affordable Care Act forces taxpayers to make insurers whole for most of the losses incurred selling Obamacare exchange plans through 2016. The bailout is designed to conceal the failure of the president’s signature health law until he is out of office.

No one in the Obama administration talked up the advantages of bailing out insurers. It was kept under wraps until the fall of 2013. That’s when five to six million health plans were canceled because they didn’t comply with Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all-coverage requirements effective January 1, 2014. Insurers developed new plans, as the health law required, set premiums (generally higher) and sent out notices canceling the old plans.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Ezra

By 1.23.14

We don’t know if Jeff Bezos laughed aloud when Ezra Klein, one of his star bloggers at the Washington Post, pitched an idea for a new website and asked for an eight-figure check to get it off the ground. We do know that Bezos decided to let him to seek investors elsewhere: “We regret to announce that Ezra Klein, Melissa Bell and Dylan Matthews are leaving The Post for a new venture.” Information about this “new venture” is pretty scarce, but it allegedly involves a foray into “explanatory journalism.”

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Single Payer: We’ve Been There, Done That

By 1.13.14

Well, our progressive friends are once again calling for single payer health care. The ironic pretext this time is that Obamacare has collapsed into chaos. The health care “reform” law they assured us would cure the ills of our medical delivery system is disintegrating before their eyes. But the advocates of the “Affordable Care Act,” as these people stubbornly refer to it, refuse to accept that the crackup was caused by the inevitable incompetence of government bureaucrats. They believe the real problem was avaricious insurance executives.

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Obamacare: Clearly and Consistently Negative

By 1.13.14

Political parties’ real electoral danger isn’t overwhelmingly negative public opinion, but opinion clearly and consistently negative. The reason is obvious: Political parties are neither stupid enough — nor long survive — taking hugely unpopular positions. The bad news is Obamacare looks to be the kind of clearly and consistently negative issue that leaves the administration and Democrats damned if they do, and damned if they don’t.

The political landscape clearly shows political parties are more likely to face political difficulties from issues that decidedly and consistently run against them. Most contentious issues exist and persist with both parties hovering around majority support for their stances. The environment, tax, and spending — among others — all devolve into stances that leave each party near victory.

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Obamacare: Workplace Disaster Ahead

By 1.8.14

In 2014, millions of Americans -- possibly 25-30 million -- who have employer-provided health insurance will lose it thanks to Obamacare’s requirement that all plans cover what Washington deems “essential benefits.” Some employers will consider that unaffordable and drop coverage altogether when their current, less costly plans expire sometime this year. These new victims of Obamacare are in addition to the 6 million who bought plans in the individual market and had them canceled as of January 1. 

The plight of those 6 million made headline news and caused the first cracks in the Democratic Party’s support for the law. The coming wave of workplace cancellations will force Democrats to defend a law that will likely harm twice as many people as it helps.

That’s right. Twice as many probably will lose coverage in 2014 as will gain it.

The Congressional Budget Office projects 16 million will gain coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion and subsidized exchange plans. That’s a best case scenario, rosier than the enrollment figures we’ve seen so far, but still half the number losing coverage.

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Obamacare’s Medicaid Fraud

By 1.6.14

A couple of weeks ago I visited my internist for the annual physical to which she subjects me in order to confirm that my various organs are still operating according to specifications. As she poked and prodded, I asked how her practice was going. This question elicited a resigned sigh and a brief but poignant discourse on the necessity of “firing” her Medicaid patients. Medicaid, the government program that ostensibly provides health coverage for the poor, imposes so much red tape and pays so parsimoniously that she simply cannot afford to treat these patients if she wishes to avoid bankruptcy.

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A New Year and Old Problems

By 12.31.13

Whenever we stand on the threshold of a new year, we are tempted to forget the hazards of prophecy, and try to see what may lie on the other side of this arbitrary division of time. Sometimes we are content to try to change ourselves with New Year's resolutions to do better in some respect. Changing ourselves is a much more reasonable undertaking than trying to change other people. It may or may not succeed, but it seldom creates the disasters that trying to change others can produce.

When we look beyond ourselves to the world around us, peering into the future can be a very sobering, if not depressing, experience.

Obamacare looms large and menacing on our horizon. This is not just because of computer problems, or even because some people who think that they have enrolled may discover at their next visit to a doctor that they do not have any insurance coverage.

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Obamacare and GOP Complacence

By 12.30.13

The breathtaking ineptitude with which the Obama administration has implemented the Affordable Care Act provides the Republican Party a very real opportunity to make major gains in the upcoming midterm elections. A mere 60 days ago, the Democrats seemed well-positioned to hold on to its Senate Majority and perhaps even regain control of the House. Since then, according to a CNN/ORC survey released last week, the GOP has improved its standing among registered voters by 13 points: “Two months ago, Democrats held a 50%-42% advantage.... The new survey… indicates Republicans with a 49%-44% edge over the Democrats.”

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Insurance Companies Deserve Obamacare

By 12.20.13

The latest attempt by the Obama administration to avoid the consequences of its inept implementation of the Affordable Care Act has been to issue yet another of its surprise edicts. This new Health and Human Services regulation, which was announced Thursday night, “significantly relaxed the rules of the federal health-care law for millions of consumers whose individual insurance policies have been canceled, saying they can buy bare-bones plans or entirely avoid a requirement that most Americans have health coverage.”