ObamaCare

Quality of Healthcare Going Down Say Voters

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About 70 percent of likely voters rate the quality of the health care they receive as good or excellent, down one point since January, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. While that might seem “not so bad,” that is the lowest level in two and a half years of polling. This number should be relatively good for limited government activists, however it is coupled with another statistic that is rather worrisome.

About 38 percent of respondents on this poll stated that they are for a single-payer system for health care. More disturbing is that 64 percent of those voters feel that more government involvement in health care would be a good thing.

Now that everyone is really scared, the silver-lining remains that a majority (51%) believe that Obamacare will make health care in America worse, and support for less government involvement in health care (44%) still outpaces support for a single-payer system.

Yes, this means that more Americans are thinking that less government would be a good thing, however this trend is starting to flatline a bit. One big reason for this is the lack of a concrete proposal from Republicans to replace Obamacare. Repeal is simply not going to be enough, if only because of the few items under the new law that are extremely popular, like keeping children on parental policies until age 26, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Today in Liberty: Email Scandals, Threats to Signature Legislation, and Netflix’s Discovery That Big Government Is No Friend

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Plenty of red meat in the news these days, from Hillary Clinton’s homebrewed email server to the US Ambassador to South Korea getting slashed in the face. Taken individually, these stories are just a fun diversion as part of surprisingly full news cycle. Taken together, however, they represent a potential sea change in how government functions — and how citizens and voters are reacting to it. Not surprising that things are changing in the time of NSA data gathering, a newly confident Russia, and the (continued) rise of the brutal Islamic State. So here’s a rundown for those seeking the little glimmers of liberty buried under the chaos.

CPAC happened last week and there was an air of excitement and momentum surrounding the incredibly deep GOP field leading into 2016’s presidential election. Scott Walker has ramped up his game and Jeb Bush tried to make the case that he’s not just the guy the Democrats would love to see make a run. And Rand Paul, as he usually does, won the straw poll largely due to the contingent of young voters who attend the annual gathering. A really great thing in fact because it means the millenials may actually be migrating to the right at a greater clip than anyone knew. But while Rand won the youth, social media and news data says that Scott Walker’s the one to watch…for now:

One paragraph from the Hobby Lobby ruling destroys the entire liberal “anti-women” narrative

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The instant the Supreme Court ruled on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the War on Women™ was back on. Liberals from sea to shining sea had talking points, Facebook memes, and … narratives ready to go and deployed them in a cascade of messaging discipline. It was truly a sight to behold. You may have seen this particularly nonsensical but effective image shared hundreds of times within 24 hours:

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I mean really. But apart from saying “nuh uh!”, conservatives had little effective response to this narrative. But then Julian Sanchez from the Cato Institute’s blog discovered a little-noticed passage in the Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito:

The effect of the HHS-created accommodation on the women employed by Hobby Lobby and the other companies involved in these cases would be precisely zero. Under that accommodation, these women would still be entitled to all FDA-approved contraceptives without cost sharing.

This refers to an exception created by the Department of Health and Human Services that forces insurers to pick up the tab for coverage objected to by religious non-profit organizations and churches. Women employed by these organizations receive the same coverage, medications, and cost-free contraceptives as everyone else as mandated by HHS, even though the organizations themselves refuse to pay for that coverage.

Obamacare’s latest victims: college students

Obamacare’s latest victims are not women, the poor or even the elderly, but young, healthy and carefree college students.

Students at the University of South Carolina are in for a treat once they find out their schools’ tuition is going to cost them considerably more next year. The surprise will be even harder to assimilate once they learn that the Affordable Care Act is responsible for the increase.

The school claims that a tuition increase rate of 3.2 percent is necessary to help cover for the almost $18 million it needs to come up with to cover for the state-mandated employee pay raises, implementation of Obamacare and retirement benefits.

While the school is blaming the state for imposing the mandates without providing financial assistance first, it is also urging parents and students to understand their situation. The heavy-handed health care regulations and the increasing mandates regarding pay raises destined to employees are driving the tuition costs up and putting the school’s livelihood on the line.

But the University of South Carolina is not the only large employer suffering the consequences of the mandate. Under ACA, large employees are required to offer health coverage to any employee who puts in more than 30 hours of work a week. If employers are not able to meet these requirements, they are forced to pay a $2,000 fine per employee.

In many cases, companies prefer to go for the fine and end up ditching coverage altogether, leaving employees to search for health care insurance independently. This unintended consequence of the law’s employer mandate has been adding further financial burdens to hard-working low- and middle-income Americans.

Even Obamacare supporters know this: subsidies alone will cost taxpayers over $11 billion

Obamacare Costs

The weak attempt at trying to tout Obamacare as the reason why consumers are not paying as much in out-of-pocket care, in spite of the premium increases, has had a good run but now, it’s time to focus on the facts: government assistance offered to nine in 10 Americans who signed for health care coverage plans through the Affordable Care Act exchange will cost roughly $11 billion to the federal government this year.

Once you also add assistance offered through state-run exchanges in the mix, costs could top $16.5 billion, but since precise data regarding consumers buying plans in states that run their own exchanges is not available, the numbers are just a rough estimate.

While the subsidies may sound generous, the cost to taxpayers will affect everybody, including low- and middle-income Americans.

The media, and fervent supporters of this administration’s signature health care law, may have picked up the deceptive talking point and run with it, but the reality is that even with subsidies, the cost of insurance plans for individuals available after Obamacare kicked in was approximately 38 percent more expensive than plans available in 2013.

No, Obamacare didn’t magically make young people healthier

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They were anticipating this like their lives depended on it. Democrats and the media breathlessly reported Wednesday morning that a study found that “young adults” are healthier after the passage of Obamacare:

Starting in 2010, the Affordable Care Act allowed adults under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health plans, the first coverage expansion to take effect under the law.

Previous surveys have indicated that this provision, which remains among the law’s most popular, allowed millions of young adults to get health insurance over the last several years.

The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., suggests the coverage expansion also measurably increased the number of young adults who reported that they are in excellent physical and mental health.

Researchers also found a significant drop in how much young people were paying out of pocket for their medical care after the law went into effect.

Great news! Problem solved! Crisis averted! Let’s pass another one! Except under further scrutiny, nearly every claim being extrapolated from this study is wrong.

Here is the actual data collected:

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The survey collected responses from two groups twice: young adults (19-25) and other adults (26-34) each before Obamacare and after. Both groups were asked if they had health insurance, which medical services they used, and to rate their physical and mental health.

Nonprofits are stepping up to do what the VA system isn’t: Helping our brave veterans

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The Texas Medical Association is stepping up where the Veterans Affairs system is failing.

The TMA announced this week they were starting a registry where private physicians could say whether or not they would accept veterans in their offices. The list would be given to community groups and VA health system officials. This is after The Daily Beast reported the Central Texas VA was being run like a “crime syndicate” so executives could get bonuses.

It isn’t the first time the non-profit group has suggested private doctors take care of veterans. They pressed the American Medical Association to tell President Barack Obama and Congress that military members deserved to have health care outside of the VA system.

Texas doctors aren’t the only ones doing this. Cooper University Health Care also announced this week they’d be starting a program to help veterans get access to care. Their “Cooper Veterans VIP Priority Program” is promising to deliver same-day service to veterans needing treatment. That’s down from the 25-day wait period veterans were having in the New Jersey VA system. Vets needing to see a specialist had to wait 45 days.

Make DC Listen: Don’t let John Boehner and Eric Cantor forget that voters want Obamacare repealed

The GOP is backing away from using the phrase “repeal and replace” when it comes to Obamacare. It’s a strategic decision, that may or may not be really useful, though.

The primary problem with the terminology currently used apparently is that “repeal” implies that Republicans want to go back to the pre-Obamacare status quo. In light of the massive problems — radical price increases, dropped policies, broken promises about keeping doctors, etc. — maybe that isn’t really a terrible thing.

However, giving the party leadership the benefit of the doubt, they could be right about not suggesting a return of the bad old days.

The real problem with the whole “repeal and replace” narrative isn’t completely about the first part. In order to suggest that there will be a replacement, the party would need to come up with one. Yes, there have been many options presented, but they have all gotten lost in the shuffle, since a majority of Republicans have never really picked a single choice.

That might be because they’ve all been making it far too complicated, just like the hated Obamacare. It remains to be seen if the GOP can marshal the political troops behind something simplistic - even taking the generally acceptable parts of Obamacare for their new solution.

Maybe if they chose to campaign on keeping the broken promises of Obamacare, allowing kids to remain on parents’ policies until age 26, and no refusals of insurance based on pre-existing conditions, for a start. Add on the idea of removing the “minimum coverage requirements”, and mandatory coverage for all, since those are the two primary issues that are annoying voters.

We already have socialized medicine in the US — just ask a veteran

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Given the situation with the increasing number of Veterans Health Administration facilities being listed as having “problems,” it isn’t surprising that talk has started about the VA system showing what the future holds for all Americans under ObamaCare. It’s an accurate assessment that has already been said, and should be repeated often.

It is the pure definition of rationed care and gives an honest view of what health care looks like when the government has complete control. The headlines are focusing on relatively recent cases, with veterans waiting months or occasionally years for needed treatment. Family members of veterans that died waiting for treatment are being featured on the news.

Politicians are calling for heads to roll, including a lukewarm claim from Obama himself that “something” will be done. Given the track record of this administration when it comes to accountability, that’s not very likely. Congress is introducing a bill that will supposedly make it easier to dismiss less-than-stellar administrators. One thing that isn’t being mentioned often is the fact that this isn’t a new problem.

Before Kiefer Sutherland had several really bad days on the small screen, he was on the silver screen as a doctor in the VA system. Hollywood depicted what we’re seeing today back in 1992, in the film Article 99. Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember it. It wasn’t a particularly good film, and probably only caught the interest of veterans and military personnel anyway. Poor scripting and acting aside, it did show how rampant bureaucracy is the quickest way to cripple a medical facility.

HealthCare.gov — Obama can’t build that

For anyone that remembers the Kevin Kline movie Dave, these days call the scenes of the accountant going over the national budget like a normal business person would. When it comes to getting HealthCare.gov working, it’s probably reaching the point where Murray the accountant would be tearing out what hair he had left.

The latest news is that the initial estimates for fixing the site were grossly underestimated. That’s no surprise, but that doesn’t make it any better. Accenture is claiming that it will need $121 million to make it through January 10, 2015.

To place that in perspective, just the latest figure exceeds at least one set of estimates for 10 highly popular web start-ups. That is exceeding the cost to start all of them, including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Uber, Pinterest and Vine. You can even throw in a healthy dose of green pigs and egg wielding Angry Birds in that much smaller figure of approximately $7.25 million. That was adding up the high-end estimates and rounding up a bit.

Yes, the cost to just fix one website for the government apparently costs close to 17 times what it probably cost to start ten of the most popular websites out there. Just makes you yearn for the good old days when the biggest ticket items people would complain about in government budgets were $200 hammers, and $500 toilet seats, doesn’t it?


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